Friday, May 25, 2018

101 Poems, Number 52

Favorite Poems Throughout My Life

52: “Design,” 1922 (and in A Further Range, 1936), by Robert Frost (18741963)

A sonnet by our old friend Frost,
Who writes a bit about the cost
And what coincidence can bring
To moths and spiders—anything.

Was it design that merged that moth,
That spider, flower—such a cloth
Of pure implausibility?
You cannot find what you can’t see.

I can’t remember where I came
Across these lines? But, sure, the fame
Of Frost at first had made me pause—
And read—and think about mere Cause.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

101 Poems, Number 53

Favorite Poems Throughout My Life

53: “One Art,” 1976, by Elizabeth Bishop (1911–79)

“The art of losing”—so begins
This poem so concerned with loss—
No clich├ęd sighs—no violins—
Nor mawkishness. Nor verbal dross.

A speaker tells of losing—how
We lose throughout our lives on earth—
And we must deal with pain—and now
We know that it’s been true since birth.

I love the final line of this—
Inside parentheses, her pain—
The loss of one she’ll dearly miss—
And cannot hope to see again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

101 Poems, Number 54

Favorite Poems Throughout My Life

54: “Miniver Cheevy,” 1910 (in The Town down the River), by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935)

Was I assigned this back in school?—
Some homework I “forgot” to do?
(Does that sound plausible to you?)
I was an adolescent fool

Who wasted lots of priceless time—
There are some things that I would change—
If only I could rearrange
The past. Erase each boyhood “crime.”

But Cheevy? It’s the present he
Cannot abide. He’ll sit and think—
And spend a bit of time with … drink—
And weep for vanished history.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

101 Poems, Halfway!


Aboard our pale poetic ship
We’re now halfway on our weird trip.
I’ve told of poems—fifty-five!—
That did, in ways, bring me alive.

I’ve written of some silly ones—
The kind a-clog with jokes and puns.
And classic ones appeared here too—
Upset by what I made them do!

And so, today, we’ll take a breath—
Of air, you creep, not crystal meth!
Tomorrow? More to be explored!
But, please, do not jump overboard!

Monday, May 21, 2018

101 Poems, Number 55

Favorite Poems Throughout My Life

55: “Meditation XVII” (“No Man Is an Island”), 1624, by John Donne (1572–1631)

A very famous line from Donne—
And not, of course, the only one.
He wrote a lot ere he was … done.

We are, he wrote, together here—
Not isolated—very near.
What separates us? Too much fear?

We are connected, one and all—
We've been so since that famous Fall—
We need to heed each human’s call.

We cannot live as if alone—
We cannot ignore another’s moan—
We cannot have a heart of stone.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

101 Poems, Number 56

Favorite Poems Throughout My Life

56: “Fear No More,” from Cymbeline (4.2), by William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

I’d read this song some time ago—
A Shakespeare play called Cymbeline.
But I’d forgotten it (so slow!)
Till Richard Russo, in a scene,

Employed it in a novel, and
He used it in a memoir, too.*
A loved one’s ashes in the sand
Just scattered there—no, nothing new.

The song tells how we need not fear
The problems of our lives and world—
Not when the end is more than near—
And all away our time has whirled.

This is a very simple song—
It shows our unity, at last.
To learn? Why does it take so long?
We’re in the same dramatic cast.

*That Old Cape Magic (2009) and Elsewhere: A Memoir (2012). Russo is one of my great favorites, but for some reason, he referred—in both books—to “Fear No More” as a sonnet, which (if you follow the link) you will see that it clearly is not.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

101 Poems, Number 57

Favorite Poems Throughout My Life

57: “Good Night,” 1820, by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1793–1822)

A short and clear one by the guy
Who wasn’t always short and clear—
Its seems a kind of lover’s sigh
When bedtime is, perhaps, so near?

His life was nearly at its end
When Shelley crafted these brief lines.
Some problems without time to mend—
Like wounds resembling Frankenstein’s.*

Not stitches, no—not leaking scars.
Wounds from a life not always right.
And soon he’d drown. And all the stars
Would gather to proclaim, “Good night.”

*Frankenstein's creature, of course! But I love the rhyme!

Link to poem.