Poetry Month Strikes Again!

"I love poetry, and a glass of scotch, and, of course, my friend Baxter here."
“I love poetry, and a glass of scotch, and, of course, my friend Baxter here.”

If T. S. Eliot had known that April was poetry month, he definitely wouldn’t have called it cruel. As usual, I’m sponsoring a little contest. I’m going to post a poem every day. Leave a comment on the poem, and you get a chance at a winning a deeeelightful book of poetry to be determined once I know who’s won (one entry per comment, provided you don’t that annoying thing of leaving a series of one word comments or other stuff like that). Now maybe you’re thinking, “Susan, a book of poetry is a punishment, not a prize!” in which case I say, you are reading the wrong blog. No comments for you, troll! But seriously– if you’re not a fan of poetry, come by the blog anyway. Maybe I can change your mind. Maybe THE ART will change your mind.

If you leave a comment mentioning your favorite poems, or poems you’d like to see featured here, you get an extra entry in the contest plus a chance of seeing poetry you love on the blog you love. (I know you love it here. Don’t try to lie.)

Let’s start with a poem from Mary Oliver, who I fall in love with every time I read her work. It’s a little unsettling, in a good way. Enjoy!

The Soul at Last
by Mary Oliver

The Lord’s terrifying kindness has come to
me.

It was only a small silvery thing–say a piece
of silver cloth, or a thousand spider webs
woven together, or a handful of aspen
leaves, with their silver backs shimmering.
And it came leaping out of the closed coffin;
it flew into the air, it danced snappingly
around the church rafters, it vanished through
the ceiling.

I spoke there, briefly, of the loved one gone. I
gazed at the people in the pews, some of them
weeping. I knew I must, someday, write this
down.

From Why I Wake Early: New Poems by Mary Oliver. Why don’t you own that book already? You really should.

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6 thoughts on “Poetry Month Strikes Again!

  1. The Day is Done
    By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The day is done, and the darkness
    Falls from the wings of Night,
    As a feather is wafted downward
    From an eagle in his flight.

    I see the lights of the village
    Gleam through the rain and the mist,
    And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
    That my soul cannot resist:

    A feeling of sadness and longing,
    That is not akin to pain,
    And resembles sorrow only
    As the mist resembles the rain.

    Come, read to me some poem,
    Some simple and heartfelt lay,
    That shall soothe this restless feeling,
    And banish the thoughts of day.

    Not from the grand old masters,
    Not from the bards sublime,
    Whose distant footsteps echo
    Through the corridors of Time.

    For, like strains of martial music,
    Their mighty thoughts suggest
    Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
    And to-night I long for rest.

    Read from some humbler poet,
    Whose songs gushed from his heart,
    As showers from the clouds of summer,
    Or tears from the eyelids start;

    Who, through long days of labor,
    And nights devoid of ease,
    Still heard in his soul the music
    Of wonderful melodies.

    Such songs have power to quiet
    The restless pulse of care,
    And come like the benediction
    That follows after prayer.

    Then read from the treasured volume
    The poem of thy choice,
    And lend to the rhyme of the poet
    The beauty of thy voice.

    And the night shall be filled with music,
    And the cares, that infest the day,
    Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
    And as silently steal away.

  2. Marriage Morning
    By Alfred Lord Tennyson

    Light, so low upon earth,
    You send a flash to the sun.
    Here is the golden close of love,
    All my wooing is done.
    Oh, all the woods and the meadows,
    Woods, where we hid from the wet,
    Stiles where we stayed to be kind,
    Meadows in which we met!
    Light, so low in the vale
    You flash and lighten afar,
    For this is the golden morning of love,
    And you are his morning star.
    Flash, I am coming, I come,
    By meadow and stile and wood,
    Oh, lighten into my eyes and my heart,
    Into my heart and my blood!
    Heart, are you great enough
    For a love that never tires?
    O heart, are you great enough for love?
    I have heard of thorns and briers.
    Over the thorns and briers,
    Over the meadows and stiles,
    Over the world to the end of it
    Flash of a million miles.

    My favorite poet is actually E.E. Cummings, but I came across this poem the other day while perusing some books in Goodwill and I loved it so much that I bought the book just for the poem. I haven’t even looked at the rest of it yet. 🙂

  3. I love this poem for many of the same reasons I love the poem you posted my Mary Oliver: surprising metaphors, delightful sweetness, a taste of infinity.

    Buddha In Glory

    Center of all centers, core of cores,
    almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet–
    all this universe, to the furthest stars
    all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

    Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
    your vast shell reaches into endless space,
    and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
    Illuminated in your infinite peace,

    a billion stars go spinning through the night,
    blazing high above your head.
    But in you is the presence that
    will be, when all the stars are dead.

    -Rainer Maria Rilke

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