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Poetry Sundays

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A few weeks ago I decided to read poetry on Sunday mornings. I'm trying to get to the library each week to pick a poet or poets whose work I've never read before or maybe read a long time ago. A couple of weeks ago I came across Billy Collins. He wrote a couple of poems about artists. Here's an excerpt from one about Goya:

from Candle Hat

...

But once you see this hat there is no need to read

any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him

lighting the candles one by one, then placing

the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,

then laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.

Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house

with all the shadows flying across the walls.

6a00d8341e347153ef00e54f3738908833-800wi2.jpg

Francisco Goya, self-portrait with candle hat

...

Here's an excerpt from a poem about John Constable:

from Student of Clouds

The emotion is to be found in the clouds,

not in the green solids of the sloping hills

or even in the gray signatures of rivers,

according to Constable, who was a student of clouds

and filled shelves of sketchbooks with their motion,

their lofty gesturing and sudden implication of weather.

John_Constable_027.jpg

John Constable, Weymouth Bay

---

Another poem by Mr. Collins, Walking Across the Atlantic,ends with the stanza:

But for now I try to imagine what

this must look like to the fish below,

the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.

---

I don't want to interpret or evaluate these at this point. I just wanted to mention the poet who seems worth reading.


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I, too, try to read poems, there's always a book or two, someone's collection or anthology on my desk. My latest purchase this summer was Staying Alive edited by Neil Astley. Here's a poem by Mary Oliver. Although the link is a little cheesy, I hope you enjoy its beauty. Like all good poems, it has a form just like love, "it begins with delight and ends with wisdom" (Robert Frost).

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Posted

Oh, this is the paradelle guy! And I thought I hadn't heard of him before.

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Posted

Test.

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Thanks, soleo. I particularly like the lines "calls to you like wild geese, harsh and exciting, over and over." Wild geese sound harsh and exciting. I like it when a poet sees and hears the natural world clearly and describes it well but in a way I hadn't thought of.

I read some of Mary Oliver's poems a few weeks ago. Here's one that I liked:

We Should Be Well Prepared

The way the plovers cry goodbye.

The way the dead fox keeps on looking down the hill

with open eye.

The way the leaves fall, and then there's the long wait.

The way someone says: we must never meet again.

The way mold spots the cake,

The way sourness overtakes the cream.

The way the river water rushes by, never to return.

The way the days go by, never to return.

The way somebody comes back, but only in a dream.

*****

Thanks, Tzela Vieed, for mentioning the term "paradelle." It was new to me so I googled it. Here's the wiki page.

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Thank you-- it’s been interesting revisiting paradelles (I wrote one years ago for a school assignment, and that’s not an experience one soon forgets!) and learning more about the man behind them. Billy Collins sounds like someone with a unique take on the world, and a great sense of humor.

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