Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Edward Thomas' Beauty', another 'sprained ankle' poem.

This is my favourite Thomas poem. A miniature eighteen-line autobiography, an honest self-appraisal, a misery-memoir consciously and humorously undermined and upturned. A not-quite sonnet -currently fashionable - retaining the punch of the mood and tone change and letting it blossom. Those birds, always exact to their 'jizz'  but meaning much more:
'The birds may represent alternative ways of dealing with neurosis; a regressive resort to nostalgia, wailing for something lost; or progress towards the grounded selfhood phrased as 'home and love'.

                          W HAT does it mean? Tired, angry, and ill at ease,
No man, woman, or child alive could please
Me now. And yet I almost dare to laugh
Because I sit and frame an epitaph-
'Here lies all that no one loved of him
And that loved no one.' Then in a trice that whim
Has wearied. But, though I am like a river
At fall of evening when it seems that never
Has the sun lighted it or warmed it, while
Cross breezes cut the surface to a file,
This heart, some fraction of me, happily
Floats through a window even now to a tree
Down in the misting, dim-lit, quiet vale;
Not like a pewit that returns to wail
For something it has lost, but like a dove
That slants unswerving to its home and love.
There I find my rest, and through the dusk air
Flies what yet lives in me. Beauty is there