Friday, May 15, 2009

Even Hemingway tried a bit of poetry

Ernest Hemingway was a young man when he posed in his World War I uniform, and old before his years when he sat for the photograph shown at the right. He walked among us from 1899 until 1961.

Bitterness & vitriol were Hemingway's specialties

Just to be mean to you, I am going to toss some "macho" poetry at you.

Ernest Hemingway came into the world a generation before James Dickey, and never-ever was noted for his poetry. I assume anyone who reads this does know Hemingway primarily was a novelist and short story writer, who won both a Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. In case everyone does not, it now has been mentioned.

Hemingway did have some poetry published in magazines. Most of it bitter, angry, even venomous diatribes, aimed at professional critics, governments, religions and a woman here and there. He is lucky his speciality was fiction. Some attention was turned to his World War II love poems to Mary Welsh, the woman who became his fourth wife, but again, he really has no credentials as a poet.

Just to give you a taste of "Old Ernie's" stuff, here are a couple he wrote in the 1920s – 1930s. These, I consider some of his better ones, his shorter ones and definitely some of his more mellow ones.

The Ernest Liberal's Lament

I know monks masturbate at night
That pet cats screw
That some girls bite
And yet
What can I do
To set things right?

Ultimately

He tried to spit out the truth;
Dry-mouth at first,
He drooled and slobbered in the end;
Truth dibbling his chin.

Chapter Heading

For we have thought the larger thoughts
And gone the shorter way.
And we have danced to devil's tunes,
Shivering home to pray;
To serve one master in the night,
Another in the day.

Along With Youth

A porcupine skin
Stiff with bad tanning,
It must have ended somewhere.
Stuffed horned owl
Pompous
Yellow eyed;
Chuck-wills-widow on a biased twig
Sooted with dust.
Piles of old magazines,
Drawers of boy's letters
And the line of love
They must have ended somewhere.

Yesterday's tribute is gone
Along with youth
And the canoe that went to pieces on the beach
The year of the big storm
When the hotel burned down
At Seney, Michigan.

17 comments:

Magdalena said...

Ha! Today I'm the first :-) I will start to read Hemingway immediately, I have to know him well before I will visit Harry's Bar! Have a sunny weekend, Fram the Wolf :-)

Fram said...

By all means, Magda, read Hemingway in preparation for Harry's Bar. Begin with, "The Old Man and the Sea," the novelette for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

And, thank you. I will inform the deities that you have instructed them to provide me with blue sky and sun for this weekend. I hope to shoot again.

Rachael Cassidy said...

Fram.. Just returned from California's Bay Area.. Will return tonight to read, digest and comment! It's good to be home. :)

Fram said...

It is nice to see you back in the neighborhood, Rachael. If you have the endurance to read about Dickey, you will discover another chameleon.

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Fram :) His poetry is pretty brutal, especially when you consider he wrote this in the 1920s
to 1930s. I kind of like it though. It's real.
It must have been quite shocking to society at large at the time.
See you later :)

Magdalena said...

I know this novel, tell me something larger on the beginning, please. And did you buy Clarissa? Fram, and I found absolutely amazing, such a WOW book for me, by the accident, and I even ordered it!!! Now I can't wait!!! Do you celebrate your name's day in USA? Because in Poland yes, and I will have this book for my Nameday (I mean I do not know how it is in english)!!! So have a nice blue sky's shooting weekend :-) Bye, bye.

Magdalena said...

At the beginning, correct? And Fram, I do not think that wolves could be smarter than wild cats. They are at least equally clever, at least ;-) Ok, now I have to run. Bye :-)

Fram said...

Remember, Kelly, he was a fairly young man when he was writing these things. Young guys frequently are ruled by emotions, especially when they think they are hot stuff and know it all, which pretty much describes Hemingway.

Also, his poems were not widely read at the time they were written. I am not certain if all of them even had magazine publication, and none of them appeared in book form until the late 1970s.

Nice to see you here ....

Fram said...

Many questions you ask, Magda: I have not bought Clarissa yet, but I will get to it promptly. That is a promise. No, we do not celebrate name day here, at least in a general or widespread sense. I looked, and see that you are May 25, and I will mark that on my calendar.

Hemingway had some short stories published before any novels, and his first novel was, "The Sun Also Rises." It is a story about friends and couples in Paris, and who travel the bullfighting circuit in Spain. It is an interesting book, but not his best. The character, Jake Barnes, more-or-less represents Hemingway himself.

"A Farewell to Arms" would be next. It is about Frederic Henry, a young American ambulance driver with the Italian army during World War I. He is wounded and falls in love with a nurse, Catherine. They run off. It is a tragic story. She dies in childbirth. Much of this story, not the ending, actually happened to Hemingway.

"The Old Man and the Sea," I think is his best, and the next best to me was, "For Whom the Bells Toll.” Again, there is an American, Robert Jordan, fighting with the Republicans against the Franco forces just before World War II in Spain. Again, there is a love story between Robert and Maria, a young Spanish girl, but this time it is the man who dies. Hemingway spent much time in Spain during the conflict as a reporter. These two novels, I think, are his best.

And, not to forget wolves and wildcats, we, of the forestlands, shall convene a meeting to discuss these issues.

Magdalena said...

I've just read "The Old Man and the Sea" again, and guess what? I found "For Whom the Bells Toll" at home, so I will read tomorrow. This will be Hemingway's Sunday. I feel I quite know him now. He was very clever and had a bright mind. I like him.

:-) Yes, Magdalena's name day is May 25 but also May 29 and this second one is mine :-)

Wildcats and wolves issues convention sounds g.r.e.a.t :-)

Saying good night and falling asleep.

Fram said...

Being well acquainted with "Ernesto" myself, I am certain he would appreciate your designation of tomorrow (your today) as "Hemingway's Sunday." He was clever and bright, as you say, and very fond of young ladies who smiled at him.

Magdalena and Magdaleny. Sometime, maybe, you will explain the distinction. And, this time looking more closely at the chart, I saw Magdalena also listed under June 27. I am confused now.

I hope you are sleeping peacefully, Polish girl, so you are well rested on "Hemingway's Sunday," and fully prepared to enter the world of Robert and Maria in the Spanish mountains of the 1930s.

A Cuban In London said...

I knew htat he'd written poetry, but never had read any poems until now. I had to his' The Old Man and the Sea' as part of my uni course and found it terribly dated. I'm afraid that the allure Hemingway held for me in my younger years waned by the time I finished uni. Still, these poems (especially the first two) are very good. Many thanks. Excellent intro, by the way.

Greetings from London.

Magdalena said...

Well, that's true, in Poland one name can be celebrated on few different dates, it depends on personal choice, I guess. So when we want to sent greetings to somenone, we ask what day he celebrates his name day. Magdalena's name day is three times a year, as you discovered, and I do it on May 29 :-)

Imieniny Magdaleny - that means Magdalena's name day.

Magdaleny can also mean few Magdalenas.

So bye, bye :-) I'm going back to Mr E.H.

Fram said...

Two thoughts for you, CiL.

I think it is true that Hemingway's tales of hunting and fishing and war appeal mostly to men, and mostly to young men, at that, but some of his work carries with it timeless truths, and he will be read long after you and I have gone to the happy hunting grounds.

His stories also carry very romantic and deeply emotional moments for the young ladies. His life was filled with worldwide travel, with art and with artists in all disciplines.

We mostly read the poets who sing to us and the writers of novels whose stories we either have been a part of in our own lives or wish to become a part of before we die. My life as a young man was very similar to Hemingway's. The departure came in that he was wise and went to Paris after his war; I was stupid, and returned to Minnesota after mine. Cosmopolitan Ernie; provincial Fram.

Fram said...

Thank you, for the education, Magdalena. May 29 it is, for you.

I think I will begin to observe my own name day, if only I am able to discover if there even is one, for me.

Magdalena said...

Hmm, I'm sure there is. If not, you have just to choose a day and tell us that it is your name day, and it will be.

Fram said...

Selecting a name day for myself will require deep thought and much consideration. I shall work on this, Magda.

Something special ....