Friday, April 1, 2011

Poem A Day

Reading poetry is a wonderful way to infuse your mind with the beauty of words, and for me April as National Poetry Month is a good reason to get back into my old habit of reading a poem every night before going to sleep. The anthology Poem A Day, volume 2, is my favorite book to read poetry every day, and many of its pages are dog-eared from bookmarking poems I liked. What I appreciate especially about this book is that each poem is also accompanied by a short bio of the poet.

National Poetry Month suggests all kinds of ways to celebrate poetry. I'll be sharing a few of my favorite poems here but I also recommend checking out poetry.org and signing up for their Poem-A-Day email. It's like getting a little serving of delicious hors d'oeuvres every day, without having to do a thing! Plus it provides you with a sampling of poets you might otherwise never discover.

Here's my favorite poem from Poem A Day, Volume 2, by Chidiock Tichborne (1558? - 1586) who had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of the fence during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It made me realize that I love poems with a back-and-forth rhythm, aside from the fact that poems that capture the dark side of the human condition always resonate with me. Feel free to post your reaction or a favorite poem of yours in the comment section.

His Elegy
     Written before His Execution

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares;
  My feast of joy is but a dish of pain;
My crop of corn is but a field of tares;
  And all my good is but vain hope of gain:
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun;
  And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard, and yet it was not told;
  My fruit is fall'n, and yet my leaves are green;
My youth is spent, and yet I am not old;
  I saw the world, and yet I was not seen:
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death, and found it in my womb;
  I looked for life, and saw it was a shade;
I trod the earth, and knew it was my tomb;
  And now I die, and now I was but made:
My glass is full, and now my glass is run;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this poem. With a name like Chidlock Tichborne he was bound to have problems.

    Which leads me to Dickinson:

    Apparently With no surprise

    Apparently with no surprise
    To any happy Flower
    The Frost beheads it at its play-
    In accidental power-
    The blonde Assassin passes on-
    The Sun proceeds unmoved
    To measure off another Day
    For an Approving God.

    Emily Dickinson

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  2. Desert Rocks: Thanks for posting "Apparently with No Surprise" - I guess the beheading made the connection for you?

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