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Striking gold August 15, 2009

Posted by mirl in poetry, reading.
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I read Alison Flood's recent article about the BBC's current Poetry Season where she was campaigning against Kipling being UK's favorite poet (again).  She reveals that Gerard Manley Hopkins is her favorite poet, and her favorite poem Hopkins's "Spring and Fall".  Naturally, after reading Flood's heartfelt endorsement, I followed the link to the poem.  Reading as a treasure hunt.

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

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Encore for Eliot’s Prufrock June 14, 2009

Posted by mirl in books, literature, poetry, reading, T. S. Eliot.
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Because I really like it.  And I'm pretty sure that T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is a favorite of many.  (It is a longish poem, so I just gave a link, instead of copying the entire text here.  Reading it in its entirety is highly recommended.)  The poem is from the collection "Prufrock and Other Observations" published in 1917—the entire collection is amazing.  I never seem to tire of re-reading this poem, and every time I do, there is a different set of lines which evokes an intense visceral reaction from me while I recognize the truth in those lines, while at the same time experiencing utmost pleasure at the way the unhappy truth is said.  Behold:

  
  For I have known them all already, known them all:--
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
  So how should I presume?

  And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,  
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?  
  And how should I presume?

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