late Summer

I do dislike Rhodanthemums and creeping summer phlox
Spreading into bone-dry entrances just built;
This beyond your Eastern unconventions. Already nights open,
Languish outside urban fields, out of a last heat.
Familiar natives could disprove
such strange ways from your foe.

As some continuum which stands above that sky
Does listen out for nothing foreign, nothing unlike
Europe ever knew, while a silence shouted loudly, and
Yet Athens to the near Celt will surrender.
Not yet there, Eurasia
Never deflowered so, before disorder.

“I love chrysanthemums and winter jasmine,
Clustering lichen-walled a century old;
That in my Western ways when days drawn in,
Grow in the farm gardens in the first cold.
Strange foreigners should prove
So homely to my love.

For all the age that lies upon this land
Seems to call out for things native, things like
Britain knew, when the tongue talked soft, and
Not yet Rome from the far Gaul might strike.
Yet here Japan
Has flowered as after plan.”

Early Winter ~ Ivor Gurney

Changing the words of a poem right round (I chose Gurney's 'Early Winter') as Lisa challenges us to play 'The Opposite Game' and Flip the Meanings

36 thoughts on “late Summer

  1. You turned Ivor Gurney’s poem on its head, Laura! I especially like the final lines of each stanza:
    ‘Familiar natives could disprove
    such strange ways from your foe’
    ‘Not yet there, Eurasia
    Never deflowered so, before disorder.’

  2. This is exquisitely woven! 💝 I so love the contrasting imagery in both the poems, “Clustering lichen-walled a century old/Spreading into bone-dry entrances just built,”.. you have shown us how it’s done! 😀

    1. I nearly ducked out of this one but glad I persevered as it was such a provocative exercise. Thank you for your kind words Sanaa as I did want the poem to at least have some flow

  3. I love these:
    from “clustering lichen-walled a century old”
    to “Spreading into bone-dry entrances just built;”

    from “So homely to my love.”
    to “such strange ways from your foe.”

    And your flip on the last two lines.
    I like how you met the challenge and made it wholly changed.

    1. thanks Lisa for the prompt and for making us turn meaning inside out – I tried to stick closely but inverse to the original and mostly just changed the punctuation to make it flow better.

  4. I think you picked a great poem to reverse, especially as it gave you the opportunity to turn Gurney’s West-centric perspective on its head. Love the idea of ‘Eastern unconventions’ – give me some of those, please!

  5. How lovely to read this side by side, with the contrast of the season – late summer vs. early winter, the eastern versus the western. The flowered and the deflowered images of countries – very striking!

  6. I love the idea of nights languishing. This is a really difficult exercise, but your poem stands on its own, not forced at all. (K)

  7. I adore how you completely redid this and exquisitely so. Your flip on the last two lines perfection. I liked that you put them side by side, to truly appreciate the flip.

  8. Excellent work with the prompt! I most especially like “the silence shouted loudly” There’s a lot of meaning in those four words!

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