Ann’s Column: Timeless poetry

Ann’s Column Timeless Poetry

This article was shared with permission from Davidson Local

Oh, someone just pushed my panic button. She told me that it is National Poetry Month, and I need to write about my favorite poet or poem. Suddenly I had words running  through my head like ticker tape at a parade: metaphor, simile, iamb, trochee, pentameter. Nobody wants to hear about those. What, did I just say “nobody” as in Dickinson’s “I am Nobody Who Are you”?

Still in a slight panic, I remember that although I have some favorite poets and poems, situations in life seem to determine my selections, such as the word “nobody” used above.  Viewing all the horrors of war currently in the news, I am reminded of Siegfried Sassoon, an outspoken English pacifist who, nevertheless, fought in the trenches and wrote poems about WWI. Each Fall, I think of John Keats’ poem, TO AUTUMN, “a Season of mists and fruitfulness.” Yes, I love those cool nights and warm afternoons that Keats experienced around 1820. What is going on in the world and my moods will sometimes turn my thoughts to a line or stanza, but seldom  to an entire poem. Recently, however, because of the arrogance of some, I have thought often of one short poem OZYMANDIAS. In just a few words, Shelley captures the long dead ruler’s ego, his sneer, his power, and then, as with all, his literal decay. I have always heard that Poetry is the most condensed and concentrated form of literature, saying the most in the fewest words, and Percy Shelley accomplishes this. Life is short for all, no matter the power or wealth. Timeless poetry.

No longer in panic state, I realize there are a lot of poets I like, even Poe, although I said “Nevermore” years ago. However, deciding on one is impossible, and choosing a favorite poet or poem is like going into a huge library and being told to pick my favorite book.

I try to remember the first poem I truly loved, and the one that pops  into my head is Longfellow’s THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF PAUL REVERE. I have not thought of that poem in years, but immediately lines come back….”Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…… if by sea, two if by land.” Now, thinking about poetry is getting to be fun. I remember being in Hawaii and seeing rainbows many times each day and thinking of Wordsworth’s line “my heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.” If I lived in Hawaii over a month, I would probably have a heart attack.

I tend to think of English poets most often, but since I am still thinking about a favorite, I can decide on an “almost favorite,”  an American poet Emily Dickinson. She wrote of things all around her such as the Sabbath, reading(“there is no frigate like a book to take us lands away”), hummingbirds(“the little tippler”), snakes, frost ( the “blonde assassin”), snow, death, trains, flowers.

Timeless poetry.

This article was shared with permission from Davidson Local

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