Marian NYC has just posted a link to one by George Eliot under Funeral Poems, a while ago someone posted rhymes made up by Jane Austen and her mother as part of a family game - any more out there? I know Hardy and Poe etc straddled both camps, but I'm interested in novelists not know at all for their poetry. It's fascinating to consider them in comparison with their books.
Apperently, Graham Greene started out as a poet in Oxford. His poetry book is called: Babbling April. However, I can't find any example online.
Author Robert E. Howard, (1906-1936) the creator of Conan the Cimmerian, would often use poetry to introduce new chapters in some of his stories. I think he published a book of poetry as well.
Similarly,Dean Koontz uses poetry in some of his novels. He also wrote a Christmas book all in rhyme called Santa's Twin about Santa's evil twin brother Bob.
And what about Roald Dahl:
Hot and Cold
A woman who my mother knows
Came in and took off all her clothes.
Said I, not being very old,
'By golly gosh, you must be cold!'
'No, no!' she cried. 'Indeed I'm not!
I'm feeling devilishly hot!'
JOHN UPDIKE, author of twenty or thirty novels, has been writing poems for the last few years. The NEW YORKER publishes them. I think they're excellent.
And according to a Library of Congress web page that lists U.S. poets laureate, both Robert Penn Warren and William Carlos Williams were novelists as well as poets.
Website with some poems by CHARLES DICKENS.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita's Humming Humbert), as well:
On Discovering a Butterfly
I found it and I named it, being versed
in taxonomic Latin; thus became
godfather to an insect and its first
describer -- and I want no other fame.
Wide open on its pin (though fast asleep),
and safe from creeping relatives and rust,
in the secluded stronghold where we keep
type specimens it will transcend its dust.
Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss,
poems that take a thousand years to die
but ape the immortality of this
red label on a little butterfly.
Poems by Sir Walter Scott.
I'm having a lot of luck searching for ["name of novelist" + poetry]. They're out there!
and don't forget Hemingway ! Even Marian-NYC thought I was goofing around when I said that originally !
(True, I do confess it. But then I held them in my own hands.)
D.H. Lawrence was a prolific poet as well as author.
James Dickey - a far more prolific poet than novelist, for sure. Unfortunately, more people know him for his novel, "Deliverance" and the subsequent movie, than for his award-winning poetry. I say, unfortunately, not because I think "Deliverance" is bad, (I enjoyed both book and movie) but because I think it unfortunate that fewer people know of his verse.
Dog's Death - John Updike
She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.
Too young to know much, she was beginning to learn
To use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floor
And to win, wetting there, the words, "Good dog! Good dog!"
We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.
The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.
As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skin
And her heart was learning to lie down forever.
Monday morning, as the children were noisily fed
And sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest's bed.
We found her twisted and limp but still alive.
In the car to the vet's, on my lap, she tried
To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur
And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.
Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,
Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared.
Back home, we found that in the night her frame,
Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shame
Of diarrhoea and had dragged across the floor
To a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.
Hmmm ... this is interesting. I inserted a note using angle brackets in the post above, but it did not appear in the post itself. I am guessing the software does not display such characters. Still, using the phorum's Search feature, I was able to find the message that contained the non-displayed note (visible with the View + Source toolbar in IE6).
This would seem to be of value if one wanted to Save a particular poem or comment for future reference. For example, one could locate one's own poems without having to weed through his/her other blather.
I am going to test this hypothesis by putting the angle bracket < Hugh Clary Russian limerick > in the one below and see what happens.
The yachtsmen who cruise the Dnieper's
Rough waters are frequent high-steppers,
And the cause of their quivers
Is the fact that the river's
Grown hemorrhoids the size of bell peppers.
(The last word in the first line I am pronouncing D-nyeperz, so don't yell at me about it.)
What a memorable, heart-rending poem from John Updike! Thanks for posting it, Hugh.
Lawrence Durrell is probably best known for his novels and his humorous accounts of life in the British diplomatic service, but also wrote poetry. When I read his 'Alexandria Quartet' I was struck by this translation by him of a Cavafy poem which he appended to 'Justine' as a 'working note', but which was inexplicably omitted from his collected poems published many years later:
THE GOD ABANDONS ANTHONY
When suddenly at darkest midnight heard,
The invisible company passing, the clear voices,
Ravishing music of invisible choirs –
Your fortunes having failed you now,
Hopes gone aground, a lifetime of desires
Turned into smoke. Ah! Do not agonize
At what is past deceiving
But like a man long since prepared
With courage say your last good-byes
To Alexandria as she is leaving.
Do not be tricked and never say
It was a dream or that your ears misled,
Leave cowards their entreaties and complaints.
Let all such useless hopes as these be shed,
And like a man long since prepared,
Deliberately, with pride, with resignation
Befitting you and worthy of such a city
Turn to the open window and look down
To drink past all deceiving
Your last dark rapture from the mystical throng
And say farewell, farewell to Alexandria leaving.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2005 10:10PM by IanB.
Those Annual Bills
by Mark Twain
These annual bills! these annual bills!
How many a song their discord trills
Of "truck" consumed, enjoyed, forgot,
Since I was skinned by last year's lot!
Those joyous beans are passed away;
Those onions blithe, O where are they?
Once loved, lost, mourned--now vexing ILLS
Your shades troop back in annual bills!
And so 'twill be when I'm aground
These yearly duns will still go round,
While other bards, with frantic quills,
Shall damn and damn these annual bills!
GO HERE: [www.readbookonline.net] />
That's a list of poets, and many of them are ALSO NOVELISTS.
Twain is listed, with just this one poem.
Also represented there: Goethe, R.L. Stevenson (why didn't I think of him!), Thackeray, Chesteron, and two Brontes.
Add TOM ROBBINS to the list.
I just read a review of a collection of his "short writings," including some poems.
There is nothing to be afraid of,
it is only the wind
changing to the east, it is only
your father the thunder
your mother the rain
In this country of water
with its beige moon damp as a mushroom,
its drowned stumps and long birds
that swim, where the moss grows
on all sides of the trees
and your shadow is not your shadow
but your reflection,
your true parents disappear
when the curtain covers your door.
We are the others,
the ones from under the lake
who stand silently beside your bed
with our heads of darkness.
We have come to cover you
with red wool,
with our tears and distant whipers.
You rock in the rain's arms
the chilly ark of your sleep,
while we wait, your night
father and mother
with our cold hands and dead flashlight,
knowing we are only
the wavering shadows thrown
by one candle, in this echo
you will hear twenty years later.
Well known novelist Daniel Defoe also wrote poetry, of which 'The True Born Englishman' (too long to post here) was his most celebrated.
There are some interesting examples here:
Almost forgot Jonathan Swift.
Here an example:
A Description of a City Shower
by Jonathan Swift
Careful observers may foretell the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower:
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you'll find the sink
Strike your offended sense with double stink.
If you be wise, then go not for to dine;
You'll spend in coach hire more than save in wine.
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old aches throb, your hollow tooth will rage.
Sauntering in coffeehouse is Dulman seen;
He damns the climate and complains of spleen.
Meanwhile the South, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swilled more liquor than it could contain,
And, like a drunkard, gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope,
While the first drizzling shower is borne aslope:
Such that sprinkling which some careless quean
Flirts on you from her mop, but not so clean:
You fly, invoke the gods; then turning stop
To rail; she singing, still whirls on her mop.
Not yet the dust had shunned the unequal strife,
But, aided by the wind, fought still for life,
And wafted with its foe by violent gust,
'Twas doubtful which was rain and which was dust.
Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade?
Sole coat, where dust cemented by the rain
Erects the nap, and leaves a mingled stain.
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Threatening with deluge this devoted town.
To shops in crowds the daggled females fly,
Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy.
The Templar spruce, while every spout's abroach,
Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.
The tucked-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
While streams run down her oiled umbrella's sides.
Here various kinds, by various fortunes led,
Commence acquaintance underneath a shed.
Triumphant Tories and desponding Whigs
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs.
Boxed in a chair the beau impatient sits,
While spouts run clattering o'er the roof by fits,
And ever and anon with frightful din
The leather sounds; he trembles from within.
So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed,
Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed
(Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do,
Instead of paying chairmen, doth run them through),
Laocoon struck the outside with his spear,
And each imprisoned hero quaked for fear.
Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
And bear their trophies with them as they go:
Fillth of all hues and odors seem to tell
What street they sailed from, by their sight and smell.
They, as each torrent drives with rapid force,
From Smithfield or St. Pulchre's shape their course,
And in huge confluence joined at Snow Hill ridge,
Fall from the conduit prone to Holborn Bridge.
Sweeping from butchers' stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
Drowned puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud,
Dead cats, and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood.
You can find more here: [www.netpoets.com] and with googling.
Thanks for all your posts on this - it's been interesting. I love the Mark Twain poem, and was disappointed in the Dickens - I thought if his verbosity was conquered by the limitations poetry he might produce something really good that I could actually enjoy (I always used to like the short extracts of his books that we used for comprehension exercises at school, rush off tomy Gran's who had his complete works and borrow the book and then discover I just couldn't follow the plot for all the meanderings and sidetracks). The Swift is depressing but very evocative . I had hoped to find someone whose poetry was very different in style and content to his/her prose, but haven't - yet.
This is different, but not necessarily better:
To Women As Far As I'm Concerned
The feelings I don't have I don't have.
The feeling I don't have, I won't say I have.
The feelings you say you have, you don't have.
The feelings you would like us both to have, we neither of us have.
The feelings people ought to have, they never have.
If people say they've got feelings, you may be pretty sure they haven't got them.
So if you want either of us to feel anything at all
You'd better abandon all ideas of feelings altogether.
The Lawrence is fascinating - just what I'd expect from the author of his novels, but such a contrast to Piano - growing up must have been a real disenchantment. Thanks for finding it, Les.
SOFTLY, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song 5
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour 10
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.
Mr. Lawrence had a full range as a poet. Here's another:
Beautiful Old Age
It ought to be lovely to be old
to be full of the peace that comes of experience
and wrinkled ripe fulfilment.
The wrinkled smile of completeness that follows a life
lived undaunted and unsoured with accepted lies
they would ripen like apples, and be scented like pippins
in their old age.
Soothing, old people should be, like apples
when one is tired of love.
Fragrant like yellowing leaves, and dim with the soft
stillness and satisfaction of autumn.
And a girl should say:
It must be wonderful to live and grow old.
Look at my mother, how rich and still she is! -
And a young man should think: By Jove
my father has faced all weathers, but it's been a life!
That's a beauty, too, Les - I shall hie me off to a library and find a book of his poetry if I can. On the strength of his novels (I struggled through The Virgin and the Gypsy, and tried Lady Chatterley's Lover, watched half a film of Sons and Lovers and bits of one other film before deciding there were things I prefer to read/watch (eg Cornflake Packets)) I thought Piano was probably a fluke and wouldn't have looked further. Thanks a million!
Returned bowed down under his complete works (2 volumes), Kipling's Complete Works and a Liz Lochhead's Collected Poems (1967-84). A Mother Worries, one I'm trying to find for a friend isn't in the Lochead unfortunately.
So I shall be offline for some time!!!
One more before you leave:
Firelight and Nightfall
--D. H. Lawrence
The darkness steals the forms of all the queens,
But oh, the palms of his two black hands are red,
Inflamed with binding up the sheaves of dead
Hours that were once all glory and all queens.
And I remember all the sunny hours
Of queens in hyacinth and skies of gold,
And morning singing where the woods are scrolled
And diapered above the chaunting flowers.
Here lamps are white like snowdrops in the grass;
The town is like a churchyard, all so still
And grey now night is here; nor will
Another torn red sunset come to pass.
James Purdy who wrote the novels 'Malcolm', 'I am Elijah Thrush' and 'Eustace Chisolm and the Works', amongst others, also wrote poetry.
I find his novels quite fascinating - haunting and poetic with unusual characters - but I've only been able to find one of his poems (probably because of copyright). Does anyone have any of his other poems?
but a sea that is grass and has leaves and trees
flowers of a thousand thousand hues
this is the sea that is billowing but not blue
when the wind bends down to kiss its head
the grass is all waves without being wet
flowing and rising and falling and towering
the green sea so kind to wanderers
the wind bends low and kisses again
and small birds rise from their nests content
This is an old thread but ... I was browsing on line and just happened to find this
Still haven't found any more poems though.