Archive for the ‘ Poets ’ Category

November

Today is the anniversary of the birth of American poet William Cullen Bryant.

Born in a log cabin near Cummington, Mass in 1794, he was the second son of a family in which both parents could trace their ancestry back to the Mayflower.

Bryant’s poetry is tender, some would say graceful…but shouldn’t poetry be graceful?

He had a love of the woods, its silence, and as a youth and adult spent much time there seeing inspiration.

I don’t do much about poetry or poets on the blog, but as winter and its wonderful holidays approach and November gets off to a roaring start, I thought a sampling of his poetry might be nice.

Here is November.

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!

One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,

Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,

Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.

One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,

And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,

And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze,

Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.

Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee

Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,

The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,

And man delight to linger in thy ray.

Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear

The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.

 

Happy Friday, happy November.

A Noiseless Patient Spider

Today is Walt Whitman’s birthday, he was born in 1819.

Whitman was a poetry man, I am not.

I know, I’m a Philistine in that area.

But, the man had talent, so I’ll honor him anyway!

Most of his poems are longer than my blog posts, this one is not!

 

A noiseless, patient spider,

I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;

Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,

It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;

Ever unreeling them – ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,

Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,

Carelessly musing, venturing, throwing, – seeking the spheres, to connect them;

Till the bridge you will need, be form’d – till the ductile anchor hold;

Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

 Whitman

On Another’s Sorrow…

On Another’s Sorrow

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird’s grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear —

And not sit beside the next,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant’s tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
Oh no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give his joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

Oh He gives to us his joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled an gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

William Blake.

Too all my friends in Chattanooga, my home for over two years so long ago, you’re in my thoughts today.

Chattanooga

Just For You, Jan…

Every generation has a poet, Bob Dylan is ours.

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Born on May 24, 1941, Robert Allen Zimmerman turns 72 today.

Dylan 2010

Yikes! Yes, folks, that’s his real name.

The grandson of Russian Jews who emigrated to the US in 1905 to avoid the anti-Semitic pogroms of the Russian Empire was born in Duluth, Minnesota.

He spent his early years helping to care for his invalid father and listening to blues, country, and early rock and roll.

He had no idea at the time just how much he would influence all three.

Little Bobby Zimmerman formed many bands while at Hibbing High School, covering popular songs.

His early interest in rock gave way to American Folk Music.  He said, “…the thing about rock n’ roll is that, for me anyway, it wasn’t enough…there were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms…but the songs weren’t serious or didn’t reflect life in a realistic way.  I knew that when I got into folk music, it was a more serious type of thing.   The songs were filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings.”

The story of Dylan is enormous, and can’t be contained in a blog post.  His music tells his story, and ours.

Baez and Dylan

From Blowin’ In The Wind to Lay, Lady, Lay to Just Like A Woman, he tells the story of our generation, our journey of a Million Miles from where we were to Where Teardrops Fall.

It wasn’t all A Simple Twist of Fate, he was a prophet when he told us The Times, They Are A Changin’.

He claimed that Woody Guthrie had been a revelation to him and was the biggest influence on his early performances. Describing Guthrie’s impact on him, Dylan later wrote: “The songs themselves had the infinite sweep of humanity in them … [He] was the true voice of the American spirit. I said to myself I was going to be Guthrie’s greatest disciple.”

Dylan's first album

Woody Guthrie may have been the true voice of the American Spirit in his day, but Dylan carried on and became ours.