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I think continually....

Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 8:56 pm
by LaurieAK
This is one of my favorite poems....

By: Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the Spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 11:13 pm
by Byron
Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them, and they flew...

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 - 1918)
French poet.

Oh for such teachers.

I wasn't sure if this could go in here or in john k's thread about that b8stard teacher. So I listened to the voices and Albert said put it here, so I did. :?

Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:09 am
by LaurieAK
Byron- long as they tell you to do harmless stuff, it's okay 8)


Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:20 pm
by tom.d.stiller
Dear Byron,

can you give me the title of the Apollinaire poem? If it exists, that is. :?

To my knowledge these lines, appearing in several variations, are falsely attributed to Apollinaire.

Indeed they are written as late as 1968 for a festival in honor of the 50th anniversary of the death of the french poet Guillaume Apollinaire by Christopher Logue, born in Hampshire, England, in 1926.
Come to the Edge

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
Come to the edge.
And they came,
and we pushed,
And they flew.
I can be wrong, of course, but I spent some time in vain locating the original words...


Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:54 pm
by LaurieAK
i am SOOO Excited...i gotta vent here!

I just purchased a hand written copy (by Stephen Spender) of this poem, "i think continually..." It doesn't get better than that, (unless it was a Plath item) 8)



Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:16 pm
by Byron
hello tom. I have bookshelves full of ......books, which I plunder at will when I need to expess a thought what gets in my head and I know that somewhere inside the pages there will always be a quote that can sum up what I want to say. This point has been mentioned recently by other contributers who have books they still haven't got around to reading yet.
I take your point about the provenance (correct word?) of quotes and have found other examples of similarly presented pieces that have different authors attributed to them. Even The Bible is quoted as written by G-d, but Margaret Attwood uses Grace Marks and others in Alias Grace, to make the point that men wrote the words and pruned some of the stuff that, those men didn't approve of.

So as in most writing and research, we find once again that title belongs to one, some, few or even many.
Finding a primary source is the goal of all research in these matters and as you've pointed out, there are claims for this piece.
For my own part, I am happy to leave ownership to whoever can claim it, whilst enjoying the sentiment and thought provoking essence of the words.

Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:46 am
by linda_lakeside
Don't mean to interrupt your post to tom, but I noticed your use of the word provenance with a ?. I recently used the same word whilst 'speaking' with said tom and I thought it was the correct word. So if it is an incorrect word, hey! I learned something today.


Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:18 am
by tom.d.stiller
Oh Byron, Lord of so many books I'd love to have the chance to browse, I never cared much for the provenance (Yes Linda, that's the right spelling, but we all mis-spell sometimes: I just say "Truffeau!") of words ringing true. But, knowing the intricacies of translating French to English, I wanted to read Apollinaire's original words - and those might not exist.

On the other hand - I believe we should give the Caesar what is the Caesar's, and, consequently - as we aren't royalists - the Common Christopher Logue what's his.

Your quotation, of course, my friend, was to the point, in this as well as in any other thread.


Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 11:00 am
by bee
Laurie- it is a most beautiful poem, thank you for posting it.
This poem wants to be read again an again, feels like a thirst.

Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 7:42 pm
by LaurieAK
Hi bee-

glad you enjoy this poem.

I found from my first reading of this the title had a double-entendre of a tangible and metaphorical 'loop.'
feels like a thirst.
i love this, bee. You should try writing poetry if you haven't already.


Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:33 pm
by bee
Laurie :oops: no!
Not even having temptation :lol:

Re: I think continually....

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:40 pm
by Steven

Stephen Spender reads "The Truly Great" here:

Re: I think continually....

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:51 pm
by Byron
Yes, yes, yes.............