Emily. Emily. How amazing is the ability to capture a moment for all of us to wonder and appreciate centuries later. And to think your poems lay hidden, languishing until a sister realized they needed freedom not a burial.
One of the lovelier aspects of spring returning is the flurry, fluttery returning of birds. I especially like the robins cheerup salutes of this season as they parade on the lawn feasting on worms. No robin poems of notice yet, so this dandy tribute to blue birds will suffice:
I live in an area that definitely provides all four seasons–five, if mud, the one between winter and spring, counts. I couldn’t imagine living in an area where reading about snow through a Robert Frost poems is the closest a student would get to experiencing it. Although I am definitely not a fan of snow, it’s tedious place in our seasonal line up reminds me how much I appreciate the wondrous, warm, sunny days once they again make their appearance.
To days and lives spent in the false days of winter provided by glimpses of bad weather here is a poem that explores snow from a different perspective:
I am a definite morning person. This trait, along with being a “tidee” versus being a “messee”, did not follow genetic pathways to my kinder. No one in my family can understand my bounciness in the early a.m. When “Morning” by Mary Oliver dropped into my mailbox, I read it, related to it, and couldn’t wait to share it. It reminded me ever so much of the Cat Stevens song as well.
This poem is for all you teachers out there, and yes, to you students as well. We ask a question, and know our students know the answer, but there is such a reluctance to share the knowledge, unless you are the student who always has the willingness. What about the others? This poem helps to unravel the mystery of the reluctant hand.
I Woke: —
Night, lingering, poured upon the world
Of drowsy hill and wood and lake
And the breeze accompanied with hushed fingers
On the birches.
Gently the dawn held out to me
A golden handful of bird’s-notes.
I hand out over 200 literary terms to my AP students to learn prior to their May exam. They manage to do so for the most part. Admittedly, some of the terms I keep having to remind myself of what they are, others stick in the brain and I delight when I recognize them. One such term is “polysyndenton” which is when the writer strings a series of words, usually nouns or verbs, together with a conjunction such as “and.” At first glance the reader might think, “combine that, if you please–a bit wordy and redundant, don’t you think?” Once understanding the use of polysyndenton, the reader gets that second understanding that there is a purpose to the stringing together of words. Why say you of Speyer’s writing of “hill and wood and lake”–is it superflous or meaningful?
Most of Poe is a favorite. I don’t care for the macabre aspect, the chop-him-up-cause-I-loved-him-so stuff. Makes me nervous walking across floorboards when he does that kind of writing. My students like Poe because they like the scary aspect of his writing, although they don’t always understand his diction, they get his intent of setting people offside with mixing real with horror. So, it is with surprise that I’ve come across a Poe poem that is actually upbeat. Which Poe are you most familiar with–the scary guy or the dreamer?
image: Academy of American Poets
Although it’s been out for a bit now, the fairy tale musical extravanga Into the Woods takes on new meaning in James Weldon Johnson’s poem. Meryl Streep beckoning folks to find answers in the woods is a bit creepy for my tastes, especially since I favor the serenity felt in the woods. This is one reason I am so drawn to this particular rendering of the peace, the reverance found within the forest. Are the woodlands scary or a refuge for you?
Are you bowed down in heart?
Do you but hear the clashing discords and the din of life?
Then come away, come to the peaceful wood,
Here bathe your soul in silence. Listen! Now,
From out the palpitating solitude
Do you not catch, yet faint, elusive strains?
They are above, around, within you, everywhere.
Silently listen! Clear, and still more clear, they come.
They bubble up in rippling notes, and swell in singing tones.
Now let your soul run the whole gamut of the wondrous scale
Until, responsive to the tonic chord,
It touches the diapason of God’s grand cathedral organ,
Filling earth for you with heavenly peace
And holy harmonies.