Poetry Month Tag

I am not sure how I get into these scrapes…wait hang on! I do…Thanks to all the “influential” blog-universe friends, I sign on to do stuff,  about which I am completely unsure off. It’s a different matter, that most of the time, I end up LOVING the experience, but to begin with, it is kind of daunting. This time the influential friend is Cleo and she convinced me that one poem a week to celebrate Poetry Month Celebration is easily doable! Well, it does sound easy and I am half way into it as well, but I also have like a zillion books to read and a million blogs to write and trillion projects to execute at work and …ok! Deep Breaths! I am over my hysteria!  To be absolutely honest, I am loving the poems (Thank You Cleo, if it was not for your encouragement, I would not tread alone on those literary waters) I am reading (blogs coming up soon) especially considering I don’t get along with Poetry too well; and it made sense that I participate in the questionnaire as well; I mean what is the sense of doing things halfway anyway??

The Poetry Month celebration has begun at The Edge of the Precipice, and Hamlette has posted questions to answer as part of the April reading event.  Worth giving a shot….

Poetry Month

What are some poems you like?

  • Geetanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
  • Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti
  • Ode to the Nightingale by John Keats
  • Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

What are some poems you dislike?

I really have not come across a poem that merits a “dislike”!  There have been instances, where I have struggled with some of the works, and kind of given them up as a lost cause, but that is more from my inability to really connect with them rather than the work itself. Case to the point – The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser and To the Skylark by Shelly

Are there any poets whose work you especially enjoy?  If so, who are they?

I loved my recent tryst with Christina Rossetti and I have always enjoyed Robert Browning. My most favorite is Rabindranath Tagore. He wrote in my native language – Bengali. What makes him stand out is the wide range of poems that he could wrote that encompass practically all human emotions with all the sensitivity and aestheticism and unmatched grandeur! 

Do you write poetry?

No! Nix! Nada!

Have you ever memorized a poem?

Way back in school …The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge, The Charge of the Light Brigade by Lord Tennyson and some other other works by Robert Louis Stevenson. We had a class on Elocution through middle school and my teacher was convinced that learning and reciting a long poem would lead to brilliant oratory skills. I am yet to see the connection!

Do you prefer poetry that rhymes and had a strict meter, or free verse?  Or do you like both?

I like both. I do enjoy rhymes a bit for than free verses, however there are just way too many bad rhymes, so I am kind of cautious, about my preference here!

Do you have any particular poetry movements you’re fond of?  (Beat poets, Romanticism, Fireside poets, etc?)(If you haven’t got any idea what I’m talking about, that’s fine!  You can check out this list for more info, if you want to.)

I love the Romanticism and the Fireside Poets! I also love the Oral tradition, that encompass some of our best loved epic poems from Mahabharata to The Illiad to Beowulf! 

My plan is to read one poem per week . In the last two weeks I have already read and I plan to read two- three more….I will update this list as I figure it out.

  • Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

Some Goblins, Some Songs & A Birthday

For somebody enormously fond of literature and passionate about readings, my adventures in Poetry are next to none. Despite majoring in English Literature for my undergraduate degree, I could not develop a liking for this form of writing. I always felt that it takes a very developed and highly sensitized brain to truly appreciate poetry and somehow, I seemed to lack both in the right measure to really become a connoisseur. So I remained in the margins, reading up what others wrote about the texts assigned to me and managed to get the degree with honors, largely because I loved prose and drama. Anyway since the dismal tryst with poetry, I have usually kept such reading limited and at bay;however this year like I keep harping and I am trying to do things differently, as in reading Woolf and Zola, both of which I had dreaded and ended up loving, that not to venture forth with this other albatross seemed silly and I decided to plunge ahead. Since I was planning to take baby steps in reading poetry, I decided to start with someone whose works I have read in the past and enjoyed and did not not struggle through – Christina Rossetti fitted the bill to a T and her Goblin Market and Other Poems seemed the thing that slid very nicely into my Women’s Classic Literature Reading Event as well The 12 Month Reading Challenge, March theme being, A Classic that has been recommended! Goblin Market has been recommended to me for like FOREVER and now was a good time to start!

The Penguin Edition of Rossetti’s works is a collection of the poet’s 20 poems, the most famous being The Goblin Market. The poem describes the coming of the Goblins to sell their wares – the most delicious and freshest of fruits apples, cranberries, peaches, apricots, pears, grapes, pomegranates etc. Two sisters, Laura and Lizzie who live together hear the coming of the Goblins; Laura is tempted by the descriptions of the fruits, but Lizzie cautions against going and purchasing the fruits from the Goblins. Laura however is tempted and one evening lingers around the stream waiting for the Goblins to come and bring their fruits; when the Goblins arrive, she realizes she does not have any money to buy the fruits but the goblins offer to take a piece of her golden hair instead. So Laura gives up some of her hair, gorges herself on goblin fruit, and heads on home to her sister.The next day Laura and Lizzie go about their work in the house, Laura dreamily longs for the coming evening’s meeting with the goblins who will come again with their delicious fruits. But at the stream that evening, as she strains to hear the usual goblin cries of their fruits, she realizes that although Lizzie still hears the goblins’ voices, she no longer can. She slowly begins to fall ill and starts to waste away.  A worried Lizzie has to act soon and decides to confront the Goblins in an effort to save her sister!

This is the primary poem of the collections consisting of 28 stanzas and provides much food for thought! There is of course a vast deal of analysis that is available on this poem and they range from feminism, to sexual freedom to anti-Judaic character treatment etc etc. There is no denying that there is a sexual element to this composition, however, my take is that simply, Rossetti was rebelling against the social mores and restrictions, especially the ending, where the Victorian fallen woman, instead of dying away in oblivion, is resurrected and lives to a ripe old age! There is also the creation of Lizzie as a “hero” noble and brave who goes out to find a cure for her sister – there is no Prince Charming to the rescue here, but rather a theme of how woman must stand by each other! Then there is the aspect of being cautious against things we seem to little understand and letting them be.The poem uses an irregular rhyme scheme and irregular meter and allows some time to pass before the word finds its partner, which makes for a very unique reading experience and is best if read aloud. Apparently this poem was written for children, but I am not quite sure, if that was the only purpose of Ms. Rossetti.

I loved the collection and I completely  “besotted” is the word is guess, by the images and the themes that Ms. Rossetti uses to bring forth in her poems. While I really enjoyed the revolutionary spirit of Goblin Market, I also loved her “Song – When I am dead, my dearest” I cannot help but feel that though this particular poem bespoke of sadness of departing in death, there is also the same element of rebelling that was present in the Goblin Market, where the narrator ironically and iconically points out that the ‘dearest’ will not remember her! Yet another poem, a memorial for Keats called On Keats. Keats was a poet she greatly admired is as beautiful in its lyricism as much as its in its ode to the master poet “Here lies one whose name was writ, In water: while the chilly shadows flit, Of sweet Saint Agnes’ Eve; while basil springs, His name, in every humble heart that sings, Shall be a fountain of love, verily”. I also loved “A Birthday“, a poem where the narrator celebrates and expresses her joy at the upcoming birthday of her love. I loved the simple innocence of a true love and the brilliant way she weaves the words to create a lasting imagery! There is so much I can say, yet all of it will be insufficient to accurately describe the brilliance of this collection! Therefore, I leave you with only one thought – Please read it yourself!

 

The most wonderful season of them all…..

I love the autumn season!

It heralds so many wonderful things –

  • The winter season (if you are a December baby like me and cannot bear the summer….you will know what I mean!)
  • The festive season (Have you seen how most of the festivals all over the world, somehow tend to be around the Fall-Winter period?)
  • Most importantly, it’s Vacation Time (Especially the December holidays!!!!)
  • The creepy crawlies all hibernate
  • My hair does not look plastered to my scalp (summers with humidity)

So really….what’s there not to love about this season?

I love the feeling of getting up in the morning and wrapping up with a light sweater and warming my hands around a hot cup of tea, as I smell the wood fire in the air and see beyond the hills (remember I live in an apartment cut off from the city, whose only saving grace is the view!) the rising morning mist! Compare this to getting up in Summer, where you are drenched in sweat and everything is sticky and you just want to laze because, all your energy has been sucked out by the unrelenting and unremitting heat! Yuck!! I am sure you get the picture!

This is the time to explore, to rekindle old forgotten passions and go out and greet the world! It is the season of beauty, charm and outdoors – time for picnics and excursions! It’s a time to close old chapters and plan for new beginnings. It’s a time for harvest and celebrations!

I know I am waxing eloquent, but since this is such a lovely time, that I can go on and on about it! But then I think, there is somebody who has already done this in far more beautiful terms than I can ever fathom…..so I will just let Mr Keats do the talking –

Ode to Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Do let me know what your favorites/plans for this season!