Monthly Archives: August 2013

Ian Hamilton’s “Poet”

‘Light fails; the world sucks on the winter dark
And everywhere
Huge cities are surrendering their ghosts…’
The poet, listening for other lives
Like his, begins again: ‘And it is all
Folly…’

I am less certain where or in what stage of his life that this Ian Hamilton poem comes from but it is a classic example of his style. Let me quote JRBenjamin of the Bully Pulpit in his response to another of Hamilton’s poems, as I think he succinctly captures an important element of the elegance of Hamilton’s style:

Man. He’s insanely good. It has something to do with his use of enjambment — you feel like you’re wandering through a remembered landscape. He also doesn’t overwork his stuff; the descriptions are sharp and to the point.

An enjambment, by the way, is breaking a complete idea over several lines of poetry without any punctuation in between. And yes, I agree; in Hamilton’s brief yet emotionally dense poems, his use of enjambment is nothing, I think, short of brilliant.

Click here for a list of the other Ian Hamilton poems on the Book of Pain.

For more on Ian Hamilton, I refer you to: his Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading Ian Hamilton’s “Poet”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

Comments © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved.

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Ian Hamilton’s “The Storm”

Miles off, a storm breaks. It ripples to our room.
You look up into the light so it catches one side
Of your face, your tight mouth, your startled eye.
You turn to me and when I call you come
Over and kneel beside me, wanting me to take
Your head between my hands as if it were
A delicate bowl that the storm might break.
You want me to get between you and the brute thunder.
Settling on your flesh my great hands stir,
Pulse on you and the then, wondering how to do it, grip,
The storm rolls through me as your mouth opens.

As many of you know, I have previously posted several of Ian Hamilton’s poems, and in fact, intended to stop at his Prayer. But I have continued reading his work and cannot stop myself from posting a few more of his poems that I have come to admire.

This is an incredible poem. It builds tension so quickly that it really does feel like a storm is coming. But it is the interaction between the two characters of ‘the voice’ and ‘the other,’ that is amazing here. The voice calling for the fearful other, the gentle touching, the clear insight into the fear that is felt. Obviously there is kindness, empathy, love and trust, but then, at the end, as with all of Hamilton’s poetry, total and complete honesty and the explosion of an unexpected reality of pain, sorrow and regret.

I am not sure what the storm really was, although I suspect it is Hamilton’s first’s wife’s mental illness. But it doesn’t matter. This poem is so cathartic in nature that it expands into all human existence. Anyone who has loved and felt the beloved’s pain understands this poem well. All too well.

Click here for a list of the other Ian Hamilton poems on the Book of Pain.

For more on Ian Hamilton, I refer you to: his Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading Ian Hamilton’s “The Storm”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

Comments © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved.

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Filed under Poetry