Sunday, 4 October 2009

A poem by Geoffrey Hill: the minor prophets

Today's Sunday poem is from Geoffrey Hill's recent collection, A Treatise of Civil Power (Penguin 2007).

The Minor Prophets

Joel in particular; between the Porch
and the Altar – something about dancing
or not dancing. No, weeping; but in the Bible
there's so much about dance; often of ill omen;
the threats of scorched earth and someone who resembles
the Scorpion King. They should film Joel:
A fire devoureth before them; and behind
them a flame burneth
.

8 Comments:

Robert said...

I like this one. Thanks.

in said...

He's such a good poet and quite brilliant essayist too, I just love his Genesis 'against the burly air I strode crying the miracles of God'.

John Hartley said...

a) In what sense is this a poem?

b) If it is a poem, please could you assure us that the lines have been broken correctly?

Many thanks in advance, yours in Christ - JOHN HARTLEY.

Stewart said...

John,

It looks like blank verse, but not quite iambic pentameter. It does contain roughly 10 syllables per line, though. It has some nice alliteration as well: "often of ill omen" and "scorched earth and someone who resembles the Scorpion King".

It's certainly not a lyric poem, if that's what you mean.

Fat said...

"A fire devoureth before them; and behind
them a flame burneth."

Perhaps Joel is about the Rural Fire Service.

John Hartley said...

In Zion blow the trumpet,
and sound a warning bell.
Let all who live there tremble
at such a living hell.

A day of gloom and darkness,
a day of black and cloud:
a mighty swarming army
is spreading like a shroud.

Before - a fire devouring,
behind - a flame which blazed
and reached a luscious garden
and made a desert waste.

Like horses in appearance,
like cavalry footfalls,
like chariots advancing
through mountains like mere walls.

At sight of them, the anguish
of nations can be seen.
All good is soon extinguished:
the ultimate extreme.

God thunders in his army,
with force beyond compare.
His Day is truly dreadful.
Repent! Cry out! Despair!

Joel 2:1-6,11.

Ben Myers said...

John, you're a marvel.

Stewart said...

John,

It looks like blank verse, but not quite iambic pentameter. It does contain roughly 10 syllables per line, though. It has some nice alliteration as well: "often of ill omen" and "scorched earth and someone who resembles the Scorpion King".

It's certainly not a lyric poem, if that's what you mean.

Post a Comment

New book

Archive

Contact

Although I'm not always able to reply to all emails, please feel free to contact me.

Faith and Theology © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.

TOPO