Saturday, May 29, 2010

This Little World To-night

Dear reader,

I apologize for my lack of recent posts. It isn't as though I have been busy. I've had scads of time on my hands. Doesn't it always seem to be the case that the more free time you have the less that gets done?

Last night I took off on a whim to a favorite spot of mine. I had with me the essentials: a camera, a book of poetry, and a notebook and pen. I spent a delicious stretch of time with William R. Bowlin's 1939 anthology, A Book of Treasured Poems. Generally, such anthologies dole out poems rife with predictable rhyme endings, heavy with trite morals. I am not a particular fan of such poems. Fortunately, A Book of Treasured Poems held some beautiful gems in the mix. Today, I'll share with you Oliver Herford's "Earth," a curious little poem that doesn't seem to want to shake itself from my thoughts. But first, let me share with you a small excerpt I loved of the anthology's "Foreword," as written by William R. Bowlin:
The absence of formal notes in this little volume is not the result of inertia or of oversight, but of an attempt by the editor to remove poetry from the realm of pure intellect and restore it to the field of emotion. Intensive study of poetry leads, all too often, to dislike of poetic expression rather than to its enjoyment. Poetry is an end in itself, and the awakening of love for a fine poem is the sole aim in teaching the poem. 

And now, Herford's "Earth."
Oliver Herford
(As printed in A Book of Treasured Poems)

If this little world to-night
     Suddenly should fall through space
In a hissing, headlong flight,
     Shrivelling from off its face,
As it falls into the sun,
     In an instant every trace
Of the little crawling things--
     Ants, philosophers, and lice,
Cattle, cockroaches, and kings,
     Beggars, millionaires, and mice,
Men and maggots all as one
As it falls into the sun...
Who can say but at the same
     Instant from some planet far
A child may watch us and exclaim:
     "See the pretty shooting star!"
To be posted soon: Reviews of recently read books, quotes on poetry, and more beautiful poetry of the world.