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> Alec Derwent Hope, One of the greatest Australian Formalists
post May 10 07, 21:09
Post #1

Creative Chieftain

Group: Gold Member
Posts: 331
Joined: 7-March 07
From: Oz
Member No.: 408
Writer of: Poetry
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Meditation on a Bone

A piece of bone, found at Trondhjem in 1901, with the following runic inscription (about A.D. 1050) cut on it: I loved her as a maiden; I will not trouble Erlend's detestable wife; better she should be a widow.

Words scored upon a bone,
Scratched in despair or rage --
Nine hundred years have gone;
Now, in another age,
They burn with passion on
A scholar's tranquil page.

The scholar takes his pen
And turns the bone about,
And writes those words again.
Once more they seethe and shout
And through a human brain
Undying hate rings out.

"I loved her when a maid;
I loathe and love the wife
That warms another's bed:
Let him beware his life!"
The scholar's hand is stayed;
His pen becomes a knife

To grave in living bone
The fierce archaic cry.
He sits and reads his own
Dull sum of misery.
A thousand years have flown
Before that ink is dry.

And, in a foreign tongue,
A man, who is not he,
Reads and his heart is wrung
This ancient grief to see,
And thinks: When I am dung,
What bone shall speak for me?

Trondheim, a city in Norway


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post Aug 7 07, 16:56
Post #2

Laureate Legionnaire

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Posts: 376
Joined: 28-May 07
From: Co. Galway, Ireland
Member No.: 440
Real Name: Terry O C
Writer of: Poetry
Referred By:Ephiny

I loved her as a maiden; I will not trouble Erlend's detestable wife; better she should be a widow.

What a fascinating background to this poem. This bone and it's seething inscription are like these intricate clues as to what might have possibly happened, the whole thing is very inspiring indeed. The imagination just flares. Questions float around, is it a human bone, if so, who's? The widow's or Erland's. Did this rival kill Erland? Trust me, I could go on with this....

This is just absolutely brilliant stuff.

The poem is good too. "...when I am dung, what bone shall speak for me?"




--Raymond Rosliep

"The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates."

--Oscar Wilde

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