Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Name

To be perfectly honest, there things I would rather do than read poetry. In fact, I never read poetry unless it's required by a class I'm taking. But since I have to read some, you do too. Remarkably enough, there are some good poets out there.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats: he was a very, very, very strange man with some very, very, very strange ideas, but he still wrote some decent stuff.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of linnet's wings.

I will arise and go for now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavement grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

The Lesson
by Billy Collins: former Poet Laureate of the United States (2001-2002).

In the morning when I found History
snoring heavily on the couch,
I took down his overcoat from the rack
and placed its weight over my shoulder blades.

It would protect me on the cold walk
into the village for milk and the paper
and I figured he would not mind,
not after our long conversation the night before.

How unexpected his blustering anger
when I returned covered with icicles,
the way he rummaged through the huge pockets
making sure no major battle or English queen
had fallen out and become lost in the deep snow.