Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

What is it with me and poetry.

I've got a bit of time to myself again this afternoon as Dan and Iain are up at Russel's fetching Iain's things for the trip out of town tomorrow.

I've been wondering why it is that I don't like poetry, at least not very much. Racking my brain, I can only think of a few things that I have always liked: a few lines from Whitman's Song of Myself and Handke's Die Anrufung der Welt. There have been other bits here and there as well, largely snatches of lyrics from, say, Severed Heads, Wilco, Tom Waits.

I know it's really scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as lj is concerned, but I did feel like quoting some of the Handke-poem:



[...]
Das Kreuz des Südens.
Der Ferne Osten,
Der Hohe Norden,
Der Wilde Westen.
Der Große Bärensee.
Die Insel Tristan de Cunha.
Das Delta des Mississippi.
Stromboli.
Die alten Häuser Charlottenburgs.
Albert Camus.
Das Morgenlicht.
Das Augenpaar des Kindes.
Das Schwimmen am Wasserfall.
Die Flecken der ersten Tropfen des Regens.
Die Sonne.
Das Brot und der Wein.
Der Hüpfschritt.
Das Osterfest.
Die Adern der Blätter.
Das wehende Gras.
Die Farben der Steine.
Die Kiesel auf dem Grunde des Bachbetts.
Das weiße Tischtuch im Freien.
Der Traum vom Haus im Haus.
Der schlafende Nächste im Nebenraum.
Die Ruhe des Sonntags.
Der Horizont.
Der Lichtschein vom Zimmer...
Im Garten.
Das Nachtflugzeug.
Das freihändig Radfahren.
Die schöne Unbekannte.
Mein Vater.
Meine Mutter.
Meine Frau.
Mein Kind.

- Now, I'm not sure because I don't have a copy of the screenplay handy, but I'm guessing that this was in fact written for Wenders' Der Himmel über Berlin. If you've seen that movie, you may remember this text being read during the sequence in which a badly injured motorcyclist lies dying at the side of the road, held by the angel Cassiel (again, not sure, but that's my recollection). I'd translate it like this:

[...]
The Southern Cross,
The Exotic Orient,
The Great White North,
The Wild West,
The Great Bear Lake.
Tristan da Cunha.
The Mississippi Delta.
Stromboli.
The old Charlottenburg houses.
Albert Camus.
Dawn.
A child's eyes.
Swimming at the waterfall.
The first raindrops staining my clothes.
The sun.
Bread.
Wine.
Playing.
Easter Sunday.
The veins of leaves.
Grass, waving.
The color of stones.
Gravel on the riverbed.
A white tablecloth, outside.
A dream of a house in a house.
A man asleep in the next room, waiting.
Sunday morning quiet.
The horizon.
A warm room, viewed
from the garden.
An overnight flight.
Riding a bicycle with no hands.
That beautiful woman I never met.
My father.
My mother.
My wife.
My child.

The horrible thing is that by sitting down now and actually looking at the text, I find I like it a lot less than I did as I remembered hearing it in the film. It really loses something without the sound of the man's voice, without the attendant images. Hearing the actor say 'Tristan da Cunha' will always be for me one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.

I suppose the problem is that I lack the imagination to make poetry sound like it should, and almost certainly the patience to hear it read without any visual or musical accompaniment. I may be many things, but poetic, never.

Sigh.
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  • It's July 2013.

    Remember when I wrote a lot on LiveJournal? Yeah, me neither.

  • Steve

    I'm not surprised by Jobs' death, and of course my inner cynic wants to blame homeopathy or whatever the hell it was he was into; an anecdote that…

  • Wein Keller

    It took ten days to clear Canadian customs and make it to San Diego, but Dan just installed the replacement thermostat for our crappy wine cabinet…