Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

The Kraken!

September 20, 2018

According to wikipedia, the kraken is “a legendary cephalopod-like sea monster of giant size that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland.”  And despite being featured in several movies, I still most enjoy the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson . . .

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

The Gnat and the Gnu!

September 11, 2018

I have always been a fan of puns, wordplay, limericks, etc.  So, when I discovered this collection of limericks, I just couldn’t resist sharing one from time to time.  This one was authored by Oliver Herford.

The Gnat and the Gnu

“How absurd,” said the gnat to the gnu,
“To spell your queer name as you do!”
“For the matter of that,”
Said the gnu to the gnat,
“That’s just how I feel about you.”

Source: A Bundle of Birdbrains . . . Lots of Limericks selected by Myra Cohn Livingston

The Call of the Sea!

August 20, 2018

I have long felt the allure of the sea (or coastal seaside).  Whether it be the soothing lapping of the tidal waters upon a shore, or the random breaking of the white caps further out to sea, I find the sound and the rhythm of the ocean both mesmerizing and comforting.  I can just sit on the beach and listen, or sit on the deck of a cruise ship and watch the gentle (or sometime wild) undulation of the sea and be equally relaxed . . . it reminds me of the poem by Emily Dickinson “Exultation is the Going.”

Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses—past the headlands—
Into deep Eternity—

Bred as we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?

The Hawk!

July 21, 2018

Now that we are in the dogs days of summer, I’m reminded of the lyrics  from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma,  . . . “Oklahoma, ev’ry night my honey lamb and I . . . Sit alone and talk, and watch a hawk, makin lazy circles in the sky.” And speaking of hawks, here is a poem by W.B. (William Butler) Yeats entitled “The Hawk.”

“CALL down the hawk from the air;
Let him be hooded or caged
Till the yellow eye has grown mild,
For larder and spit are bare,
The old cook enraged,
The scullion gone wild.’
“I will not be clapped in a hood,
Nor a cage, nor alight upon wrist,
Now I have learnt to be proud
Hovering over the wood
In the broken mist
Or tumbling cloud.’
“What tumbling cloud did you cleave,
Yellow-eyed hawk of the mind,
Last evening? that I, who had sat
Dumbfounded before a knave,
Should give to my friend
A pretence of wit.’

Early Summer!

June 21, 2018

On this, the longest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere), we mark the onset of summer; which also marks the official end of spring . . . so humor me as I share the following poem . . . a day late from its title.  Please enjoy the following poem (in the public domain) by the 18th-century poet, James Thomson

Late Spring

At length the finished garden to the view
Its vistas opens and and its alleys green.
Snatched through the verdant maze, the hurried epye
Distracted wanders; now the bowery walk
Of covert close, where scarce a speck of day
Falls on the lengthened gloom, protracted sweeps;
Now meets the bending sky, the river now
Dimpling along , the breezy ruffled lake,
The forest-darkening round, the glittering spire,
The ethereal mountain, and the distant main.
But why so far excursive? when at hand,
Along these blushing borders bright with dew,
And in yon mingled wilderness of flowers,
Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every grace —
Throws out the snow-drop and the crocus first,
The daisy, primrose, violet darkly blue,
And polyanthus of unnumbered dyes;
The yellow wall-flower, stained with iron brown,
And lavish stock, that scents the garden round:
From the soft wing of vernal breezes shed,
Anemones; auriculas, enriched
With shining meal o’er all their velvet leaves;
And full ranunculus of glowing red.
Then comes the tulip-race, where beauty plays
Her idle freaks: from family diffused
To family, as flies the father-dust,
The varied colours run; and, while they break
On teh charmed eye, teh exulting florist marks
With secret pride the wonder of his hand.

The Joy of Limericks!

May 21, 2018

Happy Monday!  Let’s get the work week off to a humerous start.  When someone mentions “limericks” my minds drifts to the seemy side of the genre (usually not fit to be repeated in public).  However, I ran across a few “cleaner” limericks the other day and thought them worthy of a share.  Enjoy!

There was a young lady named Bright,
Who traveled much faster than light,
She started one day
In the relative way,
And returned on the previous night.


When Daddy and Mum got quite plastered,
And their shame had been thoroughly mastered,
They told their boy, Harry:
‘Son, we never did marry.
But don’t tell the neighbors, you bastard.’


There was an old party of Lyme,
Who married three wives at a time,
When asked ‘Why the third?’
He replied, ‘One’s absurd,
And bigamy, sir, is a crime.’


There was a young man who said ‘Damn!
It appears to me now that I am
Just a being that moves
In predestined grooves,
Not a taxi, or bus, but a tram.’


There was a faith-healer of Deal,
Who said, ‘Although pain isn’t real,
If I sit on a pin
And it punctures my skin,
I dislike what I fancy I feel.’


A young schizophrenic named Struther,
When told of the death of his brother,
Said, ‘Yes, it’s too bad
But I can’t feel too sad —
After all, I still have each other.’

Source: Comic Poems, selected and edited by Peter Washington

“Born on a Monday . . . !”

April 23, 2018
Happy Monday!  I rewatched the movie The Accountant the other day and was reminded of the poem “Solomon Grundy.”  Until this movie, I had never heard of this poem, but Ben Affleck’s autistic character was taught to use this poem as a calming mechanism (repeatedly reciting the poem to himself when he is in stressful situations).   He recites the shorter version, but I discovered that there was a longer version as well.  And, if you have not seen the movie The Accountant, I give it two thumbs up.  It is a very entertaining, star-studded (Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jean Smart, and John Lithgow) crime thriller.  Enjoy!  
Short version
Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday,
That was the end,
Of Solomon Grundy.
Long version
Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday,
Christened on a stark and stormy Tuesday,
Married on a grey and grisly Wednesday,
Took ill on a mild and mellow Thursday,
Grew worse on a bright and breezy Friday,
Died on a gray and glorious Saturday,
Buried on a baking, blistering Sunday.
That was the end of Solomon Grundy.

Happy Earth Day 2018!

April 22, 2018

And what better way to celebrate than with this wonderful poem by the late Robert Frost entitled “Putting in the Seed.”

You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree.
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;)
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.

Source:  This work is in the public domain.

Spring Hath Sprung!

March 29, 2018

We are more than a week into spring so here is a wonderful poem by the late Eliza Cook entitled “Spring.”

Welcome, all hail to thee!
Welcome, young Spring!
Thy sun-ray is bright
On the butterfly’s wing.
Beauty shines forth
In the blossom-robed trees;
Perfume floats by
On the soft southern breeze.

Music, sweet music,
Sounds over the earth;
One glad choral song
Greets the primrose’s birth;
The lark soars above,
With its shrill matin strain;
The shepherd boy tunes
His reed pipe on the plain.

Music, sweet music,
Cheers meadow and lea;—
In the song of the blackbird,
The hum of the bee;
The loud happy laughter
Of children at play
Proclaim how they worship
Spring’s beautiful day.

The eye of the hale one,
With joy in its gleam,
Looks up in the noontide,
And steals from the beam;
But the cheek of the pale one
Is mark’d with despair,
To feel itself fading,
When all is so fair.

The hedges, luxuriant
With flowers and balm,
Are purple with violets,
And shaded with palm;
The zephyr-kiss’d grass
Is beginning to wave;
Fresh verdure is decking
The garden and grave.

Welcome! all hail to thee,
Heart-stirring May!
Thou hast won from my wild harp
A rapturous lay.
And the last dying murmur
That sleeps on the string
Is welcome! All hail to thee,
Welcome, young Spring!

Source:  This work is in the public domain.

A Song!

February 18, 2018

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!

A Song

Miss Nanny, young and innocent,
Last night was made a bride;
But long ere day, in discontent,
She did kind Willie chide.

“Base wretch,” she said, and then she wept,
“Why told you things untrue?
“Would I my maidenhead had kept,
“Or not have given’t to you.

“To honor you have no regard,
“You false, you perjured man;
“You swore that something was a yard,
“When it is scarce a span.”

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of Mia treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).