Friday, November 5, 2010

Poetry in motion

Poetry Day: today everyone is to send a line to the world's longest poem. The opening line is:"Mercy, cried the popinjay to the pope"

"Hark! what dark, forbidding devil I see."


I have just gotten back into reading poetry. I was an English major in college and sort of OD'ed on poetry. There's just something so wrong with picking apart someone else's work. Maybe it only means exactly what's on the surface. And who cares if the poet chose to use "hither" rather than "zither?" Not me. But I found an old textbook that I've been moving from apartment to apartment for 10 years and decided that if I was keeping it, I was going to read it. And so I did. I forgot just how beautiful Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" is. Or how brilliant William Carlos Williams is. Or how heartbreakingly raw "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is.

"Shall I part my hair behind?
Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers
And walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think they sing to me."

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