November 28, 2006


I've been unofficially tagged by Ex Libris for a poetry meme. It's been a while since I've participated in a meme and thought this would be fun and thought-provoking.

What's the first poem you remember reading/hearing/reacting to?

Goodness, I'm not sure. Possibly Who Has Seen the Wind by Christina G. Rossetti which is in one of the children's books (My Brimful Book) I recently mentioned here.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and...

I don't recall ever having to memorize a poem in school. I'm ashamed to say that I don't even remember studying poetry other than maybe in 7th Grade English! I guess that's what you get for growing up in Southern California during the 70s.

I read/don't read poetry because...

I don't generally seek out poetry to read on a regular basis. However, I'm always happy when I discover a poem that sounds pleasing to the ear. Since I don't really know the proper way to read a poem (with comprehension), I prefer those that rhyme and have an understandable cadence (I'm sure there's a technical term for this).

A poem I'm likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is...

Well, I actually do have a couple. I love Wordsworth's Daffodils. It's one of the few poems I've memorized (in bits and pieces) over the years.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company:
I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

I also like Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

And then there's Song from Pippa Passes by Robert Browning:

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!

I write/don't write poetry, but...

No, I don't write poetry. However, my wonderfully romantic husband wrote me a poem for Valentine's Day this year. We have an on-going joke about the pronunciation (or misprounciation!) of the word "poem."

A Poime for Lesley

Is it too much to ask of life
That we run our race with one true friend?
That when we sleep we slumber deep,
And then our fences kindly mend?

That hearth and home be bright and warm,
A lovely, lively place?
And can we find some peace of mind,
A partnership of grace?

Should not our souls be free to fly?
And when we strive we do beseech
The stars agleam - so bright, they seem! -
Could our grasp this once exceed our reach?

It must be so! What else explains
The love I've found, this joyful song to sing?
You brought a light to deepest night
And made a fool a king.

Perhaps it is that Poe was wrong,
That what he said was false and sad;
It seems there is some trace of it,
Some bit of balm in Gilead.

Recollect emotion in tranquility
Is what Wordsworth said to do;
And thus I came (however lame)
To make this poime for you.

I tag Bellezza, Bookfool, Nat, Lotus and Sassymonkey. Oh, what the heck! Anyone who's interested can play!

EDITORIAL NOTE: Apparently, somewhere along the way, part of Cam's meme was lost. (Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Cam!) Here are the remaining questions:

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature.....
7. I find poetry.....
8. The last time I heard poetry....
9. I think poetry is like....


  1. Hi Lesley.

    Once an assistant in the English office when I was doing my grad work typed up "I wandered lonely as a cloud" as "I wondered lovely as a cloud". I didn't catch the typo at first, but strangely, I thought it still worked, although not as how the poet intended.

    I've found so many new & interesting blogs tracing where this meme has wandered to. There have been so many different things said about poetry and so many poets quotes/referenced. What fun! Somewhere along the way some of the questions were lost, so if any of your readers are interested in answering the other questions, they can find them here. No requirement of course to answer all of them at all -- because, like the mistyped poem, it still works!

  2. Anonymous7:30 AM

    What a sweet husband you have!

  3. Oh! I didn't realize there were more questions. I will have to give those some thought.

    That was a wonderful poem your husband wrote for you! What a guy!! (and talented).

  4. Anonymous9:53 AM

    Ooooo, Les, a poetry meme, how wonderful, thank you for tagging me, I will certainly give it my best shot!

    Love the poem Rod wrote for you, I had a lump in my throat while reading it - such beautiful sentiment!

  5. Les ~ You gotta a keeper! :)

    I was on a mission to find a book that I knew you reviewed, so I went breezing through your blog again and I want you to know that I REALLY like your blog. It is very well done and I appreciate all you say as well as what you don't say.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. All right, my friend, I'll play. I'm a rotten poet/poem expert, but it'll be fun to consider what to put down.

  7. Now I know where you found the title for "Stop the Clocks." It's just beautiful.

    And, your dear husband's poime to you. That is better than any diamond ever could be.

  8. Anonymous8:25 AM

    I still have my childhood Golden Book of A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. When I open the pages, I feel the same magic I felt over 50 years ago. They call it a "bo peep" book, and I think it refers to the fact there are some little holes in pages where the reader can peek through onto the next page. Also, every few pages are only half pages in size. It is just wonderful. "I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me".

  9. Cam, thanks again for the heads-up on the missing questions and for visiting my blog. I've bookmarked yours and have enjoyed reading thru your archives. BTW, I love the typo you made on Wordsworth's poem. ;)

    Iliana, I know. He's a keeper. :)

    Ex Libris, I was quite impressed with my husband's poem. I've always known he's a marvelous writer, but I never knew he could write poetry.

    Lotus, it took me a few readings before I understood what my husband's poem was saying. Poetry, ya know? I suppose it helps to know what the heck "balm in Gildead" means (revealing my ignorance now, but happy to say it's been explained to this dumb blonde!). Now I, too, get a lump in my throat when I read it. You should see me when I try to read his blog.

    Joy, you said it! I'm very lucky to have met someone so thoughtful and loving. We've been married for 18 years and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. And thank you very, very much for the sweet compliment. I get a lot of enjoyment from blogging and work very hard to make it pleasing to those who visit.

    Bellezza, Yay! I'm glad you're going to play. Yep, that's where I got the name for my other blog. I was just sitting here at my desk, looking at all the pictures I have pinned to three large bulletin boards (in my little office in our house) and glanced over at the poem which I had typed up years ago (probably after I first heard it on Four Weddings and a Funeral). It seemed absolutely perfect for that blog as it's exactly how we felt after Rachel died. The third verse, however, is more fitting to my darling husband. And yes, I'd take a love letter, a poem, or a cd burned with all of our songs any day over a diamond.

  10. Hey, Les!

    I've been tagged and I didn't even know it!! I'll play, but it may take me a day or two. I'm in recovery mode, here. Gotta clean the darned house and rest a little.

    Funny that you mentioned "Daffodils" and "Funeral Blues" - also favorites of mine! I've got W.H.Auden's Tell me the Truth About Love on the good shelves. It was the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral that introduced me to Auden.

    Cool hubby you've got, but we already knew that. He's a talented man, isn't he?

    Thanks for tagging me!!

  11. Anonymous6:40 AM

    Did the meme, Les, please feel free to take a peek! :)

  12. Nan - I have A Child's Garden of Verses also. Mine has marvelous illustrations. I looked to see who did them, but apparently the book is "illustrated with more than 100 pictures by the most distinguished children's book illustrators of the late 19th and early 20th centuries..." I can make a few of the names (Ruth Hallock, Jessie Wilcox Smith, MD Spooner).

    Bookfool - Why am I not surprised that Daffodils and Funeral Blues are your favorites, too?! I think you, Bellezza and I were sisters separated a birth. Thanks for playing. I've checked out your responses to the meme and will post a comment later this morning. By the way, this tagging thing? Is there a rule as to how one tags another? Do you simply post on your own blog that they've been tagged or do you post a comment somewhere on their's? I'll get the hang of this whole blogging thing one of these days! ;)

    Lotus - I peeked. Great answers! I've bookmarked a few of the blogs you mentioned, as well. I am definitely on a poetry kick now (but not seriously enough to think about turning it into some sort of challenge!).

  13. I don't get the Tagging Rules out there, either. I'm afraid to offend someone by tagging them, yet I feel honored to be tagged myself!

  14. Bellezza - Oh, I doubt anyone would be offended. I figure if someone tags me and I don't feel like participating, they'll understand. And if not, it's their problem. Not mine. I certainly wouldn't be upset if someone chose not to play along on one I've created or tagged. Life is far too short to get your panties in a bunch over something like a meme! ;)

  15. Anonymous6:08 PM

    I've been busy and thought about quietly avoiding it, but I've just posted mine. :)

  16. I've been busy, too, Nat. I took a look at your post and thoroughly enjoyed your responses. Thanks for finding time to play! It's been great hearing what everyone has to say about poetry.


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