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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's not just bodies that need exercise. Minds can use a good stretch. A poem can do that for you

A friend has just reminded me that it's William Blake's birthday today. William was the visionary, a Londoner who saw visions of God and painted them. He also wrote some pretty fab poetry such as Tyger tyger burning bright / in the forests of the night etc.

A sparkfriend sent me a poem the other day which was nice, because I'm fond of a good stanza. I read it a lot, esp in the bath. I haven't seen any for a while, but the Poetry Society used to do Poems on the Underground and if you were lucky and it was a short one you could memorise it between Shepherd's Bush and Holborn. Or wherever.

A good poem broadens the mind, because the words are the best ones in an order you may not have seen them in before. They give your brain a rare old workout and a new path to wander along, different from the mundane.

My actual favourite poem? It's the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald. Very famous, not fashionable, but fabulous. It's mainly about the joys of wine and song and lying about and enjoying life. Here's just one verse - my favourite:

One moment, in annihilation's waste
One moment, of the well of life to taste
The stars are setting, and the caravan
Starts for the dawn of nothing - o make haste!

And to me, that's it. Take life with both hands, and take it now.

You only get one chance.

PS: please share link to your favourite poem.
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    1727 days ago
    Fab! Thanks. emoticon
    1742 days ago
    I go through phases of favourite poems and poets... at the moment it is pablo neruda and ee cumminbs
    1750 days ago
    1752 days ago
    Nice Poem! Check out the book of Women Poets...from Antiquity to now, a favorite book of mine. emoticon
    1757 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!
    1758 days ago
    I used to love to write poetry. How is it we give up things we love without even realizing it?
    1758 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1758 days ago
  • LIS193
    Thank you for sharing your favourite poem :)
    1758 days ago
    don't read much poetry....tho I can appreciate a good one now and them ...... enjoy!
    1758 days ago
  • KIPPER15
    Lovely poem. I enjoy poetry. emoticon
    1758 days ago
  • SMILEY3826
    such a wonderful poem! thanks for sharing!
    1759 days ago
    1759 days ago
    1759 days ago
    Nice read, thank you for the poem!
    Well, it's difficult. As my mother tongue is Hungarian, all poems I know and love are Hungarian. In primary and secondary school I went into competitions to receit, and had good success! I'll look up one that is translated to English:

    Here's one from Miklós Radnóti:
    BR>Miklos Radnoti: How Others See

    How others see this region, I cannot understand:
    to me, this little country is menaced motherland
    with flames around, the world of my childhood swaying far,
    and I am grown from this land as tender branches are
    from trees. And may my body sink into this soil in the end.
    When plants reach out towards me, I greet them as a friend
    and know their names and flowers. I am at home here, knowing
    the people on the road and why and where they are going-
    and how I know the meaning when by a summer lane
    the sunset paints the walls with a liquid flame of pain!
    The pilot can’t help seeing a war map from the sky,
    can’t tell below the home of Vörösmarty Mihály;
    what can he identify there? grim barracks and factories,
    but I see steeples,oxen, farms, grasshoppers and bees;
    his lens spies out the vital production plants, the fields,
    but I can see the worker, afraid below, who shields
    his labour, a singing orchard, a vinyard and a wood,
    among the graves a granny mourning her widowhood,
    and what may seem a plant or rail line that must be wrecked
    is just a signalhouse with the keeper standing erect
    and waving his red flag, lots of children around the guard,
    a shepherd dog might roll in the dust in a factory yard,
    and there’s the park with the footprints of past loves
    and the flavour
    of childhood kisses- the honey, the cranberry I still savour;
    and on my way to school, by the kerbside to postpone
    a spot-test one certain morning, I stepped upon a stone:
    look! there’s the stone whose magic the pilot cannot see,
    no instrument would merge it in his topography.

    True, guilty are we all here, our people as the rest,
    we know our faults, we know how and when we have
    but there are blameless lives here of toil and poetry and passion,
    and infants also, with growing capacity for compassion-
    they will protect its glow while in gloomy shelters till
    once more our land is marked by the finger of peace:
    then they will
    respond to our muffled words with new voices fresh and bright.

    Spread your great wings above us, protective cloud of night.

    January 17 , 1944
    1759 days ago
    I like Anne Sexton's fairy tale poems
    1760 days ago
  • CICELY360
    good blog
    1760 days ago
    I love so many poems, that it would be impossible to choose just one. "If" by Rudyard Kipling is my favourite inspirational poem for sure. I am quite fond of E. A. Robinson...Richard Cory is one of his best. I also love many Robert Frost poems..."Nature's First Green is Gold." I am not terribly fond of Emily Dickinson, though I have really tried to like her work. Stephen Vincent Benet, American Names. If I think about it awhile, I know I can come up with tons of others. Poetry is something I really, really love. I'm so glad you asked about it, because it reminded me of so many good things. :-)
    1760 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!
    1760 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1760 days ago
    1760 days ago
    What a great thread! I love poetry! Quite a few of my favorites have already been mentioned- Frost, Blake. I like Yeats's Ode to a Grecian Urn.
    I also enjoy the following poem because I am undaunted:
    emoticon emoticon
    1760 days ago
    1760 days ago
    1760 days ago
    I like to walk through cemeteries here is one from a gravestone.

    Observe me now as you pass by
    As you are now so once was I
    As I am now soon you will be
    Prepare for death and follow me
    1760 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1760 days ago
    emoticon Maby Dickinson's "I'm Nobody":
    I'm nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
    They'd banish us; you know!

    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public like a frog
    To tell one's name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!
    1760 days ago
    Nice, thought the poem was lovely.
    1760 days ago
    emoticon What a beautiful verse, thanks for sharing!

    Have a great day!

    Karen emoticon
    1760 days ago
    After A While by Veronica A Shoffstall

    1760 days ago
    If you'd like to see the Poems on the Underground again, they've been published in book form. emoticon
    1760 days ago
    One I learned as a young child. I do not know it's origin.

    I never saw a purple cow;
    I never hope to see one.
    But I can tell you anyhow
    I would rather see than be one.

    1760 days ago
    I like your reminder to exercise our brains too. It hadn't occurred to me, since being out of school, to memorize them.

    I do like poetry. I usually like ones that don't rhyme and prose.

    I'd have to figure out which is my fav. emoticon
    1760 days ago
    Great poem!
    1760 days ago
    Can't ever get enough of Blake. In my top ten is When You Are Old by Yeats, because it has resonated for me in different ways at different stages in life:

    I am so loving this log blog today! What a great idea.
    1760 days ago
    I read poetry in HS for the forensic competitions but I'm not a reader of it otherwise. Thank you for sharing yours--and now others are also sharing!!
    1760 days ago
  • KATYDID412
    so much depends
    a red wheel
    glazed with rain
    beside the white
    1760 days ago
  • MOMMY445
    what a great poem! thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!
    1760 days ago
    I've never been really into poetry - so much of it just seems really pretentious (though maybe I'm just not encountering the good stuff). BUT I will say that I always loved Shel Silverstein. :) A quick sample: "The baby bat/Screamed out in fright/"Turn on the dark,/I'm afraid of the light!" Yeah, so he wrote kid-friendly poems. They were still fun and imaginative. :)
    1760 days ago
    I agree! That life with both hands, and take it today! Thanks for sharing.
    I like Robert Frost poems.
    1760 days ago
    Very nice... Blake was pure genius!
    1760 days ago
  • DJSHIP46
    Thanks for sharing... sorry I've nothing to give back emoticon
    1760 days ago
    I am sorry but I don't share you enthusiasm for poetry. I slept through most of that class.
    1760 days ago
  • FARIS71
    Marvelous! I might have to dust off some poetry books. Hmmmm
    1760 days ago
    great poems here. I dont have a favorite
    1760 days ago
  • NCSUE0514
    i thank you God for this most amazing
    by E. E. Cummings

    i thank You God for this most amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
    wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
    day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any-lifted from the no
    of all nothing-human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
    1760 days ago
    Most impact - The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost. So many poems, how to choose a favourite. Depends on my mood. Made a special outing to Robert Frosts home when on September (in both senses) honeymoon in New England, which was very evocative. Thanks for sending me off to reread some favourites.
    1761 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Wilfred Owen, Strange Meeting
    It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
    Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
    Through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
    Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
    Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
    Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
    With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
    Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
    And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall;
    By his dead smile, I knew we stood in Hell.
    With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained;
    Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
    And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
    "Strange, friend," I said, "Here is no cause to mourn."
    "None," said the other, "Save the undone years,
    The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
    Was my life also; I went hunting wild
    After the wildest beauty in the world,
    Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
    But mocks the steady running of the hour,
    And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
    For by my glee might many men have laughed,
    And of my weeping something has been left,
    Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
    The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
    Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
    Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
    They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
    None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
    Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
    Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery;
    To miss the march of this retreating world
    Into vain citadels that are not walled.
    Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
    I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
    Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
    I would have poured my spirit without stint
    But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
    Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
    I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
    I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
    Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
    I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
    Let us sleep now . . ."

    I'm also fond of Coleridge's, Kubla Khan. But there are many others - sometimes my favourite depends on the mood I'm in.

    1761 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/29/2012 1:27:42 AM
    This isn't my favorite poem and I don't think it has great literary value, but it does inspire me. It was given to me by a weight watcher's leader and I don't know the author.

    When you've eaten too much and you can't write it down,
    and you feel like the biggest failure in town.
    When you want to give up just because you gave in
    and forget all about being healthy and thin.

    SO WHAT! You went over your points a bit.
    It's your next move that counts, So don't
    you quit!
    It's a moment of truth, it's an attitude change.
    It's learning the skills to get back in your range.
    It's telling yourself, You've done great up till now,
    you can take on this challenge and beat it somehow.

    It's part of your journey toward reaching your goal.
    You're still gonna make it, just stay in control.
    To stumble and fall is not a disgrace
    if you summon the will to get back in the race.
    But, often the struggler, when losing their grip,
    just throws in the towel and continues to slip.
    And learns too late when the damage is done
    that the race wasn't over, they still could have won.

    Lifestyle change can be awkward and slow,
    but facing each challenge will help you grow.
    Success is failure turned inside out,
    the silver tint in a cloud of doubt.
    When you're pushing to the brink, just refuse to submit.
    If you bite it, you write it, BUT DON'T YOU QUIT!

    1761 days ago
    This is one of my faves b/c it's written so differently...

    l(a by E.E. Cummings


    1761 days ago
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