I didn’t do this on purpose, but here’s another one that’s more about the poet and his poetry than it is about his girlfriend. Why are there so many of these? Or do I just collect those without realizing it because I’m a writer? I still love it, regardless.
While digging through my copy of Sound and Sense for this one, I came across this gem: “Accurate determination of tone, therefore, is extremely important, whether in the reading of poetry or the interpretation of a woman’s ‘No.'” Wow.
“Mary Hynes (After the Irish of Raftery)” by Padraic Fallon.
3 thoughts on “April 6th: "Mary Hynes"”
“My poetry will make you immortal” is one of the basic themes of classical poetry, along with “Spring is here and you’re going to die, so we should have sex now” and “It’s autumn and you’re young, so we should have sex now”. So I think “Is my poetry going to make you immortal?” ends up as one of the basic questions in the love poetry genre.
I’ve noticed that! It’s funny how totally uninteresting both those themes are to me. I guess because again, neither of them (either the “we should have sex now” one or the immortality one) are really about the relationship or the connection between the two people at all.
I tend to not mind the immortality ones as much. Yes, they’re a little self-involved, and I do get annoyed with guys who mean well but are being self-involved without realizing it. But lyric poetry is a self-involved genre and I’m more or less okay with that. Plus those poems are usually about writing, and the communication of human experience across time through writing, and the process of capturing an experience with words, and those are all things that really, really interest me.
But I sometimes actively dislike the “we should have sex now” ones because they…well, they just seem dickish a lot of the time. Because no matter how good a poem it is (I like “To His Coy Mistress” as much as the next girl), when I actually think about a poet actually giving it to a girl, it reads as pressure and sexual harassment to me. Was it somehow less gross in a classical context?
The classical poets can be pretty horrid in the “you will become old and ugly and crumble into dust” part, but they are much more persuasive on the “my verse will endure forever” part, because of course we are still reading them.
Though I have to say, I mostly imagine them reading their poetry at drunken parties, not giving it to the women (or beardless youths) it is ostensibly about.