It is taking away his ability to walk and to reason. It is getting worse, some years more rapidly than others. Doctors continue to look for a name to call it. He had been healthy and characteristically happy, our firstborn. We had named him Isaac; he chose to be called Ike when he became a teenager. During the second half of , as he approached his fifteenth birthday, his walk became stiff-legged, progressively awkward, lurching. But all of the others got down and they are safe and this is the only one of the factory girls who wasn't lucky in making the jump when the fire broke.
It is the hand of God and the lack of fire escapes. I found this poem a few years ago, and it reminded me vividly of my junior year in high school. That year five people I knew all died within a period of three months. It was the first time I was ever directly affected by death, and it was difficult to accept and understand.
I couldn't fully articulate my conclusions about mortality then, but when I found this poem it spoke for me. Death often feels random and coincidental or you can find practical reasons for its occurrence; such as a lack of fire escapes, icy roads, the wrong medicine. Reasons beyond what we know that seem to better explain what happened. Death still holds mystery like a tragic miracle. This poem said what I couldn't about tragedy. Too long a sacrifice Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice? On a cool, rainy Sunday in mid-November, these words came to me as I was standing among throngs of protesters at the entrance of Fort Benning, Georgia, home to the School of the Americas SOA , which has since been recast in a more Orwellian note, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, whose mission, nonetheless, has remained the same in the last several decades: training the Latin American armed forces in military skills and tactics.
One tradition adopted by the annual mid-November gathering against the SOA consists in a procession of hundreds of protesters, each carrying a cross naming an individual killed, tortured, or disappeared by SOA graduates in Latin America over the years. One by one, hundreds of such names would be proclaimed aloud. From a poem commemorating the Irish compatriots killed during the Easter uprising against the British Empire to the annual summon of Latin American victims against the American Empire, the act of naming assumes such a central role in bearing witness, for it not only makes real the victims that are the object, but also makes the witnesses that are the subject own those victims.
Naming thus gives life to the dead and, in the same breath, transforms the living. A terrible beauty is indeed born. Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. At each moment of my life that has required me to summon up more strength than I think I have, these lines have spurred me on.
I know that I do not have to accept blindly any of the myriad demands society makes upon me. It is even more meaningful to me now that my father is aging. He, who was once a mountain of a man, as handsome and wild as any movie star of the 50's, is now a graying shadow, smaller than me and unable to protest against any of pills, and creams, and injections which prolong his life. I long to see him angry again and to feel the terror and awe of a little girl who has been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Your absence has gone through me Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color. I came across these lines while up late one evening in a library sorting through the detritus of life. I had just finished one of those emotionally absorbing, puppy-dog romances we all have in college. Although relatively brief, it was a very intense time.
This poem really stuck to me because I had the experience where, for about a month after the breakup, I couldn't divest myself of her presence. She had influenced my outlook on life, attitudes, speech patterns, and hobbies so deeply that I found myself marveling that everything I did was stitched with her color.
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This poem perfectly captured what I was feeling at the time and it has been engraved in me ever since. And within me, along with the garbage, faces, faces and voices, so many lives woven into mine, such improbable quantities of memory; so much already forgotten, lost, pruned away— yet the doves, the doves! I first read this poem as the birthday of a dear friend who died in January of neared in late November. The poem in its entirety says so clearly what my jumbled thoughts about her loss and other losses have meant in my life, but the final stanza is the one that says it all, and reminds me each time I read it that joy underwrites everything.
I know the line is so commonly known as to be a cliche, but the ending of Milton's sonnet on his blindness was something my father said many times under many circumstances. Usually it was in response to my complaint about postponing my own plans because others in the family there were five of us children had more immediate needs. And usually I was not trying to "serve" anyway-- but my father would parry my clever "how much longer?
And then one day I read the poem, and having two uncles who were blind, I felt a strange, disturbing reassesment of my father's habit. Waiting could be complicated, nuanced, even noble. My father may or may not have meant anything by quoting the line to me, but the poem was there, behind the single line, waiting for the moment when I would discover it.
If I were stranded on a desert island, I would want Paradise Lost with me. This line is spoken by Lucifer to rouse his companions who lie stunned after their defeat and great fall from Heaven. I love its cadence. Maybe taking words to heart from a fallen angel isn't wise, but this line speaks to me of the necessity of taking action, not simply succumbing to despair.
It also rousts me out of bed some mornings, saving me from the other deadly sin of sloth. Complacencies of the peignoir, and late Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair, And the green freedom of a cockatoo Upon a rug mingle to dissipate The holy hush of ancient sacrifice. It was , I was 28, and had quit my job in New York and had gone to Spain with my wife to take a chance on becoming a writer. I didn't know much about poetry, except that I loved it, but I do remember -- two or three times a week -- reciting those lines to her over breakfast.
They seemed both exotic and extraordinarily beautiful to me, and they remain so, though perhaps they were even more beautiful when I didn't understand them. He would be the lunatic of one idea In a world of ideas, who would have all people Live, work, suffer and die in that idea In a world of ideas I wish they were inscribed in the marble walls of the congressional chambers and in all the offices of all the scared little people who make terrible, singular decisions for the world.
We live in an old chaos of the sun, Or old dependency of day and night, Or island solitude, unsponsored, free, Of that wide water, inescapable. Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail Whistle about us their spontaneous cries; Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness; And, in the isolation of the sky, At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make Ambiguous undulations as they sink, Downward to darkness, on extended wings. These last ten lines of "Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens come back to me again and again, most frequently when I am teaching.
Sometimes I find myself reciting them by heart to students in the fourth grade, and sometimes to my graduate students. As I recite each line, I move one hand, sweeping it across like a conductor. I pause at each line break to show how lines calm you with their melody, like a lullaby, how reciting it and hearing it makes you feel as if you are being rocked in a cradle.
I memorized and loved these lines because my teacher Galway Kinnell loved them and recited them by heart to his students. But our earth is also quiet and beautiful. Toi Derricotte Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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Since my husband was diagnosed early in with an Alzheimers-type dementia, poetry has been more of a lifeline than ever. The Stevens line now means for me, among other things, that one perceives everything newly, and that relations, or resemblances, are both absurd and sustaining. The dementia creates nonsense, but relating things creates sense.
Stevens's luminous and mysterious line suggests connections. This haiku is by the Japanese poet, Issa, and was written in I love it for its simplicity, its haunting repetitions. When the image in the first line becomes repeated, in line two, I see the mirror there in the drop of water.
The delicacy of that world, those worlds, is reiterated in the final line, where the final repetition sounds to me like a kind of beautiful hopefulness sometimes, a kind of resigned grace at other times. The world is continually new and eternally the same. Does it help to know that Issa wrote this poem shortly after his infant daughter, Sato, died of smallpox?
These lines are with me virtually every morning, when I walk outside into the deep old-growth trees behind our house.
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We live in the country, in rural Ohio, and the rain and snow and dew and frost live there with us, lit by the sun, shadowed by the clouds. Sometimes the news of war limns the branches too, and sometimes the serenity of solitude. It is always the same world. And yet The world stands out on either side No wider than the heart is wide; Above the world is stretched the sky, -- No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land Farther away on either hand; The soul can split the sky in two, And let the face of God shine through. But East and West will pinch the heart That can not keep them pushed apart; And he whose soul is flat -- the sky Will cave in on him by and by. I was younger than the poet when I first read this long, bravura poem she had written at nineteen. I was so enthralled by her immense talent that I gave up writing poetry for good, sparing the world one more low-talent poet but giving it one more devoted reader.
Today I have an immensely talented granddaughter who writes fiction and poetry and advises me on good poetry books. The generations have closed the gap and I am the instrument. Life in itself Is nothing, An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs. It is not enough that yearly, down this hill April Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers. Even before Eliot named April cruel, Millay was there asking questions about the significance of that month's facile promise and eternal return. I admire the bravado with which she parcels out her wildly irregular lines.
That bold gesture also delays ever so slightly the final disquieting image of April as some babbling daffy aunt who runs down a hill throwing flowers onto the new green. When have I thought of these lines? Endless times. And not just in April. Once in March I was in Austin, Texas while back home in Chicago, which was home then, it was still cold and trees were just sticks stuck in the cold ground. In and out of Austin, the highway medians were filled with wildflowers. There have been times since then when, in an icy March, I've thought of that Austin scene; the recollection of those strewn flowers that mark the roadways there takes me straight to the image of Millay's April as one who mindlessly and wantonly makes the moment pretty but delivers no lasting relief to those who feel the world leaning hard against them.
Mary Jo Bang St. Louis, Missouri. I shut my eyes and there's our living room, The piano's playing something by Chopin, And Mother and Father and their little girl. Look, the keys go down by themselves! I go over, hold my hands out, play I play— If only, somehow, I had learned to live! The three of us sit watching, as my waltz Plays itself out a half-inch from my fingers. In Jarrell's poem of which these are the last lines a woman old enough to be a grandmother considers the lost opportunities, or simply the years, of her life: the memory on which the poem ends speaks to the ways in which, no matter what we have done with ourselves, we can wish we had done something else, and to the helplessness and loss in even the most assertive and well-enjoyed life.
It also speaks to the helplessness of parents, who can save their children from many things, with luck and attention, but not from regret itself. I admired the lines even before we had our first child, Nathan Miles, born in January ; now that he's with us, Jarrell's stanzas mean even more. I ran up to a man with a white flower on his breast. I who always go to the end of the line, I said Help me. He looked at my ticket, he said Make a left and then a right, go up the moving stairs and then run. I lumbered up the moving stairs, at the top I saw the corridor, and then I took a deep breath, I said Goodbye to my body, goodbye to comfort, I used my legs and heart as if I would gladly use them up for this, to touch him again in this life I remember reading "The Race" for the first time standing in line at a bookstore.
The line was very long and I read the whole breathy poem, first published in The New Yorker, as I stood with other book buyers. Olds' poem whooshed into my own breath, my heartbeat quickening. I feel a deep connection to all of Sharon Olds' work, but this poem particularly seized me and wouldn't let go. I read the poem on the subway home and kept reading it.
It wasn't until I was home, having unpacked my purchases, that I realized there were periods—9 strategically placed periods--none of them end stops until the last final line. In essence, I'd read the poem so many times that I memorized "The Race" without meaning to.
I didn't know that I would need this poem more than a decade later when, on September 11, , I had to make a flight, similar to the speaker in Olds' poem, after my parents were in a near-fatal accident. Airports had changed since Olds' poem. Security had been heightened and I was traveling on a one-way ticket, bought on the anniversary of a national tragedy which made for its own difficulties , but I met my equivalent of a "man with a white flower on his breast," and Olds' lines, truly a form of solace, came back to me.
And I repeated them like a mantra on the long flight back to my own father and mother. In this poem a working mother wakes her children, tells them to do their ablutions and get dressed, makes breakfast, gets everyone together around the table, and says grace before they eat. At one point she loses her temper and threatens her slow-poke son, then she says these lines. They came to mind often when my children were young and I was trying to hurry them up. They made me laugh at myself and realize that it didn't really make in difference if we were 1 or 2 minutes late.
I first heard these lines when I served on a panel with Milosz at the Holocaust Museum. It struck so many chords, hearing these words from a survivor—a guilty survivor—whose artistic life was so oddly Job-like, dedicated to questioning history's injustices including the loss of so many members of his family and friends. So for him to confess a love of strawberry jam seems to me so life affirming; it reminds us of life's sensual pleasures and gifts in the face of our feeling powerless to nudge the universe a littlle closer to goodness.
It's a line that honors both conscience and pleasure, so naturally when I listen to the news these days—about the War, the changes in the Supreme Court, the increasing gulf between rich and poor—the line makes me want to live life more fully and act on my ideals simultaneously.
Under the thunder-dark, the cicadas resound The kisses not for our mouths, light the dark summer. These are the first and last lines of Bogan's poem, an old favorite, but one that didn't fully haunt me until I had just bought a house in the Adirondacks, a wonderful wreck, and had also just fallen in love with a man who was unavailable. The property had what was once called a sand pool, that is, a rectangular hole in the ground with a rubber liner. It was fifty years old, and full of branches, leaves, and animal carcasses, including the skeleton of a deer.
Also ten thousand frogs. I used my grief as an engine to clean it out.
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I learned the chemistry, repaired the old pump, and turned it into a sparkling if frigid it was spring-fed pool. I swam laps every day, but kept hitting the walls because the blue liner was nearly impossible to see. To solve the problem, I let some water out, and painted the first line of Bogan's poem on the shallow end, and the last line on the deep end. So as I swam, I could see the wall coming. It comforted me in the way that poetry can: I had company in my solitude. Now, twenty years later, I'm married to the man. The pool was long ago bulldozed under too much trouble and too cold.
I am still completely happy. My resolve to win further I have Thrown out, and am charged by the thrill Of the sun coming up. Birds and trees, houses, These are but the stations for the new sign of being In me that is to close late, long After the sun has set and darkness come To the surrounding fields and hills. I am grateful to my college English professor, Joan Dayan, for the gift of this pastoral elegy.
These words have stayed close to me for 20 years. I find myself returning to this line in my head for it's radiant goofyness which is like a hit of pure oxygen in these tin-aired times. Every imaginative act is a declaration of liberty. I feel set free by this line, its wackyness seems crucial, its recklessness utterly companionable. A few days are all we have. So count them as they pass. They pass too quickly out of breath: don't dwell on the grave, which yawns for one and all Will you be buried in the yard?
Sorry, it's against the law. I find his calm yet totally involved conversational tone, as well as his peculiar and wonderful inversion of starting with a huge generalization and then moving into the specific which is, to make my own huge generalization, the opposite of how contemporary American poetry typically moves , extremely moving and inspiring as a writer and human being, which seem in Schuyler to be the same thing. Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Every time those words snuck in, I tried to push them — and all poetry — away. After all, what had poetry ever done for me?
It had certainly done so for me, making good days seem more vibrant and bad ones a bit more bearable. I stopped reading poems, stopped writing them. I even removed the Magnetic Poetry pieces from my refrigerator door.
Then those lines surfaced, uninvited. And the more I tried to ignore them, the more persistent they became. The only way to banish the question was to replace it with something else. The most it can do is to remind you how it feels to be alive this very moment. Every time I recite those lines I close my eyes and smile. This poem is about the great awakening Neruda experienced when he first started writing poetry.
For me, it describes what I feel when I read something that really affects me. It describes perfectly the elation involved after reading a truly great poem. I may have come upon these lines when I was in my early twenties, during the months following my mother's death; I'm not sure. I do know that they struck me memorably as an indelible truth that marks human beings. Akhmatova, who lived an often turbulent life, understood well where poems come from and why we need to write and hear them.
Within the circles of our lives we dance the circles of the years, the circles of the seasons within the circles of the years And then we turn aside, alone, out of the sunlight gone into the darker circles of return. I don't know when I first heard this poem. Like a nursery rhyme, it arrives on my tongue reflexively; it chants its way into loss and post-partum joy and global crises and the magnificence of robin egg blue. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their life with forethought of grief, I come into the presence of still water.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. I've relied upon this piece as a suggestion of higher thought in an assortment of situations, including suggesting we need take time to notice beauty surrounding us during times of extreme trauma and pain. That concern and worry are not the same.
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That introspection is the key to solution. That young parents often grieve for their actions when reality hits and they realize they have brought children into an imperfect place. That destruction is cyclical and only grace and love can halt it. That fear for the planet can be remedied in noticing and appreciating the planet and that simply being human doesn't grant a higher quality of life. That instead, the wood drake and heron are true to prosody in living and we could take some simple lessons from them and fit better into the world in which we do live; given a moment.
That the universe, the day-blind stars, will continue for eons without us regardless of our status on this planet and on that we can rely, find continuity comfort and relax into the shape of the world. O my God, what am I That these late mouths should cry open In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.
Thirty years ago, and I was recovering from my own feeble attempt to end my life. She said nothing about the book of poetry. Fortunately, I went beyond my own self-pity and arrived at a more grounded reading. I went back to Maggie, my teacher, and talked to her about what I found. Now do something big with it. Today, I live in a town even more provincial, complacent, and homogenous than Boise.
I teach at a nondescript state university, bedded with a lovely k plan and a light teaching load. Like a diver on a lofty spar of land Atop the flight of stairs I stand. A whirlpool leers at me, I cast off my identity And make the fatal plunge. Basically, this poem, especially the last lines, are constantly running through my head before and during every family party or get together that I attend. There is no intricate or involved reason for it beyond the fact that it simply hits dead on to what I feel and think because I do cast off my identity, and I do have an aunt who is "fat always and out of breath.
Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird. As I reread this beloved poem, I remember that fragile, gentle child who hugged the pine tree by her grandmother's front door and pretended it hugged her back, that the rain whispered those soft reassuring words that parents say to comfort the very young. My life was in constant chaos—threatening and brittle. A place where there was too much anger, too much sadness, too much fear, too much guilt, too much blame and not enough money and never enough love. I withdrew into the the only sanity and safeness that I knew—poetry and nature.
I read endlessly, wrapping myself in the poems that offered promise and hope. I sought the fog as it slipped a gossamer grey shawl; across the blue veins of the sleeping mountains, the icy wind that howled through naked willow trees on frozen nights, moonlight spilling across the ghost white fields, the tall silent pine tree that predictably guarded my Grandmother's front door, the pirouetting of the crab apple tree as she scattered her translucent petals on late spring afternoons, the sad solemn scent of lilacs heavy with June's new rain.
From the advice of that one poem I learned that dreams were vital and that words were magic! I could capture the things I treasured, so that even on a hot July day I could have the magic of that first snowfall or in the darkness of a moonless winter night I could hear the soft sighing in my mother's garden. I held fast to my dream of moving beyond my childhood. Poetry—both in reading the poems of others and writing my own—gave me my way out.
When I emptied myself, I resonated. Jane Cooper is a poet of deep spiritual attention with a similarly intense commitment to material conditions. I found in her work a place where the poet herself had a profound purpose. A gesture against mortality, I suppose. And what is mortality? I think beyond the mere fear of death mere? Literally: the dead do not speak. In another poem, Cooper remembers as a child being treated by a doctor who served in the Civil War.
Who are we, mortal in the world? Is it the world that is mortal or are we? Are we our names or our bodies or something else? Is it the something else that is named or is it only our physical form? What does it mean for us to sign our name to a deed? My connections to the poem are past, present, and, most importantly, for the future of my fourteen-year-old. The page itself was crinkled from many readings. Pen poised, Giovanni glanced from her dumpy middle-aged petitioner to the poem, and raised an eyebrow.
A mother does not tell her beautiful beautiful beautiful black son how handsome he really is. I find myself quietly speaking the lines of this poem when I'm alone, and I seem to involuntarily place a hand to my chest when I voice this line. I need to hold back the ache that comes in times of uncertainty. Often it's not a matter of knowing what is in my heart, but being strong enough to put those feelings into words.
And someone you love enters the room and says wouldn't you like the eggs a little different today? And when they arrive they are just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather is holding. Frank O'Hara doesn't do this. Frank O'Hara is my poetry for walking around, drinking a coke, driving in the summer and tying my shoes.
I've mentally separated the last lines of the difficult "For Grace, After A Party," and now they exist as my own occasional feeling of pure contentment, and come to mind whenever I take a nap in a sunny place, or feel like the world is an especially good place. I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea; But we loved with a love that was more than love— I and my Annabel Lee. I read the poem in Vincent Clemente's life-changing English class in , and shed a tear for the the narrator's loss and the angels' gain, of the breathtaking Annabel Lee. The above lines, with a life of their own, have been surfacing ever since.
They established indelibly that time is a place—a kingdom by the sea. We leave and return. To have the wind thus knocked out of me at 15 years old initiated that ride through the circuitries of time which is writing poetry. I have since been writing along the curves of time, back and forth to the kingdom by the sea. And who wouldn't want to consume it by saying it over and over and over? The four lines come to me after a dream by the ocean, on a walk through my neighborhood on a night lit by yet another full moon, or when I turn my head for no apparent reason in time for a shooting star.
The lines come to me in moments of loss or regret, and with the sensation of mortality and the inevitable departure from the kingdom by the sea. Or is it a return? I immediately loved the idea that the Academy was going to collect and publish the lines of poetry that live most intimately with people in their actual lives. In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountains start, In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
She was a constant in my life and this poem is an illustration of what the week following her death felt like, not only for me, but for my Grandfather and Mother. I have come to realize that good can come, but I revisit my favorite stanza frequently in my mind when my thoughts drift to her. This is the entire poem "Small Song" by A. I read it for the first time about ten years ago, when I didn't like poetry at all. One could say I loathed poetry, for trying to tell me what I already knew or for trying to confuse me with what I could never know.
These four lines were the first lines I ever enjoyed, because at once I could and could not make out what they were telling me. These seven words a few repeated couldn't have been any simpler and yet they made and still make my mind do little circus tricks. As in Yeats's famous line, "How can we know the dancer from the dance? Are the reeds only reedy because they're moved by the wind or is the wind only windy because we detect its effects?
It is, of course, not necessary to decide between the two. But no matter how many times I read these lines, I feel compelled to pick one over the other—as if I'm on a sinking ship and must choose between my two children, only one of whom I can save. Used by permission of W. Were I embarking on that wine-dark sea I would bring my bow along with me.
This is a lovely poem about the break-up of a marriage, about the betrayal of trust. The poet, and most of us, aren't up to it; we carry our bows with us. Nothing is smooth. The light is always rough, anxious. But for the stubborn fact we imagine things will be clearer we go on. The angels, for whom we work, will let us into paradise, say look, that's all, a mist you cannot see as long as you are in it. Recently, I suffered with late-stage breast cancer; my prognosis was not hopeful. For months I found myself too weak to do much but lie in bed.
Depression was constant. I found this poem, one I'd known but previously overlooked, on an afternoon when the pines outside my hospital window wore a coat of ice; I memorized his poem while watching the sun glimmer like thousands of lights off the boughs. It was a rare hour, because I spent it thinking there could be beauty, either here in this world or maybe in a next one. Jason's poem made me believe I had not been seeing "wholly," only through a mist of my limited perceptions. The poem and the scene out the window were a hope and a gift I never forgot through many more months of healing.
Ironically, he is now struggling with his own illness. I hope he is finding poems this wonderful to lean on. I remember being captured by the combination of regret and wisdom in these lines, first introduced to me by a friend coping with long-term illness. She has been fighting so hard, for so many years, and so often in her words I hear the echoes of Larkin's poem: life can change, even be gone completely, in a matter of moments.
We have no say in this—only in the way we treat one another in the time we do have. I find myself thinking of these lines in the little moments, when there is a choice between a small kindness and a small meanness. I strive to be careful in each of these decisions. This past March I received an audio recording of poetry from a friend. One day, as I drove my sons home from school, I played the CD in the car because I particularly liked James Wright's poem about spring. I expected the boys to moan and groan at having to listen to "boring stuff," but to my surprise, when the poet reached the second half of the poem, I spied Zachary grinning.
A second later, Jeremy chuckled aloud at the antics of the "three girls. The last lines of this ode to spring will stay with me for the rest of my life because I feel as though I had been waiting, eyes open day and night, for the moment my children and I could appreciate the beauty of a poem together. This spring, that moment happened for the first time. To come at tulip time how wise! Perhaps you will not now regret The shining gardens, jewel set, Of your first home in Paradise Nor Fret Because you might not quite forget. My niece was due on the sixteenth of May.
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I planned to copy this poem and frame it for the wall above her bed. Never mind nursery rhymes and their jangly cheer. Cradle-words should be like birds in flight. Had she arrived and grown, she would have come into language, line breaks, cadence. We can only end up in astonishment. A stranger came here late last night Silent puffs of falling white Frigid, falling, drifting down Unusual this far down in a southern town.
I'm not a people person, as everyone knows; It's in the garden where my energy flows. I talk to the birds, I talk to the trees, I talk to the ants, and at times even the bees. So very nice. It made me happy. It's so nice to hear something beautiful. Thank you very much. God Bless. Sitting in peaceful places Upon Nature's natural faces Silent sounds of the River's rushing The Wind with the Trees harmoniously brushing. The clouds break forth the streams of light To dance upon the earth, And cradled in the sands of time, Comes a newborn baby's birth. Live is a vapour, popularity is an accident, riches do take wing, those who share today may not be opportune for tomorrow, character is the endurance.
Menu Search Login Loving. Keep me logged in. Spiritual Poems about Nature Email Share. His Presence By Alora M. Featured Shared Story. God's Creation By John P. The most popular meme this week might not be the most popular meme next week. Our favourite cuisine this season may not be our favourite the next. In fact, we are creatures of change. We thrive on variety. So it should not come as a surprise to anyone that even our own lists will alter over time. Evan Mantyk has done us a great service in posting his list of the 10 Greatest Poems Ever Written, not because he was right after all, who could be right?
De gustibus non est disputandum. As Mr. Mantyk knows, by emphasizing poems of 50 lines or less not his exact requirement, but his example , one must exclude epics, poetic plays, narrative poems, dramatic monologues, didactic verse essays, satires and epistles, etc. One of the paradoxes of making a list of the greatest short poems ever written is in attributing greatness to the smaller works, when the very meaning of greatness implies a largeness of expanse, of vision, etc. Even he, I suspect, will change his list over time.
Here is his list. Daffodils William Wordsworth 4. On His Blindness John Milton 6. The Tyger William Blake 7. Ode on a Grecian Urn John Keats 8. Ozymandias Percy Bysshe Shelley 9. As I read his list, however, I kept thinking, but what about this poem, or that poem? Other Shakespearean sonnets are also in competition with Sonnet Sonnet for me has always had a special place, because in its delivery, Shakespeare even goes so far as to suggest that if true love does not exist, then he never wrote a thing. It is the Shakespearean sonnet that most moves me, so much so I recited it at the wedding of my college roommate many years ago.
This shows one of the pitfalls of poetic placement; various poems may suggest more to us than others because of our own particular circumstances. One more example will suffice. What appeals to me in that sonnet is its unusual vantage point, its precision, the use of particular words, like steep, and its terse landscaping. But for me, the John Donne poem that takes my breath away is A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, with its extraordinary conceit of love with a mathematical compass.
It is a linguistic tour de force that sweeps me away with its idealism, its learning, and its paradoxically intricate simplicity. For me, nothing like it in English poetry reaches such a refined, intellectual brilliance; and for a long time, it has seemed a worthy paradigm to emulate in my poetry. I agree with Reid McGrath that it would be difficult to bench any of the all-stars Mr.
Edwards and the Spider, etc. And Ezra Pound and T. O Captain! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. This arm beneath your head! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. Critics such as Harold Bloom have suggested the Tyger is actually a gentle, playful creature. There was an error in Romantic literature that Satan was the hero of Paradise Lost but contemporary analysis suggests Adam is the hero, with Satan as an antihero. Satan became a mythical revolutionary telling God where to stick it for His oppressions.
Spiritual Poems about Nature
Symmetry implies that order is addressed, a fearful order because it is misunderstood or new to the seer. The fact that Blake uses the word immortal in reference to eye and hand makes the poem extra enchanting— because he is calling poetry an immortal art that would not be what it is without a touch of the forbidden and the divine frenzy.
The list was great, like all lists go by, interesting …… But once the shopping done, To the bin of time it goes. For another one is on its way, for needs are different every day. So forget it. Learn to shop from your heart. Where do I start? While known more in America as a storyteller for children, he is best known in Ireland as a poet….
I hear in the darkness Their slipping and breathing. You can spend at the fair But your face you must turn To your crops and your care. And soldiers—red soldiers! The poems are beautiful, but the title is wrong. But, anyway, I love your list. Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. Nothing by Goethe, Rilke, or Schiller? Or are great poems written only by native English speakers? First Letter by M. And as I pull the drapes in my room to the right, The moon engulfs everything with its warm light.
It retrieves from my memory, endless thoughts. I feel the whole lot like in dreams that come in lots. Virgin one you, thousand of wilds glow in your light. How many forests hide shimmer of water in their shade? As on top of the rough sheer size of the seas you drift, Over how many thousands of waves does your light shift?
How many blossoming shores, what forts and castles too, Which flooded by your beauty, to yourself you put on view. Into how many thousands of homes, you gently touch? How many heads full of thought, you quietly watch? You spot a king, who webs the globe with plans for a century, While a poor guy dares not to think about the next day… While a new rank was drawn from the urn of fate for each guy, Your ray and the skill of death, rule them in the same way. To the same chain of passions, both guys are addicted, Be they weak or strong, stupid or smart.
Some guy looks in the mirror and his hair he styles. From stained old files, thousand small pieces he folds. Their short-lived names he writes down on the script he holds. And some guy at his office desk carves up the world, and he tallies How much gold, the sea is hauling in its dark ships hulls. And there is the old professor, with his coat faded at the elbows. He searches, and in an endless count, he assesses.
And he buttons up his old robe, of cold he freezes, He sinks his neck in his collar, plugs his ears, and he sneezes. Skinny as he is, frail and feeble as he appears, The vast Universe is in his reach, and it nears. Since at the back of his brow, the past and the future unite. Like Atlas of ancient times, who propped the sky on his shoulder, So, our professor props the space and the eternal time in a number.
While over the old scripts, the moon lights with its glow, His thought takes him back billions of years, right now: To the beginning, when a living or nonliving thing there was not, When life and will, lacked for the whole lot, When hidden was nil, though the lot was out of sight, When weighed down with wisdom, the Hidden One relaxed His might. Was it a deep rift? Was it a sheer fall? Was it a vastness of water? Because there was darkness, like a sea without a ray of light, But there was nothing to look at, nor eye to see into the night.
The shape of the un-formed did not start yet to work loose And the endless peace rules at ease… But all of a sudden, the first and the only one, a point stirs rather… Look how out of the chaos it forms a mother, and it grows to be the Father. That point of motion, even weaker than a bubble, It has total control over the entire Universe, without any trouble… Since then, the endless night sorts out in galaxies. Since then, come to light the Sun, the Earth, the Moon and the stars… Since then, up until now, colonies of lost worlds — with tales — Come from grey valleys of chaos on unknown trails.
And they spring in swarms that glow from outer space. And by a boundless craving are lured to existence. Tiny nations, kings, soldiers and the well read, We come in generations and we think we know everything from A to Z. Like flies that live a day, in a tiny world that is measured by the foot, In that deep space with no end, we spin following the same route. And we quite forget that this entire life is a poised instant, And at the beginning and at the end night is revealed, although is distant.
And so, in the on and on night that never ends, We have the instant; we have the ray that still stands… When it will switch off, everything will vanish, like a shadow into the night. Since the hazy deep space is a dream of nothingness. The Sun that now shines, he sees it dim and red, like veiled in dust, How, like a wound among dark clouds, it goes bust.
Everything freezes up. And the altar screen of the world has dimmed altogether its ray Like the autumn leaves, all the stars have gone astray. And all is quiet. All plunges into the night of non-existence. And in a state of ease, the eternal peace gets going again in this instance. The same as one is in all, all is in one. Ahead of the others, gets the one who can. While others with meek heart stand-alone and sigh, And do not grasp that like the unseen foam they quietly die.
Whatever they want or think, what should the blind fate agonize? Shall the whole world accept him? Shall writers cause him to feel at ease? What will the old professor gain out of all of these? Eternal life, they shall say. It is true that all his time, Like ivy on a tree, he clings to an aim. Forever, in all places they shall pass it on, all the same, By word of mouth, by means of my fame, My writings shall find shelter in a spot of some head.
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