Tags: poem

hat, smile, happy

Poem of the Week: Ithaka

I've gotten out of the habit of posting poetry! Here's one of my favorites, a poem I discovered only about two years ago. I've lj-cut it for length, but please do click and read the whole thing. It's so worthwhile.

Ithaka
by C. P. Cavafy; translated by Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon -- don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon -- you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
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hat, smile, happy

Happy Thanksgiving Day

This is the best poem for Thanksgiving Day, in my opinion. It's not great poetry, but it really is a great song.

Count Your Blessings
by Irving Berlin

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads,
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds.

If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings.
temptation, obsessed

Poem of the Week: Overheard on a Salt Marsh

Overheard on a Salt Marsh
by Harold Monro

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.

No.

Give them me. Give them me.

No.

Then I will howl all night in the reeds. Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads. I desire them.

No.

I will howl in a deep lagoon for your green glass beads, I love them so. Give them me. Give them me.

No.
hat, smile, happy

Poem of the Week: The Raven

It's a wet and blustery night, the first of this autumn. Just the night for The Raven!

The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."
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hat, smile, happy

Song: Into the West

A few days ago I answered a meme question that asked what music I wanted played at my funeral. I'd never really given that much thought.

When my Dad was dying, he asked me to make his burial and funeral arrangements. I asked him what music he wanted, and he smiled and waved his hand dismissively. "The Beatles", he said, "or the Washington Redskins fight song."

In the end, there wasn't any music. The rabbi at his temple was Daddy's old personal friend, and he led the funeral in a very sparse and traditional manner. The chanting was gorgeous, and it was fitting.

But I still think we should have sung the Washington Redskins fight song, and played a Beatles medley.

Anyway, the first song that came to mind when I thought of my own funeral was Beethoven's Ode to Joy, and I still like that. But I really want this one to be sung, preferably by my dozens of great-grandchildren:

Into The West
by Howard Shore, Fran Walsh, & Annie Lennox

Lay down your sweet and weary head.
Night is falling, you've come to journey's end.
Sleep now and dream of the ones who came before;
They are calling from across the distant shore.

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away,
Safe in my arms, you're only sleeping.

What can you see on the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea a pale moon rises,
The ships have come to carry you home.

And all will turn to silver glass,
A light on the water, all souls pass.

Hope fades into the world of night,
Through shadows falling out of memory and time.

Don't say: "We have come now to the end" --
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms, just sleeping.

And all will turn to silver glass,
A light on the water, gray ships pass
Into the West.
plot, cackle

A Song for the Day: Jack the Slob

Jack the Slob
by Leslie Fish

Jack the Slob to Venus prayed: prayed, prayed, merry merry prayed
Grant this night I shall get laid! laid, laid, merry, merry laid, tonight I shall get laid

Venus said "This will I do. do, do, merry merry do
But first I'll ask three things of you: you, you, merry merry you, three things I'll ask of you

Wash your face and butt and hair, hair, hair, merry merry hair
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So lazy swains you should believe: -lieve, -lieve, merry, merry -lieve
Do not get the goddess peeved! peeved, peeved, merry, merry peeved, Never get her peeved!
hat, smile, happy

Poem of the Week: For the Northeast Regional Library, on Cottman Avenue

I really love this one. Check out the author's blog for more about the pantoum form of this poem and the writing process.


For the Northeast Regional Library, on Cottman Avenue
by dichroic

When I was young my books were likewise small
With simple visions of the world around.
A book's a cave with shadows on the wall
To delineate the world and set our bounds.

With simple visions of the world around
They grow more detailed as the readers grow
To delineate the world and set our bounds
And try to make some sense of what we know.

They grow more detailed as the readers grow
We learn to ask the harder questions then
To try to make some sense of what we know.
Those shadows give us some suggestions then.

We learn to ask the harder questions then
That each of us must answer for ourselves.
Those shadows give us some suggestions then;
I found my own truths waited on those shelves.

What each of us must answer for ourselves:
The questions that grow more complex with age
I found my truths began upon those shelves,
A start, though not a finish, on the page.

The questions that grow more complex with age...
When I was young my books were likewise small
A start, though not a finish, on the page;
A book's a cave with shadows on the wall.
hat, smile, happy

Poem: Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds (Shakespeare's Sonnet CXVI)

For some reason, this makes me cry whenever I recite it.

Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds (Sonnet CXVI)
by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
hat, smile, happy

Poem of the Week: Love Is Not All

Love Is Not All
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by need and moaning for release
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.
hat, smile, happy

Poem of the Week: The Way Through the Woods

A very non-Kiplingesque poem:

The Way Through the Woods
by Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods....
But there is no road through the woods.