Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Three days ago I got my first ever literary tattoo.
'Byzantium I come not from' is the first line of the Ray Bradbury poem of the same name. I am not usually a fan of poetry but I really like this particular one. I've even memorised it. To me the poem evokes the feeling of a happy childhood and a good home both of which I was lucky enough to get. To me the tattoo also serves as a tribute to Ray Bradbury, a man whose books I really enjoy reading.
The tattoo is still healing which is why it looks a little red around the edges but I wanted to post a pic ASAP as I have no patience :o)
Here is the poem in full;
I come not from
But from another time and place
Whose race was simple, tried and true;
I dropped me forth in Illinois,
A name with neither love nor grace
Was Waukegan. There I came from
And not, good friends, Byzantium.
And yet in looking back I see
From topmost part of farthest tree
A land as bright, beloved and blue
As any Yeats found to be true.
The house I lived in, hewn of gold
And on the highest market sold
Was dandelion-minted made
By spendthrift bees in bee-loud glade.
And then of course our finest wine
Came forth from that same dandelion,
While dandelion was my hair
As bright as all the summer air;
I dipped in rainbarrels for my eyes
and cherries stained my lips, my cries,
My shouts of purest exaltation;
Byzantium? No. That Indian nation
Which made of Indian girls and boys
Spelled forth itself as Illinois.
Yet all the Indian bees did hum:
So we grew up with mythic dead
To spoon upon midwestern bread
And spread old gods' bright marmalade
To slake in peanut-butter shade,
Pretending there beneath our sky
That it was Aphrodite's thigh;
Pretending too, that Zeus was ours
And Thor fell down in thundershowers.
While by the porch-rail calm and bold
His words pure wisdom, stare pure gold
My grandfather, a myth indeed,
Did all of Plato supersede
While Grandmama in rockingchair
Sewed up the raveled sleeve of care
Crocheted cool snowflakes rare and bright
To winter us on summer night.
And uncles, gathered with their smokes
Emitted wisdoms masked as jokes,
And aunts as wise as Delphic maids
Dispensed prophetic lemonades
To boys knelt there as acolytes
To Grecian porch on summer nights;
Then wen to bed, there to repent
The evils of the innocent;
The gnat-sins sizzling in their ears
Said, through the nights and through the years
Not Illinois nor Waukegan
But blither sky and blither sun.
Though mediocre all our Fates
And Mayor not as bright as Yeats
Yet still we knew ourselves. The sum?
Post by Chris