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Discussion in 'Hobby/Travel Forum' started by mark, Nov 15, 2002.
Who is your favorite poet?
Kind of like some of the discussions here.
Others: Edgar Allan Poe, John Donne and William Blake.
Love the narative poetry of American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Ever wonder why he had a big bushy white beard? As best I recall, his wife was putting some locks of hair from their daughter who had died into an envdelope. Sealing wax caught fire and wife engulfed in flames.
He did his best to beat out the flames, but a few days later his wife died of the burns. He was so disfigured from the fire that he grew the beard to cover the scars. Before that he had to stay in the house because his face scared little children.
So winter of 1864, Civil War raging, and he is in self-exile in his home.
I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet, the words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how as the Day had come, the belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head. "There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men."
Add to that
Paul Revere's Ride
Song of Hiawatha
As a lover of history, these epic historical poems makes Longfellow a real "American Tennyson".
I agree with rsr, Lewis Carroll was the greatest comic poet. I think the two greatest poems in English are "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelly.
My favorite American poet is Carl Sandburg. My favorite long poetic work is "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri (though I wish I understood more of the Florentine political allusions).
Helen wrote: William Shakespeare
Shakespeare is great, but it sounds so much better when read by a great actor, that I haven't read much of it. I just can't seem to "synthesize" the voices right in my head!
Laurence Olivier's 1955 film version of "Richard III" is awesome -- including the dialog added by Olivier himself. Another favorite is the 1948 Orson Welles version of "Macbeth." Both of these are probably available from most public libraries that lend videos.
Actually, I was thinking more of the sonnets, and I agree with you regarding the plays.
On His Blindness
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
Then, I love the poem by the American poet, Edwin Markham
He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in!
A bit of Blake (America: A Prophecy)
Dante's Commedia is brilliant, indeed. If you can, grab a good translation with footnotes and the political allusions will make much more sense (if you haven't already). I studied the Commedia for a semester in college, and it's fascinating, the content and the structure . . . really a masterpiece.
I have an Oxford edition with footnotes; I'll take it on Christmas vaction with me. My parents (whom I'm visiting) have an ancient dusty, set of encyclopedias which are short on pictures but have great historical and biographical entries, so I'll have a reference.