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Sunday, September 23, 2007

First poem

If you can't read it, click on the image to enlarge it (hope it works)


One of the reasons I want to memorize poems is to understand allusions when I hear or read them. For this reason, I'm going to start with poems that are in the western poetry "canon." Old English is beautiful, so melodic. So I'm going to start with Robert Herrick's "Upon Julia's Clothes," (above) a sensual, lyrical poem that is SHORT!

The bookmark I'm using is a postcard of Picasso's 1919 painting Les Amoureux on display at le Musée National Picasso, Paris.



21 comments:

Heather said...

Okay, Ruth. Here's an interesting poem to memorize: "Iowa & Other Accidents" by Kate Northrop. A bit long, but it was suggested by a poetry memorization site I found. I'll post it at my bloggy.

Ginnie said...

Awww. That's a good exercise, Ruth. I should look into something like that...to keep me from getting Alzheimer's. :)

This post is just like you!

Theresa said...

you pose a great challenge, currently I am busy memorizing gre words- for the nov test- but after that I have made a favorites list on my computer of poems to memorize.
Currently there is only one- and it may take me awhile to do it since it has 18 stanzas. But you made a good point of poems being lyrical- If I can memorize a whole song, why not a whole poem? Here is my first stanza I will be working on come Nov
The Raven
[First published in 1845]

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ruth said...

Heather, as I told you at your bloggie, I like her poem, especially because I was in a car accident in the snow, and the images are vivid. All rightie then!

Ruth said...

Boots, I wonder if there are other types of brain exercises that would be fun for you. But I hate to say it, sweetie, Mom used to "clear the cobwebs" with all those crossword puzzles, and she still got it, you know. But do they say brain exercises help?

Ruth said...

Theresa, well, the GRE, good luck with that! Will you be taking the English subject test?

"The Raven" would be a fun one to recite!! For kids or anyone around Halloween, hehe. Good luck with that too!

Raw Kale said...

Always one step ahead...

Heather said...

Oh yeah, the Raven is a great poem to memorize. Great for Halloween. Excellent idea.

Rauf said...

Ruth, i like fruits which involve no labour like peeling the skin.
i have been plain lazy all my life.
i avoided taxing my brain in trying to understand poetry. i grew up speaking Urdu, where the spoken language itself is very delicate and poetic. i have never been comfortable with English.

Ruth said...

I wish I was uncomfortable with several languages as you are with English, and other Indian ones, rauf. Oh to be uncomfortable in Urdu and be able to speak and write it so well as you do English.

But I understand. My own brain is pretty disgusted with my public display of this goal. How stupid am I? I've promised Heather I'll memorize this poem about the snow accident. Now I've gone and done it. It was all I could do to memorize 6 lines of Herrick's poem, which rhymed. I'm feeling lazy now too.

Ruth said...

RK, what did you mean by that: "one step ahead"?

Rauf said...

Ruth, what ever i say in 2 pages you say the same in two lines of a poem. That is the power of poetry.
i cannot hold you responsible for my being a dimwit.
poetry is very powerful. Tolstoy had the same views about poetry, he called it a juglery of words, and i don't agree with him.

Ruth said...

rauf, Archibald MacLeish wrote about poetry in a poem:

Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

A poem should not mean
But be

-- Archibald MacLeish

Ruth said...

Sorry, I gave you a poem to explain poetry, and I suppose that doesn't help.

Those last lines say it:

A poem should not mean
But be

Ruth said...

Oops, that last comment sounded like you needed explanation, rauf. You didn't. You said it perfectly. I was just adding two cents.

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