(One of the things I wanted to do this year was to keep in better touch with my pals who follow the blog. So I reached out over social media and asked whether anyone else wanted to get together and write up some blogging prompts that we could all share. We came up with a long list that I hope will allow me to chat with you all even when my own well is running a bit dry.)
One of the prompts contributors came up with was “For the Love of Poetry—share your favorite poets and poems.”
I’ll start with my smartass favorite, Dorothy Parker. Who doesn’t love Dorothy Parker, right? Especially since she wrote
Men don’t make passes
At girls who wear glasses.
I have a lot of favorite Parker poems, and I recite them at the drop of a hat (ask me at a conference sometime) but here’s one that’s less well known:
A dream lies dead here. May you softly go
Before this place, and turn away your eyes,
Nor seek to know the look of that which dies
Importuning Life for life. Walk not in woe,
But, for a little, let your step be slow.
And, of your mercy, be not sweetly wise
With words of hope and Spring and tenderer skies.
A dream lies dead; and this all mourners know:
Whenever one drifted petal leaves the tree-
Though white of bloom as it had been before
And proudly waitful of fecundity-
One little loveliness can be no more;
And so must Beauty bow her imperfect head
Because a dream has joined the wistful dead!
My other favorite is W.B. Yeats. Everyone knows The Second Coming:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
This poem has a special place in my heart, however, because of this song:
I also asked on Twitter for poetry recommendations, and I will be posting a list of the things I got one of these days soon.