• Lady Percy moves me - might she move you? CLICK TO FIND OUT
• Plus my novels, stories, verse, vulgar interests, apologies, and singing.
• Most posts are 300 words. I respond to all comments and re-comments.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Marly - Salutations

In religion, some literary tastes and politics I’m Marly Youmans’ polar opposite yet it doesn’t seem to matter a damn. She doesn’t blog much now but earlier I was tempted into long comments at The Palace at 2 AM to which she always conscientiously replied. For me a window on an entirely different and civilised way of life with strangely Faulknerian roots. We both write novels (she much more professionally) and that was a bond.

I bought Marly’s The Book of The Red King, suspecting it might not be my cup of tea, poems written by Fool en route to the Red King’s palace. I’m not into myth/fantasy and my fictional characters include a former production manager at a washing machine manufacturer. Not social realism y’unnerstand, but slightly gritty.

However in my sere, yellow and almost-dropping-off years I write verse. Marly’s good at that except hers is poetry. Red King may emerge as a narrative but in the interim I’m treating her poems as separate entities. Looking for what races my motor. Plenty does. It’s not exactly news but Marly loves words:

And beauty – golden perianth,
Blown glass, the bending trees
A marble fairy on a plinth.

But they don’t have to be exotic

The water let him down. It took him in
The water waved his hair as if with love
Cold lensed against his eyes as if to show...

Marly’s eclectic in this cento (ie, a patchwork)

A different kingdom, whole words apart (Proust)
Voices in the waves always whispering (Dickens)
And murmuring of boughs, and sleepy boughs (Yeats – a Marly trade mark)

Edges into my Schubertian world with The Miller’s Son

The arms are strange, almost a pair of legs
Borrowed from a horse...

And there’s The Twelfth-night Fool but I’ve run out of...


  1. Well, I think that I have at last figured out why none of my recent comments have landed here... including my lovely thank you for this post!

    And I do thank you again, though you give me too much credit for being political. I am generally considered to be apolitical or some such. I do have a political thought, and that is that anyone who wants to be the creature known as politician needs to be barred from office. People tell me that my volunteer gigs are political, but since they're mostly with hungry people, I don't really believe it. That's one of those "everything is political" statements.

    Thank you again for reading and liking my poems despite yourself! I love that!

    Crossing my fingers that this goes...

  2. Trala!

    Okay, no more Safari for a while...

  3. Marly: Glad you finally got through, especially for this post which was looking a little forlorn for a while. As to politics you had said, in previous comments, that you were avoiding it. While I, it seems, am drawn deeper and deeper into the sump hole every new day that dawns.

    And thank you for "... and liking my poems despite yourself." You put your finger on it. All written work consists of content and style, both hopelessly interwined, and critics frequently get into trouble by failing distinguish between the two. How many times have you come across some literary babe-in-arms whose reaction "Didn't like it." is quickly decoded as "didn't like the baddie" who is often the best thing in the book.. Thus Stendahl creates Julien Sorel and readers whose ambit should never have extended beyond Mr and Mrs Peg at Home (a seminal work for me, aged six) berate the author for being indecisive, somewhat amoral and a bit of liar - the very qualities that Stendahl has invested in his greatest characterisation.

    As I say I am not drawn to the genre loosely described as "fairy tales", it may be a male thing. But I am not so monocular as to insist that all fairy tales are badly written. I reminded myself that in writing Out of Arizona I needed to familiarise myself with the latterday work of Ezra Pound to provide background for a couple of pages in the novel. (Not, for goodness sake, that I'm in any way associating you with Pound other than you both write poems.) I read Pound in one of several books I inherited from my mother, discovered new things about his poetry, and changed the reference somewht in OoA.

    In fact I owe a debt to blogging. Through it and via the friends I have made in blogging I took up verse (reading and writing) for the first time in my seventies. I owe you the debt of friendship which I felt could be acknowledged in a reaction to Red King. In fact it was easy, peasy; I could have gone on, as I imply.

    I've rambled a bit.

  4. Sump hole is right. RR, it is raising your cortisol. Stop! Ignore it a day or two...

    Somehow I managed to miss the childhood greatness of Mr. and Mrs. Peg. Alas. I was completely obsessed with the Alice books, though I had other favorites as well at that age.

    Hopelessly intertwined, yes! Nothing to argue there...

    You know, I still am not sure where the Red Kingdom came from or even where it is located. Remote corner of our world? Another page in the multiverse? Faery? It's definitely out of normal time and space but relates to our own and occasionally refers to it.

    What it comes down to (maybe) is that I am one of those writers (and of course there are many kinds) who often feels things flood through--delicious sensation--without particularly knowing the source. It's me, but it's a part of me that I have left unleashed and would not want to tame. I'm not a chart-making analytical type, and I would find that mode to be horrid and too schoolish. But why I often get things from a sort of fount (a me-fount?), I have no idea. Nor whether that makes what I do any better or worse than any other way of making poems and stories. It's just my way.

    I recently read a bit of Pound. Had been years! And some I rather liked. I had forgotten most of what I read in the past.

    So what poets to like (or dislike) have you found in your latter years? I don't think you've written about that...

  5. Marly: I fear I am a chartmaker, driven by an aphorism I picked up when I was in my teens: Easy writing, hard reading. I need structure: the Christmas tree on which I subsequently hang my baubles. Speaking about sci-fi, but he could have been referring to many writers, Martin Amis (or was it his dad?) said: The plot's the hero. The plot is not only the place wherein my characters disport, it's where I disport. Without a map I may get lost, much worse my readers (that ragged band) may get lost and they will never come back. Being reassured by what happens ten minutes (or a mile) ahead, I am able to concentrate undistractedly on the present.

    I only put in that qualification about Pound because I needed to insist I didn't see you sharing his rather obnoxious views.

    Poetry is only in my latter years. They're rather obvious but I'm most comforted by Eliot and Auden, although (as far I can remember) the starting gun was fired by Donne. Terribly unadventurous.

  6. Ah, well, good qualification, then...

    Hmm, do you like Richard Wilbur, then?

    I remember talking to a well-known novelist (somebody who lived near me for some years) about her elaborate charts. Charts for characters, for plots, for character back story, for setting and mapping, etc. I was impressed by her industriousness and care, truly. I admired it. But could never bring myself to do it...