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 Post subject: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 12 Aug 2017, 21:33 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
Posts: 386
Francis Thompson


He knew the streets of London
as well as he knew the dirty

creases of his palms.  He scraped by
selling matches--opium

and literature preferable
to food.

He scribbled poems on bits
of paper, stuffing them

in grimy pockets to try
and keep warm.

How could he sleep? The cold’s knives
were as dangerous as any ex-con

who had been turned away
from a charity's cot.  

Exhausted, a failure, depression
weighed on Francis

more than his rain sodden clothes.
Without money to buy laudanum

even on the driest of nights
he could be found under a bridge, 

shivering as if he were standing
under a sky's sluicing plunge

of yet another winter
rain.


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 Post subject: Re: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 12 Aug 2017, 22:46 
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Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14
Posts: 469
Bob---

haunting for several reasons. his poetry (I'm thinking of his verse about God), his apparent dropping out of polite society much like a street person today, and the stubborn suggestion he was Jack the Ripper.

this poem is both objective and sympathetic, I like that.

the final six lines take my breath away.

even on the driest of nights
he could be found under a bridge,

shivering as if he were standing
under a sky's sluicing plunge

of yet another winter
rain.




this poem gives us a flavor, a strong feel for the man, the fellow poet to many of us here.

greatly enjoyed, this troubling portrait.


bernie


this reading of The Hound of Heaven by Richard Burton---wish I had this in Middle School when i first encountered Thompson's poem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gToj6SLWz8Q


Bob...by the way...your poem forced my attention back to my own poem i could not finish until now, the poem i just posted here is also about a prostitute---the Ripper's victims all said to have practiced that profession. a blessing and peace to those troubled souls. and yes, including Thompson himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 13 Aug 2017, 05:41 
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Joined: 22 Jun 2006, 10:56
Posts: 786
Good poem. Makes me want to know more about this poet. My only nit and maybe I'm just reading it wrong, but it's confusing to me. Are you saying he sells matches, opium and literature, I don't thinks so. I think you are saying he sells matches, and finds opium and literature preferable to food. But at first I thought he was selling opium and literature. Maybe doesn't need changed since I know what you're saying when reread.


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 Post subject: Re: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 09:38 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
Posts: 386
Bernie, I'm so glad you like the ending....everything hinges on it.

Billy, you're right about the 'opium and literature'....I have replaced the comma with a dash. Thx, Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 11:24 
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Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Posts: 792
Location: Between the mountains and the sea
creases of his palms. He scraped by
[I have the same problem as Billy in reading this 2nd stanza. you need a comjunction to show contrast put a 'but' in there.
selling matches--opium


in grimy pockets to try [do you need 'grimy'? we get the gist]
and keep warm.


Exhausted, a failure, depression
weighed on Francis [the name is in the title, we know it's about him.]


Bob I find it rather telling throughout.
'Even on the driest nights' doesn't work for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 22:19 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
Posts: 386
Thanks, Frankly...I appreciate your honesty.


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 Post subject: Re: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 23:56 
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Joined: 18 Apr 2005, 04:57
Posts: 1213
 
Hi Bob,

about time to see some poets speak of Francis Thompson - I actually have been influenced by his vision since I discovered him a few years
(that might actually be re-discovered, since I might not be recalling earlier acquaintance from my very younger years)

but, no doubt about it, when read his line / hear his voice:

Look for me in the nurseries of Heaven

^^ I immediately found another brother-in-poetry - the creative kinship - I was needing for those lines to arrive in my life

then my follow-up arrived:

I find her
expecting me There too
in Our Father's nursery

from maternity to Eternity

^^ all echoing the Our Father (The Lord's Prayer)
His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven

I could go on about the instrumental creative kinship - no need to - it is already eternal with Divine Providence - the Higher Hand (Hamlet Act V scene 2)

Lord create me an instrument of Your Creativity

Like Our Father
like His children

Creative minds believe alike


Bob, about the poem -

somewhat depicts Frances Thompson as a St. Francis of Assisi - I don't believe in saints - I don't even believe Jesus Christ was a saint -
I do believe He is the Savior - God incarnate http://www.amaze-cinquain.com/vol_3_no_1/virga.html


more focus on his poetic visionary - putting him in league with other creatives - Francis Thompson, 19th century Beat poet - turn-of-the-century beat
^^ I wouldn't be surprised to find that he was influential to the Beat generation, namely Kerouac


Thomas Chatterton comes to mind

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/ ... chatterton

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_of_Chatterton


John Keats - from pharmacy to poetry (The bio-film BRIGHTSTAR)



Esp the first two lines of this passage - my fav btw - reminds me of the bohemian artovore Charles Baudelaire
who said I can go w/out food but not art:

and literature preferable
to food.

He scribbled poems on bits
of paper, stuffing them

in grimy pockets to try
and keep warm



And when the young French twin read the works of the late Poe, Baudelaire was astonished that he had thought about those same thoughts in about the same words


And the closing lines recall to me Van Gogh, the subject of some poems you have posted here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxHnRfhDmrk



Ultimately, perhaps these spontaneous associations are testimony to Francis Thompson's poetic heritage

8)

Michael (MV)   who esp likes your Longfellow poem - about a year ago   http://ibpc.webdelsol.com/poems/longfellow

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 


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 Post subject: Re: Francis Thompson
PostPosted: 16 Aug 2017, 09:49 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
Posts: 386
Hi Michael, I share your enthusiasm for Thompson, esp. his 'The Hound of Heaven'....I wouldn't be surprised if Kerouac was influenced by him. You're very kind to remember my 'Longfellow'....thanks for your comments!


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