31 March, 2006

It's Like Poetry

...ok, it is poetry. Scalzi's weekend assignment this week is simply to share a favorite poem. I'm sorry John, but I couldn't pick just one. I have three, although the first one below was the first one to pop into my head as soon as I read the assignment. So I guess it's really my favorite, but I couldn't leave the other two out!

We Are Seven, by William Wordsworth, is the story of the narrator speaking to a little girl. She is one of seven children, but two are dead. The narrator insists then that she is one of five, but she still holds tight to the idea that her siblings are all with her.

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little maid's reply,
"O master! we are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"
I know it sounds dark (dead children? come on!), but reading it always warms my heart. And I like to believe that no matter where you go or what happens to you, you are always part of a family. And they will always love you and keep you close.

Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe, is another poem about the dearly departed. Annabel Lee is the star-crossed love of the narrator, torn from him because they were happier together than even the angels in Heaven.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me--
Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
Sure, the poem relates a truly broken heart, but I can't get over the amount of love expressed.

I was introduced to my final favorite, The Daffodils, also by Wordsworth, in choir my freshman year of high school. We sang this poem in a sprightly tune that I still remember to this day. This poem doesn't speak of love or death, but of a dream (or memory?) to which the author returns often and with pleasure.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
All three of these are poems that we studied during my American Lit class sophomore year with Mr. Benedetto. He must have passed a true love of poetry on to us if I remember all of these (and a few others) enough to quote them more than 10 years later. Thanks for that, Mr. Benedetto.

ps - I only plagiarized excerpts from these poems. I highly recommend the full versions, to which I have linked.

Extra Credit: Ever write poetry yourself? Funny you should ask! I only just today stumbled across a poem I wrote in the fourth grade. Keep that in mind as you read -- fourth grade!

by Jamie H.

Lovely Colors
Excellent Reds
After red comes brown
Very beautiful colors
Empty trees


Monponsett said...

If that happened in my family, my surviving sisters would be like "We now get 20% more time in the bathroom."

Janette said...

This one comes in handy at the pubs:

Judged by the Company One Keeps
by Unknown

One night in late October,
When I was far from sober,
Returning with my load with manly pride,
My poor feet began to stutter,
So I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came near and lay down by my side;
Then we sang "It's all fair weather when good fellows get together",

Till a lady passing by was heard to say:
"You can tell a man who boozes,
By the company he chooses",
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.


But seriously my favorite poem is on the morbid side:

The Chariot
by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 't is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.


See - morbid but perky. It reminds me of Miss Clark, my adored high school english teacher.

Feel free to read it at my funeral.