ON POETRY

15 01 2006

Facsimile reproductions of Emily Dickinson’s writings can be found at http://www.emilydickinson.org
My English 101 professor suddenly asked us, just as we were nearing the end of term, “Why poetry?” and we were startled to find that we didn’t have a ready answer. I still don’t know…it is more than communication, language, beauty, symmetry or feeling.

Here’s one by Drayton: “How Many Paltry Foolish Painted Things”

How many paltry foolish painted things,
That now in coaches trouble every street,
Shall be forgotten, whom no poet sings,
Ere they be well wrapped in their winding-sheet!
Where I to thee eternity shall give,
When nothing else remaineth of these days,
And queens hereafter shall be glad to live
Upon the alms of thy superfluous praise.
Virgins and matrons, reading these my rhymes,
Shall be so much delighted with thy story
That they shall grieve they lived not in these times,
To have seen thee, their sex’s only glory:
So shalt thou fly above the vulgar throng,
Still to survive in my immortal song.

and one by Chesterton: “The Strange Music”

Other loves may sink and settle, other loves may loose and slack,
But I wander like a minstrel with a harp upon his back,
Though the harp be on my bosom, though I finger and I fret,
Still, my hope is all before me: for I cannot play it yet.

In your strings is hid a music that no hand hath e’er let fall,
In your soul is sealed a pleasure that you have not known at all;
Pleasure subtle as your spirit, strange and slender as your frame,
Fiercer than the pain that folds you, softer than your sorrow’s name.

Not as mine, my soul’s annointed, not as mine the rude and light
Easy mirth of many faces, swaggering pride of song and fight;
Something stranger, something sweeter, something waiting you afar,
Secret as your stricken senses, magic as your sorrows are.

But on this, God’s harp supernal, stretched but to be stricken once,
Hoary time is a beginner, Life a bungler, Death a dunce.
But I will not fear to match them-no, by God, I will not fear,
I will learn you, I will play you and the stars stand still to hear.

As i find time, i will try to add a few more to the sidebar (lower down) but if you really want poetry try visiting http://plagiarist.com/poetry/poets/ it’s free online and has a goldmine of stuff. For the wiki fans there is the sister project http://wiki.poetryx.com/Main_Page

ENJOY!

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