Book Nook Cafe discussion


Comments (showing 151-200 of 466) (466 new)    post a comment »

message 151: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Susan, thanks for the title. I could see this as a wonderful book to give dog lovers. Do you think it would be appropriate for children, around 9 or 10 years old?

Alias, i read about that, as well as other tasks dogs seem able to do. Remarkable, isn't it? The first i remember hearing was about some dogs being trained to detect the approach of a seizure in epileptics. And here i was just tickled that they helped pollinate plants!


message 152: by Susan (new)

Susan (Nutz4Books) | 236 comments I think a 9 or 10 year old dog lover would enjoy the book. The poems are all very short and the photos are great. It's not a kid's book, but it is not difficult or have any inappropriate content.

Pollinate plants, too - wow! The cancer detection is getting a lot of press and seems to be very promising. One child in the Colorado Springs area has a dog trained to detect peanuts because the child is extremely allergic to them. It is amazing all that dogs can do. And my dog has trained me very well!

message 153: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Thanks for the reply, Susan. My nephew (& family) just got a bulldog, so he's still in the fun learning stage about dogs. I recall when my son was learning (and, of course, sharing) about dogs. The things we were taught!

message 154: by khi (new)

khi | 18 comments An old favourite...

by Matthew Arnold

Weary of myself, and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to be,
At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea.

And a look of passionate desire
O'er the sea and to the stars I send:
'Ye who from my childhood up have calm'd me,
Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!

'Ah, once more,' I cried, 'ye stars, ye waters,
On my heart your mighty charm renew;
Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
Feel my soul becoming vast like you!'

From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
In the rustling night-air came the answer:
'Wouldst thou be as these are? Live as they.

'Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
Undistracted by the sights they see,
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

'And with joy the stars perform their shining,
And the sea its long moon-silver'd roll;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul.

'Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
In what state God's other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
These attain the mighty life you see.'

O air-born voice! long since, severely clear,
A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:
'Resolve to be thyself; and know that he,
Who finds himself, loses his misery!'

message 155: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments This is an affirming poem, new to me. Thank you, khi, for sharing it. Poems using ships, barks, canoes, and other water vessels appeal to me because one senses the effect of being alone at sea. I suppose the first i read was by Robert Louis Stevenson, written from a child's bed.


message 156: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Delightful poem, Sarah. And how fitting since we are actually having a sort of rainy day (more mist than rain but it's been SO long).

Elsewhere i mentioned watching the National Book Award ceremony on C-Span this weekend. Poet Nikky Finney won the award for her book of poetry, Head Off and Split. Her acceptance speech was the best i've ever, ever heard. The speech is at the bottom of the link. To just hear it, scroll to 2:17 or so. Stay to 6:50 or so to hear Lithgow's comment. The rest is for the other books.

One of the greatest things about reading poetry these days is that we can hear some poems read by the poet. I don't know about you but in the past hearing poets read their work is disappointing, as i read it differently. Now i'm not as familiar with the pieces, so hearing them online sets the words in their own tone. Here is Finney reading "Left", one of the poems in her latest book. It is about Hurricane Katrina.

Her poems are longish and rich in portraying everyday colors. Instead of sharing one of those i'm offering this delightful work about writing poetry.

The Blackened Alphabet

While others sleep
My black skillet sizzles
Alphabets dance and I hit the return key
On my tired But ever jumping eyes
I want more I hold out for some more
While others just now turn over
shut down alarms
I am on I am on
I am pencilfrying
sweet Black alphabets
in an allnight oil

message 157: by Ann (new)

Ann (AnnRumsey) | 20 comments I just love "I am pencilfrying sweet black alphabets in an allnight oil"!

message 158: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments John Ashbery is a poet who is new to me. Last week he was awarded the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters award (a sort of Lifetime Achievement award) at the National Book Awards. Since seeing the program i've read several of his poems and find nothing which resonates with me. In his acceptance speech he talked about difficulty in understanding poetry and his thoughts on that. I was bemused by his comments. Now that i've sampled his work, i don't know what to say. With that in mind i'm sharing one of his shorter poems. Perhaps someone here will find a kindred soul in him. I feel i understand this one, but don't particularly like it.

Poem at the New Year
by John Ashbery

Once, out on the water in the clear, early nineteenth-century twilight,
you asked time to suspend its flight. If wishes could beget more than sobs,
that would be my wish for you, my darling, my angel. But other
principles prevail in this glum haven, don't they? If that's what it is.

Then the wind fell of its own accord.
We went out and saw that it had actually happened.
The season stood motionless, alert. How still the dropp was
on the burr I know not. I come all
packaged and serene, yet I keep losing things.

I wonder about Australia. Is it anything about Canada?
Do pigeons flutter? Is there a strangeness there, to complete
the one in me? Or must I relearn my filing system?
Can we trust others to indict us
who see us only in the evening rush hour,
and never stop to think? O, I was so bright about you,
my songbird, once. Now, cattails immolated
in the frozen swamp are about all I have time for.
The days are so polarized. Yet time itself is off center.
At least that's how it feels to me.

I know it as well as the streets in the map of my imagined
industrial city. But it has its own way of slipping past.
There was never any fullness that was going to be;
you waited in line for things, and the stained light was
impenitent. 'Spiky' was one adjective that came to mind,

yet for all its raised or lower levels I approach this canal.
Its time was right in winter. There was pipe smoke
in cafés, and outside the great ashen bird
streamed from lettered display windows, and waited
a little way off. Another chance. It never became a gesture.

FOR A FEW OTHER Samples, including his poetry read by himself in public, try this link. Of them, this was the one which appealed most to me. You can click on "play" to hear it in his voice.


message 159: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments I am chagrined when a poet dies and i first read their works in their obituary. This has happened again with the passing of Ruth Stone, who died this week. Her life was scarred by the suicide of her husband, Walter Stone in 1959, a year after her first book of poetry was published. Here is a link to an obit about her.

Like May Sarton, poems she wrote later in life are most appreciated by critics. In one article i read about her life, she stated that she wrote love poems for/to her dead husband. Here's one i like.

by Ruth Stone

Putting up new curtains,
other windows intrude.
As though it is that first winter in Cambridge
when you and I had just moved in.
Now cold borscht alone in a bare kitchen.

What does it mean if I say this years later?

Listen, last night
I am on a crying jag
with my landlord, Mr. Tempesta.
I sneaked in two cats.
He screams, "No pets! No pets!"
I become my Aunt Virginia,
proud but weak in the head.
I remember Anna Magnani.
I throw a few books. I shout.
He wipes his eyes and opens his hands.
OK OK keep the dirty animals
but no nails in the walls.
We cry together.
I am so nervous, he says.

I want to dig you up and say, look,
it's like the time, remember,
when I ran into our living room naked
to get rid of that fire inspector.

See what you miss by being dead?

But i really liked this one...

Always on the Train
by Ruth Stone

Writing poems about writing poems
is like rolling bales of hay in Texas.
Nothing but the horizon to stop you.

But consider the railroad's edge of metal trash;
bird perches, miles of telephone wires.
What is so innocent as grazing cattle?
If you think about it, it turns into words.

Trash is so cheerful; flying up
like grasshoppers in front of the reaper.
The dust devil whirls it aloft; bronze candy wrappers,
squares of clear plastic--windows on a house of air.

Below the weedy edge in last year's mat,
red and silver beer cans.
In bits blown equally everywhere,
the gaiety of flying paper
and the black high flung patterns of flocking birds.

message 160: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Alias & i are reading A Reckoning: A Novel by May Sarton this week. In it the main character, a book editor, shares bits of poetry, which i am going to share here. Feel free to join us in reading the book, btw. It's accessible and good!

The first is from George Herbert.


Ah, my dear angry Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.

I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament and love.

By the same author--
The Posie

Let wits contest,
And with their words and posies windows fill:
Lesse than the least
Of all thy mercies, is my posie still.

This on my ring,
This by my picture, in my book I write;
Whether I sing,
Or say, or dictate, this is my delight.

Invention rest;
Comparisons go play; wit use thy will:
Lesse than the least
Of all God's mercies, is my posie still.


message 161: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments In chapter X of the Sarton book her dying character Laura remembers a line from A.E. Housman. It is one of the poems from More Poems, published posthumously. Today this is the only poem i could find online. There is another line from Yeats but it apparently is not from a poem.



I to my perils
Of cheat and charmer
Came clad in armour
By stars benign.
Hope lies to mortals
And most believe her
But man's deceiver
Was never mine.

The thoughts of others
Were light and fleeting,
Of lovers' meeting
Or luck or fame.
Mine were of trouble,
And mine were steady,
So I was ready
When trouble came.

message 162: by Alias Reader (last edited Dec 16, 2011 09:43AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Hope lies to mortals
And most believe her
But man's deceiver
Was never mine.

That so fits the character in the novel.

Thanks for taking the time to share these poems, Deb.

message 163: by Shay (new)

Shay | 61 comments The Purse Seine
by Robinson Jeffers
Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark of the moon;
daylight or moonlight
They could not tell where to spread the net, unable to see the
phosphorescence of the shoals of fish.
They work northward from Monterey, coasting Santa Cruz; off
New Year's Point or off Pigeon Point
The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color light on the
sea's night-purple; he points and the helmsman
Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the gleaming shoal
and drifts out her seine-net. They close the circle
And purse the bottom of the net, then with great labor haul it in.

I cannot tell you
How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible, then, when the
crowded fish
Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall to the
other of their closing destiny the phosphorescent
Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body sheeted
with flame, like a live rocket
A comet's tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside the
Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up to watch,
sighing in the dark; the vast walls of night
Stand erect to the stars.

Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light: how could
I help but recall the seine-net
Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how beautiful
the city appeared, and a little terrible.
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together
into interdependence; we have built the great cities; now
There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
of free survival, insulated

From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet they
shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
Will not come in our time nor in our children's, but we and our
Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all powers
-or revolution, and the new government
Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls- or anarchy,
the mass-disasters.

These things are Progress;
Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps
its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow
In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria, splin-
tered gleams, crackled laughter. But they are quite wrong.
There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that
cultures decay, and life's end is death.

From Selected Poems by Robinson Jeffers.

message 164: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Shay, Jeffers is a poet whose work i like very much. We drove by his rock house in Carmel. Back then one had to knock on the door for a tour & i just couldn't do it, so intimidated was i. Now i see they offer limited tours at $10 a pop, which i'd gladly pay. The setting is beautiful and the rocks striking. Thanks for sharing one of his strong poems.

message 165: by Madrano (last edited Dec 17, 2011 08:59AM) (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments In Sarton's book she mentions first reading Baudelaire Charles poetry. She uses the French, which i do not read, however, this is the Information Superhighway and i found this translation. It's sweet and one can see why the character Laura would recall it at this stage of her life. For several translations of the other poem from which the character quotes, use this link.

Invitation to the Voyage

Imagine, ma petite,
Dear sister mine, how sweet
Were we to go and take our pleasure
Leisurely, you and I—
To lie, to love, to die
Off in that land made to your measure!
A land whose suns' moist rays,
Through the skies' misty haze,
Hold quite the same dark charms for me
As do your scheming eyes
When they, in their like wise,
Shine through your tears, perfidiously.

There all is order, naught amiss:
Comfort and beauty, calm and bliss.

Treasure galore—ornate,
Time-glossed—would decorate
Our chamber, where the rarest blooms
Would blend their lavish scent,
Heady and opulent,
With wisps of amber-like perfumes;
Where all the Orient's
Splendid, rich ornaments—
Deep mirrors, ceilings fine—would each,
In confidential tone,
Speak to the soul alone
In its own sweet and secret speech.

There all is order, naught amiss:
Comfort and beauty, calm and bliss.

See how the ships, asleep—
They who would ply the deep!—
Line the canals: to satisfy
Your merest whim they come
From far-flung heathendom
And skim the seven seas. —On high,
The sunset's rays enfold
In hyacinth and gold,
Field and canal; and, with the night,
As shadows gently fall,
Behold! Life sleeps, and all
Lies bathed in warmth and evening light.

There all is order, naught amiss:
Comfort and beauty, calm and bliss.

message 166: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments I just read that Auld Lang Syne, the New Year's Eve traditionaly song, wasn't written by Robert Burns and he never claimed authorship. Indeed, it seems it was published by several prior to his best known version. Wiki had several "translations" of it, at this link.

Here is one which is thought to be the first. It's in two parts. And not his longest poem, by far!


1st Part

Should old Acquaintance be forgot,
And never thought upon,
The Flames of Love extinguished,
And freely past and gone?
Is thy kind Heart now grown so cold
In that Loving Breast of thine,
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old-long-syne?

Where are thy Protestations,
Thy Vows and Oaths, my Dear,
Thou made to me, and I to thee,
In Register yet clear?
Is Faith and Truth so violate
To the Immortal Gods Divine,
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old-long-syne?

Is't Cupid's Fears, or frosty Cares,
That makes thy Sp'rits decay?
Or is't some Object of more Worth,
That's stoll'n thy Heart away?
Or some Desert, makes thee neglect
Him, so much once was thine,
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old-long-syne?

Is't Worldly Cares so desperate,
That makes thee to despair?
Is't that makes thee exasperate,
And makes thee to forbear?
If thou of that were free as I,
Thou surely should be Mine:
If this were true, we should renew
Kind Old-long-syne.

But since that nothing can prevail,
And all Hope is in vain,
From these rejected Eyes of mine
Still Showers of Tears shall rain:
And though thou hast me now forgot,
Yet I'll continue Thine,
And ne'er forget for to reflect
On Old-long-syne.

If e'er I have a House, my Dear,
That truly is call'd mine,
And can afford but Country Cheer,
Or ought that's good therein;
Tho' thou were Rebel to the King,
And beat with Wind and Rain,
Assure thy self of Welcome Love,
For Old-long-syne.

2nd Part

My Soul is ravish'd with Delight
When you I think upon;
All Griefs and Sorrows take the Flight,
And hastily are gone;
The fair Resemblance of your Face
So fills this Breast of mine,
No Fate nor Force can it displace,
For Old-long-syne.

Since Thoughts of you doth banish Grief,
When I'm from you removed;
And if in them I find Relief,
When with sad Cares I'm moved,
How doth your Presence me affect
With Ecstacies Divine,
Especially when I reflect
On Old-long-syne.

Since thou has rob'd me of my Heart
By those resistless Powers,
Which Madam Nature doth impart
To those fair Eyes of yours;
With Honour it doth not consist
To hold a Slave in Pyne,
Pray let your Rigour then desist,
For Old-long-syne.

'Tis not my Freedom I do crave
By deprecating Pains;
Sure Liberty he would not have
Who glories in his Chains:
But this I wish, the Gods would move
That Noble Soul of thine
To Pity, since thou cannot love
For Old-long-syne.

message 167: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments It's kind of a sad song to ring the new year in with.

message 168: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments I agree, Alias. I'm not sure that was the original intent. I read that one way of interpreting the words "auld lang syne" is "once upon a time". This seems less about the recent past, i think. Regardless, i won't be singing this version this week!

message 169: by Alias Reader (last edited Dec 29, 2011 08:03AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments I think Happy Days are Here Again would be a great song to ring in the New Year. Anyone else have a song suggestion to ring in the New Year ?

So long sad times!,
Go 'long bad times!,
We are rid of you at last
Howdy, gay times!
Cloudy gray times,
You are now a thing
Of the past, cause:

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
Let us sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again
Altogether shout it now!
There's no one who can doubt it now
So let's tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again
Your cares and troubles are gone;
There'll be no more from now on
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
Let us sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

message 170: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments I like this one because it celebrates the old more than welcoming the new year. Something about that idea appeals to me, despite my rotten year of 2011. I'll think of this as the last day of the old year dwindles.


A Song for New Year's Eve
by William Cullen Bryant

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
For his familiar sake.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
Because he gives no more?
Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
How sweet the seventh day's rest!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
Of all they said and did!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
Oh be the new as kind!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.

message 171: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Nice. That's more in the spirit !

message 172: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Happy to make the year end better. I found this haiku by [author:Kobayashi Issa|229667, which has a loveliness to it.

New Year's Day--
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.

message 173: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments :) On some days average is good enough.

message 174: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments That was my thought, too, Alias. The idea that this day, fresh as it is, will also represent the average works nicely, as far as i'm concerned. Just being.


message 175: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments It reminds me of the saying,

If you haven't all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don't have, that you wouldn't want.

message 176: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments That's a good one.

message 177: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 29, 2012 06:56AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments It was on this day in 1845 that Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" was published in the New York Evening Mirror . It was a huge sensation: Abraham Lincoln memorized it, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a fan letter to Poe. He was paid $9 for "The Raven," and it was extensively reprinted without his permission, but there was nothing he could do about it. He had written an unsigned article for the Mirror before about copyright law, saying, "Without an international copyright law, American authors may as well cut their throats," but there was no such law until 1891. His income in 1844 was $424; in 1845, he made $549.

The Poetry Foundation
National broadcasts of The Writer's Almanac are supported by The Poetry Foundation, celebrating 100 years of Poetry magazine in 2012

The Writer's Almanac is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.

The Raven

[First published in 1845]

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

message 178: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments What a fascinating poem! Well i recall seeing Jack Palance read the poem on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" long ago. Did you know a movie is being made about Poe, using the title? While it could be good, it could also be awful. Sounds like a mystery about murders featuring his work. Hmmm.


message 179: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments No, I didn't know there was a movie being made about Poe. It's something I think would interest me.

message 180: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Same here. Did you see the old film, 1963, The Raven, also loosely based on the poem? It starred some biggies in horror genre--Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff, directed by Roger Corman. I'm so old, i saw the original in the movie theater, as well as on the tv.

deb, creaking

message 181: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 30, 2012 09:25AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments No, I didn't see The Raven. I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to horror films and usually don't watch them.

However, that may be one to check out from my library. Thanks for the title.

message 182: by Shay (new)

Shay | 61 comments Historical Fiction about Poe's wife, Virginia: The Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart. Thought it was okay.

Poe and Virginia also appear in Dragonwyck by Anya Seton.

message 183: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Shay wrote: "Historical Fiction about Poe's wife, Virginia: The Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart. Thought it was okay.


I am not a fan of the Historical Fiction genre. So I will pass on that. But many here do like the genre, so thanks for posting a link for the book.

message 184: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Shay wrote: "Historical Fiction about Poe's wife, Virginia: The Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart. Thought it was okay. [a..."

I like when historical people are mentioned in fiction, the way it sounds as though Seton has employed them. I smiles when i saw the author's name of The Raven's Bride. Is that her real name? She must have been teased about her name and the connection to Poe's poem over the years. Here is his poem by that name.

by [author:Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849|5607985]

Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll! -a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river -
And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear? -weep now or never more!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read -the funeral song be sung! -
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young -
A dirge for her, the doubly dead in that she died so young.

"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her -that she died!
How shall the ritual, then, be read? -the requiem how be sung
By you -by yours, the evil eye, -by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong!
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride -
For her, the fair and debonnaire, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes -
The life still there, upon her hair -the death upon her eyes.

Avaunt! tonight my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!
Let no bell toll! -lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damned Earth.
To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven -
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven -
From grief and groan to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven."

message 185: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments It's the birthday of writer Langston Hughes born in Joplin, Missouri (1902). He went to Columbia University for a year, but then he decided that he wanted to learn from traveling instead of books, so he traveled to West Africa and Europe.

He moved back to the United States, and became a pivotal figure during the Harlem Renaissance. He was one of the first African-American poets to embrace the language of working-class black Americans.

** The Poetry Foundation
National broadcasts of The Writer's Almanac are supported by The Poetry Foundation, celebrating 100 years of Poetry magazine in 2012

The Writer's Almanac is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.

Langston Hughes Langston Hughes

“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”
― Langston Hughes

“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
― Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems

“I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That's the way I stay alive.
My motto,
as I live and learn,
Dig and be dug
In return.”
― Langston Hughes

“Folks, I'm telling you,
birthing is hard
and dying is mean-
so get yourself
a little loving
in between.”
― Langston Hughes

“Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows,
Help us to see
That without the dust the rainbow
Would not be.”
― Langston Hughes

“Looks like what drives me crazy
Don't have no effect on you--
But I'm gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy, too.”
― Langston Hughes, Selected Poems

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?”
― Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems

message 186: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments I so enjoy his poetry. Thank you for the reminder, Alias. Lorraine Hansberry spun a powerful play from that last poem, didn't she? A Raisin in the Sun: Curriculum Unit continues to be an excellent work, imo.

message 187: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Wisława Szymborska died yesterday. A Polish citizen, she won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the many things i liked about her poetry was how she often incorporated mathematical ideas into the pieces. This one is an example, although not her best poem, it's a good one and, as you might expect, often used in math classes.


The admirable number pi:
three point one four one.
All the following digits are also initial,
five nine two because it never ends.
It can't be comprehended six five three five at a glance,
eight nine by calculation,
seven nine or imagination,
not even three two three eight by wit, that is, by comparison
four six to anything else
two six four three in the world.
The longest snake on earth calls it quits at about forty feet.
Likewise, snakes of myth and legend, though they may hold out a bit longer.
The pageant of digits comprising the number pi
doesn't stop at the page's edge.
It goes on across the table, through the air,
over a wall, a leaf, a bird's nest, clouds, straight into the sky,
through all the bottomless, bloated heavens.
Oh how brief - a mouse tail, a pigtail - is the tail of a comet!
How feeble the star's ray, bent by bumping up against space!
While here we have two three fifteen three hundred nineteen
my phone number your shirt size the year
nineteen hundred and seventy-three the sixth floor
the number of inhabitants sixty-five cents
hip measurement two fingers a charade, a code,
in which we find hail to thee, blithe spirit, bird thou never wert
alongside ladies and gentlemen, no cause for alarm,
as well as heaven and earth shall pass away,
but not the number pi, oh no, nothing doing,
it keeps right on with its rather remarkable five,
its uncommonly fine eight,
its far from final seven,
nudging, always nudging a sluggish eternity
to continue.

message 188: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Madrano wrote: "I so enjoy his poetry. Thank you for the reminder, Alias. Lorraine Hansberry spun a powerful play from that last poem, didn't she? A Raisin in the Sun: Curriculum Unit con..."

I've read the play and seen a TV production. However, I've never seen it on the stage. I see that the Roundabout play company did a production of it in 1986. But that is before I joined.

message 189: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Madrano wrote: "Wisława Szymborska died yesterday. A Polish citizen, she won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the many things i liked about her poetry was how she often incorporated mathema..."

:) Very clever.

message 190: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Alias Reader wrote: "I've read the play and seen a TV production. However, I've never seen it on the stage. I see that the Roundabout play company did a production of it in 1986. But that is before I joined...."

I recognize two or three of the names from that cast. Interesting that John Fielder reprised his role. I see from Wiki that he was also in the first filmed version & a tv version. The stories he must have been able to tell. I always enjoy learning more about actors in lesser roles. Sometimes it seems they have the best of all worlds. Thanks for the review.

message 191: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments In my continued mourning of the loss of Wislawa Szymborska, i read this poem. I hope you like it as much as i do, particularly in the light of her death.

Seen From Above
by Wisława Szymborska

A dead beetle lies on the path through the field.
Three pairs of legs folded neatly on its belly.
Instead of death's confusion, tidiness and order.
The horror of this sight is moderate,
its scope is strictly local, from the wheat grass to the mint.
The grief is quarantined.
The sky is blue.

To preserve our peace of mind, animals die
more shallowly: they aren't deceased, they're dead.
They leave behind, we'd like to think, less feeling and less world,
departing, we suppose, from a stage less tragic.
Their meek souls never haunt us in the dark,
they know their place,
they show respect.

And so the dead beetle on the path
lies unmourned and shining in the sun.
One glance at it will do for meditation —
clearly nothing much has happened to it.
Important matters are reserved for us,
for our life and our death, a death
that always claims the right of way.

message 192: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Madrano wrote: "In my continued mourning of the loss of Wislawa Szymborska, i read this poem. I hope you like it as much as i do, particularly in the light of her death.
Seen From Above
by Wisława Szymborska


Talk about odd synchronicity, Szmborska is mentioned in the book I am currently reading !

Radioactive Marie and Pierre Curie by Lauren RednissRadioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie~~Lauren Redniss

message 193: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Indeed! Is it the fact they are both from Poland or that science fascinated them? Or neither? LOL. I like hearing about this, thanks.

message 194: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Madrano wrote: "Indeed! Is it the fact they are both from Poland or that science fascinated them? Or neither? LOL. I like hearing about this, thanks."

In the book, the author notes that Marie Curie named her first element polonium to bring attention to her homeland, Poland. However, she was disappointed when her second discovery, radium, overshadowed it. So the author, "to grant Marie's original wish" has two pages of famous Polish people and flora and fauna found in Poland with a sentence about each one. :)

It's a fun list. I was surprised to see Nathan Handwerker -1892-1974. Who is he ? None other than the founder of Nathan's Famous, the hot dog company.

message 195: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments LOL--what a name. At least he didn't name his business Handwerker's Famous, eh? Thanks for explaining. I like that the author offered that salute, so to speak.


message 196: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Zeljka, thank you for sharing that link. There were several poems there i didn't know but, of course, particularly liked Szymborska's. It's a neat idea for an article, too. It would be neat to see it done with people whose names i recognize.

As an aside, i must add that at first i was taken aback that Frasier would name a poem by her husband, Pinter. However, i thought it was a good love poem. Who knew?

Again, thank you for the link. I'm pleased you liked the poems i shared, too.


message 197: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Last night i read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The rereading was inspired by our Buddy read, Moby-Dick. As a kid i thought the Coleridge poem was book long but last night i was surprised to see it was easily read in well under an hour. Here is a link to the actual poem.

When i originally read the poem, as a high school frosh, i thought the book's editors provided the side notes. Hark! They were in this new version, as well, which was a compilation of British poems. So, Coleridge wrote them. Naturally, today i had to see if the 'net could explain them.

Sure 'nuf, they did. It seems when originally published, the side notes were not there. The supposition is that they were added later to help with the effect the poet wanted to give, that this was an ancient poem, recently uncovered. By adding interpretive side notes, a layer of scholarship enhanced the effect, suggesting that readers needed clarification of what was written long ago. Interesting.

It actually ended up giving the poem a new aspect, according to SparkNotes. (And who would disagree with them?) The humor in them is that they appear to be a parody of some scholarly interpretations of ancient works. Well, i'm not that well-versed, so the humor was lost on me. ;-)

Indeed, no one mentions the thing which surprised me about the side notes. I found them distracting, a break from the tension the mariner's contribution provides. In high school, i have no doubt i was grateful for the interpretation and may well be why i remembered the poem more than most we read. However, as an adult, i spent time wondering why an author would do this to his work. Well, enough for now. I just thought i'd share. Any fans of this work here?


message 198: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Deb, isn't it great how we can now go to the internet to find these these things out all in seconds?

As a kid, my only source would be a tiny branch library. Which I doubt very much would have the answers for all the things I look up on the net. The only reference really that the library had would be encyclopedias and a few other reference books. And I certainly wouldn't be running to the library daily, which is how often I tend to look things up on the net.

I know for sure, the internet and reading groups have expanded my reading horizons and made reading and discussing books such a joy for me.

message 199: by Madrano (last edited Feb 15, 2012 06:08AM) (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3097 comments Isn't that the truth, Alias?! For so many of my questions i wouldn't know where to begin looking, were it not for the 'net. And i know i've shared my pure joy in the very fact of having other book readers "at hand", so to speak. A first in my life.

Last night i began my bio of John Quincy Adams (more on another thread). In it there was a quote from his father wherein he was encouraging his son to read the English poets, telling him that poetry was essential to happiness. "You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket." Lovely. I want to remember that.


message 200: by Alias Reader (last edited Feb 15, 2012 07:28AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 10794 comments Madrano wrote: In it there was a quote from his father wherein he was encouraging his son to read the English poets, telling him that poetry was essential to happiness. "You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket." Lovely. I want to remember that.


Then you will want to mark your calendar for April 26th. :)

Celebrate national Poem In Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 26, 2012!

back to top

unread topics | mark unread

Books mentioned in this topic

Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud (other topics)
Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It (other topics)
Committed to Memory (other topics)
Complete Poems Of Robert Frost, 1949 (other topics)
The Dylan Thomas Omnibus: "Under Milk Wood," Poems, Stories and Broadcasts (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Robert Frost (other topics)
Sylvia Plath (other topics)
Caroline Kennedy (other topics)
Edna St. Vincent Millay (other topics)
William Wordsworth (other topics)