Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Things Metered

It's National Poetry Month. It's also a lot of other months, like Humor Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month and  National Financial Literacy Month and Autism Awareness Month and National Volunteer Month. OK, I'm on page 3 of the google results for that search, I think I'll leave it up to you to read the rest and make sure you don't miss anything.

I usually don't manage to say anything about the Poetry Month until it's practically gone. This year, due to a glitch in programming (I can't find the link I want to one of the 10 charities I was going to list), I'm getting here even before the smack dab middle of the month. Go me! Read on for a list of 10 poets, poems and verses that turn my crank.

1. Any Shel Silverstein will do, really. It's hard to find much of it online because he's got some very strict enforcement of copyright rules. I haven't read much of his adult work but he wasn't a warm and fuzzy Mr. Rogers type. He got his start at Playboy, I believe. You can read Weird-Bird here, which I like. Of course Listen to the MUSTN'TS, is the best ever and I thank this blogger for getting it on the web.

2. I actually really like T. S. Eliot. It's dark and plodding in a way that's rhythmic like your heartbeat. Little Gidding is my favorite. "We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time."

3. Shakespeare. 'Nuff said. Here's a good moment from King Lear:

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

4. Ever heard of Algernon Charles Swinburne? Yeah, me either until I went to drama school. We studied A Forsaken Garden and I fell in love with it. The last stanza is, predictably, the kicker:

Till the slow sea rise and the sheer cliff crumble,
Till terrace and meadow the deep gulfs drink,
Till the strength of the waves of the high tides humble
The fields that lessen, the rocks that shrink,
Here now in his triumph where all things falter,
Stretched out on the spoils that his own hand spread,
As a god self-slain on his own strange altar,
Death lies dead. 

5.   Bob Dylan is no slouch verse-wise. I am toying with the idea of learning to sing You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. "Dragon clouds so high above/I have only known careless love,/It's always hit me from below." I mean, seriously, how does that not break you?

6. If I'm being honest I don't really know enough Whitman to recommend one thing. If Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days did him any justice, and I think it did, then he's delicious and probably anywhere is a good place to start.

7. I like the Bartholomew stories best of Dr. Seuss's books. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Maybe it was the medieval setting. Maybe it was all the things you can rhyme with Oobleck.

8. I know it's common of me but I'm not ashamed, I love e. e. cummings' i carry your heart.

9.  The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow / Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. / When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, / But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

10.  I, truly, cannot complete a list like this without Ms. Dickinson. A fellow New Englander, a recluse, unlucky in love and late to publish. She and her "amethyst remembrance" are beautiful.


  1. Anonymous5:32 PM

    Dorothy Parker - one perfect rose (or resume). ChemE

  2. I am very fond of the works of Ogden Nash.