I learned via Twitter this morning that today is National Poetry Day so Happy NPD to you all! I mention this at this late stage as I love poetry and couldn't let the day pass without writing about it. I love poetry of all shapes and sizes and languages. I've always read poetry to the kids and A is partial to a bit of verse. I love to read and adore books but it always amazes me what an impact a few lines of verse can do. When reading a novel, you embark on a journey one that takes you places over a period of time, a roller-coaster of events and emotions and reactions. Verse is immediate, whether it makes you laugh or weep, for me it always reinforces the power of words and the impact it can have.
I've been thinking all morning about what poem and poet to share and I'm struggling. I enjoy so many diverse types so I'll pick a few at random. My mood could probably change later on in the day and I'll add another and another and another. I've also had about two hours sleep so I'm not the sharpest this morning.
I thought I'd start off with Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (for obvious reasons...)
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
that loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known---cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all---
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, my own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle---
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me---
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads---you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are---
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Now, I won't start ranting and raving about it's form and content but let you read for yourself and see what you think of it.
My second choice is wildly different and is by Charles Bukowski, an American Beat poet, entitled The Genius of the Crowd.
|there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average|
human being to supply any given army on any given day
and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace
those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love
beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect
like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
their finest art
Again make up your own mind about this.
If you want to you could even post a favourite poem of yours in the comment box below to mark this occasion.
Poetry is also special to us as we discovered that poetry gave A just enough food for thought but didn't require as heavy a commitment as say a novel, in the early years of his schooling and after his diagnosis. Now he's fully caught up to his peer group with his reading but poetry helped him explore language, a difficult thing for an autistic child to do. Here is a copy of an interview with A's favourite poet, Michael Rosen. We've started showing Miss B his poetry on YouTube. She even went with us to see him perform at the Edinburgh Book Festival (again!) this year.