Poetry is for Girls

humor-image

I may occasionally write the junk, but rarely do I read it.

And it is not because I don’t like it that I rarely read it…

It’s because it, the really good stuff anyway, is so durn hard to read.

I’m talking Poetry here…

Poetry with a big, bold capital P.

And it is so hard for me to read (And by read I mean read. I mean really digging into the poem and fighting through the initial confusion and the complicated and often archaic words. I mean, not just reading the poem, but studying it and trying to close the gap in time from when the poem was written to when the poem is being read by learning about the poet and where and when and why and how he or she is from and where and when and why and how he or she lived and then coming to my own understanding of what I think the poem means and then trying to apply that meaning to my own life and where and when and why and how I live it. That’s what I mean by read.) because it takes more than a little bit of effort to read it.

I certainly don’t have time for all that junk.

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“The Raven” – Read by the Master of Mystery and Scare


 

The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe
(published on this day in 1845)

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.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never- nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by Horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked, upstarting-
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

Via PoeStories.com

[This version of the poem is from the Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, September 25, 1849. It is generally accepted as the final version authorized by Poe. Earlier and later versions had some minor differences. Source]

 
 

Kicking the Year Off – Write: Poetry

Another day has passed
Another year has passed
And, woe, others shall pass anon
Who amongst us needs such a curse
As that which forever to us will elude
As that which forever to us will delude
Yea, instead, choose to seek thine peace
In that which shan’t ne’er forsake
For ’tis thy present

~~~~

Often, we of the Newsletter Love share our writings and whatnots amongst ourselves; and occasionally some of it makes its way to this here blogspace. Today, to kick the year off in poetic style, and to spread around some of our newsletter love, I share here a selection of the newsletter submissions from Andy Smerdon, Pleasant Street, and Priyanki. I thank them for helping us to send out and in the years in poetic style. You can read all their work in the current edition of the Newsletter Love. Additionally, I invite you to visit their sites, check out their work, and follow along with them.

I thank you all for hanging out with me here like you do. It means much, very much, to me.

Have a Happy & Healthy & Humorous New Year, my friends.


 

Poetry by Andy Smerdon
andysmerdon.wordpress.com

Stop, listen, what’s that sound
It’s another heart
Along side yours
Beating time
A drum
Peace
Love
You know
We all know
It’s ours to share
Not just with our kin
Not controlled by the skin
We believe we have that right
To pick and choose who gets our light
Yet demand this gift of all we see
When love is something, to be shared and free.


 

Poetry by Pleasant Street (formerly Rose Red)
geletilari.wordpress.com

Snow angel

In the dog days of Winter dreaming of green
I get weary shoveling, and
struggling to remain upright
scraping those windows yet one more time
coffee spilling into the snow
leaving an ugly brown stain
a fog rising above the crater-
Shit, I really needed that.
I turn my head toward the apple tree
but it does not answer

I remember how July damn near killed me
melting into my clothing
certain that they would find them
in a pile, my body nearly gone
just a grimace where my head used to be.
I think of this memory heading into the wind
and I know that I’ve never felt
so alive in the dead of winter
never felt so sure that I no longer
want to toss it all in

I want this feeling of life
dichotomy of sunlight and frigid air
both bathing
both massaging
both surrounding me
with their life-giving forces
hot and cold-dark and light
and I drop the ice scraper
for one moment of pleasure
like some idiot thinking she is 8 years old

-forgetting the sadness in the house-
to make a snow angel
squinting from the sunshine in my eyes


 

Poetry by Priyanki
jollyprivy.wordpress.com

Keep flipping the pages

Lost in the books only to be found
The best place to be profound
Unfolding, unwinding so many mysteries.
There is so much to seek
so much to explore
All I feel is to be engrossed in more.
Sometimes I’m short of time
Finishing daily chores of my life’s book
That is also prime to me
As it gives me a sense of my being.
As I move & flip each page
It gives me a feeling of success,
Success of moving on
For not sitting on a page for too long
But I’m also a human being, at times get stuck in life’s routine.
Wherein I just sit & ponder, about all the life’s wonder
All that I got so far.
Did I ask for, or was it an unexpected rain shower…
Then I think , oh! I should have been prepared,
Carrying an umbrella would have taken care.
It would have saved me from all the mess
Oh! look at me? I’m drench all wet,
What shall I do now? Sit & cry
Or dance in the rain & enjoy
Jump in those puddles & let it all go
Or standstill & heighten my sores.
Oh! Let me ask my soul before I go
What does it wish,
What does it say…
Shh!, Let me hear to that voice, it’s coming from deep inside
You know I need to focus more, the outside noises are making me deaf
Then my brain gets lazy, stops working hard to listen to what lies deep within…
& tries to find that easy way,
Of sitting on that page of life’s book & not taking the pain to flip or move
& see what’s coming next,
May be a rainbow or the warmth of sun
But for that it needs to make that turn.
What did you say?
It happens with you too! Oh really!
Is that true?
Don’t you worry
U & I will this time
Silence those noises, disturbing our mind.
All those noises that cause chaos.
& make the turn, that sounds so hard
take the turn of flipping that page
Those pages of our life’s book
Which needs to be closed,
For better outlook
To see what life is holding next
A new beginning is waiting ahead
No matter if the page is interesting, still you need to keep moving,
keep exploring to learn more & you may find that pot of gold
Crossing the life’s rainbow
I don’t want to say at the end.
Life surprises me every now & then
And if the page was mundane then all the more you need to change.
Life’s book is a mix of all
You name the genre
It has it all.
Each of yours life is gifted with it
Fiction, comedy, mystery or thrill
Suspense or action we all go through.
We all are readers of life’s book…
Good or bad, slow or fast
Read it in your stride…
But just remember one little thing,
Keep turning & keep flipping
To keep finding new meanings,
Waiting for you on the next page.
Yes! You can
Now that you think
All you need to
Is keep reading!

 
 

Haiku, Senryū, and the Subtleties In Their Similarities and Differences

If I had a bit more courage and a lot more scholarship, I would have discussed the similarities and differences between a haiku poem and a senryū poem in the introduction of my newly released book of poetry Short Verses & Other Curses: Haiku, Senryū, Tanka & Other Poetic, Artistic, & Photographic Miscellany. However, seeing that I am woefully deficient in both, I will have to enlist someone adequately courageous and scholarly to discuss these subtleties for me.

What little I do think I know about these two popular Japanese poetical forms is that both are diminutive in structure yet powerful in purpose and meaning, with haiku typically involving nature settings and the zen-like moments often evoked by them and senryū typically involving the vagaries – and vulgarities – of the lives that we lead, often by employing humor and sarcasm. But then, what do I really know about it…

I have no answers
I know just that grass will grow
and that leaves will fall

For those of you who appreciate a little more scholarship and authority, here is what Richard Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate, has to say about haiku in his beautifully edited and translated book The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets). (I find no direct mention of senryū in the book; though it seems to me much of his discussion of haiku can also be applied to senryū as well.)

Robert Hass:

The insistence on time and place was crucial for writers of haiku. The seasonal reference was called kigo and a haiku was thought to be incomplete without it.

If the first level of a haiku is its location in nature, its second is almost always some implicit Buddhist reflection on nature.

When the hokku [what haiku were originally called] became detached from linked verse, it also cast off the room the tanka provided for drawing a moral (thought not all tanka do moralize, of course) and what was left was the irreducible mysteriousness of the images themselves.

There is so much to consider about these two subtle yet so often at the same time plain-spoken Japanese poetic forms. Considerations such as:

– Zen and its influence
– the influence of China and its poetry
– various poetic techniques found in much of traditional Japanese poetry, to include haiku and senryū, such as kake-kotoba (pivot words) and kireji (cutting words)
– the 5/7/5 structure and its relevance to the Western haiku poet

Hass’ book covers much of the list; however, instead of continuing to discuss about these poetic forms, let’s just experience some of the best of their kind and enjoy them as they are.


From THE ESSENTIAL HAIKU

Basho

Awake at night–
the sound of the water jar
cracking in the cold

A petal shower
of mountain roses,
and the sound of the rapids

How admirable!
to see lightning and not think
life is fleeting

Spring rain
leaking through the roof,
dripping from a wasps’ nest

Taking a nap,
feet planted
against a cool wall

Winter solitude —
in a world of one color
the sound of wind

Buson

Coolness —
the sound of the bell
as it leaves the bell

He’s on the porch,
to escape wife and kids —
how hot it is!

Cover my head
or my feet?
the winter quilt

Flowers offered to the Buddha
come floating
down the winter river

Issa

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually

The man pulling radishes
pointed my way
with a radish

A dry riverbed
glimpsed
by lightning

All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
Killing mosquitos

Visiting graves,
the old dog
leads the way

No talent
and so no sin,
a winter day

From the website HUBPAGES

A horse farts
four or five suffer
on the ferry-boat

the matchmaker
speaks the sober truth
only when drunk

Zen priest
meditation finished
looking for fleas

The face of her husband
looking for a job —
she is tired of it

Richard Wright

The watching faces
as I walk the autumn road,
make me a traveler

An empty sickbed
an indented pillow
in weak winter sun

A falling petal
strikes one floating on the pond
and they both sink


 

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