Der Erlkönig

  • One of the best poems I’ve written, in my opinion, is Die Erlkönigin. Back when I posted the poem I included links to videos dramatizing Goethe’s original – Der Erlkönig. My own poem is a retelling of Goethe’s. In the meantime, a new youtube video has been released that’s just incredible. Let me know what you think. Soon, I hope, I’ll have a post on EA Robinson’s The Sheaves.

8 responses

  1. Pingback: Erlkönigin « PoemShape

  2. Hello Patrick,
    Your poem, “Die Erlkønigin”, is a marvelous piece of work. The formal properties alone make it a masterwork of blank verse, but the evocations of the dramatic stuff that is happening in the mind of the child, and between mother and child is amazing. It evokes and pays its homage to these elemental tensions, like a prayer to a goddess! without “that irritable reaching after fact” that Keats deplored.
    “She smiled. Can you imagine?” That is what the poem asks of us as readers. (‘Gather flowers while ye may . . .’ comes to mind, almost immediately.) This opening line is genius!
    I think this is a great poem, Patrick. I am sure Goethe would approve, as would Robert Frost –for such skillful use of the dramatic monologue!
    P.S. I read earlier, during Summer, that you had a run-in with a mosquito. I hope you are faring well, as I know this can be one hell of a ride. Best of luck and more.


    • Kevin, it’s been years since anyone has said anything that nice about any of my poems… years. Thank you. :-) And all is well. I’ve spent the last couple of years working on other writing projects, I think this winter, and perhaps for good, I’ll try to devote myself to writing poetry and nothing but.


    • By the way Kevin, I once read a brilliant analysis of Robert Frost’s Directive. I thought it was by Seamus Heaney and I thought it was in Redress of Poetry. But it’s not. Can you think of where I might have read it?


  3. Hi Patrick,
    Yes, it is not in Heaney’s “Redress” – which I thought was great stuff; nor is it in Wilbur’s “Responses” –I checked. How about William Gass’s “Finding a Form”? That sounds familiar! (Sorry, Nope! not there.) Tomorrow I will check Spender and a few others, because I do recall the discussion which has stuck in my mind, especially as it pertains to the poet’s (Frost’s) ‘evocation’ of sensibilities through association in the poem. I am inclining now toward Untermeyer’s “Well Wrought Urn”, but I will have to find it in the diaspora. I’ll look into it more and get back to you.
    Meanwhile, I am glad to her that you are well and back to making pomes. They don’t all need to taste sweet – pomes rarely do – still, ‘many a man’ll make a meal of it!’ Have at it. (I would like to send you one of my own, a poem which it took me only days to write long ago, but all the thirty-five years since to understand! Let me know if that’s ok.)
    Time now to go at least to bed, if not to sleep!


  4. Patrick, Ahoy!
    Could you be thinking of Paul Muldoon’s “The End of the Poem” – an Oxford lecture series? In the context of a discussion of Frost’s “The Mountain” he makes copious reference to “Directive”.
    “A house that is no longer a house/A farm that is no longer a farm” etc. Maybe . . .?
    I had read that essay only recently and still have the book by my bed! Ha! (and who thought I was going there to sleep?)


    • I looked at the table of contents but I didn’t see any reading of Directive, only of The Mountain. So, it’s possible that it’s Muldoon, but if so, it’s not in this book (which I’ve read parts of at one time or another). This was a real fine tooth analysis of Directive. I could be Muldoon rather than Heaney. Now I’m not sure. Bother! This is beginning to feel like a burr that just won’t let go.


  5. Peter,
    could it have been “Reading the Mountains of Home” by John Elder? I have not seen this work, but it looks from afar very appealing. Here’s the link to a review in the LA Times
    This sounds like what you were looking for. I found Brook’s ‘wrought urn’ but it is not in there –indeed, not one footnote on Frost! All this talk of Frost makes me think “haystack”, and of course, the mysterious sourcebook reminds one of the needle! I”LL keep it in mind, but for now I am fresh out of ideas.


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