Nor limpit in poetic shackles: I love the opening to this poem it’s so poignant and
Captivating. I think the first line expresses confusion with the words in this strange land. A land unkown to prose or rhyme. I think this is symbolic of the isolation burn feels as a poor writer not many can relate to him. Also perhaps its symbolic of society’s ignorance whither its to do with illiteracy at the time or poverty that blights Scotland. “Where words no’er cross’t the muses heckles Nor limpit in poetic shackles.” This shows that burns feels trapped perhaps by his situation and lack of money but also by his gift for the written word.
A land that Prose did never view it,
Except when drunk he stacher’t thro’ it;
Here, ambush’d by the chimla cheek,
Hid in an atmosphere of reek,
“A land that Prose did never view it.” I think this expresses burns frustration that although he is one of the most gifted writers in history he still cant capture all that he wants to. Except when drunk he stachert thro it. This reveals what burns sees the drunks of the streets and perhaps his own battle with drink. Here ambush’d by the chimla cheek. Hid in an atmosphere of reek. This shows what the city was dirty at the time and covered in reek.
I hear a wheel thrum i’ the neuk,
I hear it—for in vain I leuk.
The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel,
Enhuskèd by a fog infernal:
Here, for my wonted rhyming raptures,
I sit and count my sins by chapters; In this stanza what stands out to me is the line “k
For in vain I leuk. This suggests that Burns perhaps feels guilty about his
Fame and talent.
“The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel Enhusked by a fog infernal. These lines are symbolic of heat and perhaps the devil or anger, burns maybe feels like the Devil. “Here , for my wonted rhyming raptures I sit and count my sins by chapters.” He feels guilty about his gift perhaps because of his position in society and the fame and talent he has.
For life and spunk like ither Christians,
I’m dwindled down to mere existence,
Wi’ nae converse but Gallowa’ bodies,
Wi’ nae kenn’d face but Jenny Geddes,
Jenny, my Pegasean pride!
In this stanza he is in conflict with himself and his religion , he admits he’s not a very good Christian maybe because his love of drink or sex. “Im dwindled down to mere existence “here he feels that society does not value his talent and he is merely living a pointless life that wont amount to much.
(Before I start.I would really like it if you commented and put forward your opinions on this topic)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No one owns art. I feel like the only accessible art form in 2020 is music and film. To most the books are left to collect dust on a high shelf’s out of reach to many and great paintings are ruined by the coffee stains of the class divide. Literature like classical music and fox hunting seems to be a possession of the higher classes. Believe it or not I don’t hate the church. The elite built me aside from school and my parents I was raised by the church. The psalms of the bible and the verses of the hymns helped me create poetry and write prose. The summer clubs helped tutor and nurture me. However I wasn’t on the same level as them. My mother dusted the pews and scrubbed the toilets whist the conservative Christians preached the pure word of God towering above us on their high podium.
At school I was always degraded siting in a third set English class I was bitter , but I made friends I will never forget despite walking along the narrow tightrope that was the poverty line. Clutching a pen for balance , one slip and I would of tumbled to my doom. Perhaps I already have. in fact I know I have. What I write is in vain , they will spit on my grave.
Survival of the fittest is interwoven into our society despite anyone taking into account the middle classes head start at the game. Yet to say this puts a black mark against your name. Artwork is too expensive to buy for many , words to extravagant to understand. , and if your a woman who tires to challenge this you may as well thump your fists against a brick wall until they are bloody and bruised , but perhaps I’m biased. No one owns art. That’s all their is to say.
She said It was depressing, but then life always was a bitter lesson.
Why is happiness so hard to find in art? Was a question that plagued my mind today. Maybe its because we’re all miserable cows or perhaps its because most adults don’t relate to tales about happy, content little bunny rabbits.
As a child, I was as joyful as most but as I grew I became more withdrawn and well. Depressed. Neurosis plagued me from a young age. Whenever we played piggy in the middle I was always the piggy who could never catch any of my friends. In team sports, I was always last to be picked. At playtime, my peers always had better biscuits and would never share with me. Bitter resentment grew in me towards life. I wanted an answer. I wanted the truth. Books were a source of escapism for me. As cliche as it sounds, I was the book worm of the class. Yet I wouldn’t say this made me the smartest. I still struggled with figures and somehow my reports never got a place on that wall, nor did I get into the final of the scots verse team despite having a passion for burns from a young age. I can still recite Epistle To Hugh parker word for word a poem that was forgotten and pushed into the shadows by most.
In high school, it seemed my anxiety came to a peak. Out of the hundreds of young adults, I struggled to find friends. Yet this wasn’t a place you wanted to be associated with books at lunchtimes, or at least not in my school. At break times I would line up in the dinner card que only for the single reason not to look like a loner. I cared too much about what people thought, but don’t we all?
However back to the question at hand. Why is art so depressing. Or why are artists so depressing. Why did Plath put her head in an oven, why did Van Gough paint beautiful flowers and then chop off his ear and then later blow out his brains? Why are we all so mental? Is it because life is mental, do we deep down need a reason as to why we exist? Why did Stalin and Hitler kill millions? Why did Andrew Carnegie exploit his workers despite growing up poor, why did burns preach about freedom then desire to be a slave driver? Why? Why? Why? We Ask. I wish I could give you an answer. Pain, money, hate, emptiness, mental illness. Death.
I think my opinion is that we need art to give us a reason to live. We see ourselves through others. It gives us meaning. Perhaps it’s not that art is depressing, maybe it’s just too close to the truth.
1.The first book I have to mention is Masie goes to Morningside. I loved the Masie series when I was a child. Eileen Paterson was an idle to me and I believe my life and literary skills were moulded by her. I remember when I was five or six , sitting cross-legged on the worn out carpet in the hall above the library with a handle full of other children listening to Eileen reading the newest Masie adventure.
2. Hetty Feather has to be my second choice. Not only does it sound the same as my name or the fact my Nana gave it to me but for some reason this book holds a special place in my heart. I think Jaqueline Wilson books are underrated. As a pre teen I loved devouring her easy to read books with female protagonists but Hetty Feather Definitely stood out to me. Not only does it have similarities with the classic Jane Eyre but even on its own the book has a good story line. Based In the Victorian era we follow Hettys horrific journey as she is ripped away from her comfortable foster family and beloved brother Jem and dumped into a workhouse where she experiences many horrors.
3. A third choice for me is Goodnight Mr Tom. I studied this book in school. The story as a whole is a very warm one. When an evacuee is sent to live with Mr tom he gradually starts to grow into a healthy boy. Until he is sent back to London and to his neglecter mother. However, Mr tom manages to safe him.
4. The Woman In Black. I studied the woman in black at school for my National 5 English. It brings back fond memories for me. Sitting for hours analysing this novel and picking it apart. This book contains many themes such as loss, the battle between good and evil and fear.
5. Black and Blue. I read this book as a 16 year old when I was in a really dark place and for some reason the grittiness and reality of this crime novel resonated with me.
6. Jane Eyre. As an adult now 19(nearly 20) this classic love story connects with me. You feel Jane’s pain and isolation. As she suffers under the harsh hand of her aunt and cousins to then losing her friend at Lowood school. And then the passionate love affair.
Ann lay with the sheets pulled up to her noes so that it covered her cheeks which were numbed from the cold. The darkness hung around her the silhouettes of what little objects she possessed lit up by a stream of pure light that slunk through a gap in the lace blinds that covered her window. She reached out running her slim fingers over the shaped holes in the yellowed material. A musty smell cast off them filling her lungs and making her splutter her throat burning. When she was little she’d had, the same sounding cough a great whooping one, one that made her father awaken from his sleep in the dead of night and run through to her bedroom to see if she was alright. Coughs weren’t the same when you were a child, it could have been scarlet fever or polio it sent her father into a state. If she ever had one he would run himself down accusing himself of not feeding them well enough, when in reality it was never the fault of an individual. Now her cough came from the city smog, the pollution off the factories that stuck to your skin and hair or the damp that grew from the walls where she was housed.
She rolled over, turning her back to the light and staring into the pitch black. She could feel the cold nip at her legs as she lay in only her thin vest, the thick blanket over her shoulders the only thing covering the vulnerability of her bare flesh. Not that long ago she had lay in this bed with another body whose strong arms had wrapped around her chest and whispered bliss into her ear with his warm sweet breath. She had caved in, in those moments safe in a gentleman’s arms. Just outside had lay the cruelty, poverty, decay and the selfish desperation of her fellow humans. Survivors only at the expense of another. No. She wasn’t good. No number of acts could make her pure. As no human was. We are simply animals run on fear and instinct, poisoned and diluted by intellect. No one individual was evil. Only a society could be that. A facade of the masses that hid the cruellest acts of torture, oppression, and evil in plain sight.
That night had been a one-night stand with a high ranked man in the forces. Not a working man from the pit or the site. He was not one who would be drinking in a pub around her bit. He wasn’t their “kind”. He had fair skin and hair along with clean manicured figure nails, and polished boots. A white-collar boy. He’d lured her to him. Slid up to her at the bar and made her laugh easily. Had her in the palm of his hand from the first sentence. It made her feel special that he’d picked her. She was nothing. He’d paid for her drinks and joined her at her table filling her with lager shandes after a Friday shift. They’d chatted and laughed for hours about the cold weather, his work and politics. She wasn’t very aware of politics. She’d heard rumours of the suffrage movement going on in the cities although had not seen much in the newspapers they tended to ignore it, didn’t like to give it the attention even if it be negative treated it as a disease they feared would spread. Here in a small industrial town most woman lived in the dark over the topic. She knew her older brother voted liberal the party in power at present. And whenever he talked about it he would swear a lot. This man was a member of the conservative party and said for a fact there was to be a war. She’d dismissed it as guff. They’d never be a war. Not now with all the new technology, bombs and artillery they had nowadays. They weren’t that stupid. They’d kill us all. At eleven the pub was closing up and they had been thrown out by the barman with the other late-night stragglers. A group of men from the pits, a lone chubby man, and a thin ragged alchy. Outside the rain had been pissing it down and they’d made a spur decision to seek shelter at the bookies. He’d placed a bet on one of the horses in her name chucking on ten pound the equivalent of three months’ wages. “It will win” he’d announced. He’d a confidence and asserted way to him she’d marvelled at. He held himself up straight. There seemed to her no doubt that plagued his mind. Not like them here where they doubted themselves constantly wither they could put food on the table or heat their frail bones, constantly straining to not sink to the bottom.
I’ve never done a TBR before and I thought perhaps now would be a good time to start as where getting into autumn and can get excited about so many horror stories. So get your cup of tea and cosy blanket and curl up with some really good books.
The first book on my list is :
THE WOMAN IN BLACK – I studied this book at school and would love to reread it and do an analysis of it for you. The story follows Arthur kips a soliciter who goes to settle afairs at Eal Marsh house. However he does not know that the house and town is haunted by The woman In black who lost her son and now kills other peoples children to seek revenge.
DRACULA – This is just a clasic that I would love to read as I know so little about it.
JANE EYRE – Im currently in the middle of reading this book and just like dracula it is a classic. It was also written by the greatest woman author of all time. Ive read it once before and cried at parts thats how muich emotion it stirred up in me.
Thats it for my autumn TBR. reveiws of these books should be going up on my blog soon !!
“Beside the sink there was a dark green bottle of disenfectant the name was in big red letters on the label. SAN IZAL. And in smaller letters under a red cross was the word. Poison. That had been spelled out to me with a warning to leave it alone.
I unscrewed the top and sniffed at the San Izal. I loved the smell of it a smell you could just about bite. I wanted to take a sip but it was poison. If I swallowed it I would die. My father said when you died that was it. Finsihed. My mother said you went to heaven to live with god.
The feeling was centred in my stomach and had something to do with the picture. I wanted my mother. I held the book close to me and crossed once more to the sink. I wanted to drink the San Izal.
I wanted to write this post centered around this story by Alan Spence. I Myself have been feeling sucidal because of current events in my life. I think feeling sucidal is a natrual thing that all humans feel. Maybe I’m worng. In this story even a young boy feels the urge to drink the San Izal and kill himself. This perhaps has to do with his enviroment he talks about the outside of his house being a wasteland “I could see our street and another leading off it down towards the docks. Rows of grey tenements , a factory , a wasteground” so perhaps he is suffering from poverty. Something enough to drive the masses to the bridge.
In this story I like Alan spences dipiction of what depression does to you. We see this in the example of when the boy eats a peice of bread. “Mechanically I picked up the bread I had left on the table and took another bite , chewed it to a dry pulp sweet sugary grit between my teeth. I Couldnt finish it , threw the last hard crust in the bucket” This shows that the boy feels to low to eat and the bread is tasteless to him. Alan spences attention to detail is also amazing. In the sink lay a knife I had used , still streaked with margarine. I turned on the tap , let the rush of water splash over it , but it didnt come clean , it was still smeared , the cold water clinging in globules to the blade. I think this image is also symbolic of how the boys feeling. It shows how hopeless he feels at his situation. And which in turn is driving him to drink the San Izal.
He also talks about wanting his mother. “I wanted my mother “ Almost as if the lonliness is enough to make him drink poison. At the end of the story all is resolved when his mother comes home and grants him safety from himself and the feelings hes had. “I heard my mothers key turn in the door and she was here she was home. The tears came now. I couldnt hold them back. ” His mother is symbolic of saftey and comfort and manages to sooth the boys distress.
He woke his body crumpled on the floor his limbs stiff. A warm stream of light that fell through a gap in the grimy curtains onto his toes was the only part of his body he could feel. He rose to his feet unsteadily reeling slightly placing a hand on the solid white walls. He wore only his pants and a dirty t-shirt. He could feel the worn stubbly stained carpet beneath his feet. It was early November and the desolate flat was deathly bitter. He reached for his jeans on the floor clambering into them desperate for some warmth. The bottom of them was covered in dry sick. He rubbed his pounding foggy head and new the headache was the result of more than the cold. He stumbled through to the kitchen of the flat where he had been squatting. It was already littered in crack needles and food packets from the previous visitors and some rat droppings due to an open hinged window. He reached for a half drunk plastic bottle of Irn Bru and some aspirin. Swallowing three pills down heavily with a slug of sickly E numbers. He grabbed his smashed up iPhone which had a little charge, and scrawled down to her number. It dialled each ring hollow. She answer it was her voice. Her sweet slightly fatigued voice. “Hello” she said hesitantly as if she knew it was him. “Stace it’s me !!” he said his voice sounded highly strung in the empty flat. There was a heavy sign on the other end “stop calling Rebus I’ve told you this or I’m going to call the police. Your harassing me” she said tiredly. “we need to talk Stace I know I’ve messed up in the past but I can change I promise just let me come back let me see jack he’s my boy I’m aloud to see him” he said desperately. “Why” she spat. “what good would you do him” there was a pause her anger fizzling out. “I supported you for years rebus. I swept your drinking under the carpet I handed you money I even did nothing when you bruised me up, I can’t do that anymore not when you lost your job I can’t support you I told you that. “ she said in a tone of hopeless despair. “I’ll change stace I promise. I’ll get a job I’ll make money I’ll provide for you and not spend it on drink you have to believe me” He begged. “no you won’t!!!” she screamed “you don’t care not about anyone but yourself do you not think I struggle do you not think we all do but I still do it” she said. “ I was ill stace I’m sorry….” He tailed off. “so what” she said “do you not think we all are do you not think I wanted to go to sleep forever when you left but I can’t because I’ve got a son to look after and bills to pay you twat” she spat. “please stace” he soothed. “don’t do that” her voice cracked “don’t pretend to be the strong one” she shouted “you’re a weak selfish man John there’s nothing more to it” she rung off leaving the line ringing emptily in his ear. He through the phone at the wall in anger so the battery fell out and clattered to the floor. He fell against the door no longer able to support his body. He wanted to be dead. No he didn’t that wasn’t it he feared death just like any animal. He just had an intense craving for relieve. He looked out the windows at the sun dancing upon the roof tops. A thought came to his mind from when he was a boy. Sitting with his grandfather beside the electric fire the old man sipping on his pipe. “At one point you realise John when you strip it all back theirs no such thing as failure it doesn’t matter where you are on the status spectrum or the buggered things you’ve done or the people you’ve hurt the people who are scared of failure and scared of success so they stay stuck they’re the only failures in life. Their the ones who get depressed and turn to drink and sex and religion and drugs and violence to block it out. They’re the ones who will die in fear. The world isn’t safe John or pleasant but there is a way to find some content. And that’s to never give up.”