Friday, March 21, 2008

World Poetry Day


From Wikipedia:
World Poetry Day is on March 21, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the UNESCO session declaring the day says, to "give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements."

I'm sure I've mentioned 1 or 2 (hundred) times that I was an English major in college. When you are an English major, you do many things that will lead to large paydays in your future...not. I can write an amazing research paper, draw trees to diagram sentences, and I can quote random bits of literary works. For one British Literature class (loved it. loved, loved, loved it), we had to memorize a hundred lines of poetry. I don't know why. But I can still remember the poems I chose, if not all the words in the right order. The only rule was that we could not memorize Blake's "Tyger". Dr. Wink must have heard that one a zillion times. I can still remember that one...and I had to include a bit of it because I needed a picture and I have a tiger picture. So there.

THE TYGER - by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

I think this was the first one I memorized. I was a little twisted even in college.
A Poison Tree by William Blake
I was angry with my friend.
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe.
I told it not, my wrath did grow;

And I water'd it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles;

And it grew both day and night
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole.
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

I was also just a little bit romantic. Instead of "How do I love thee?", I went for this one by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

XXXII. The first time that the sun rose on thine oath
To love me, I looked forward to the moon
To slacken all those bonds which seemed too soon
And quickly tied to make a lasting troth.
Quick-loving hearts, I thought, may quickly loathe;
And, looking on myself, I seemed not one
For such man's love!--more like an out-of-tune
Worn viol, a good singer would be wroth
To spoil his song with, and which, snatched in haste,
Is laid down at the first ill-sounding note.
I did not wrong myself so, but I placed
A wrong on thee. For perfect strains may float
'Neath master-hands, from instruments defaced, -
And great souls, at one stroke, may do and doat.

Sorry, Mary. No more poetry after this. Really.

1 comment:

Jane who? said...

Tell Mary, "Wait." Here's my fav:

Spring and Fall, to a Young Child
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.


Ahhhh. To be an English major!