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Poet's Corner

I just found a great website: Poet's Corner

(Which I assume is named after the original Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, which we were thrilled to wander through last summer when in London.)

Not that I don't have a bunch of actual books to browse through, but those weighty anthologies can be a b*tch to lug around!! This website will come in handy if I need some mental nourishment to go with my lunch while at work. There are lots of literary and poetry sites out there, but this one is very easy to get around and doesn't have a lot of flashing ads or photos hogging the pages. Here are a few poems that strike my fancy this evening...

Doesn't this perfectly capture those early brief moments that are the glory of dawn:

Dawn

ECSTATIC bird songs pound
the hollow vastness of the sky
with metallic clinkings--
beating color up into it
at a far edge,--beating it, beating it
with rising, triumphant ardor,--
stirring it into warmth,
quickening in it a spreading change,--
bursting wildly against it as
dividing the horizon, a heavy sun
lifts himself--is lifted--
bit by bit above the edge
of things,--runs free at last
out into the open--!lumbering
glorified in full release upward--
songs cease.

William Carlos Williams

The next two are both titled "Pastoral" (which kind of cracks me up). Both are quite a departure from early pastoral poems such as Christopher Marlowe's A Passionate Shepherd to His Love. Marlowe's poem has evoked several responses throughout the years, including this one by William Carlos Williams.

Pastoral

WHEN I was younger
it was plain to me
I must make something of myself.
Older now
I walk back streets
admiring the houses
of the very poor:
roof out of line with sides
the yards cluttered
with old chicken wire, ashes,
furniture gone wrong;
the fences and outhouses
built of barrel staves
and parts of boxes, all,
if I am fortunate,
smeared a bluish green
that properly weathered
pleases me best of all colors.

No one
will believe this
of vast import to the nation.

William Carlos Williams


Pastoral

THE little sparrows
hop ingenuously
about the pavement
quarreling
with sharp voices
over those things
that interest them.
But we who are wiser
shut ourselves in
on either hand
and no one knows
whether we think good
or evil.
Meanwhile,
the old man who goes about
gathering dog-lime
walks in the gutter
without looking up
and his tread
is more majestic than
that of the Episcopal minister
approaching the pulpit
of a Sunday.
These things
astonish me beyond words.

William Carlos Williams


This next poem has long been a favourite of mine. So elegant, evocative, haunting...the rhythm and imagery ensnare me. A short analysis of the poem is found here.

La Belle Dame sans Merci

O, WHAT can ail thee, Knight at arms,
Alone and palely loitering;
The sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O, what can ail thee, Knight at arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a Lady in the Meads
Full beautiful, a faery's child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a Garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant Zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long;
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery's song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew;
And sure in language strange she said,
"I love thee true."

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild sad eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream'd, Ah Woe betide,
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale Kings, and Princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry'd--"La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering;
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

John Keats

Comments (3)

Re: my pics - I know, I make them with a smile on my face. Gosh I'm having fun with my new hobby.And that Harry Potter magic one - I was leaning against a statue facing the Ducal Palace, in Venice.

Love your poetry post - I set up a poetry anthology website for my students with the poems I am teaching on it.

They did Blake's Tyger Tyger this morning.

Thanks for the link - a lunchtime poetry fix sounds like a great idea.

And thanks also for the link to the Shrooms (The Fungus Among Us!) - they are beautiful! You collect them? Very cool.

sandrac:

I love William Carlos Williams! Thanks for this, Anne. I definitely don't have enough poetry in my life.

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