Tag: robert graves

Ted Hughes, “Wodwo”

languagepoetry

What am I? Nosing here, turning leaves over
Following a faint stain on the air to the river’s edge
I enter water. Who am I to split
The glassy grain of water looking upward I see the bed
Of the river above me upside down very clear
What am I doing here in mid-air? Why do I find
this frog so interesting as I inspect its most secret
interior and make it my own? Do these weeds
know me and name me to each other have they
seen me before do I fit in their world? I seem
separate from the ground and not rooted but dropped
out of nothing casually I’ve no threads
fastening me to anything I can go anywhere
I seem to have been given the freedom
of this place what am I then? And picking
bits of bark off this rotten stump gives me
no pleasure and it’s no use so why do I do it
me and doing that have coincided very queerly
But what shall I be called am I the first
have I an owner what shape am I what
shape am I am I huge if I go
to the end on this way past these trees and past these trees
till I get tired that’s touching one wall of me
for the moment if I sit still how everything
stops to watch me I suppose I am the exact centre
but there’s all this what is it roots
roots roots roots and here’s the water
again very queer but I’ll go on looking

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Lines Written: Robert Graves, A.E. Housman

lines writtenpoetrywriting

The truth is that only gold ore can be turned into gold; only poetry into poems.

-Graves

A.E. Housman’s test of a true poem was simple and practical; does it make the hairs at one’s chin bristle if one repeats it silently while shaving?

-Graves

Experience has taught me, when I am shaving of a morning, to keep watch over my thoughts, because, if a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act.

-Housman

Perhaps not the most practical quotes, but beautifully enigmatic.