tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (somewhere i have never traveled)
Today's poem is by e. e. cummings.  It's one of my favorite poems about romantic love.  I adore cummings's use of unlikely juxtapositions (e.g. "intense fragility").  The words are not complex, but the unusual phrasing means that this is a poem worth reading over more than once.  You really get the sense of how deeply the speaker treasures and is overwhelmed by the subject of the poem.  (Also, as my lovely icon by [livejournal.com profile] isiscaughey suggests, to me this poem works beautifully for the Doctor and Rose.)  cummings is also one of those poets who proves that those who can craft powerfully with words can get away with breaking a host of grammatical rules if they have reasons.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (nine/rose b&w)
My grand plans of posting lots of poetry have sadly fallen by the wayside.  Well, the month is scarcely over half over, and here's another poem.

Mary Oliver is probably my favorite contemporary poet.  Today's poem, "Wild Geese," is one of her better known poems.  I find it comforting when I am feeling self-critical, overwhelmed, or generally down.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good [...] )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (kaylee parasol smiles)
I chose today's poem after reading a fascinating article about the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.  I knew that there was some bit about "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," but I couldn't have told you anything more about the context or the author, not even whether these words were specially written for Lady Liberty or a quote from something else.  I've even visited the Statue of Liberty, but that was over ten years ago, and I'd forgotten if I read the poem.  Turns out those familiar lines are from a sonnet written for the statue's pedestal by Emma Lazarus, a Jewish woman who enjoyed a successful writing career in her day, even if her name gets little recognition today.  (Also, Emma Lazarus is a fantastic name.)  I definitely like the whole poem.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The New Colossus )

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am not a patriot, but this is a vision of America I can get behind.  I want to believe in a United States that actively welcomes the downtrodden and oppressed to a chance at a better life.  I want to believe that my country can choose to be a mild-eyed (yet still mighty) Mother of Exiles and not the brazen giant with conquering limbs our foreign policy has often resembled from the mid-twentieth century onwards.  Even 130 years after the poem's composition, this is a powerful and provocative political statement.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (book + billie)
April is National Poetry Month!  I adore poetry, though I read less of it that I used to.  I think this month I'll make an effort to reverse that trend as I hunt up poems and post them here.   I'll aim for at least two a week throughout April, perhaps more if time allows and the inclination remains.

Today's poem is by Margaret Atwood.   It tells a complete story in deceptively simple language.  I like its unique take on a myth and the darkly humorous punch of the ending.

~ ~ ~ ~

Siren Song )

~ ~ ~ ~
I'd love to see what poems you feel like sharing, friends.
tardis_stowaway: spock giving live long and prosper sign with caption "be excellent to each other" (be excellent to each other)
I was pondering putting up a poem by Langston Hughes, one of the ones I'm familiar with such as "Dream Deferred" or "Theme for English B."  Instead, I found "Let America Be America Again" while browsing through a selection of his poetry.   This was the first time I've read it , but it really resonated with me. It speaks with the particular historical voice of Hughes, an African-American poet writing in 1938, but it is still far too relevant today.

Let America Be America Again )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (curse you plotbunnies)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, like many of the Romantic poets, was a larger-than-life character.  He's well known for his opium addiction and mental health problems, but he wasn't just some crazy stoned poet.  He was an influential literary critic, a friend to Wordsworth, planner of a failed utopian movement, and more.  I can think of at least three fantasy/sci-fi novels where Coleridge is a character:  The Somnabulist by Jonathan Barnes (featuring ZOMBIE Coleridge), The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (which also includes a brainwashed clone of Lord Byron), and Dirk Gently's Holistic Agency by Douglas Adams.  Most important for our purposes today is Coleridge's identity as a poet.  He was especially adept with the feel of words:  meter, rhyme, alliteration, and all that goes to making a poem fascinating to read out loud or hear, even if you haven't a clue what it means.

My favorite Coleridge poem is probably "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," but its length makes it unwieldy for an LJ post.  "Kubla Khan" is fascinating and considerably shorter.  I love the vivid imagery and the way the meter and alliteration draw you relentlessly onwards like the current of Alph, the sacred underground river.  It's a strange, fragmentary poem. (I chose my LJ icon to commemorate how Coleridge apparently dreamed a much longer version of this poem, but was interrupted before finishing.)  Still, it keeps popping up in literature textbooks for a reason.

~   ~   ~

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge )
~   ~   ~
video of a dramatic reading )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (p & p lizzy wanderer)
April is National Poetry Month, so I'm going to be posting some poems this month.  I'll aim for at least two a week.  Today's poem is by Mary Oliver, one of my favorite contemporary poets.  It's full of wonder at the natural world, accessible, and touched with a glint of humor.

"This World" by Mary Oliver )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (somewhere i have never traveled)
Meme from [livejournal.com profile] jaclynhyde  (I think someone else on the f-list also posted this meme lately and I neglected to do it then):  when you see this, post a poem in your journal.

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver
--------------------------

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

---------------------------

I discovered this poem because of a lovely wallpaper (that I now can't find the maker of, alas!) featuring Ten, Rose, and Jack that quoted the final nine lines.  It's a gorgeous, wise poem.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (reading outside)
It's time to share another poem!  This one comes from Wendell Berry, whose work I first learned about in a college course called Religion and the Environment.  When not writing poems, essays, or fiction, Berry is a farmer in his native Kentucky, using sustainable techniques to live his values of living closely with the Earth and treating it well.  I have a collection of his poetry called A Timbered Choir:  The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997.  I've read this book very slowly over nearly three years because I prefer to take it with me outside and savor a poem or two at a time in some quiet place. The poetry is unpretentious but elegantly crafted and heartfelt:  poems to meditate upon more than to dissect.  He writes about nature, humankind's distance from and destruction of the environment, love, the value of good work balanced by a time of rest, God, death, and the connections between all of these topics.  This one, however, I love for the reasons it gives for writing as well as the sense of peace of moving beyond words. 

"1994:  VII"

I would not have been a poet
except that I have been in love
alive in this mortal world,
or an essayist except that I
have been bewildered and afraid,
or a storyteller had I not heard
stories passing to me through the air,
or a writer at all except
I have been wakeful at night
and words have come to me
out of their deep caves
needing to be remembered.
But on the days I am lucky
or blessed, I am silent.
I go into the one body
that two make in making marriage
that for all our trying, all
our deaf-and-dumb of speech,
has no tongue.  Or I give myself
to gravity, light, and air
and am carried back
to solitary work in fields
and woods, where my hands
rest upon a world unnamed,
complete, unanswerable, and final
as our daily bread and meat.
The way of love leads all ways
to life beyond words, silent
and secret.  To serve that triumph
I have done all the rest.

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (bad wolf red)
April is National Poetry Month.  [livejournal.com profile] isiscaughey  has been posting poems occasionally in celebration of this month, and I have decided to shamelessly rip off this idea.  The result is more poetry being enjoyed.  Yay poetry!

Here's one I discovered over at Endicott Studios, a great resource for fairytale-related art and literature where I hung out while writing "Path of Needles."  It's based on a tale called "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."


"The Iron Shoes" by Johnny Clewell

Seven long years I looked for you.
I wore seven pairs of iron shoes.
I ate seven loaves of iron bread.
I climbed seven iron mountains
until I reached this shore.

Here, it is always summer.
Here, the grass is soft underfoot, plums
and peaches fall sweet and ripe
right into our outstretched hands.
We lie at night on sheets edged with lace.

Why is it I cannot sleep?
I lie on the royal pillows,
the wind of your breath rises and falls,
a sliver of moon travels over the hills,
and I wait for sleep to come.

When I dream, I am on that road once more.
I follow a trail of purpose and will,
my legs are strong, and you
my dear are the moon
on the distant horizon.

I know iron. I know its weight. Its taste.
The rise and fall
of black, black hills.
Seven long years I looked for you.
Now I'm lost in this gentle green land.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~


Lovely, eh?  I particularly like the use of repetition and the imagery at the end of the second-to-last stanza.  The original text of the poem (with author biography and a link to an essay about the fairytale this is based on) is here.

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (specs diagonal)
Meme borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] isiscaughey :

Post your favorite poem, and pass it on.
Great idea, though I had an insanely hard time picking. I have a whole lot of poems that are important to me for different reasons. In the end, I decided to cheat and post two.

i thank You God for most this amazing by e.e. cummings )

 

The Day Millicent Found the World by William Stafford )

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