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Imagery Done Right

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  #1  
Old 12-27-2010, 01:45 AM
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Default Imagery Done Right


Just wanted to share two sweet poems....



Imagery is powerful. If someone can take a thirty line poem and edit it down to two simple lines, still expressing the same thought, you have yourself a winner.

Here's a visual image:

In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.


And here's a tactile image, translated from the Japanese by Harold G. Henderson:

'The Piercing Chill' by Taniguchi Buson

The piercing chill I feel:
my dead wife's comb, in our bedroom,
under my heel. . .


auditory- sound
olfactory- smell
gustatory- taste
organic- internal sensation
kinesthetic- movement- physical tension



Feel free to share some of your favorite or not so favorite image filled poems.
alrightbi

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Old 12-27-2010, 08:20 AM
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Doesn't have to be in a poem to be poetry. I read this following line in a fanfic over a year ago, and liked it so much that I copied it and emailed it to myself. Finally, an opportunity to share the imagery!

"Grief was a moon that lodged in his chest, waxing and waning and always, always there."
- polly_bywater, in the Sentinel fanfic "Shizuka Shines"

Not only is it perfect, visually, but it's so right about how grief feels. I can't rephrase it because it's perfectly phrased already. The rest of the story didn't hit me as much as that one happy sentence--in fact I don't remember it now, but that one line... it's the sort of thing I wish I'd written!
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:19 PM
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I suppose I can extend the welcome...

Yes, nice bit you have, I'm feeling something like that myself.

You have you're good days and you have those not so good days.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:05 PM
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Good thread, too many to chose from. Here's just a few of my favorites:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent


- Eliot 'The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock'

Mind you, that whole poem is awash with perfect imagery, like the next verse:

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

You don't get any better than that. Classic.

On grief, from Auden's 'Funeral Blues':

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

Roethke, 'The Waking':

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

A classic line from W B Yeats, 'The Second Coming':

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

For a bit of romance:

You lethargic, waiting upon me, waiting for
the fire and I
attendant upon you, shaken by your beauty.
Shaken.

William Carlos Williams, 'Patterson'

Eliot again this time from 'The Waste Land':

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the crickets no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock.
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

And from Stephen King:

"All is silent in the halls of the dead... All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead. Behold the stairways which stand in darkness; behold the rooms of ruin. These are the halls of the dead where spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one."

Not from a poem, but poetry nonetheless.

I could go on forever, but I'll shut up now
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:48 AM
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Francis Thompson's 'The Hound of Heaven'. That stunning image is right there in the title.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:12 PM
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Good picks there SyntaxError.

Here's a nugget:

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? my spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.

By: D.H. Lawrence
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:33 AM
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Hi Guys, I think this conjures both Imagery and Pathos superbly.

[You were torn from the wreckage of your silent reverie
from this dark cold hotel room and the emptiness that you feel]
From a song 'In the arms of the Angel'
Best Regards
D
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:51 AM
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;

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Old 01-06-2011, 03:21 AM
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The whole of "Funeral Blues" is genius for imagery. I'll post the rest 'cos syn only used a snippet

"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
"

Another couple of poems that I think have great imagery are Blake's London:

"I wander through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:

How the chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down palace-walls.

But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.
"


And The Raven, which I will just link to due to length
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:53 AM
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Robert Frost's "A Hillside Thaw" has a marvelous image of melting snow:

"To think to know the country and now know
The hillside on the day the sun lets go
Ten million silver lizards out of snow!"
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:10 PM
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I'm really enjoying this thread. Cheers for posting the rest of 'Funeral' DK, my post was getting a bit long! And London, I haven't read that in ages!

Winterstorm: I don't usually like D H Lawrence, but this is gorgeous.

Another one of my favourites (bit morbid again, sorry):

The Emperor of Ice-Cream
Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:26 AM
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This is a lovely thread! =D I haven't read all yet (I'm in class right now xD), but I'm definitely going to!

Meanwhile, my personal contribution. It's a phrase that got stuck in my head one morning and it only wanted to get out via my keyboard.

"Take off that mask!" she cried,
and tore the flesh from his face.


However incomparable to D.H. Lawrence, Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe, I guess it would qualify as "imagery"
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:02 PM
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Nice Peigi, my kind of imagery...
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SyntaxError View Post
Nice Peigi, my kind of imagery...
I thought so, after reading your posts xD

I have a dilemma. There is this Dutch poet, Toon Tellegen, and I'd love to post a poem of his right here, because his poems are filled with imagery of all kinds. I'm just a bit afraid that, if I translate it, it wouldn't be as pretty as when you'd all understand Dutch XD Hmm... I guess I'm just gonna give it a try =)

Love is like a traveller who opens his suitcase:
He's got honey and silk and needles and velvet, scissors and matches,
writing-paper, hammers, pencils, fireworks.
Take your share, he says,
under your lamp
on the couch
between the touched ladies' magazines,
everything as good as for free.
When I take something to have a look
he slams shut his suitcase,
jumps through the window
and disappears into the night.
Your scissors! I call after him.


And another one by Toon Tellegen:

There was a mirror hanging above the water.
The swimmer looked up
and saw himself swimming there in the sparkling water,
he saw how calmly he moved.
The sky was blue
and the mirror floated away steadily, reflected
a water lily
and disappeared.
The swimmer swam along unconsolably.
Without a mirror he had lost his course.


Blegh. They're way better in Dutch >.< Hope you can get the idea, though =)

Oh, and another one! By George Carlin =D <3

Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.

~George Carlin

And another one, although I don't know by whom. (Geez, this is addictive o.O)

As I was walking up the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish, I wish he'd go away.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Peigi View Post
As I was walking up the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish, I wish he'd go away.

OMG I loved that as a kid! It used to give me the creeps for some reason. I think it's Lear, but I'll check it out.

I loved your dutch poems btw, they sounded great to me.

Another Lear one:

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot one another.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:55 PM
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It wasn't Lear. Just for interest:

Antigonish by Hughes Mearns: (from Wikipedia)

Inspired by reports of a ghost of a man roaming the stairs of a haunted house in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada,[1] the poem was originally part of a play called The Psyco-ed which Mearns had written for an English class at Harvard University about 1899.[2] In 1910, Mearns put on the play with the Plays and Players, an amateur theatrical group and, on 27 March 1922, newspaper columnist FPA printed the poem in "The Conning Tower", his column in the New York World.[2][3]
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:03 PM
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Freaky... very freaky xD Although I can't really get a proper image with it. Too many paradoxical oppositions and stuff xD

It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. - Again, don't know by whom. I saved a lot of quotes and citations, but I forgot to save the source as well >.< Silly, silly me.

When you look into a mirror
it is not yourself you see,
but a kind of apish error
posed in fearful symmetry
.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:13 PM
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Oooh 'Fearful symmetry' reminds me of another favourite poem (amazing imagery), The Tyger, by William Blake:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?


And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?


When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:25 PM
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Nice Syn, that's another one I thought of
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:33 PM
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That's a lovely poem ^^ I really begin to realize my lack of knowledge of the English literary field o.O Also of the Dutch one, now I come to think about it =P

I'll count on you to enlighten me ^^ Just keep posting interesting stuff ^^
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:20 PM
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hmm,

from The Dirty Word- Karl Shapiro

The dirty word hops in the cage of the mind like the Pondicherry vulture, stomping with its heavy left claw on the sweet meat of the brain and tearing
it with its vicious beak, ripping and chopping the flesh.

from The Day is Done- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:01 AM
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I think the images of flame in 'The Firebird's Nest' are very good. I can't find it at the moment but when I do I'll post it.
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Old 03-20-2011, 05:49 AM
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Very nice, Stormy.

Blink.

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Old 03-20-2011, 11:42 AM
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Thanks

Such a lovely image.
Blink


Cool Dela!
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:37 PM
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What's with the Blink? 'Cos I'm getting Doctor Who Weeping Angel flashbacks...
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:04 PM
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What's the blink?
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:24 PM
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Here's the description from 'The Firebird's Nest':
Only the foolish, blinded by language's conventions, think of fire as red, or gold. Fire is blue at its melancholy rim, green in its envious heart. It may burn white, or even, in its greatest rages, black.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:26 PM
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You know sadly, I don't too many poems! I should read more poems!
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:44 AM
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Weeping Angels, DK... Now, they are creepy lol

Jessihitti, some people don't like poetry, some don't understand it. I must admit sometimes I'm lost...completely lost. But poetry is lovely. If you find an interest in it definitely give it a shot. I don't know what to suggest to you....but if anyone have any poems they'd recommend Jessihitti to read, that'll be awesome. That is if she wants a recommendation.

Thanks Dela, that's nice.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:43 AM
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I like that winterstorm. Thanks for sharing.

Writing short stories I always try to make it as tangible as possible without having to resort to simply telling what something is. It is very difficult because I always assume things a certain way simply becaue thats the way it is in my head.

Perhaps reading poetry would help get into that frame of mind of imagry. Thoughts?
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