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Archive for the tag “poetry”

I Hear America Singing


Fireworks

I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Happy Fourth of July —Patricia Gay

Bryan Cranston reads Ozymandias


Bryan Cranston recites Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. A gracious ode to Walter’s White’s crumbling empire.

Perfect for us poetry lovers/Breaking Bad fans.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Poetry Friday: Here’s to The Great White Way


Broadway - Bright lights, big city.

Spider-Man is just one of the many offerings that’s still here on Broadway.

There’s something magical about Broadway. The first time you stand in Times Square your jaw drops. Talk about not being in Kansas anymore. Bright lights, big New York City, a place for dreamers and schemers.

On the surface, Broadway is a fun place, a happy place, street after street of lit theater after lit theater, full of life and people, an entertainment paradise.

Behind the scenes the gears are turning. High hopes are sometimes realized and sometimes dashed. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Read more…

Poetry Friday: Play ball!


Friends Tatsu (left), and Len and Mary (right), join my husband in Chicago to watch the Red Sox play the Cubs.

Friends Tatsu (left), and Len and Mary (right), join my husband in Chicago to watch the Red Sox play the Cubs.

baseballboyEvery year I say I’m not going to watch so much baseball, I have better things to do, and every year I break that promise. As a kid and young adult I played softball, but except for a company game here and there, my playing days are over. But I still love the game. My team of choice is the Boston Red Sox, but I’ll happily watch and cheer other teams too.

And what about the New York Yankees, our bitter foes? The way I see it, we all need a worthy contender and rival to motivate us to do our best and keep us on our toes. The Red Sox and Yankees are true rivals. Their games are arduous and long, with each team working hard to tire out the other pitcher and hit that long ball. Without the Yankees, the baseball season wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. So I celebrate the rivalry.

Here are a few selected baseball poems written from different points of view and perspectives. Also, here is a link to perhaps the most beloved baseball poem of all time, Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Batter up! Read more…

Poetry Friday: William Butler Yeats


William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats

The poetry of William Butler Yeats inspired a nation and the world. Born in Dublin on June 13, 1865, (Happy Birthday!) Yeats was an Irish nationalist, who became the leader of the Irish literary renaissance.

Yeats is considered a Romantic poet who evolved into a Modern poet. His poetry has such a brilliant intensity it hits home and haunts me.

Yeats drew heavily on Irish mythology and history, which he would later interweave with his interest in mysticism and occultism. He shared those spiritual interests with Maud Gonne, a 23-year old heiress and Irish revolutionary he met in 1889. Obsessed with Maud, he proposed marriage to her four times, and each time was turned down. Read more…

Poetry Friday: Elizabeth Bishop’s vision


Elizabeth Bishop and friend. —Vassar College Library photo

Elizabeth Bishop and friend. —Vassar College Library photo

Elizabeth Bishop was a poet with vision. She didn’t write as an expert with an insider’s view of the outside world. Rather, she wrote as an outsider looking in — hoping to make sense of life’s struggles, longings, and grief. Her poems are easy to identify with as she admits she doesn’t know all the answers. But they aren’t simplistic. She put her own spin on various poetic styles and conventions to give her works literary depth and additional significance.

Born in Worcester, Mass, in 1911, Elizabeth Bishop’s father died when she was a year old, and her mother was institutionalized. She never saw her mother again. She lived for a time with her grandparents in Nova Scotia, before she was sent back to Massachusetts. She graduated from Vassar College, where she developed a close friendship with poet Marianne Moore.

Although she only published around 100 poems in her lifetime, her work was appreciated, and she was named the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1956, and also the National Book Award. Larry Rohter of the New York Times called her “one of the most important American poets” of the twentieth century. Read more…

Poetry Friday: The small screen sings


There’s something both comforting and confounding about catchy TV theme songs. You want to get them out of your head, but sometimes you can’t. The Friends theme song, which I don’t like, is forever ingrained in my brain due to overexposure on the radio.

Not all TV theme songs are gems (the words to It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, while hilarious, are just silly). But there are some really good TV themes I believe qualify as poetry. 

For example, take the words to the theme for The Andy Griffith Show. Did you know that famous whistling tune had words? Surprise! The song is called The Fishin’ Hole and the lyrics are as quaint and poetic as the show itself. Andy Griffith initially recorded the song, but the producers decided to use the whistling theme instead, performed by the song’s composer Earle Hagen. The words are by Everett Sloane.

The Fishin’ Hole

Well, now, take down your fishin’ pole and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole,
We may not get a bite all day, but don’t you rush away.

What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin’ stones,
You’ll feel fresh as a lemonade, a-settin’ in the shade.

Whether it’s hot, whether it’s cool, oh what a spot for whistlin’ like a fool.

What a fine day to take a stroll and wander by The Fishin’ Hole,
I can’t think of a better way to pass the time o’ day.

We’ll have no need to call the roll when we get to The Fishin’ Hole,
There’ll be you, me, and Old Dog Trey, to doodle time away.

If we don’t hook a perch or bass, we’ll cool our toes in dewy grass,
Or else pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw.

Hangin’ around, takin’ our ease, watchin’ that hound a-scratchin’ at his fleas.

Come on, take down your fishin’ pole and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole,
I can’t think of a better way to pass the time o’ day.

Andy Griffith singing his famous TV show theme:

Poetry Friday: Playful palindromes


Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin

“A Toyota’s a Toyota,” and “Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog,” are palindromes that make me smile.

There is something wildly comforting about palindromes — a word or phrase that reads the same forwards as it does backwards. Neat and efficient, palindromes come full circle — literally.

The word “palindrome” is derived from the Greek words  palin (“again”) and dromos (“way, direction”) and was coined by English writer Ben Jonson in the 17th century. The first English palindrome appeared in 1614, “Lewd did I live & evil I did dwel.”

Palindromes can be short. “A man, a plan, a canal —Panama!” created by Leigh Mercer in 1948 is a famous example. Or they can be incredibly long. Some writers have written novels with thousands of words in palindrome style. Read more…

Poetry Friday: Emily Dickinson woman of mystery


Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Oscar Wilde observed that “as soon as you understand a great work of art, it dies for you.

I think that’s one of the charms of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. It’s like a puzzle. You can put a lot of the pieces together, but some don’t seem to fit. A word or description is unusual, or a poem’s meter or rhyme is off. Is the puzzle defective or was this the author’s plan and we just don’t get it?

We don’t know. Emily Dickinson, the “Belle of Amherst,” died in 1886 at the age of 55. At that time only a handful of her works had been published. A seemingly modest country girl, she never married and became a recluse. After her death, her sister found hundreds of her poems as well as several letters she wrote (and likely did not send) to an unknown “master.” Perhaps an unrequited love? Read more…

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