Saturday, March 17, 2012

No more Dr. J. Evans Pritchard

I rather love this clip from Dead Poets Society. I have been unlucky enough to know teachers who would have agreed with Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, that poetry and human emotion can be measured on a graph. However, I've also been blessed with "free spirit" teachers, those who taught me that poetry can be an immeasurable source of joy and passion, not just a piece of intellectual insight.

* Post originally written 09/17/10, posted using Blogger's scheduled post

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

A hymn for Christmas, a favorite of mine.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Adapted from Robert Robinson

Come, thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wand’ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave my God above
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.
Seal it for thy courts above!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Does this Post Lay Stress on Villainy?

A curious bit in a prose supplement of a 1958 edition of Roy J. Cook's wildly popular One Hundred and One Famous Poems:
In choosing books for children these rules, recently laid down by an author of books for boys, are worth the consideration of parents:

"Read your children's books yourself. Or better still, get your boy or girl to read them aloud to you. Ask yourself during the reading:

'Does this book lay stress on villainy, deception or treachery?'

'Are all the incidents wholesome, probable and true to life?'

'Does it show young people contemptuous toward their elders and successfully opposing them?'

'Do the young characters in the book show respect for teachers and others in authority?'

'Are these characters the kind of young people you wish your children to associate with?'

'Does the book speak of and describe pranks, practical jokes and pieces of thoughtless and cruel mischief as though they were funny and worthy of imitation?'

'Is the English good and is the story written in good style?' "

* Post originally written 09/20/10, posted using Blogger's scheduled post

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Human Race is Filled with Passion

Dead Poets Society. Watch it. Love it. Please. It's almost a necessity to the mind of any poetry lover.

My favorite scene from the movie is this clip:

Particularly dear to the poet in me are these lines:
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be? 
~ The character John Keating, Dead Poets Society

* Post originally written 09/17/10, posted using Blogger's scheduled post. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

A poem for Father's Day, with love to my own father, a man of whose character I have yet to meet an equal. Happy Father's Day, Dad.
Sentimental Moment Or Why Did The Baguette Cross The Road?
Robert Hershon
Don't fill up on bread 
I say absent-mindedly 
The servings here are huge 

My son, whose hair may be 
receding a bit, says 
Did you really just 
say that to me? 

What he doesn't know
is that when we're walking 
together, when we get 
to the curb 
I sometimes start to reach 
for his hand
And happy birthday to my big brother.

* Post originally written 09/16/10 and posted using Blogger's scheduled post.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers, Pianos

A little D.H. Lawrence, in honor of Mother's Day. I suppose I connected with this poem immediately, because my childhood will always be linked to the sound of my mother, singing at the piano. To my very own, piano-playing, and truly excellent mother, Happy Mother's Day. 
D.H. Lawrence
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

And this YouTube reading of the same poem... I just love the reader's rumbling voice.

* Post originally written 09/16/10 and posted using Blogger's scheduled post.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day, dear poetry lovers.
Sir Edwin Arnold

Somewhere there waiteth in this world of ours
For one lone soul another lonely soul
Each choosing each through all the weary hours
And meeting strangely at one sudden goal.
Then blend they, like green leaves with golden flowers,
Into one beautiful and perfect whole;
And life's long night is ended, and the way
Lies open onward to eternal day.
"...And always somewhere in the distance there is a place where two people might be happy if only they were together."
~ Robert Nathan, A Portrait of Jennie

* Post originally written 09/20/10, posted using Blogger's scheduled post

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What Can I Give Him?

This Christmas, I offer a Christmas tidbit from Ms. Rossetti, as found in Best-Loved Poems of the LDS People, edited by Lyon, Gundry, Parry, and Jensen. Merry Christmas and much love to my dear family.
What Can I Give Him?
Christina Rossetti

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him?
Give my heart.
And this awesome musical rendition of the poem...

* Post originally written 09/20/10, posted using Blogger's scheduled post.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Endlessly Gently

Hello, November.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The leaves are falling, falling as from way off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.
And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.
We all are falling. This hand falls.
And look at others: it is in them all.
And yet there is one who holds this falling
endlessly gently in his hands.

* Post originally written 10/05/10, posted using Blogger's scheduled post.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Soul-and-Body Scars

I am now the proud owner of a $2.00 thrift store copy of The Poetry of Robert Frost, containing all eleven of his books--complete. I admit, with some shame, I am hardly familiar with Frost, beyond his popularly anthologized "Mending Wall" and "The Road Not Taken." I do have S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders to thank for introducing me to Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay." But alas, as one can see, my familiarity with Frost is rather sparse. Hence, this gorgeous book, arriving to educate me. 

I offer tonight only a small sample of the joys Frost has to offer, as my intellectual capacity can't seem to handle much more than tidbits lately.
A Question
Robert Frost

A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.