Tag Archives: classical poetry

#flashfictionfriday: The Lilies Orange

I think upon the lilies orange

That grew beside the lake.

Such beauty there among the weeds

For loons and grebes to take.

The peace I found along that shore

Is gone and gone, I fear.

The thief of time has stolen it,

Gone these fifty years.

The lilies bring them back to me,

The lilies and the shore.

I see the high black hills beyond

Though I’ll walk there nevermore.

My childhood home, long gone.


Credits and Attributions:

The Lilies Orange, © Connie J. Jasperson 2017, All Rights Reserved

Orange Daylilies, By George Chernilevsky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Hemerocallis fulva 2016 G1.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Hemerocallis_fulva_2016_G1.jpg&oldid=259430397 (accessed October 5, 2017)

 

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#FlashFictionFriday: Lord Byron: Manfred, a Theater of the Mind

Bad poetry can be written by anyone, but writing great poetry takes a certain genius. Words are bent and shaped by poets to evoke meanings, bent and formed into precise shapes. We novelists and writers of short fiction have the luxury of creating a long narrative. In poetry, the author intentionally limits space, forcing the poet to write within narrow constraints. Thus, allegory, allusion, and indirection are common motifs in poetry.

Poetry doesn’t always rhyme and it frequently involves complicated aesthetics that are both auditory and visual. This is because the reader may not always be reading the poem aloud, and so the visual art of the piece comes into play.

Sometimes, poetry is long, epic in actuality. Consider Manfred, by George Gordon, Lord Byron (From Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge): Manfred: A dramatic poem is a poem written in 1816–1817 by Lord Byron. It contains supernatural elements, in keeping with the popularity of the ghost story in England at the time. It is a typical example of a Romantic closet drama. (end quoted text)

Byron himself referred to his works as “closet dramas,” since they were intended more for the theater of the mind than the actual theater.

Excerpt from Manfred

When the moon is on the wave,
And the glow-worm in the grass,
And the meteor on the grave,
And the wisp on the morass;
When the falling stars are shooting,
And the answer’d owls are hooting,
And the silent leaves are still
In the shadow of the hill,
Shall my soul be upon thine,
With a power and with a sign.

Though thy slumber may be deep,
Yet thy spirit shall not sleep;
There are shades which will not vanish,
There are thoughts thou canst not banish;
By a power to thee unknown,
Thou canst never be alone;
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud,
Thou art gather’d in a cloud;
And for ever shalt thou dwell
In the spirit of this spell.

Though thou seest me not pass by,
Thou shalt feel me with thine eye
As a thing that, though unseen,
Must be near thee, and hath been;
And when in that secret dread
Thou hast turn’d around thy head,
Thou shalt marvel I am not
As thy shadow on the spot,
And the power which thou dost feel
Shall be what thou must conceal.

And a magic voice and verse
Hath baptiz’d thee with a curse;
And a spirit of the air
Hath begirt thee with a snare;
In the wind there is a voice
Shall forbid thee to rejoice;
And to thee shall night deny
All the quiet of her sky;
And the day shall have a sun,
Which shall make thee wish it done.

From thy false tears I did distil
An essence which hath strength to kill;
From thy own heart I then did wring
The black blood in its blackest spring;
From thy own smile I snatch’d the snake,
For there it coil’d as in a brake;
From thy own lip I drew the charm
Which gave all these their chiefest harm;
In proving every poison known,
I found the strongest was thine own.

By thy cold breast and serpent smile,
By thy unfathom’d gulfs of guile,
By that most seeming virtuous eye,
By thy shut soul’s hypocrisy;
By the perfection of thine art
Which pass’d for human thine own heart;
By thy delight in others’ pain,
And by thy brotherhood of Cain,
I call upon thee! and compel
Thyself to be thy proper Hell!

And on thy head I pour the vial
Which doth devote thee to this trial;
Nor to slumber, nor to die,
Shall be in thy destiny;
Though thy death shall still seem near
To thy wish, but as a fear;
Lo! the spell now works around thee,
And the clankless chain hath bound thee;
O’er thy heart and brain together
Hath the word been pass’d–now wither!

 

And a “theater of the mind” is what Byron’s work sparks in me.

The Poetry Foundation says this about George Gordon, Lord Byron:

In his dynamism, sexuality, self-revelation, and demands for freedom for oppressed people everywhere, Byron captivated the Western mind and heart as few writers have, stamping upon nineteenth-century letters, arts, politics, even clothing styles, his image and name as the embodiment of Romanticism.


Sources and Attributions:

Quote from: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/lord-byron © 2017 Poetry Foundation, accessed August 25, 2017

Manfred – Lord Byron. Poem originally published 1816, portion republished March 2, 2015 by Hanson, Marilee, accessed August 25, 2017|Hanson, Marilee. “Manfred – Lord Byron Poem” https://englishhistory.net/byron/poems/manfred/, March 2, 2015

Wikipedia contributors, “Lord Byron,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lord_Byron&oldid=796893308(accessed August 25, 2017)

Lord Byron in Albanian dress, painted by Thomas Phillips in 1813. Venizelos Mansion, Athens (the British Ambassador’s residence) via Wikimedia Commons, accessed August 25, 2017.

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#FlashFictionFriday: Ballad of Jennet Adair (reprise)

Jennet, she lies

‘Neath the white rose tree

And never again will she

Play false to me

 

T’was not my hands

Round her lily-white throat

But would that I could

Drown her deep in the moat

 

Her hair was as dark

As summer is fair

Her lips were for kissing

Sweet Rose of Adair

 

Jennet, she lies

‘Neath the rose tree white

My brother will hang

For her murder tonight

 

Jennet, she lies

‘Neath the white rose tree

Never again will

Those lips lie to me

 

T’was not my hands

Round her lily-white throat

She ruined my brother

She ruined us both

 

Played us like pawns

In the age-old game

Until she did misstep

To her sorrow and shame

 

My brother will hang

‘Neath the town hall light

And who will tell mother

What happened tonight?

 

Jennet, she lies

‘Neath the white rose tree

And never again will she

Play false to me.


Ballad of Jennet Adair © Connie J. Jasperson 2016-2017, All Rights Reserved

The Ballad of Jennet Adair by Connie J. Jasperson was first published July 31, 2015 on Edgewise Words Inn, as a song her character, Huw the Bard, might have written. It is a story poem, written in a traditional, bardic style, and was inspired by the Child Ballads collected in the 19th century by Francis James Child.

Bouquet of Roses at the Window, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller 1892 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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#FlashFictionFriday: The Meeting of the Waters, by Thomas Moore

I often think about the home where I grew up. While I didn’t realize it at the time, I was fortunate to live at the edge of a rural lake, surrounded by forests. Nature was everywhere, and I grew to appreciate the beauty of the world in which I lived. Perhaps that is why I have such a fondness for Irish Poets, and the songs of Thomas Moore.

The Meeting of the Waters, by Thomas Moore

THERE is not in the wide world a valley so sweet

As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;

Oh! the last rays of feeling and life must depart,

Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.

 

Yet it was not that nature had shed o’er the scene

Her purest of crystal and brightest of green;

’Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill,

Oh! no—it was something more exquisite still.

 

’Twas that friends, the beloved of my bosom, were near,

Who made every dear scene of enchantment more dear,

And who felt how the best charms of nature improve,

When we see them reflected from looks that we love.

 

Sweet vale of Avoca! how calm could I rest

In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best,

Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease,

And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace.


Credits and Attributions:

Performance of The Meeting of the Waters, Tommy Fleming, via YouTube: https://youtu.be/ABy3GUcLTXc

Song: The Meeting of the Waters, Thomas Moore, PD|100

Image: The Meeting of the Waters, Bartlett, W. H. (William Henry), 1809-1854.|Source=”The scenery and antiquities of Ireland, Vol 2”. Published: London, G. Virtue |Date=1842 |Author=J. Stirling Coyne |Permission=Public domain |oth via Wikipedia, accessed April 28, 2017

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#FlashFictionFriday: Bond and Free, Robert Frost

Admiring the Galaxy |CCA 4.0 ESO/A. FitzsimmonsBond and Free

Love has earth to which she clings
With hills and circling arms about-
Wall within wall to shut fear out.
But Thought has need of no such things,
For Thought has a pair of dauntless wings.

On snow and sand and turf, I see
Where Love has left a printed trace
With straining in the world’s embrace.
And such is Love and glad to be.
But Thought has shaken his ankles free.

Thought cleaves the interstellar gloom
And sits in Sirius’ disc all night,
Till day makes him retrace his flight,
With smell of burning on every plume,
Back past the sun to an earthly room.

His gains in heaven are what they are.
Yet some say Love by being thrall
And simply staying possesses all
In several beauty that Thought fares far
To find fused in another star.


I have always loved this poem for iLouis_Français-Crépusculets complex serenity–the narrator is at peace within himself and accepts his turbulent nature.

Frost’s poems were a large part of my early life. I grew up in a house in the woods at the edge of a lake. It was quite rural, and the 1/4-mile long driveway leading from our house up to the road was a pleasant place to walk at any time of the year. Winter was especially beautiful, as the woods seemed to be peaceful, resting. When a blanket of snow had covered them they had a magical quality, one Frost had felt and written of so eloquently.

While many of Robert Frost’s poems show the tranquility of being in a quiet place close to nature, this poem, Bond and Free, is an internal poem, examining the soul and heart of a person.

When I walk in the woods or along the beach my mind strays to many places, absorbing both the sights and sounds, but also touching on ideas not previously thought of, small discoveries of “me.” Robert Frost was able to write about this simple yet complicated process, and have it make sense.

Quote from GradeSaver: The narrator describes the difference between Love and Thought. Love clings to the earth in such a way that makes it a denial of freedom and imagination. Thought, on the other hand, has cast aside the shackles of the tangible world and travels throughout the universe with a pair of wings. Yet, for all the freedom that Thought seems to have, the safe environment of Love is far more liberating.


Credits:

Bond and Free by Robert Frost, PD|1916

Images:

Admiring the Galaxy |CCA 4.0 ESO/A. Fitzsimmons

Crépuscule (Dusk) Louis Français, PD|100, By Ji-Elle (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Vincent, Caitlin. Jordan Reid Berkow ed. “Robert Frost: Poems “Bond and Free” (1916) Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 12 May 2009 Web. 6 January 2017.

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#ClasicalPoetry & #FineArtFriday: Night, by William Blake

384px-songs_of_innocence_and_of_experience_copy_aa_object_1

Songs of Innocence and of Experience Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul title page

Night

The sun descending in the west;

The evening star does shine;

The birds are silent in their nest,

And I must seek for mine.

The moon, like a flower

In heaven’s high bower,

With silent delight

Sits and smiles on the night.

 

Farewell, green fields and happy groves,

Where flocks have took delight,

Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves

The feet of angels bright;

Unseen, they pour blessing,

And joy without ceasing,

On each bud and blossom,

And each sleeping bosom.

 

william_blake_-_death_on_a_pale_horse_-_butlin_517

Death on a Pale Horse, painting by William Blake (medium pencil, pen, and water color)

They look in every thoughtless nest

Where birds are covered warm;

They visit caves of every beast,

To keep them all from harm:

If they see any weeping

That should have been sleeping,

They pour sleep on their head,

And sit down by their bed.

 

When wolves and tigers howl for prey,

They pitying stand and weep;

Seeking to drive their thirst away,

And keep them from the sheep.

But, if they rush dreadful,

The angels, most heedful,

Receive each mild spirit,

New worlds to inherit.

 

And there the lion’s ruddy eyes

Shall flow with tears of gold:

And pitying the tender cries,

And walking round the fold:

Saying: ‘Wrath by His meekness,

And, by His health, sickness,

Is driven away

From our immortal day.

 

blake_experience_29

Blake’s title plate (No.29) for Songs of Experience

‘And now beside thee, bleating lamb,

I can lie down and sleep,

Or think on Him who bore thy name,

Graze after thee, and weep.

For, washed in life’s river,

My bright mane for ever

Shall shine like the gold,

As I guard o’er the fold.’


Night, by William Blake PD|100

[First published 1789 in Songs of Innocence and Experience, collected poems written and illustrated by William Blake.]

Title Page Illustrations by William Blake

Painting: Death on a Pale Horse, Commissioned from Blake and acquired by Thomas Butts c. 1800 (via Wikimedia Commons)

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#flashfictionfriday: When You are Old, by W. B. Yeats

maude_gonne_by_sarah_purser_1898

Maude Gonne, by Sarah Purser, 1898

WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

 

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

 

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


When You Are Old,  by W.B. Yeats, first appeared in The Rose, a collection of twenty-two poems published by William Butler Yeats in 1893. His works entered the public domain in 2010, 70 years after his death.

Many poems in the collection, The Rose, express Yeats’ unrequited love for Maude Gonne. Though she had resisted his courtship at the time  The Rose was published, it is understood that her rejection of him was not complete, and during those years he did have some small glimmer of hope.

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#FlashFictionFriday: Ode to Autumn, by John Keats

Autumn_Landscape_With_Pond_And_Castle_Tower-Alfred_Glendening-1869Autumn officially begins on Sept. 21, 2016. In honor of the changing season, and because it is Flash Fiction Friday, I bring you a classical poem, written by one of the mainstays of the Romantic movement in the arts and literature, John Keats. When Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25, he had been writing poetry seriously for only about six years, and publishing for only four.

In his lifetime, sales of Keats’s three volumes of poetry amounted to around 200 copies. Yet this Indie author is one of the most celebrated and studied poets of the last three hundred years.

>>><<<

Ode To Autumn – Poem by John Keats

 

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cell.

 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

 

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

>>><<< 

He writes, “Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?” and I know what he feels. I look forward to the changing of the seasons, the the colors of fall, the red of sumac and vine-maple, but  I confess, I will miss the summer. Sometimes, the cold dark, rain of the Northwest winter lacks appeal. I treasure the occasional patch of blue sky and the glimpse of sun.

When I read Keats, I am awed by the bold confessional tone of his prose. He is filled with emotion and passion—and expresses it with no filters. Consider the last five lines of the sonnet Bright Star:

Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,

To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,

Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,

And so live ever–or else swoon to death.

This is a bold confession of both sexual desire and romantic love—topics that, in polite society, were discussed behind closed doors. The poet was unafraid to say what most young men of his time felt, and he said it so beautifully it connects and resonates with modern readers.

Quote from Wikipedia (the fount of all knowledge):John Keats (Oct. 31, 795-Feb 23, 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his work having been in publication for only four years before his death.[1]

Although his poems were not generally well received by critics during his lifetime, his reputation grew after his death, and by the end of the 19th century, he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. He had a significant influence on a diverse range of poets and writers. Jorge Luis Borges stated that his first encounter with Keats’s work was the most significant literary experience of his life.[2]

The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes. This is typical of romantic poets, as they aimed to accentuate extreme emotion through the emphasis of natural imagery. Today his poems and letters are some of the most popular and most analyzed in English literature.


Ode to Autumn, John Keats PD|100

Bright Star, John Keats PD|100

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#flashfictionfriday: Beyond Ecola’s Door

Heaven lies beyond the hills, beside the Tillamook Head.

At Ecola’s door, where the river finds the sea,

Where east meets west and seabirds nest, my feet are often led.

 

Gray waves pound the stony cliffs, stout and standing tall

Rock is strong and water soft,  yet crumbling ‘neath the waves.

Winter’s wrath of wind and surge slowly grinds them small.

 

And out to sea a lighthouse stands beyond the Tillamook Head

No keepers shelter ‘neath her lamp, Tilly stands alone,

Guarded by the white-winged birds, and ashes of the dead.

 

Black rock rises from the waves, beyond Ecola’s door

I long to be at river’s edge, where Ecola meets the sea

And soon and soon, I’ll walk the sand, along the wild shore.

horses on the beach, Cannon Beach, Oregon by C.J. Jasperson 8-13-2014


Beyond Ecola’s Door, © Connie J. Jasperson 2016

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#flashfictionfriday: Short Poetry: I Have Seen the Stars

Admiring the Galaxy |CCA 4.0 ESO/A. Fitzsimmons

Admiring the Galaxy |CCA 4.0 ESO/A. Fitzsimmons


I have seen the stars hung bright

Across the inky dark of night

Such beauty there displayed for me

I scarce can know their mystery.

 

Heaven’s vault with diamonds flung

Summer’s sky with beauty hung

Bursting forth, the joy in me

Humbled by the majesty.


I have Seen the Stars © Connie J. Jasperson 2016

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