“How can I more precisely express truth and beauty in my writing?” asked the young traveler, sitting by the rocky entrance of a cave, high on the east side of Mount Athos (prosopopoeia).
Have you ever quarreled about something (that you later realized was insignificant), and in so doing, lost sight of what was truly important? Have you ever been waylaid by something distracting, and lost your way as a result? Well, if you haven’t experienced this in a while, you may recall a similar gist in one of Aesop’s fables, “The Ass and His Shadow.” (If not, read on!)
I’d like to share with you my dream to have an English class Garden of Poetry. It will be a rewarding project that will use interaction with the living elements of nature to inspire a more reflective, spiritual reading (and writing) of literature and poetry. Many great poets of the past and present have been gardeners, farmers, or naturalists, planting their words deep in the loam, deriving shape, form, and being from our nutrient-rich earth.
George Herbert (1593-1633)
Philosophers have measured mountains,
Fathomed the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walked with a staff to heaven, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love.
Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man, so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
Quae Nocent Docent
[in Christ’s Hospital book]
O! mihi praeteritos referat si Jupiter annos! (1789)
Oh! might my ill-past hours return again!
No more, as then, should Sloth around me throw
Her soul-enslaving, leaden chain!
No more the precious time would I employ
In giddy revels, or in thoughtless joy,
A present joy producing future woe.
The Morning Watch
by Henry Vaughan
[Editor's Note: This is the first edition of a new weekly feature wherein we will be contemplating a single work of poetry or a portion of a poem. The tone of these posts will vary, ranging from academic to informal, but will always be driven by a deep and abiding love of poetry. We hope you enjoy and, please, join the conversation!]
“Suddenly, right before their eyes, look, a potent marvel destined to shape the future!”
The Aeneid, Book V. ll. 575-6
"Blackberry Picking" by Seamus Heaney Late August, given heavy rain and sun For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot Among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills We trekked and picked until the cans were full,