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Try as Hard as You Can Every Moment You're Given


Sunday, December 26, 2010

I got three books of poetry for my birthday this year, so I decided to share a poem from each one of them to help me get started blogging again. This poem is from a book my son gave me called The Poets Laureate Anthology, which was developed in association with the Library of Congress. My son works at the Library of Congress, and he knows I love poetry, so it was a good choice. In days to come I will pick a poem from each of the books my sister gave me.

I opened my new book at random and found the following poem by Rita Dove, who was Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995. There is a lot of good stuff in this poem. I love the line: Don’t let a little pain stop you; try as hard as you can every minute you’re given or else sit down and shut up. I also like the idea of measuring a life in deeds.

See what you think.

This Life

My grandmother told me there’d be good days
to counter the dark ones,
with blue skies in the heart as far
as the soul could see. She said
you could measure a life in as many ways
as there were to bake a pound cake,
but you still needed real butter and eggs
for a good one—pound cake, that is,
but I knew what she meant. She was always
talking around corners like that;
she knew words carried their treasures
like a grape cluster around its own juice.
She loved words; she thought a book
was a monument to the glory of creation
and a library…well, sometimes
just trying to describe Jubilation
will get you a bit tongue, so let’s
leave it at that. But my grandmother
was nobody’s fool, and she’d tell anybody
smart enough to listen. Don’t let a little pain
stop you; try as hard as you can
every minute you’re given or else
sit down and shut up—though in her opinion,
keeping quiet in noisy times was a sin
against everything God and democracy
intended us for. I know she’d like
where I’m standing right now. She’d say
a man who could measure his life in deeds
was larger inside than the vessel that carried him;
she’d say he was a cluster of grapes.
My grandmother was only four feet ten
but when she entered a room, even the books
came to attention. Giants come in all sizes:
Sometimes a moment is a monument;
sometimes an institution breathes—
like a library. Like this halcyon day.

Rita Dove

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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
CAROLINE1000 2/15/2011 9:34PM

    Beautiful. Thank you. Let's all be giants!

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JOYATLAST 2/8/2011 2:04PM

    emoticon If you don't mind, I'd like to copy that and bask in it awhile.

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BRIARROSE30 1/5/2011 1:09AM

    Beautiful!

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PENNYAN45 1/2/2011 7:56PM

    What a gift - an anthology of poetry by Poets Laureate!

And I love that grandmother who "thought a book was a monument to the glory of creation" and who talked about measuring life "in deeds."

Thanks for sharing. I hope you will post more in future blogs.

Happy New Year!!

emoticon emoticon

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ASPENHUGGER 12/29/2010 11:06PM

    As usual, you have stunned me! Thanks!

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COLEENCOLE 12/29/2010 1:01PM

    Such a way with words. Thanks.

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ALIBROM 12/28/2010 12:53AM

    A nice strong, motivating poem! Thanks for sharing.

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ALLIEINSHAPE 12/27/2010 1:33AM

    Nothing like real butter and eggs to make a good pound cake. I like it. Thanks for sharing that wonderful poem! I may have mentioned it before but both my brother and niece are poets so lots of it floating around here. Enjoy your new poetry books!

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JCORYCMA 12/26/2010 9:46PM

    Oh my goodness - there are so many great lines in this poem it would be hard to pick a favorite. I could picture a grandma like that! Thanks for sharing it with us - and do re-embrace blogging. We are the benefactors! emoticon

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TYEASLEY 12/26/2010 9:36PM

    emoticon I too love poems. Happy holidays and welcome back to blogging.

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CTEMPLE 12/26/2010 7:14PM

    emoticon
Claudia

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SHOSHANADP 12/26/2010 5:32PM

    Welcome back to blogging!

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CATLADY52 12/26/2010 3:56PM

    That is a beautiful poem. emoticon

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