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In Her Praise

 
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odysseus
rhymer


Joined: 22 Aug 2003
Posts: 3
Location: currently, warsaw

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 4:29 pm    Post subject: In Her Praise Reply with quote

Friends!
I'd like to use G's poem 'In Her Praise' in the classroom, but I need
help with an explication (if that's not too presumptuous a term) of
the lines

Nevertheless they call you to live on
To parley with the pure, oracular dead,
To hear the wild pack whimpering overhead

'they' is surely the same 'they' as in the first clause of the poem,
(though am I correct in interpreting it as meaning 'women'?) but who
are 'the pure, oracular dead'? and how do they relate to the rest of
the poem? Same for the 'wild pack...' who sound like erinyes perhaps.
I know the main theme of the poem is paraphrased in the famous
passage from the postscript of WG, which I intend to present with the
poem, but, undoubtedly, these lines -so redolent of poetic meaning-
provide an immeasurably greater dimension to that theme.
Also, can the seven pairs of rhymed couplets which constitute the
poem properly be called a sonnet, i.e. should I describe it as a
variation on the form, or rather as a 'sonnet-like poem'? (Not that
propriety is the issue; rather, descriptive terminology.) And,
anyway, what is your opinion as to whether or not G was restricting
himself to a sonnet/sonnet-like form here?
Thanking you in advance for your assistance,
Odysseus
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odysseus
rhymer


Joined: 22 Aug 2003
Posts: 3
Location: currently, warsaw

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2003 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stimulated by my own questions -and not intended as a rebuke to those who haven't responded to them- I offer these suggested answers.
'the pure, oracular dead' I take to be those poets, eg Skelton and Jonson, identified by G in WG as having been true to the Goddess, though with the suggestion that 'eyes spiritualised by death' to quote Yeats, may see realities to which the unenlightened living are blind. 'to hear the wild pack whimpering overhead' exemplifies the visionary ability of the enlightened poet, specifically referring perhaps to the Hounds of Annwn, also mentioned in WG. (I owe this possible identification to David Hannaford from the email list, and thanks too for the points made by Mary Seymour.)
What else? I think the poem is only accidentally -or perhaps subliminally- a sonnet. I doubt if traditional (gleeman) forms had much authority for G; rather he allowed inspiration to determine form: that 'Turn of the Moon', a poem about the identification of moon with woman has 28 lines, is surely not just a happy accident.
Well, perhaps these thoughts may stimulate further discussion on this head. Perhaps I should mention (meaning perhaps I shouldn't) that, living in Warsaw -where I teach English- I have no internet at home so I have to rely on internet cafes, meaning that I'm not always able to respond quickly to posts.
Odysseus
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