Monday, April 30, 2007

30 days, 30 poems

In honor of National Poetry Month I decided that I would share 30 of my favorite poems with you. I cannot promise a poem every day--I wouldn't be able to suceed. So some days will have two or more poems, others none. There will still be 30 poems for the month. (Even if it means that I have to post ten on April 30, which it might. ;))

Index of Poems
Poem 1: "I never saw a moor" by Emily Dickinson
Poem 2: Remember by Christina Rossetti
Poem 3: Death be Not Proud by John Donne
Poem 4: Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas
Poem 5: God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Poem 6: My True-love Hath my Heart by Sir Philip Sidney
Poem 7: The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats
Poem 8: Swan and Shadow by John Hollander
Poem 9: Sailing to Byzantium by W.B. Yeats
Poem 10: The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Poem 11: The Sea of Life by Abbess Thaisia
Poem 12: "In Western Lands" by J.R.R. Tolkien
Poem 13: "Fear no More" by William Shakespeare
Poem 14: The Old Knight by George Peele
Poem 15: Elegy for Jane by Theodore Roethke
Poem 16: She Walks in Beauty by George Gordon, Lord Byron
Poem 17: "'Hope' is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson
Poem 18: A Birthday by Christina Rossetti
Poem 19: The World by Henry Vaughan
Poem 20: Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas
Poem 21: IX [Funeral Blues] by W.H. Auden
Poem 22: The Dead by Rupert Brooke
Poem 23: The Waking by Theodore Roethke
Poem 24: An Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum
Poem 25: Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Poem 26: Under a Wiltshire Apple Tree by Anna de Bary
Poem 27: The World is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth
Poem 28: The Poplar Field by William Cowper
Poem 29: Tarantella by Hilaire Belloc
Poem 30: Excerpt from The Marshes of Glynn by Sidney Lanier
This post will remain at the top of the blog for April.

Orthodox quotes

I decided to start a new series. For the next week I'll be posting on Orthodoxy. I'll probably also been posting on other things, but I will try to make sure that at least one post every day has something to do with Orthodoxy. To start off, here are a few quotes that I've come across recently.

"Of course God does not need prayer from us sinners, but in His love for us He likes to see us pray. Not only is the highest form of prayer....pleasing to Him....but even small acts done in His name are pleasing in His sight-every thought and intention directed to His glory and our salvation." ~Way of a Pilgrim

"God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil--for the devil is cold--let us call upon the Lord. he will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance." ~St. Seraphim of Sarov

"True Orthodox fidelity to the past must always be a creative fidelity; for true Orthodox can never rest satisfied with a barren 'theology of repetition,' which, parrot-like, repeats accepted formulae without striving to understand what lies beyond it....An Orthodox thinker must see Tradition from within, he must enter into its inner spirit, he must re-experience the meaning of Tradition in a manner that is exploratory, courageous, and full of imaginative creativity." ~Bp. Kallistos (Timothy) Ware, The Orthodox Church

"The Orthodox Church on Good Friday thinks not simply of Christ's human pain and suffering by itself, but rather of the contrast between His outward humiliation and His inward glory. Orthodox see not just the suffering humanity of Christ, but a suffering God." ~Bp. Kallistos (Timothy) Ware, The Orthodox Church

Poem 30

It's strange to think that April is over already. I've enjoyed this series a lot--hope you have too.

Excerpt from "The Marshes of Glynn"

Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!
Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun,
Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won
God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain
And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.

As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behond I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the skies:
By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:
Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within
The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.

~Sidney Lanier

This is a long poem and I couldn't post it all, but it is wonderful and you should read it. Go here for the full-length version and the original formatting.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Poem 29


Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of the tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the dark of the vine verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn't got a penny,
And who weren't paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in--
And the Ting, Tong, Tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
Never more;
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar:
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
Nno sound
In the walls of the Halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground.
No sound:
Only the boom
Of the far Waterfall like Doom.

~Hilaire Belloc

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Night at the Vulcan review

I like detectives. Not all of them by any means, but I like them. Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey, Inspector Grant, and most recently, Inspector Alleyn. Any new-to-me Alleyn mystery is a cause for rejoicing, the donning of a smoking jacket and the putting up of an 'occupied' sign on my (non-existent) study door. Lord Peter is perhaps my favorite but Alleyn comes close.

I'm not sure how many Alleyns I've read so far; my wild guess is about ten. They have, at this point, started to get a bit formulaic, although the characters are always a delight. Night at the Vulcan was interesting partly because it varied the formula a bit and also because Alleyn managed to solve the mystery in a single night.

The story starts out with a young woman named Martyn Tarne who intended to audition for a small part in a play but arrives too late. She obviously has no money and is at the end of her rope. She manages to wing a job as the leading lady's dresser. They very quickly notice Martyn's strong resemblance to the leading man, Adam Poole. A complicated situation results. Of course there is a murder--someone no one likes or will miss very much. Alleyn arrives on the scene accompanied by Fox and Mike Lamprey, from A Surfeit of Lampreys. And of course the murderer is caught, although not quite in the usual way.

Night at the Vulcan is one of Marsh's more clever mysteries. The cast of characters is not as appealing as they often are, but the two main characters remain sympathetic. All in all, it was an enjoyable book and satisfying book.

Poem 28

The Poplar Field

The poplars are felled; farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no more and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew,
And now in the grass below they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.

The blackbird has fled to another retreat
Where the hazles afford him a screen from the heat,
And the scene where his melody charmed me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no mroe.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they
With a turf on my breat, and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

'Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To must on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he.

~William Cowper

Try reading this one aloud and listen for the flow of the words and the sound.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Poem 27

The World is Too Much with Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom ot the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

~William Wordsworth

Wordsworth certainly had pantheistic tendencies, but I think he makes a good point all the same.

It's hard to believe that there are only three more poems to post. April has flown by.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Poem 26

Under a Wiltshire Apple Tree

Some folks as can afford,
So I've heard say,
Set up a sort of cross
Right in the garden way
To mind 'em of the Lord.
But I, when I do see
Thik apple tree
An' stoopin' limb
All spread wi' moss,
I think of Himm
And how He talks wi' me.
I think of God

And how He trod
That garden long ago;
He walked, I reckon, to and fro
And then sat down
Upon the groun'
Or some low limb
What suited Him,
Such as you see
On many a tree,
And on thik very one
Where I at set o' sun
Do sit and talk wi' He.

And mornings too, I rise and come
An' sit down where the branch be low;
A bird do sing, a bee do hum,
The flowers in the border blow,
And all my heart's so glad and clear
As pools be when the sun do peer,
As pools a-laughing in the light
When mornin' air is swep' an' bright,
As pools what got all Heaven in sight,
So's my heart's cheer
When He is near.

He never pushed the garden door,
He left no foot mark on the floor;
I never heard 'Un stir nor tread
And yet His Hand do bless my head,
And when 'tis time for work to start
I takes Him with me in my heart.
And when I die, pray God I see
At very last thik apple tree
An' stoopin' limb,
And think of Him
And all he been to me.

~Anna de Bary

Poem 25

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake,
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely dark and deep;
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep:
And miles to go before I sleep.

~Robert Frost

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Poem 24

An Old Woman of the Roads

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped-up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed, and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house or bush,
And tired I am of bog and road
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house--a house of my own--
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

~Padraic Colum

Monday, April 23, 2007

Poem 23

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside men, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

Thiss shaking keeps me steady. I should know,
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

~Theodore Roethke

I love "The Waking," partly because I really have no idea what it's about. I have discovered that I enjoy poets like Dylan Thomas, Theodore Roethke, John Donne, and W.B. Yeats who are not easily read, poets who require you to dig in your heels and examine every word, every nuance, to discover what they are saying.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Poem 22

The Dead

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.

These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder, sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

~Rupert Brooke

I was a freshman in high school when I first encountered the War Poets--Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Joyce Kilmer, and others. These were, as Walter de la Mare says, "none of them old, many in the heyday of their youth and promise, who besides proving themselves as soldiers in the Great War had also proved themselves poets" (Come Hither, 590). They all died, Rupert Brooke of blood poisoning on this day in 1915, Wilfred Owen in going over the top on November 4, 1918--just a week before the Armistice. They were all poets of great promise.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Poem 21

IX [Funeral Blues]

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let the aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

~W.H. Auden

Friday, April 20, 2007

Poem 20

Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the night-jars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning pace, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful tuning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

~Dylan Thomas

Original formatting, with a recording of Thomas reading this poem.

Poem 19

The World

I saw Eternity the other night
Like a great Ring of pure and endless light
All calm as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time, in hours, days, years,
Driven by the spheres,
Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
And all her train were hurled.
The doting Lover in his quaintest strain
Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
Wit's sour delights;
With gloves and knots, the silly snares of pleasure;
Yet his dear treasure
All scattered lay, while he his eyes did pour
Upon a flower.

The darksome Statesman hung with weights and woe,
Like a thick midnight fog, moved there so slow
He did nor stay nor go;
Condemning thoughts, like sad eclipses, scowl
Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without
Pursued him with one shout.
Yet digged the mole, and, lest his ways be found,
Worked under ground,
Where he did clutch his prey; but One did see
That policy.
Churches and altars fed him, perjuries
Were gnats and flies;
It rained about him blood and tears, but he
Drank them as free.

The fearful Miser on a heap of rust
Sat pining all his life there, did scarce trust
His own hands with the dust;
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
In fear of thieves.
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
And hugged each one his pelf.
The downright Epicure placed heaven in sense
And scorned pretence;
While others, slipped into a wide excess,
Said little less;
The weaker sort, slight, trivial wares enslave,
Who think them brave;
And poor despised Truth sat counting by
Their victory.

Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing and weep, soared up into the Ring;
But most would use no wing.
'Oh, fools,' said I, 'thus to prefer dark night
Before true light,
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shows the way,
The way which from this dead and dark abode
Leaps up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun, and be
More bright than he.'
But as I did their madness so discuss,
One whispered thus,
This Ring the Bridegroom did for none provide
But for his Bride.

~Henry Vaughan

Original formatting.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Poem 18

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickest fruit.
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

~Christina Rossetti

Original format.

Poem 17

"Hope" is the think with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops-at all-

And sweetest-in the Gale-is heard-
And sore must be the storm-
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm-

I've heard it in the chillest land-
And on the strangest Sea-
Yet-never-in Extremity,
It asked a crumb-of me.

~Emily Dickinson

Poem 16

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

~George Gordon, Lord Byron

I was going to post Wilfred Owen's "Anthem for Doomed Youth" and then I realized that it's not in either of the poetry books I have with me, I don't have any Romantic poetry so far, and Lord Byron died today. So I'm posting this instead. Here is the poem in the original formatting.

It is a truth universally acknowledged

that no one can resist misquoting Jane Austen--or rather the sentence I just misquoted. The rest of her wit seems to be reserved for quoting by the Janeites among us. (I plead guilty, happily.) But apparently anyone can quote that opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice. I was curious, so I did a search to see exactly which misquotes were out there. There were "about 59,000" results. Obviously many of these were directly Austen related and were in fact the original, correct quote. But certainly not all of them. A small sampling from the first ten pages of results. Further than that I dare not go.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a passport is in want of a good exchange rate. Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that cats make some people sick. Link.

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a pure-blood, a half-blood, and a muggle born have absolutely nothing in common. Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a presidential candidate with a good chance of winning must be in want of a Treasury Secretary. Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the short story is a genre in want of an audience. Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that nothing is more likely to strike fear and xenophobia into the heart of an English person than a national treasure being appropriated by an American. Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that before Miss Jane Austen received universal acclaim for inventing the game of "American Football," she wrote several popular soap operas and romantic diversions, including "Black People LIVE," "Sense and Away," "Mansfield Enders," "Emmas-Dale," and "Northanger Dallas." [This is my favorite--from the Jane Austen article on Unencyclopedia.] Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Rupert Murdoch is scum. Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is too much international cricket. Link.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an accountant in possession of a good fortune, wants nothing to do with the sales department.” Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is impossible to watch Saruman's balcony scene in the film of Two Towers without having Evita flashbacks. [This gets the prize for being able to squeeze the most allusions into a single sentence. Wow.] Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a radical woman of color in possession of a microphone is a revolution waiting to happen. Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new religion in possession of a good number of martyrs ready to die for it must be in want of a full holiday schedule. [This may take the prize for just plain weirdest.] Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if there are any loopholes in the laws of a game, players will locate and exploit them. [This is from the author of the other cricket article. He must be a Friend of Jane, to borrow AustenBlog's sobriquet.] Link.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that since certain international companies started using global liquidity management services, life has been looking up for the US dollar. Link.

If you know of any others you would like to see included, send them my way!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A college education

I came across a link to this post at LAF the other day. This post may not make much sense unless you've read it, so go do that.

I am not a wife or mother and therefore it may seem that I'm blowing smoke or speaking out of place. However, since that is my (eventual) goal, I see nothing wrong with educating myself as much as I can now.

Although I plan to be a stay-at-home wife and mother (if it is God's will) I am also attending college. There are several reasons for this. First, my parents, especially my father, encouraged me to do so. Second, God gave me a good mind and I want to develop it as best I can. College is not the only way to do this but it can be a good way to. I firmly believe that a woman ought to be able to support herself and her family if something were to happen to her husband. For me this will probably mean getting a teaching degree. This necessitates my going to college.

However, these are my choices which are supported by my parents and which seem, as far as I can tell, to be in accordance with God's will and plan for me. They are not the choices for everyone--not because some people aren't smart enough to go to college but rather because God has different plans for each of us. Some of us will be called to go to college, others won't. Neither group need judge the other. That is not to say that we won't, but that is a function of our fallen nature, not the facts.

My two cents in the on-going discussion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Poem 15

Elegy for Jane
My Student, Thrown by a Horse

I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick lookk, a sidelong pickerel smile;
And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,
And she balanced in the delight of her thought,
A wren, happy, tail into the wind,
Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.
The shade sang with her;
The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing;
And the mold sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.

Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheeck against straw;
Stirring the cleared water.
My sparrow, you are not here,
Waiting like a fern, making a spiny shadow.
The sides of wet stones cannot console me,
Nor the moss, wound with the last light.
If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:
I, with no rights in this matter,
Neither father nor lover.

~Theodore Roethke

Poem 14

The Old Knight

His golden locks time hath to silver turned;
O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth 'gainst time and age hath ever spurned,
But spurned in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.
His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
And, lovers' sonnets turned to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are age's alms:
But though from court to cottage he deaprt,
His saint is sure of his unspotted heart.
And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He'l teach his swains this carol for a song:
"Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
Curst be the souls that think her any wrong."
Goddess, allow this aged man his right,
To be your beadsman now, that was your knight.

~George Peele

I found this poem first in The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge, one of my favorite authors although she is (sadly) largely unknown now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Poem 13

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!

~William Shakespeare

This is not the formatting in my book, which has the second and fourth lines of the first three stanzas indented slightly.

Poem 12

In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.

~J.R.R. Tolkien

It strikes me that in some ways this poem is very fitting for today when so much tragedy has happened. My prayers are with the students, faculty, and parents at Virginia Tech.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Not a poem!

I've been posting a lot of poems and not much of anything else these past few weeks. So here's a post on something other than poetry!

I was browsing amongst the blogs I often read and came across a link to this post at This is Life!. I read it and found it interesting. More than just that, it sparked a contemplation of my own feelings on the subject. So this post won't really be about the original post but since it inspired me I thought I ought to give credit where it's due. (I just wrote "doe." Good grief.)

I firmly believe, and have for a long time, that each one of us has a responsiblity to care for God's creation, that we should protect nature because the Lord made it and made it for us. The world itself is not God and we should not worship it or fall into the New Age "mother earth" mentality. But, in its own way, it is one of the talents that the Lord has given us and we should guard it.

I said each one of us for a reason. Perhaps it is simply my personality or the way I've been raised, or both, or neither, but I distrust the mass environmental movement (even if it were Christian in fact and intention, which it is not.) In fact, I distrust most large movements because it makes it so easy to donate ten (or a hundred, or a thousand) dollars whenever you feel like it and feel that you have "done your part." On the contrary, without some personal, every day committment you have not "done your part" at all. I'm not totally against mass demonstrations (civil rights is a good example) but we can, in one sense, only care for where we are. Wendell Berry says almost exactly that, although possibly in a different context: "To help others, that is, we must go beyond the coldhearted charity of the 'general good' and get down to work where we are." (Home Economics, "Two Economies") I think that Orthodoxy only supports this view. Simply in looking at the decentralized structure of the Church we can see that it is the place where you live that is where your salvation is worked out. Likewise, going to church once in awhile is not enough--salvation takes an active participation for each one of us. Apply these principles to any movement and it becomes clear that the large movements should give way to the desire of a community, a family, a person, to serve God and honor His creation.

Poem 11

The Sea of Life

Like Peter I am sinking, falling,
In the waves of life's tempestuous sea.
As he so to Thee I am calling,
Teacher, save me rescue me.

How powerful a single motion,
A word from Thee can calm the storm.
It's possible to tread the ocean,
The wind and thunder to transform.

Upon my heart's waves, I implore Thee,
With sacred feet do Thou now tread.
My heart will quiet down before Thee,
Taste the peace that Thou wilt shed.

Stretch out Your hand, my faith redouble,
And as to Peter, say, "Oh ye,
Of little faith, what is thy trouble?
Take manly courage come to Me."

~Abbess Thaisia, a 19th century Russian nun

Poem 10

The Windhover

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on a swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,--the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

~Gerard Manley Hopkins

For the original formatting (which Blogger won't do) see To get the full effect of the poem you have to read it out loud, especially the second stanza.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Poem 9

Sailing to Byzantium

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
--Those dying generations--at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or flowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglet
Monuments of unaging intellect.

An aged man is but a patlry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
~W.B. Yeats
I'm somewhat doubtful of the theology of this poem but it is very beautiful.

Poem 8

I had to type this one in Word because Blogger doesn't do spaces correctly (grrrr....) so it will look a little different.

Swan and Shadow

~By John Hollander
Click to see it full sized.

There are quite a few "picture poems" out there, but this is the only one I have come across with any real poetic value, let alone meaning tied to form. I read it for the first time in my English class this semester and thought it was really wonderful.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Poem 7

It was supposed to be #8, but that one requires me to scan it in and I'm feeling lazy. So I'll do that tomorrow. Maybe.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

~W.B. Yeats

This was one of the first poems I ever really learned to love and I'm still haunted by the beauty of the language.

Poem 6

My True-Love Hath My Heart

My true-love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given;
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a better bargain driven.

His heart in me keeps me and him in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart, for once it was his own;
I cherish his because in me it bides.

His heart his wound received from my sight,
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his heart did light,
So stil methought in him his heart did smart.

Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true-love hath my heart, and I have his.

~Sir Philip Sidney

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Poem 5

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Curshed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning at the brown brink eastward springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breat and with ah! bright wings.

~Gerard Manley Hopkins

Poem 4

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words have forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas is one of my new favorite poets. I love how you have to fight to understand even a little of what he says and how richly layered his poems are. And his command of imagery is astounding.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Poem 3

Holy Sonnet 10

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whome thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou'art slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie', or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better than thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, Death thou shalt die.

~John Donne

This is, of course, Donne's most famous poem--for good reason. I first really noticed it when I saw the movie "Wit" (Which, incidentally, contains one of the greatest lines for an English major out there. "Nothing but a breath--a comma--separates life from life everlasting...Life, death. Soul, God. Past, present. Not insuperable barriers, not semicolons, just a comma." [W;t, Margaret Edson] See what a little close reading will do?).

Poem 2


Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

~Christina Rossetti

The Paschal greeting in about 250 languages, with a pronunciation guide.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

This is odd

Perhaps I should tell myself that I'm not going to post a lot all the time because I certainly seem to be posting more regularly now than at any other time. Oh dear. But honestly, this is the last post until Monday. I'll be at home and in church for the next four days. :)

Anyway, if it really annoys you (me posting, that is), blame it all on Lanier for writing this beautiful post about Holy Week. I'm planning a post of my own on Pascha and why I love it so much after I get back, but Lanier's is really wonderful.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Poem 1

I never saw a Moor-
I never saw the Sea-
Yet know I how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be.

I never spoke with God
Nor visited in Heaven-
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the Checks were given-

~Emily Dickinson

Monday, April 02, 2007

Literary news and such

I really won't be posting much this week but I had a number of Google Alerts cluttering up my e-mail and I wanted to get rid of them, so here we are!

Charles Dickens

On "Household Words".

Spontaneous human combustion--that which is used to such effect in Bleak House. Seems they have a new theory. It's evidently aliens now. I am amused.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Offering information on the Tolkien Conference at the University of Vermont.

Personal ruminations which don't have that much to do with Tolkien. Here are the pertinent paragraphs:

Nothing could be further from my strengths, as I'm a lousy historian and documentarian. Attention to precision and detail has never ever been my forte. My talents lean in the opposite.

Epic, mythic in patterns and sweep. Perhaps I've more in common with J.R.R. Tolkien, the creator of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, whom coined the term mythopoeia, or myth-making.

I think she's a bit confused as Tolkien was obsessive about details and LotR is replete with them. Interesting post anyway, with which I somewhat agree although it's very New Age-y.

EDIT: Pardon me, I forgot. Last, but not least:

Elizabeth Gaskell

Review of North and South by Krakovianka.

According to this interview, the BBC is making a new Cranford. No confirmation from IMDb though.