MD Poetic Quality

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Tue Oct 19 2004 - 19:36:24 BST

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    Hi all,

    I love the bit in ZMM where Phaedrus demonstrates to his students
    that they know what Quality is, even if they can't define it. I
    thought it might be fun and instructive to try something similar
    here. So, which of the following poems has the highest quality, and
    why? (Note: I think both of these poems are great, so this is no
    straw man operation here.)

      For the Anniversary of My Death

     Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
     When the last fires will wave to me
     And the silence will set out
     Tireless traveller
     Like the beam of a lightless star

     Then I will no longer
     Find myself in life as in a strange garment
     Surprised at the earth
     And the love of one woman
     And the shamelessness of men
     As today writing after three days of rain
     Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
     And bowing not knowing to what

      Sad Steps

    Groping back to bed after a piss
    I part the thick curtains, and am startled by
    The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness.

    Four o'clock: wedge-shaped gardens lie
    Under a cavernous, a wind-pierced sky.
    There's something laughable about this,

    The way the moon dashes through the clouds that blow
    Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
    (Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

    High and preposterous and separate--
    Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
    O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

    One shivers slightly, looking up there.
    The hardness and the brightness and the plain
    Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

    Is a reminder of the strength and pain
    Of being young; that it can't come again,
    But is for others undiminished somewhere.

    Thanks for any feedback,
    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)
    InfoPro Consulting - The Professional Information Processors
    Custom Software Solutions for Windows, PDAs, and the Web Since 1983
    Web Site:

    "Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is
    everything." -- Henri Poincare'

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