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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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Member Comments About This Blog Post

    Next trip to the library
    I will have to check them out
    Lately I have been on a Sci-Fi kick
    I could use more etherical and
    cultured reading !

    Have a Thrilling Thursday

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    1910 days ago
    emoticon Thank you for sharing your favorite poem. I loved it. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1910 days ago
    There are a few poems that I adore. Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"is probably the first poem that I can recall. Another of his poems that I find so heartbreaking is "Annabel Lee". "The Good-Morrow" by John Donne, which was featured in the movie "Tristan and Isolde" is another of my favorites. It is a tale of two lovers who turn their backs upon a threatening world and celebrate their discovery of a different world in each other. Hopeless romantic that I am, it has become one of my favorites.

    "I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
    Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
    But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
    Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
    ’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
    If ever any beauty I did see,
    Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

    And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
    Which watch not one another out of fear;
    For love, all love of other sights controls,
    And makes one little room an everywhere.
    Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
    Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
    Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

    My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
    And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
    Where can we find two better hemispheres,
    Without sharp north, without declining west?
    Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
    If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
    Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die."

    So many poems that I enjoy. I watch a lot of military channel for some reason, lol, guess I like learning about stuff and was watching this particular show about World War II and a poem was read that struck me as sad, but poignant. The poem is by Louis Simpson and is called "Carentan O Carentan", You can read this poem at:

    1910 days ago
    I also love "If" by Rudyard Kipling
    1910 days ago
    Beautiful! emoticon emoticon I have so many favorites and I have never thought about which is my favorite. May be Trees.
    1910 days ago
    The house of the mouse
    is a wee little house,
    a green little house in the grass,
    which big clumsy folk
    may hunt and may poke
    and still never see as they pass
    this sweet little, neat little,
    wee little, green little,
    cuddle-down hide-away
    house in the grass.

    Lucy Sprague Mitchell

    The first poem that I memorized when I was around 3 or 4 years of age.
    1910 days ago
    Today was a good day for the advice to take life with both hands, we only get one chance. I need to remember to make the most of mine.
    1910 days ago
    I love poetry thank you for sharing this with us ... My favorite is actually a William Blake poem .. the Dream ...
    1910 days ago
    Thanks for your blog. I'll have to think on a favorite poem.
    1910 days ago
    The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and many others by T. S. Eliot

    Plus I love what you say about poetry - "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."

    Super definition!

    Also this by Langston Hughes - the first poem he wrote, Dream Deferred -
    "What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up
    Like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore—
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over—
    like a syrupy sweet?
    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.
    Or does it explode?"

    1911 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    Love your favorite poem.

    Okay, here's my favorite: I Am Waiting by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
    1911 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    I love Blake! In fact I love poetry. One of my favourites is Prayer before Birth by Louis Macniece
    1911 days ago
    I like Robert Herrick.

    Gather ye rosebuds while you may
    Old Time is still a-flying
    And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying

    The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun
    The higher he's a-getting
    The sooner will his race be run
    And nearer he's to setting

    That age is best which is the first
    When youth and blood are warmer
    But being spent, the worse and worst
    Times still suceed the former

    Then be not coy, but use your time
    And while ye may, go marry:
    For having lost but once your prime
    You may for ever tarry

    1911 days ago
    I've always been partial to Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
    1911 days ago
    Great blog! I love The Castle by Edwin Muir.
    1911 days ago
    There's a wonderful album of Blake's poetry set to music by folk singer-songwriter Greg Brown. I have it, on vinyl!
    1911 days ago
    OH I LIKE THAT! emoticon
    1911 days ago
    Such a long time since I read Omar Khayyam must find it again it really is the truth of life but I like your translation take life in both hands and take it now. Great blog again.
    1911 days ago
    I DO like Blake! A Poison Tree is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing a portion of the Rubaiyat.
    1911 days ago
  • LEXIE63
    I like that! :-)
    1911 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    I do agree! emoticon
    1911 days ago
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