Friday, November 06, 2009


Seniors finishing up Beowulf. We looked at tonality parallels between Beowulf and the fifth section of Eliot's The Wasteland - "What the Thunder Said." Just playing with the language, thieving and shimmying and jiving. My riff.


Shantih speaks
The river is now
Now is the desperation
Of lonely hours
The desecration of lost time
Roses blooming, not the cicadas
The living now dead
Presume nothing, presume no
Entrance into the graveyard
Where I count which mountains
Are rock and which the silence.
Sterility broods, darkened shadow
Mudcracked, singing, carious:
With little patience
I ask the last and only
Question left to ask. She
Towers and I am without
Rain. The other side
Is where the other lurks, bringing rain,
Absorbing conscience, hooding
Lamentations, murmuring. She
Says the thunder speaks—the thunder
Is nodding, under seals broken &
Fit. Fishing the arid plains, we sit
Upon the shore, cross the water’s
Edge, sing the thunder’s
Beneficent song. Arthurian tumors,
Rumors that last far
Into the day. Gaily,
With expert hand and oar,
Gaily, with controlling hand,
Praying on the painted shore.
Nightfall, the heart calms—
Dawn, the memories soar.



Blogger MichaelO said...'s only teenage wasteland.

Beowulf. Senior year. I was there. And it took me places I still return to. The edges of human prehistory newly beyond the cave walls. This be a fine illustration of that. In my mind, anyhow.

3:19 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Miguel: Awesome album, that. And Beowulf is just one gigantically awesome poem: it spoke deeply into the imaginations of my seniors, even though they might deny it, each and every. But, their writings spoke the impact, loud and clear.

In the spring, we'll finish with Hesse's Siddhartha. I read the book during Christmas vacation of my college freshman year: I was blasting "Who's Next" in the background, while reading it. I'll have to do the same for my seniors, when the time comes.

Be well. Good to have you back.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Love this one, Murat. The Waste Land is one of the books we're doing in Lit Crit. It does begin to grow on you (especially after seeing it dissected with Marxist theory, psychoanalytic, deconstruction, queer, new historicism, etc etc).

But Beowulf is just the bomb! Love that gangly Grendel creep and his mother is even better!

You do a great job capturing the lurking savage demon that beats in the hearts of modern "civilized" humans.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

Hmmm for some weird reason I was hearing bagpipes as I read it.
Loved this:
Where I count which mountains
Are rock and which the silence

this put me in the perfect mood for what I need to write next!

now where did I put that Who cd....

7:42 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: I've been around the block enough to have been blown away by The Wasteland lo those 37 years ago when I first read it, then to have gotten so inundated with Eliot this, Eliot that to shun him and diss and dismiss him, and then to have come back again and remembered what it felt like to read him over at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Same with his Four Quartets. While reading Beowulf to the seniors, I kept coming back to the sounds of The Wasteland. It worked for me, and apparently for them as well.

11:12 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: Bagpipes it is then, girl! Glad this tickled the muse for the evening's work. I'll send you a copy of Siddhartha when you locate the CD.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

there are so many good lines in here. what happens, do you switch from some kind of improv like one word: iliad, to some other playground like the above?

Here's something I think you might enjoy:

Leonard Cohen Interview with Jeffrey Brown

11:16 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Richard: It's all playground: the home sandbox (one word) and the public sandbox, teaching the urchins at the Instituto. Riffs run wild there.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Personally, I think it's the fecund Murat brain that produces an overabundant crop of riffs for the blogosphere to devour on a regular basis, but that's just me.

11:43 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: Always more fun when there's folks to play in the sand with.

6:45 AM  

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