Poetry at the Post: Off to Istanbul!

A SNAIL IN ISTANBUL
JAMES SUTHERLAND-SMITH

The sultan of moisture creeps
on a flagstone shadowed by nettles.
He carries his turban on his back.


photo by 4028mdk09 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0}

I was excited to discover this poem. Not only does it have a connection to Istanbul (my new “home” in one week!) but it is also has an animal at its core. (#mylifeisabestiary).

Its three stanzas correspond to the components of a medieval bestiary: the description of the beast, the intertextual, and the lesson. (I’m still puzzling, however, over the lesson.)

Its connection to an older form heightens the poem’s images and language. All work in tandem to evoke a mysterious and exotic world.

Only in a summer in a palace
The Turkish guidebook labels
The Convent of the Whirling Dervishes

Whirlingdervishes

“A Snail in Istanbul” introduced me to the poetry of James Sutherland-Smith. I discovered he has a nomadic nature. Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, Sutherland-Smith now lives in Slovakia. You can read more of his poetry at
http://www.jamessutherland-smith.co.uk/about.shtml

Poetry at the Post-Prague: Splendour Falls on Castle Walls

from The Princess: The Splendour Falls on Castle Walls
BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

The splendour falls on castle walls

Prague is medieval opulence mixed with Hapsburg over-the-top.
More than the castle itself, The Castle District is something else.

St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, The Royal Gardens, and…

I think I like Prague but I can’t figure it out, certainly not
culturally or language-wise but also at the most basic level.

I get lost wherever I go. I ask for help, then end up
somewhere
I did not want to go.

The Castle District. Yes,
it is stunning. Yes,
Hitler spared it. Yes,
it is worth a visit—
despite the crowds.

Yet…yet…
Achingly lovely…
think of the other
99% or perhaps
the other 98.9%
back then.

prague3

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.

Poetry at the Post, Day 10: One-Act Play by Ferenc Molnar

A Matter of Husbands by Ferenc Molnar (1878-1952), as translated by Benjamin Glazer

FAMOUS ACTRESS: You wished to see me?
EARNEST YOUNG WOMAN: [She gulps emotionally] Yes.
FAMOUS ACTRESS: What can I do for you?
EARNEST YOUNG WOMAN: [Extends her arms in a beseeching gesture] Give me back my husband!
FAMOUS ACTRESS: Give you back your husband!

June 1, 2014
June 1, 2014

For June first day, I decided to mix it up and select a one-act play. I’ve been googling around looking up everything Hungarian in preparation for my upcoming trip to Budapest and discovered Ferenc Molnar. #lateantiquitystudiesbudapest2014

You can read the entire one-act play here: http://www.one-act-plays.com/comedies/matter_of_husbands.html

Ference Molnar photo courtesy of Carl Van Vechten
Ference Molnar
photo courtesy of Carl Van Vechten

Born in Budapest, Molnar emigrated to the United States during World War II. His most popular play is Liliom, which was letter adapted into the musical Carousel.

For some Sunday morning inspiration, here is “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel a la Celtic Woman.

I read the first part of A Matter of Husbands to the horse this morning. He seemed to like it.

Reading Molnar to my neighbor
Reading Molnar to my neighbor