Although I believe that we all have something to say, and that poetry is for everyone, I must admit the verse in the anthology was rarely close to being poetry.
Sincerity is not enough. He was to die days before the war ended, but it is not his tragedy that endures but his poetry.
Like soldiers today, his experience of war was real and raw, but his rage, his pain, his pity and his love live in the voice of his poetry. They ring true and the reader is at once convinced. Your mind knows it for the real thing, and will not let it go. What a lovely way to sum it up. I think all Poets possess Oceans of Emotions and most have had vast life experiences from which to draw on,these both stimulate their imaginations and allow them to write.
Poems may begin as emotional release, therapy, relief etc. There is the poem and the poem-for-the-self.
The first is an autonomous object read, interpreted enjoyed by the reader — an object of interaction, an object of appreciation. The latter is a personal document — an object of interaction with the self. It is true that the poem and not the just the trigger to the poem that will survive. Whatever the thoughts, emotions, and insights that surfaced to become the poem, it is the poem itself that has to be recognised as such by the reader.
It will acquire a life of its own; it will be read, re-read, unravelled, loved, hated by different readers at different times. It will be independent of the reader and writer. The poem-for-the-self is usually a personal, journal like document, and will remain thus. This was now Wednesday. The nightingales sang in the wood at noon. Findley The host with someone indistinct Converses at the door apart, The nightingales are singing near The Convent of the Sacred Heart,. And sang within the bloody wood When Agamemnon cried aloud, And let their liquid droppings fall To stain the stiff dishonoured shroud.
Eliot Many other Georgian poets have cameo parts in the Garsington-like world of Stourbridge St. Not only do poems provide a kind of background music to his narrative, but they make tragic what to the military historian would have appeared as a relatively simple tale of disgrace. But it was not until that the Canadian critic Mary Louise Pratt used Speech Act theory to demonstrate that poetry was not a different language from prose but a different use of language.
We can illustrate this with a few examples from The Wars. I can only briefly draw attention to a few devices.
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Several come into the traumatic scene with which the novel opens and which is then repeated Likeness in the form of repetition is in itself a fundamentally poetic device. Findley does this frequently, so arranging the words as to literally slow down our reading and so gather into our minds some experience of the trauma he wishes to convey.
She fell. It was Sunday. Findley 15 7. Poetry is an attention-seeking use of language, not for itself, not for its own sake, but in order to express what is as Larkin put it "almost being said. Examples of what is broadly termed catachresis are "The moon rose red" and "One day bled into the next. Findley draws our attention to the case of the painting "With Wolfe at Quebec" Findley 49 in which there is no blood but "His wounds are poems.
We all use poetic devices, even in everyday language: that does not make all that we say poetry. Rather, the question we need to ask is why Findley chose to write a novel that was almost-poetry. What do poems do better than novels?
Stories were first told in verse and only afterwards in prose. In other words, the fundamental difference between the two forms is historical: the novel is linked to the rise of the written word, the printing press, improvements in print technology and literacy levels.
Both poetry and novels are what the Canadian critic Harold Innis called time-biased forms of communication, but they work differently in terms of fixing memories. Novels appeal to our visual imagination but, as Plato pointed out, the written word is mute. The Wars , like the illustrated histories of the s, is saturated with images and an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of images. Throughout the twentieth century attempts were made—by Pound and the Imagists among others—to arrest that decline by fitting poetry into the newly-dominant written culture which was developing the visual imagination.
Interestingly, one of the latest—and perhaps least expected—studies of the culture of trench warfare is a collection of haikus, 8 En pleine figure. Haikus de la guerre de Haikus are interesting because they combine the oral 17 syllables with the visual the Japanese etching and the discovery that the haiku form flourished in the French trenches throws an entirely new light on our view of that war. No doubt partly because, belonging to an earlier oral tradition, poets listen to the environment they find themselves in, and they teach us to apprehend the world through our auditory imagination, as well as our visual one.
It is a proven fact that our sense of hearing binds us together, as sociable beings, better than our sense of sight, and this is something of which we need to be reminded in times of distress.
Findley tells us this in the incident of the German sniper:. He could have killed them all.
Surely that had been his intention. The bird sang. One long note descending: three that wavered on the brink of sadness. That was why.
It sang and sang and sang, till Robert rose and walked away. The sound of it would haunt him to the day he died. The nightingale, in particular, has long been adopted a fitting symbol for poetry, not because it is a visual marvel nor because it is the ideal example of victimhood. The nightingale is actually visually a nondescript bird, and it is not the female but the male which sings and one need not be a feminist to find that fact unfortunate for the victim theme.
No, the aptness of the nightingale as a symbol for poetry comes from its song being unmistakable and completely heart-stopping. The question concerns verse form not only as a source of knowledge about the past but also as a mode of access to the elements that make up that past. In terms of making sense of an apparently nonsensical world, in terms of adding to our understanding of the world that surrounds us and which continues to be haunted by the Great War, how can poetry help?
For confirmation, let us return to Prost and Winter and, noting the final acoustic metaphor, let us look at what they have to say about war poetry as a unique form of commemoration:. Prost and Winter and By the poetic act of association and in homage to a great poet who died recently, it is appropriate to end on a quotation from a poem by Seamus Heaney. There are the mud-flowers of dialect And the immortelles of perfect pitch And that moment when the bird sings very close To the music of what happens. Chipot, Dominique, En pleine figure.
Haikus de la guerre de , Paris: Editions Bruno Doucey, Eliot, T.