Friday, June 29, 2012

Words for Messengers

We have English poet & dramatist James Elroy Flecker's work today. Flecker died of tuberculosis in 1915, when he was only thirty years old.

TO A POET A THOUSAND YEARS HENCE
by James Elroy Flecker

I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Moeonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.

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The prologue for The Golden Journey of Samarkand:


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No words with this, just music that accompanies Flecker's play Hassan.



Paper Tigers has our Poetry Friday round-up today.

7 comments:

jama said...

Thanks for the intro to Flecker's work. Hearing the clear voice in his poems is quite poignant knowing he died so young. Love the music, too :).

Robyn Hood Black said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing, Tabatha - interesting I was pondering the early part of the 20th Century with HD for this week, too - and this young poet was pondering not a century but a millenium.

Driving to the store this morning, I was thinking that from space the bit of traffic I was in was nothing... Poetry helps us step back from space and time.

Marjorie said...

I will have to seek out Hassan now - Delius' music is beautiful. Thank you for introducing Flecker to me.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Tabatha, I think I say the same words each time: This is all so lovely. I am listening to the music as I write! It gives me shivers to think this poet has sent a greeting to us almost a century later."I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand." Thank you!

Julie Larios said...

"Student of our sweet English tongue, / Read out my words at night, alone:/ I was a poet. I was young."
That's heartbreaking. I'm going to do it, go outside on the deck tonight and read it aloud, alone.

Mary Lee said...

"But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?"

We have certainly seen firsthand how life can turn on a dime. What will become of us two thousand years hence? It's hard to know what to wish for our future selves...

gatheringbooks said...

This is a wonderful poem. Having written poetry for a great majority of my life, this spoke to me like a personal letter. thanks for sharing.