Sunday, April 5, 2009

Poetry Sunday


To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

I was never much for poetry , until I heard a program on CBC Radio One's Ideas on Millay. I fell in love instantly, and am given to reading Vincent out loud while in the tub, luxuriating in the sensuality of her imagery and the hot scented water. Hubby perhaps thinks I'm insane, but I need to speak her poetry out loud to capture the nuances.

I've lately been turned on to Yeats, too, by an episode of House, strangely enough. A young boy reads this poem out loud to his mother... it, too, captured my imagination.

Do you like poetry? Who is your favourite poet?


Velda said...

"Her Praise" is beautiful. I love poetry, in fact I've been writing poetry since I was about 13 years old. I have an entire book full, that I started about 30 years ago...I had good handwriting back then. But I don't allow many to read my poetry. I'm a little off the wall (in case you had forgotten that ;) ) -- My favourite poet? Remember I said I'm a little off the wall.... Sylvia Plath. And I totally get the 'out loud' - it's just not the same in-your-head. Intonation is everything with poetry...

Aline la Bergère said...

I have a cherished Tennyson book in tatters on my shelf. I love Virginia Wolf too.
I wrote poetry and had one published. Haven't been inspired in years.
Thanks for the food for thought!

kate said...

I shamed to say poetry fell off my reading list after my romantic teenage years were over, but I too recall that there is nothing like adding the necessary cantations to ensure that a piece retains it's true nature! Besides - it's ok to freak out the family now and again - keeps them on their toes!
Missing you lots and lots - will you have a break before summer term commences? You so deserve one!
Tomorrow is your last day as a Canadian soldier, and I want to loudly thank you for your service to our country. We are all indebted to our soldiers who keep this great country safe and sound, and your long service and commitment has been very much appreciated. Hugs and welcome back to civilian life!

Liz in IN said...

Another lifelong poetry reader here. Favourites? Too many to list them all.

Shakespeare, first and foremost.

T.S. Eliot. He evoked haunting images, called up desperate emotion, but with disicpline -- without abandoning meter, and even /gasp/ rhyme.

For snark, I like me some Dorothy Parker.

imo, decoratively arranging quite ordinary prose on a page does not make it poetry. ymmv

From a Canadian south of the 49th, thank you for serving Canada in the armed forces. Welcome back to civilian life.