Tag Archives: lost love

Opposing Poems: Marcus Bales, ‘All the Blues’, ‘When the Sun Shines’

Since you left the sky’s expanse of grey
Is what the sun and clouds may briefly cruise
As light comes after dark for each dull day;
My lover leaving used up all the blues.

And since she left me I’ve been color-blind;
Now half the world’s in greys I cannot use
Since vivid red and yellow’s all I find:
My lover leaving used up all the blues.

My friends assure me better times will come,
But tinkly happy songs do not amuse
My soul still wants the searing wail and thrum
Of pain and sadness spreading like a bruise,
But now instead of tunes there’s just a hum —
My lover leaving used up all the blues.

Oh, since she left I don’t miss her at all
Though autumn leaves spread half a rainbow’s hues
Across a landscape ripening to fall:
My lover leaving used up all the blues.

*****

Marcus Bales writes: “Barbara Ehrenreich happened to read my poem ‘All the Blues’ on Facebook when I posted it some years back, and left the terse comment “It’s even worse when the sun shines.” I was at the moment so into the notion of the fall and the coming dark that I was startled by her insight, which prompted another poem, ‘When the Sun Shines’. I was gratified by her notice.

When The Sun Shines
for Barbara Ehrenreich

They sing their songs of their pure pain;
They lose their taste for the real wines
Of love and life when they weep rain.
It’s even worse when the sun shines.

When the sun shines
And the birds sing
And the green twines
On everything
And your love’s gone
And life’s a curse
In the dim dawn
Each poem’s lines
Are even worse
When the sun shines.

They write like they’ve known every hell
And mined despairing’s deepest mines;
But no one knew how far I fell.
It’s even worse when the sun shines.

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and that his work has not been published in Poetry or The New Yorker. However his ’51 Poems’ is available from Amazon. He has been published in several of the Potcake Chapbooks (‘Form in Formless Times’).

Photo: “Shut out the world.” by Neil. Moralee is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Launch: Potcake Chapbook 11, ‘Lost Love’

‘Lost Love – poems of what never happened, and of the end of things that did’… how bittersweet; but what a collection of poets, and what a diversity of stories and observations!

Seventeen poets are packed into this chapbook. Seven have appeared before: Marcus Bales, Melissa Balmain, Michael R. Burch, Vera Ignatowitsch, Martin Parker, Gail White and myself. Ten are new to the series, with wicked little pieces from Brooke Clark, Cody Walker and three from Wendy Cope, and with longer poems from N.S. Thompson, James B. Nicola, Mary Meriam, Helena Nelson, David Whippman, Richard Fleming and Vadim Kagan. Bios, photos and links to read more of their work can all be found on the Sampson Low site’s Potcake Poets page, while all the chapbooks in the series, showing which poets are in which, are here. Each of the 11 chapbooks is profusely illustrated (of course) by Alban Low, and can be yours (or sent to an ex) for the price of a coffee.

Heartbreak has never had a happier manifestation!

Odd poem: 19th century Science Fiction by Tennyson

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro’ the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

This excerpt from Tennyson’s ‘Locksley Hall’ has a steampunk feel to it–“the nations’ airy navies grappling”–what exactly did he imagine? The hot air balloons that had been developed in the previous century, now using grappling hooks and rifles in their battles? And it ends not with a talking-shop United Nations, but with a World Federal Government… It is quite a vision from the young Tennyson; and this slice of the poem has taken on a life of its own, quite distinct from the general ranting about his failed love affair which is the theme of ‘Locksley Hall’.

The full poem contains well-known lines such as

In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love;

and the poet foresees his former lover, now married to a man he dislikes, in a poor relationship:

He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse
.

A situation which he thinks she deserves, and which brings out his (pre-)Victorian misogynism:

Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match’d with mine,
Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine—

So we can leave all that alone, and just look at his science fiction passage: the skies filling with commerce and warfare, before the world achieves global peace and quiet. A nice vision of a young man in his mid-20s, writing two years before Victoria became queen. 1835 is quite early. For comparison Jules Verne, often called “the Father of Science Fiction”, was only seven years old when Tennyson wrote ‘Locksley Hall’. But that hardly makes Tennyson unique as a prophet: Mary Shelley had published ‘Frankenstein’ in 1818, and her apocalyptic dystopian ‘The Last Man’ in 1826. And fantastical speculation goes back a lot further, to at least the 2nd century with the bizarre work of Lucian of Samosata, an Assyrian who wrote A True Story. But at least compared with Lucian, Tennyson was on the right track, with a little more science to back his fiction.

Photo: “steampunk attack” by tom.keil is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0