Saturday, April 04, 2009

Yeah I Know... I Know...Whatever Happened to the Other 29 Poems That Changed my Life?

Poem Number Two

It isn't often that any piece of art really speaks to you. Check that -- not only speaks to you but swears at you in archaic languages. So when you come across anything that strums your inner being like a cello you had better take note. Such was the case when I encountered this poem back in my freshman year in highschool. Albeit I was no "lonely teenage broncing buck -- with a pink carnation and a pickup truck," I could easily connect with this poem:

From Childhood's Hour
Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then—in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent or the fountain,
From the red cliff or the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed my flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Poem Number Three

Somewhere in the fray of literary pursuit I came across another example of narrative poetry that made a mark on tabula rasa. Stuck (at the time) in the formal verse universe I took Byron to task by reading The Prisoner of Chillon. What follows is an excerpt and in particular a stanza which seemed to transcend (at least for this reader at that point in time) its literal implication:

It might be months, or years, or days -
I kept no count, I took no note -
I had no hope my eyes to raise,
And clear them of their dreary mote;
At last men came to set me free;
I ask'd not why, and reck'd not where;
It was at length the same to me,
Fetter'd or fetterless to be,
I learn'd to love despair.
And thus when they appear'd at last,
And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage - and all my own!
And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home:
With spiders I had friendship made,
And watch'd them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they?
We were all inmates of one place,
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill - yet, strange to tell!
In quiet we had learn'd to dwell;
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are: - even I
Regain'd my freedom with a sigh.

Poem Number Four

Well highschool was a literary awakening of sorts. It was a time when I was introduced to many of the classics. Steinbeck's The Pearl, Shakespeare's MacBeth, Orwell's 1984--- the list went on. And I remember quite vividly Mr. Palesch's (my Sec III english teacher) avid love of poetry. He revelled in presenting us with literary conundrums. Thanks to him I was introduced to a certain Mr. Cummings and I could not believe my eyes or my ears for that matter.

Spring is like a perhaps hand

by E. E. Cummings


Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.


vegetablej said...

How nice to see these poems and your explanations of what they mean to you and oh, the e.e.cummings poem is almost unbelievable still. What a wonder!

Nick said...

Thanks for sticking around vj... :-)