Sonnets etc.

Posted By: Bobyoungbalt

Sonnets etc. - 05/22/01 05:43 PM

Since our other poetry thread has become so successful that it's getting overlong, herewith a new collection. Let's begin with a work by Francesco Petrarca, the original sonnetteer.

Ite, caldi sospiri, al freddo core;
Rompete il ghiaccio che pietà contende,
E se prego mortale al ciel s'intende,
Morte, o merce sia fine al mio dolore.
Ite, dolci penser, parlando fòre
Di quello ove 'l bel guardo non se stende:
Se pur sua asprezza, o mia stella n'offende,
Sarem fuor di speranza, e fuor d'errore.
Dir se pò ben per voi, non forse a pieno,
Che 'l nostro stato è inquieto e fosco,
Si come 'l suo pacifíco e sereno.
Gite securi omai, ch'Amor vèn vosco;
E ria fortuna pò ben venir meno
S'a i segni del mio sol l'aere conosco.

Go, burning sighs, into that frozen heart;
Shatter the ice that now with pity vies,
And if a mortal prayer can reach the skies,
Let death or mercy end at last this smart.
Go, loving thoughts, and speak aloud and show
What hides where her fair glance is not extended:
If her contempt or my star is offended
We shall be out of hope and out of woe.
You certainly can say, though not quite well,
That our condition is as dark as hell,
While her own is serene, peaceful and fair.
Go, you are safe, because Love comes with us;
And wicked fortune may decline and pass,
If the signs of my sun predict the air.


And one of my favorites, from the Holy Sonnets of John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swellst thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

That 8th line is one of the most beautiful lines of poetry I know of.

Let's have some more, poetry lovers!

Posted By: satin

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/22/01 05:57 PM


Musicians play sweet violins
And softly strum their mandolins
Guitars increase the haunting sound
That captivates and holds spellbound.
While mothers dream of lost romance,
Their daughters whirl and glide and dance.
Fond lovers sing a sad refrain,
But pop the corks on pink champagne!
Let no one notice--somehow, miss
That magic moment when they kiss,
The hours go quickly; with dismay,
They watch as nighttime turns to day.
Soon hungry birds wake up and sing;
Melodic church bells ring--and ring.
The aged learn the bitter truth
That Spring was truly meant for Youth!

Marie Engebretson
North Country Cadence
(Spring 1978, Vol 3.)

Posted By: wordcrazy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/22/01 08:13 PM

On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdom seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold,
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his desmesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then I felt like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific--and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise--
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

John Keats

Posted By: Avy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/23/01 02:43 AM

Okay I am going to try and do a very difficult thing and explain a Ghazal - difficult because I am no expert. I am learning myself.

On the history of the Ghazal (pronounced Ghuzzle):

I am going explain the structure so as to get it clear in my own head. But I need a poem to do that. So this is poor translation of a very popular Ghazal by the poet Ghalib.

Even a speck of hope comes not to me
Even a glimpse of her robe comes not to me

Earlier I could laugh at my situation
Now of laughter even a scope comes not to me

I find myself in such a realm where
Any news of how I cope comes not to me.

This is the structure:
The poem is made up of couplets (called Sher).
The rhyming scheme is AA BA CA where A is the repetition of the same phrase (called Radif). Here Radif is "comes not to me".
In lines 1,2,4,6 there is in-rhyming with the words "hope" "robe" "scope" and "cope". This is called Kaafiyaa. (Okay robe does not rhyme, but as I said this is a poor translation)
Matla is the first couplet which must have the Radif (repetitive phrase) in both lines.
The poem follows a meter called Beher which (as of now) is Greek and Latin to me even though it is Urdu.

Posted By: Bobyoungbalt

Ghazals - 05/23/01 03:58 PM

Am I correct in the assumption that a ghazal is intended to be sung, perhaps to the accompaniment of sitar and drum?

Posted By: Sparteye

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/23/01 06:54 PM

Ooooh, Avy, I like that! Give us another. Please.

Posted By: emanuela

Re: Sonnets - Petrarca - 05/24/01 04:33 AM

The language of Petrarca is so far from today - the constructions, not the words - that it was more easy for me to read that sonetto in English rather than in Italian!

Posted By: Avy

Re: Sonnets - Petrarca - 05/24/01 09:17 AM

>Am I correct in the assumption that a ghazal is intended to be sung, perhaps to the accompaniment of
sitar and drum?
Yes that is correct! But it is both poetry to be written and read and also sung.

>The language of Petrarca is so far from today - the constructions, not the words - that it was more easy for me to read that sonetto in English rather than in Italian!
Emanuela, that is very interesting! The translation was so good, selfishly I am a glad that the translation is better - so I enjoyed what was good.

Posted By: Avy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/24/01 09:22 AM

>Ooooh, Avy, I like that! Give us another. Please.

This is another poor translation of a Ghalib Ghazal:

Stupid heart what's happened to you I do not know!
To ease this pain what salve will do I do not know!

Here I am so eager and there she is so displeased
Oh lord! What is going between us two I do not know!

I too keep a tongue within the confines of my mouth
Why can't I ask "What's up with you?" I do not know.

Why did I have to pin all my hopes of love on one
Who has not of the meaning of love a clue, I do not know.

P.S At night in my dream Mirza Ghalib has begun to appear to me long beard bristling and finger wagging in admonition - so I think I will stop messing around with his poetry.

Posted By: Bobyoungbalt

Re: Sonnets - Petrarca - 05/24/01 03:02 PM

Attualmente® cara Emanuela, I didn't think that was a particularly great translation; but it's in iambic pentameter and follows the construction and rhyme scheme of the original, so it's probably the best that can be done given the requirements. I appreciate that it's generally impossible to translate anything, particularly poetry, literally and have it come out in the same form as the original.

Posted By: Bobyoungbalt

Re: Ghazals - 05/24/01 03:07 PM

Avy, perhaps we can all try to propitiate the shade of Mirza Ghalib. After all, few of us here understand Urdu, so if someone doesn't translate some ghazals for us, we'll never get to read any. And I think you're doing great!

Posted By: AnnaStrophic

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/25/01 05:14 PM

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being an ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Posted By: AnnaStrophic

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/25/01 05:20 PM


Thank you for the Petrarchian sonnet.... I enjoyed reading it aloud in the Italian.

I too love the Donne sonnet. In fact, I posted it on the original sublime rhyme thread. Which leads me to ask: is anyone familiar with the play W;t? The semicolon is a reference to the last line:

"And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die."

Posted By: AnnaStrophic

Re: Ghazals - 05/25/01 05:27 PM

BYB: Avy, perhaps we can all try to propitiate the shade of Mirza Ghalib. After all, few of us here understand Urdu, so if someone doesn't translate some ghazals for us, we'll never get to read any. And I think you're doing great!

Indeed, Avy. Thank you for making ghazals accessible to us. I love the repetition device.

Posted By: wwh

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/25/01 10:24 PM

I think the most beautiful poem I have ever read is a very short one, marvelously economic of words, painting a lovely picture, with an interesting philosophical concept.
It describes a Roman fountain with a vertical jet that falls back to fill three successively larger basins achieving equilibrium.
Der Römische Brunnen by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer

Aufsteigt der Strahl, und fallend gießt
Er voll der Marmorschale Rund
Die, sich verschleiernd, überfließt
In einer zweiten Schale Grund;
Die zweite gibt, sie wird zu reich,
Der dritten wallend ihre Flut
Und jede nimmt und gibt zugleich
Und strömt und ruht……

Posted By: Max Quordlepleen

- 05/25/01 11:37 PM

Posted By: rodward

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/29/01 11:16 AM

A poem I like for a number of reasons. Written by Leo Marks in 1943 as a code poem for Violette Szabo who was an agent with SOE. She was captured and shot in 1944. Appropriate in context and theme for Memorial day.

The life that I have is all that I have,
And the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have, A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.


Posted By: Sparteye

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/29/01 12:21 PM

Oh no, Rod: you made me cry. Now that is an homage to a hero.

Posted By: maverick

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/29/01 12:24 PM

Thanks for that, Rod. I love that, and haven't read it for years. It has such simplicity and poise.

Posted By: wow

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/31/01 12:15 AM

Written by Leo Marks in 1943 as a code poem for Violette Szabo who was an agent with SOE. She was captured and shot in 1944.

Leo Mark's book "From Silk to Cyanide" tells of his life in SOE and he talks about many spies he sent off to undercover work during WWII. He was in his early 20s at the time. The book was published last year. If the poem touched you I think you'd enjoy his story.

Posted By: rodward

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/31/01 06:40 AM

Leo Mark's book "From Silk to Cyanide" tells of his life in SOE

Thanks, WOW. I picked the book up from my son on Monday amongst a load of others of interest and am about half way through (and enjoying it so far). That is what reminded me of the poem which I remember hitting me very strongly before. The book gives a slightly different slant from most books of this type.


Posted By: wow

Re: Sonnets etc. - 05/31/01 03:50 PM

The book (Leo Marks : From Silk To Cyanide) gives a slightly different slant from most books of this type.

Heard the author on BookTV and was intrigued by the drama of his work, and at such a young age. Quite amazing!
I'm useless at codes -- most things mathematical for that matter, except music -- but the narrative itself is quite compelling I thought.

As you know from reading the book, Leo was the son of the owner of Marks & Co which was the subject of Helene Hanff's book "84 Charing Cross Road" later a movie with Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench and Mel Brooks' wife, Anne What's-her- name.
"84" is the story of a New York writer and her real letters to and from the Marks & Co. bookstore manager as she sought and he found books for her over many years, post-WWII. You might want to borrow it from library after you finish "From Silk To Cyanide." A pleasant read. There was a follow-up book to "84 Charing Cross Road" but I can't recall the title off hand.

Posted By: Bingley

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/01/01 12:44 AM

Like wow I can't remember the name of the follow-up to 84, Charing Cross Road, but I do remember that it was about Helene Hanff's first trip to Britain. I think she went to the shop and met the son of the guy she'd corresponded with, and she also met Joyce Grenfell. Otherwise it was all wide-eyed US'n Anglophile tourist stuff.

Posted By: Fiberbabe

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/01/01 01:52 AM

wow laments> There was a follow-up book to "84 Charing Cross Road" but I can't recall the title off hand.

Looks like The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. I just happened to have some time and the inclination to do a little research... and coincidentally turtling toward my 200th post...

Posted By: maverick

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/01/01 10:59 AM

How's the quilting, Dagny? [help-help]

Posted By: wow

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/01/01 04:30 PM

follow-up book to "84 Charing Cross Road" but I can't recall the title off hand.....Looks like "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street."

Thanks Fiberbabe! That's the one. As you noted it is a bit of a tourist thing but I enjoyed it because it gave a quite satisfactory ending to the story.

Speaking of books : A friend went to England recently to visit her English husband's home land and bought a book about the American Revolution (1776) as told from English point of view. She says it is "Quite interesting!"

Posted By: nikeblack

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/01/01 09:11 PM

bought a book about the American Revolution (1776) as told from English point of view. She says it is "Quite interesting!"

... still can't quite belive it happened?

Back to the topic ...

I saw magic on a green country road --
That old woman, a bag of sticks her load,

Blackly down to her thin feet a fringed shawl,
A rosary of bone on her horned hand,
A flight of curlews scribing by her head,
And ashtrees combing with their frills her hair.

Her eyes, wet sunken holes pierced by an awl,
Must have deciphered her adoring land:
And curlews, no longer lean birds, instead
Become ten scarlet comets in the air.

Some incantation from her canyoned mouth,
Irish, English, blew frost along the ground,
And even though the wind was from the South
The ashleaves froze without an ashleaf sound.

Michael Hartnett (from The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry)

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/02/01 03:06 AM


by Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966)

Tiger Christ unsheathed his sword,
Threw it down, became a lamb,
Swift spat upon the species, but
Took two women to his heart.
Samson who was strong as death
Paid his strength to kiss a slut.
Othello that stiff warrior
Was broken by a woman's heart.
Troy burned for a sea-tax, also for
Possession of a charming whore.
What do all examples show?
What must the finished murderer know?

You cannot sit on bayonets,
Nor can you eat among the dead.
When all are killed, you are alone,
A vacuum comes where hate has fed.
Murder's fruit is silent stone,
The gun increases poverty.
With what do these examples shine?
The soldier turned to girls and wine.
Love is the tact of every good,
The only warmth, the only peace.

'What have I said?' asked Socrates,
'Affirmed extremes, cried yes and no,
Taken all parts, denied myself,
Praised the caress, extolled the blow,
Soldier and lover quite deranged
Until their motions are exchanged.
--What do all examples show?
What can any actor know?
The contradiction in every act,
The infinite task of the human heart.'
The ending couplet is one of my all-time favorite quotations!
And, just a thought...after scores of readings, one line, as I posted, lept out at me...let's make "A vacuum comes where hate has fed" a catch-phrase for the Millennium.
If you haven't read Delmore Schwartz, check him out...I think he's one of the most underrated and overlooked American poets of the 20th century!

Posted By: wordcrazy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/02/01 09:14 PM


If by dull rhymes our English must be chained,
And, like Andromeda, the sonnet sweet
Fettered, inspite of pained loveliness;
Let us find if we must be constrained,
Sandals more interwoven and complete
To fit the naked foot of poesy;
Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gained
By ear industrious, and attention meet;
Misers of sound and syllable, no less
Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
Jealous of dead leaves in the bay-wreath crown;
So, if we may not let the muse be free,
She will be bound with garlands of her own.

John Keats

Posted By: Jazzoctopus

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/03/01 02:33 PM

wordcrazy, I see your sonnet sonnet, and I raise you another:

Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room,
And hermits are contented with their cells,
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest peak of Furness fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison unto which we doom
Ourselves no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

William Wordsworth

Posted By: Fiberbabe

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/03/01 04:45 PM

Song of the Enthusiast

Mav asks me how the quilting goes
To help me attain new station
But I suspect just answering that
Would end in flagellation
Therefore, I indulge a little rhyme
As I do graduate
To keep the spirit of the thread
"Mav, quilting's going great!"
I hope no one finds this post
To be trivial or obscene
I'm pleased as punch to graduate
Without pulling a Quordlepleen...

Posted By: wordcrazy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/05/01 08:43 PM

wordcrazy, I see your sonnet sonnet, and I raise you another:

I am not a good gambler, I do not know when to fold so here's another from Wordsworth again:


Scorn not the sonnet; critic, you have frowned,
Mindless of its just honors; with this key
Shakespeare unlocked his heart; the melody
Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's woundl
A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound;
With it Camoens soothed an exile grief;
The sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned
His visionary brow; a glow-worm lamp,
It cheered mild Spenser, called from Faeryland
To struggle through dark ways; and, when a damp
Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand
The thing became a trumpet; whence he blew
Soul-animating strains--alas, too few!

Posted By: Jazzoctopus

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/06/01 12:00 AM

I am not a good gambler, I do not know when to fold

neither am I:


by Robert Burns

Fourteen, a sonneteer thy praises sings;
What magic myst'ries in that number lie!
Your hen hath fourteen eggs beneath her wings
That fourteen chickens to the roost may fly.
Fourteen full pounds the jockey's stone must be;
His age fourteen - a horse's prime is past.
Fourteen long hours too oft the Bard must fast;
Fourteen bright bumpers - bliss he ne'er must see!
Before fourteen, a dozen yields the strife;
Before fourteen - e'en thirteen's strength is vain.
Fourteen good years - a woman gives us life;
Fourteen good men - we lose that life again.
What lucubrations can be more upon it?
Fourteen good measur'd verses make a sonnet.

Posted By: Avy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/06/01 12:39 AM

Please don't stop - both of you . I am enjoying this. I wonder how many sonnets on sonnets there are.

Posted By: wordcrazy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/06/01 02:16 AM

I am scraping the bottom of the barrel here:


A Sonnet is a moment's monument,-
Memorial from the Soul's eternity
To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be,
Whether for lustral rite ro dire portent,
Of its own ardous fullness reverent:
Carve it in ivory or in ebony,
As Day or Night may rule; and let Time see
Its flowering crest impearled and orient.

A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals
The soul--its converse, to what Power 'tis due:
Whether for tribute to the august appeals
Of Life, or dower in Love's high retinue.
It serve; or, 'mid the dark wharf's cavernous breath,
In Charon's palm it pay the toll to Death.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Posted By: Jazzoctopus

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/06/01 09:00 PM

well, sometimes the best stuff is at the bottom of the barrel:


by Edgar Allen Poe

"Seldom we find," says Solomon Don Dunce,
"Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
Through all the flimsy things we see at once
As easily as through a Naples bonnet--
Trash of all trash?--how can a lady don it?
Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff--
Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
Twirls into trunk-paper while you con it."
And, veritable, Sol is right enough.
The general tuckermanities are arrant
Bubbles--ephemeral and so transparent--
But this is, now,--you may depend on it--
Stable, opaque, immortal--all by dint
Of the dear names that lie concealed within't.

This from the site from which I found this one: The "dear name" concealed within An Enigma can be found by reading the first letter of the first line, the second letter of the second line, etc. to the end of the sonnet--she was a poet and friend of Poe's.

Posted By: wordcrazy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/07/01 02:16 AM

well, sometimes the best stuff is at the bottom of the barrel

I admire your optimism. Can you hear that really horrible sound of metal against metal---s-c-r-a-p-i-n-g?

Have you heard of James Russell Lowell? He must be an ancestor of Robert Lowell.
Well, here's what he says of a sonnet, written when he was very young:


If some small savor creep into my rhyme
Of the old poets, if some words I use,
Neglected long, which have the lusty thews
Of that gold-haired and earnest-hearted time,
Whose loving joy and sorrow all sublime
Have given our tongue its starry eminence,--
It is not pride, God knows, but reverence
Which hath grown in me since my childhood's prime;
Wherein I feel like my poor lyre is strung
With soul-strings like to theirs, and that I have
No right to muse their holy graves among,
If I can be a custom-fettered slave,
And, in mine own true spirit, am not brave
To speak what rusheth upward to my tongue.

James Russell Lowell

Posted By: wow

Re: A Day in June - 06/09/01 01:57 PM

Here's another by By James Russell Lowell...especially appropriate today as we are having a perfect June Day!

What Is So Rare As A Day in June

AND what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,-
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,-
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

Posted By: musick

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/09/01 04:38 PM


June is the promise
Summer keeps in lavish ways
and Autumn fulfills.

Posted By: wordcrazy

Re: A Day in June - 06/10/01 04:56 PM

What Is So Rare As A Day in June

I am so glad somebody else knows of James Russell Lowell!

I agree yesterday was a gorgeous June day. My heart was just so full of joy at the bounty of nature. A friend and I toured the gardens of Princeton and what a riot of colors it all was. It was worthy of sublime poetry and JRL's just fit the bill.

The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;

Thanks wow

Posted By: Bobyoungbalt

Re: A Day in June - 06/11/01 07:45 PM

As long as we're on the subject of summer, there's this contribution from Shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Posted By: Jackie

Re: A Day in June - 06/12/01 02:14 AM

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Thanks, Bob--this one's mine.Hi, lusy!

Posted By: Bobyoungbalt

For Max - 06/20/01 07:48 PM

Have we run out of poetry, friends? I've been thinking about something to express my condolences to Max and lady on the loss of their grandmothers and today something in another thread (about sea changes) recalled this poem which was recited by the minister at the funeral of my maternal grandmother, who was one of the great influences of my life, and a devout Christian lady. So Max, this is for you, with sincere condolences:


Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

This has been set to a beautiful tune and can be found in the Methodist Hymnal.

Posted By: Max Quordlepleen

- 06/20/01 08:40 PM

Posted By: Jackie

Re: For Max - 06/21/01 11:49 AM


Thank you, Bob. It is a lovely song. I had not known it had been put to music until I heard it on the radio one day, not too long after my friend's body had given up. I sat there transfixed, with tears streaming. I first heard of the poem in one of the Anne of Green Gables series, maybe the fifth one.

Posted By: Marianna

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/21/01 01:48 PM

Here is a Spanish contribution to "sonnets about sonnets". I would adventure that no Spanish schoolchild ever memorises what are the metric rules for a sonnet. It is much easier to memorise this one, and then to work them out from there...

The sonnet is by Lope de Vega, a sixteenth century Spanish poet. This is a translation done by Alix Ingber, a professor of Spanish at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. They are found at

Soneto de repente

Un soneto me manda hacer Violante,
que en mi vida me he visto en tal aprieto;
catorce versos dicen que es soneto,
burla burlando van los tres delante.

Yo pensé que no hallara consonante
y estoy a la mitad de otro cuarteto,
mas si me veo en el primer terceto,
no hay cosa en los cuartetos que me espante.

Por el primer terceto voy entrando,
y parece que entré con pie derecho
pues fin con este verso le voy dando.

Ya estoy en el segundo y aun sospecho
que voy los trece versos acabando:
contad si son catorce y está hecho.

Instant Sonnet

A sonnet Violante bids me write,
such grief I hope never again to see;
they say a sonnet's made of fourteen lines:
lo and behold, before this line go three.

I thought that I could never get this far,
and now I'm halfway into quatrain two;
but if at the first tercet I arrive,
I'll have no fear: there's nothing I can't do!

The tercets I have just begun to pen;
I know I must be headed the right way,
for with this line I finish number one.

Now I am in the second, and suspect
that I have written nearly thirteen lines:
count them, that makes fourteen, and look -- it's done.

(©Alix Ingber, 1995)


Posted By: Alex Williams

brevity is the soul of wit - 06/21/01 03:36 PM

Candy is dandy,
But liquor is quicker.

Odgen Nash

Actually, one of my favorite poem's is John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," but I don't have the text with me here at work.

Posted By: Fiberbabe

Re: brevity is the soul of wit - 06/21/01 03:53 PM

Can do, Alex... I'm partial to this one too -

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

As virtuous men passe mildly away,
And whisper to their soules, to goe,
Whilst some of their sad friends doe say,
The breath goes now, and some say, no:
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No teare-floods, nor sigh-tempests move,
T'were prophanation of our joyes
To tell the layetie our love.

Moving of th'earth brings harmes and feares,
Men reckon what it did and meant,
But trepidation of the spheares,
Though greater farre, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers love
(Whose soule is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love, so much refin'd.
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care lesse, eyes, lips, and hands to misse.

Our two soules therefore, which are one,
Though I must goe, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to ayery thinnesse beate.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiffe twin compasses are two,
Thy soule the fixt foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the'other doe.

And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth rome,
It leanes, and hearkens after it,
And growes erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to mee, who must
Like th'other foot, obliquely runne;
Thy firmnes drawes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begunne.

My favorite is probably The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, but it's even longer, so I won't post it here... go to http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_2/eliot.html if you'd like to be reminded of Eliot's sweetness.

Later edit > Whoa! I just scrolled through that page, rereading the poem, and somehow I associated a completely different tone with it - or maybe it just means something different to me now that I'm older... anyhow, I don't think sweetness is really what I meant. Still love the poem, but.
Posted By: Faldage

Re: If brevity be the soul of wit - 06/21/01 04:04 PM

The vocal transcription of John Cage's Four Minutes and Thirty-three Seconds which I include below in its entirety.

Posted By: maverick

Re: If brevity be the soul of wit - 06/21/01 04:12 PM

Even richer in sonorous majesty is the transcription for barbershop quartet. Such honey-sweet harmonies have you never heard!

Posted By: wwh

Re: If brevity be the soul of wit - 06/21/01 04:58 PM

Dear Faldage: Is brevity synonymous with nullity?

Posted By: Alex Williams

Re: If brevity be the soul of wit - 06/21/01 06:08 PM

Perhaps you could say that vocal part is "nulutative" :)

(see tsuwm's thread on Q&A page)

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: A Poet's Heart: For Max and Maverick... - 06/22/01 02:13 AM

and for anyone who is dealing, or has dealt, with the pain of loss, and the ensuing process of "healing,"...And with thoughts to my best friend, John, who we lost a year ago this month:


by Walt Whitman

On the beach at night,
Stands a child with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower sullen and fast athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends large and calm the lord-star Jupiter,
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate sisters the Pleiades.

From the beach the child holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower victorious soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears,
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the stars only in
Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another night, the
Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden shall
shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again, they
The vast immortal suns and the long-enduring pensive moons
shall again shine.

Then dearest child mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?

Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter,
Longer than sun or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant sisters the Pleiades.

--Walt Whitman 1871
"Leaves of Grass" (from "Sea Drift")


Posted By: wordcrazy

Re: Sonnets etc. - 06/26/01 08:54 PM

What a lovely, lighthearted addition to the thread that started out as just sonnets and ended up as sonnets on sonnets. I hope this continues. I hope there are other hidden treasures being unearthed by somebody somewhere.

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