Sunday, April 15, 2007

Poetry Month

I mentioned in a post yesterday that April is Autism Awareness Month. April is also Poetry Month.

My brother, Terrell, at Alone on a Limb, posts a poem every Monday. He always posts poems that he has used in his classroom with students. He also occasionally posts his own compositions. Here are a couple of examples. My mother is a poet who often does poetry programs for groups. She has posted some of her poems on her blog, Ruthlace.

I seldom publish any of my poetry. I did post one way back when I first started this blog to explain the name of my online journal. You can find that poem here.

Among poetry websites that I have enjoyed are Giggle Poetry and Writing.com. Giggle Poetry has numerous activities for children in poetry writing as well as reading. If you are interested in writing at all, you can get feedback and find publishing space at the Writing.com site.

When I was a child, poetry was emphasized in school. I memorized a number of them -- some I can still quote. Did anybody else out there memorize "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat" or "the Duel" by Eugene Field? I can still quote much of that one. Here's a link to the entire poem.

I also can still quote one that today would be considered too religious to be recommended at school:

A Bag of Tools
Isn't it strange
That princes and kings
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings
And common folks
Like you and me
Are builders of eternity?

To each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And a book of rules
And each must make
-ere life has flown
A stumbling block
Or stepping stone.

As I got older I enjoyed many of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's and Emily Dickinson's poetry. Along with many other high school students of the day I memorized Poe's "The Raven" and "Anabel Lee". Most students of the day also learned and recited parts of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade." Burns's "Red, Red Rose" is another favorite. Most adults recognize this part of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"


But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
And how helpful philosophical poems like Frost's "The Road Not Taken" have been to readers over the years. The impact of our choices and decisions could not have been more effectively expressed.
......I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
-I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And one of my alltime favorites written by William Wordsworth at least 170 years ago (assuming he wrote it late in life). Here is the complete text. I will post the first and the last parts.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;....

....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.
Enjoy some poetry this month.

Addendum: I can't possibly leave out Longfellow's "The Arrow and the Song" which I memorized at an early age along with most school children of the day.

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

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