Thursday, April 17, 2008

Some Poems In My Pocket

I don't read as much poetry as I used to, and I thought I had exhausted all my desire for poetry what my silly post about Limericks, Haikus But No Quatrains a few weeks ago. But I like the idea of Lisa's meme about poetry over at A Light That Shines Again so I'll give it go.

One might think that this is just a silly game and that posting poems or discussing them has little or nothing to do with genealogy or family history. However, how many of us, while cleaning out an aging parents house, has happened upon an old, yellowed and tattered newspaper clipping of a poem? One that your mother always kept in her purse or perhaps laminated and used as a bookmark. For generations people have looked to favorite poems or passages of poems as touchstones for reflection in their daily lives.

Among my favorite poets are Rachel Hadas, William Carlos Willams, Pablo Neruda, Emily Dickinson and Federico Garcia Lorca. And here are my favorite poems by some of these authors.

Because I could not stop for Death (712)
by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity –

The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

A passage from Asphodel, That Greeny Flower
by William Carlos Williams

It was the love of love,
the love that swallows up all else,
a grateful love,
a love of nature, of people,
of animals,
a love engendering
gentleness and goodness
that moved me
and that I saw in you.

Copyright © 1962 by William Carlos Williams

Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

100 Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor by Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Tapscott, Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. Copyright © 1986.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

These are beautiful! Knowing what poems move people tells you so much about them.