Friday Poetry Reflection, July 18th

So I have gotten very bad at posting, but at least I remember this week! This week I have chosen a poem by the new US Poet Laureate, who also happens to be Lesbian, you go girl! The person in question is Kay Ryan (NY Times Story) who will become the 16th Poet Laureate. The Poem is “Nothing Ventured”

Nothing exists as a block

and cannot be parceled up.

So if nothing’s ventured

it’s not just talk;

it’s the big wager.

Don’t you wonder

how people think

the banks of space

and time don’t matter?

How they’ll drain

the big tanks down to

slime and salamanders

and want thanks?

A very good and simple poem. I like it! It makes you think and enjoy it at the same time. Best of luck as poet laureate!

Friday Poetry Reflection, June 27th

*Shock Horror* I remembered to post it! 😀

Well its Friday and I have found a poem that is really nice and I really enjoyed. It is by a poet I have not come across before, Theodore Roethke. I must say I am learning a lot about poets since I started doing this. The poem I have shosen is “My Papa’s Waltz” and is as follows

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

What a beautiful poem of a lovely memory of a father. When I read this poem I instantly smiled as there is so much warmth in this poem. A father who putting his son to bed is always a lovely sight, but one that waltz’s first is something unique!

A lovely heart warming poem for a Friday!

Any thoughts to add?

Poetry Reflection, Friday 20th June

Yes, I missed last week and am late posting today.. Blame birthdays, I have attended no less then 6 in the past two weeks! So onto todays poem. Its by a poet I have heard of but never read till lately. That poet is Langston Hughes. He is referenced in “Rent” thats what made me seek him out. One of his poems has struck a chord with me. That poem is “Democracy”.

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

What a poem. Though written in a different era in relation to Human Rights in the US, it can still apply to other places where Human Rights are denied, where people starve cause of Government actions, where people are intimtaed to vote a certian way, where any abuse by government takes place.

I hope you like the poem too

Friday Poetry Reflection, June 6th

I realise I have missed the last two weeks for various reasons, but we are back now! This week I have chosen a poem by William Butler Yeats and it is a poem that is new to me, but I know the story around it. The poem is “Come Gather Round Me, Parnellites

Come gather round me, Parnellites,
And praise our chosen man;
Stand upright on your legs awhile,
Stand upright while you can,
For soon we lie where he is laid,
And he is underground;
Come fill up all those glasses
And pass the bottle round.

And here’s a cogent reason,
And I have many more,
He fought the might of England
And saved the Irish poor,
Whatever good a farmer’s got
He brought it all to pass;
And here’s another reason,
That Parnell loved a lass.

And here’s a final reason,
He was of such a kind
Every man that sings a song
Keeps Parnell in his mind.
For Parnell was a proud man,
No prouder trod the ground,
And a proud man’s a lovely man,
So pass the bottle round.

The Bishops and the party
That tragic story made,
A husband that had sold his wife
And after that betrayed;
But stories that live longest
Are sung above the glass,
And Parnell loved his countrey
And Parnell loved his lass.

A lovely poem to remember Charles Stewart Parnell. He praises him for what he has done for the Irish and for his love of a women, which was his downfall. I must say, this poem brings back all my Irish History for my leaving cert and could probably write one of the essays we had on Parnell, with the Land War and the Land Acts! It was a time when Irish politics were different and Parnell was a true Irishman and fought for this country in Westminster. Its a pity there was an ignominious end to his political career cause we might have gotten Home Rule sooner then we did.

What do ye think of the poem?

Friday Poetry Reflection, May 16th

Today for my Friday Poetry rubic, as Faoiseamh calls it, I have chosen a poem that my mother sent to me and it is a really nice poem. Incidently I get to see my parents for the first time in five months today so all excited!

So back to the poetry, the poem is an Irish poem, but I will post it in English also. The Poem is by Padraic Pearse and is called “Bean SlĂ©ibhe ag Caoineadh a Mhac” and in English it is called “A Woman of The Mountain Keens Her Son

Click to enlarge

English Translation:

Grief on the death, it has blackened my heart:
lt has snatched my love and left me desolate,
Without friend or companion under the roof of my house
But this sorrow in the midst of me, and I keening.

As I walked the mountain in the evening
The birds spoke to me sorrowfully,
The sweet snipe spoke and the voiceful curlew
Relating to me that my darling was dead.

I called to you and your voice I heard not,
I called again and I got no answer,
I kissed your mouth, and O God how cold it was!
Ah, cold is your bed in the, lonely churchyard.

O green-sodded grave in which my child is,
Little narrow grave, since you are his bed,
My blessing on you, and thousands of blessings
On the green sods that are over my treasure.

Grief on the death, it cannot be denied,
It lays low, green and withered together,—
And O gentle little son, what tortures me is
That your fair body should be making clay !

This is my Mothers favourite poem, she says it reads better in Irish and I have to agree, though as its old Irish, compared to what I learned at school (I didn’t do Peg, thankfully) it dosen’t make much sense. The English on the other hand is still excellent and really does convey that sense of loss that must rack any Mother when a child dies. I love the way the poet can mak the birds sing “sorrowfully” as to most people birds songs are joyful. I suppose nature can always seem sympathetic to us humans if we interpret it with our moods.

What are your thoughts on the Poem?

Friday Poetry Reflection, 9th May

Today I have picked a poem I haven’t studied! Hurrah! Its a poem I believe we should try and live up to but it can be difficult at times! This weeks poem is by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) and it is called “If-

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master;
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run–
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

I have heard the first verse of this poem before, probably in an email, but I found the poem by complete accident, its what happens when you browsing peotry sites. I like this poem alot. I’m not sure why. I haven’t read alot of Kiplings poetry, but of course I have heard of him. I dont have a lot to say about this peom really apart from the fact it inspires me, and sets out the true humanists pronciples in my opinion, how we should all try to act.

Friday Poetry Reflection, 2nd May

Another week has come and gone, and I have to pick another poem to post! Today I have decided on another poem I studied at school, “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath.

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful —
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Sylvia Plath’s Poetry (and Emily Dickenson’s!) as some poems can be very dark, while others can be quite enlightening like this one. I like this poem as it shows how we change yet the mirror dosent and how we turn to tricks of light to try and make ourselves look younger. Though these days its no longer trickes of light, if surgery or injections! Any way enjoy the poem and I hope you age gracefully!

Friday Poetry Reflection, 25th April

This weeks poem, is yet another peom I studied at school. This time it was for my Junior Cert English exam. I have chosen Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Note: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” translates as, it is sweet and right to die for your country

Dulce et Decorum est is argueably one of the best known World War I poems. I sat my Junior Cert way back in 2001 (now I feel really old) and this poem still brings back memories of the class room. This poem had effect on me from the first time I read it. This turned me into “dove” to use cold war terminology. At times there is ‘good’ reasons for war, defence of ones country for example, but it is the patriotism, or brainwashing, of the young we have to be careful of. It happened again of course during World War II in Germany. Strangly enough and by coincidence today is actually ANZAC day, so its fitting to post a poem about WW I

Friday Poetry Reflection, 18th April

This week I have picked another Poem by an Irish poet. I am very patriotic since I came to Germany! This week I have chosen “On Raglan Road” by Patrick Kavangh (1904 – 1967)

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay –
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay –
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.

This poem has been in my head for the last two weeks or so. The problem was it was the second verse, I couldnt remember the first! I studied this poem for my Leaving Cert back in 2004 (God that makes me feel old now) and is probably one of my favourite Kavangh poems, I also like “Epic” and “Inniskeen Road: July Evening” which I also studied.

This poem, of course, can be sung, which is what I think draws me to it as I like to sing. I don’t know the original words to “Dawning of the Day” but the Sinead O’Connor version of this song is well worth looking up. I have never sang this song in public, but its one I might consider singing in the future.

Friday Poetry Reflection, 11th April

After reading Robert Frost’s Poem “The Road No Taken” on a friends blog, I had an idea for every Friday to post a poem to serve as a reflection at the end of the week. The poem will not be free standing but will have my opinion and why I like the poem and what it means to me.

To start us off I have selected the poem “Mid-term Break” by Seamus Heaney (b. April 1939 – ), Nobel Prize Laurete in Literature 1995

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close,
At two o’clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on the left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in a cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

I remember learning this poem in 5th or 6th class in Primary School and it has stayed with to this day. It is one of those poems that when I see the first line, I can nearly recite the entire poem.

This poem has an enormous effect on me. I am not sure why, I have not lost a sibbling or anything like that, but a classmate in my Secondary School did die during 2nd Year, maybe that is what connects this poem for me.

Antother reason I like the poem is its rhythm, it flows easily and seams to add to the emotion as it slows near the end.

You never know from these Friday’s I could end up with a Favourite Poems Book!