Poetry to Share: The Fantastic Names of Jazz

I first read this poem with my sister during a long-ago poetry month. I’d never read anything so unconventional and I’m not a jazz listener, so I was very confused and very fascinated by this poem.  It’s stuck with me all these years. Hope you enjoy! Continue reading

Poetry to Share: Goblin Feet

This is, hands-down, my favorite Tolkien poem. Enjoy!

I am off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flitter-mice are flying
A slender band of gray
It runs creepily away
And the hedges and the grasses are a-sighing.
The air is full of wings, Continue reading

Poems to Share: Mary Oliver

14163793451_e7dd46748fHave you read Mary Oliver? Her poems are beautiful and real and full of nature. She is not stuffy or stickler about rhythm or sending you rushing for a dictionary. Her poems are like rain in spring and wind in fall – invigorating and life-giving. You can read several here.

In the meantime, I have one to share. This poem aptly described my day (many of my days!) and I thought it might resonate with some of you. Much as I love my writing and books and good job, some days I long to be back in the mountains, running and hiking and living practically outdoors. What about you?

Work, Sometimes

I was sad all day, and why not.  There I was, books piled
on both sides of the table, paper stacked up, words
falling off my tongue. Continue reading

Missing Poetry in the Sun

Today, if I were home, I would have coaxed my little sister outside. We would have toted food and books onto the sunny grass, sternly warned our puppy dog away from our lunch, and laid out in the sun as long as it took our parents to realize we should be doing school. For the two springs that we knew about national poetry month, we used it as a good excuse to spend our lunch breaks outside, leisurely eating, talking, and reading poems. We sampled from Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems and selections of Frost and Keats. Just last week I read “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams for a class – Mr. Keillor introduced me to that one. In my Creative Writing class, we’re finishing up a unit on poetry. Our reading included two chapters of poems….it was a joy to immerse myself the images, sounds, and deep thoughts. In the course of the last few weeks I’ve read authors from T. S Eliot to Langston Hughes and back again (yes, even some Tolkien). But I didn’t get to read them outside, on the grass, soaking up the sun, laughing at my little sister, and throwing food to my dog. College has its drawbacks.

What you should take from my rambling is that I’m happy for spring, I miss my little sister, and I appreciate poetry. There, I rolled all the relevant holidays into one incoherently college-fogged post. Aren’t you impressed?



Shadows of a dream

There is one major reason why I am an English major. I get into English class, read the assigned poem by Milton and fall in love. I’ve never been a big fan of John Milton, honestly. His poetry is great, just takes a little bit more analysis than I want to practice on a regular basis. Actually, I take that approach with almost all poetry. I like reading it in short sittings, just a few poems at a time. So this was perfect, exactly the setting I need to fall in love with a poem. Anyway, enough commentary. Enjoy!
Methought I saw my late espoused saint
       Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
       Whom Jove’s great son to her glad husband gave,
       Rescu’d from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom wash’d from spot of child-bed taint
       Purification in the old Law did save,
       And such as yet once more I trust to have
       Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind;
       Her face was veil’d, yet to my fancied sight
       Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin’d
So clear as in no face with more delight.
       But Oh! as to embrace me she inclin’d,

       I wak’d, she fled, and day brought back my night.

This poem is filled with allusion and all types of literary devices that my professor wants me to notice. But here is what stood out to me: It is full of emotion. From my scant knowledge, I’d always considered Milton a serious (and boring) guy. However, this poem is full of pathos. It portrays a man passionately in love with his wife and depressed at her death. Added to that, you have the fact of his blindness, leading to that magnificent last line. That was my initial feeling on the poem.
Just like Milton, I have woken to disappointment. I did a little bit of Internet research. As far as I can tell, Milton was very serious and stern, possibly even arrogant. His marriages (3 of them), were not necessarily romantic. The wife he is apparently writing about was married to him for less than a year. Milton himself was a strong supporter of divorce, making me skeptical about his commitment, both emotional and legally. All of this makes it seem that the emotion displayed in the poem may be somewhat feigned. In a technical manner, the poem is still masterful. But for me, a lot of the attraction to the poem was the emotion, the imagined depression of a heartbroken, lonely husband. Withdrawing that, it is far less powerful.