She surprised me over the weekend by sending me a private msg over Facebook that began with:
So you’re a poetry person….”
It was the start of an open invite to a poetry night.
I was flattered. But I corrected her and told her I wasn’t well versed at poetry at all. I appreciate it, though. Poetry is an elegant art. I feel that, to know poetry is like knowing your wine. It makes you cultured. Refined, I think.
And so, I began thinking of what poems I do like. The little that I could remember from university. I dug out correspondence with one of my lit profs many years after I had graduated, where I had asked her to remind me of a poem I wanted to find again. I gave her the concept – and she bounced the correct poem back to me almost immediately. It wasn’t even from a class I had taken with her. That – is cultured. To just – pull literature out of your back pocket when I had nothing more to describe to her than a feeling I remembered receiving, and one or two words that I remember reading, from that poem.
I figured that I had only one poem I liked. I searched it up on google to remember the lines. But then that one poem triggered the memory of second poem I liked. And then a third.
Maybe I do have one or two more in my back pocket than I thought I did.
Some of my favorites.
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d – see here it is-
I hold it towards you.
This living hand, now warm and capable. John Keats.
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the pool.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all their beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to ehg rave.
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Memroy o’er their Tom no Trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The peeling anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt’ry sooth that dull cold ear of death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or wakes to ecstasy the living lyre.
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Thomas Gray. [Excerpt]
And lastly, this isn’t a poem. But perhaps it’s poetic enough that I can squeeze it with the rest. A one liner to finish off the night.
She never told her love, but let concealment, like a worm ‘i th’ bud, feed on her damask cheek. She pinned in thought; and, with a green and yellow melancholy, she sat like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
Twelfth Night. Shakespeare.