I'm looking forward to ensuing discussions, disections and diversions!
A question for my fellow poeteers: who's the poet you've most enjoyed discovering this year?
My answer would be Gerard Manley Hopkins, far and away. I love his spirituality and his use of words.
I only dabble a bit in reading poetry. I don't think I'm quite up to a detailed discussion of a specific book - but I'd love to know what other people's favourite poems and poets are, and a bit about why you like them.
Who knows, you might get me started on something I wouldn't otherwise have tried - that would be cool!
Listening to the radio with half an ear this morning I heard part of an interview with a senior member of the nursing profession (Mavis something?) who has recently received an MBE.
It seems that she was moved to come to the UK from the West Indies by a desire to see the churchyard of Gray's 'Elegy", and to see daffodils 'Tossing their heads in sprightly dance'.
It caused me to wonder what influence a particular poem might have exerted on any of us in our choices, big or small. (e.g. Anyone out there wearing purple yet?)
I apologise because I have not had as much time as I thought to find these poems. However here they are separated by some 300 years one by Shakespeare and one by Elaine Feinstein who was born in 1930.
I hope you enjoy them.
“That time of year thou mayst in me behold”
THAT time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day 5
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, 10
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
The first surprise: I like it.
Whatever happens now, some things
that used to terrify have not.
I didn’t die young, for instance. Or lose
my only love. My three children
never had to run away from anyone.
Don’t tell me this gratitude is complacent.
We all approach the edge of the same darkness
which for me is silence.
Knowing as much sharpens
my delight in January freesia,
hot coffee, winter sunlight. So we say
as we lie close on some gentle occasion:
every day won from such
darkness is a celebration.