12/30/08

Poetry... Is it a lost art?


Sometimes I wonder if poetry is a lost art.  I think back to my high school English classes, and even my college Literature classes, and I really don't remember reading much poetry.  And what a shame that is.  Over the last year or so, thanks to the internet, I've become sort of a poetry detective, spending some of the time that I might be playing pool or shopping online to look up works by great poets such as Robert Burns, William Butler Yeats, and Alfred Lord Tennyson.  In fact, one of the things I asked for last Christmas was a collection of Robert Burns' works.  What I find so interesting about poetry is that it's not straight-forward.  It doesn't give you every piece of information you need to understand it.  It makes you dig and ponder.  It's thought-provoking.  And it leaves room for you to interpret the poem in a way that is meaningful to you.  So for today, I thought I'd post a couple of poems that I find beautiful, and maybe a bit poignant for this time of year.  No particular deep meaning here... just read them and enjoy, for that's how they were meant.

Auld Lang Syne ~ by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)... Known in Scotland as The Bard
And for old long past, my joy (sweetheart),
For old long past,
We will take a cup of kindness yet,
For old long past,
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And days of old long past.
And surely you will pay for your pint-vessel!
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet,
For old long past.
We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the wild daisies fine;
But we have wandered many a weary foot
Since old long past.
We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till noon;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since old long past.
And there is a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me a hand of yours!
And we will take a right good-will drink,

For old long past. 
(NOTE - This is the English Translation.  Originally it was written in Scots Language)

Lovers on Aran by Seamus Heaney (1939 - )
A bit of background here... Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.  The "Aran" mentioned in the title of this poem refers to the Aran Islands of Ireland.  They are a series of rocky islands off the west coast of Ireland.  If you've ever heard of the famous wool sweaters from Ireland ("Aran Sweaters"), this is where they come from.  The islands are sometimes referred to as "the islands that time forgot", because the culture there hasn't changed as much with the times the way the culture on the Irish mainland has.  In all the world, this is one of the places I most want to see.  You can listen to Seamus Heaney read his own poetry in an NPR interview that aired Dec. 28.  (And there's nothing like hearing an Irishman read his own words in his thick, Irish brogue!) Thanks to my hubby, Kevin, for telling me about this NPR interview!  Okay, I'll shut up now... here's the poem!

The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas

To posess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?

Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves' collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity. 

~ If you have a favorite poem, I'd love it if you'd share it here!

3 comments:

  1. Amy:
    I love poetry. I particularly like to write Hiaku poetry because it condenses the escence of something into a short 5-7-5 sylable formate and you have to say so much in so few words. I believe it has enriched my ability to use descriptive language in my writing.
    I also teach writing hiaku every semester to my college students. I believe they need to be exposed to every art form including different forms of poetry that they can use as assessments.

    I have a thing about moonlight. Here's one of my favorite Hiakus by Sodo a Japanese Poet (1641-1716)

    Moon Magic
    Leading me along
    my shadow goes back home
    from looking at the moon.

    and one of my own for children
    A Rabbit

    Long ears, velvet soft
    A shy, nervous nose twitches
    Speed leaps on big feet

    Write on,
    Teresa Reasor

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah, Teresa... I do know you love moonlight! I remember doing Haiku's in elementary school, and illustrating them ourselves. I wish there had been more of that sort of educational poetry activity as I got older!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love poems- Have written quite a few myself- at this point the count is around 190 since 1990. I have some books of poetry- Jewel, Verses That Hurt by the Poemfone Poets- Best Loved Poems of The American People in which I found this gem by Percy Bysshe Shelley that has to be one of my absolute favorites.

    Love's Philosophy

    The fountains mingle with the river,
    And the rivers with the ocean;
    The winds of heaven mix forever,
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single;
    All things by a law divine
    In one another's being mingle;--
    Why not I with thine?

    See! the mountains kiss high heaven,
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister flower would be forgiven,
    If it disdained it's brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth,
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea;--
    What are all these kissings worth,
    If thou kiss not me?
    ****
    And one of my own (short ones) written back in 2000-

    Shipwrecked

    Uncertain I'd ever fall ashore again
    With the wounds I endured
    When my pleasure boat sank
    I shipwrecked into you
    And found I do not wish
    To leave
    The Island of Your Life
    ****
    ~Taryn Raye

    ReplyDelete