Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blast From The Past: Poems Loved By Me




Just few days back, while I was looking through some of my college books ( I finished my college education ages ago) I couldn't help noticing all the lovely quotes and parts of some really good poems enjoyed by me in those days, jotted down here and there inside my books.

I used to have beautiful handwriting, and I used to write with the slant of letters towards the right. However, there were times, I used to change my style by writing straight, or making the letters come out more rounded and so on. All the styles looked good.

It brought tears to my eyes, when I saw my hand writing, for today I cannot write like that as I have lost my ability to write fluently or even continuously, or even fast. After about 1 or 2 lines my writing loses is clarity.

I could have worked on it, and I can still work on overcoming this very simple problem through regular practice, but it is sheer laziness that is stopping me from achieving any success in this matter, also the keyboard is to be blamed to some extent. This problem is because of a Stroke which I had suffered 13 years back. 
I was so thrilled at overcoming almost all my stroke related problems, that, I never bothered much about my writing. Although,  I can manage without perfecting this art, I am going to start writing a few pages each day.

Now,  that is another story to be told, in another blog, at another time, but for now let me take you to my favorite poems.

Parts of some of the poems loved by me:

These beautiful lines from "The Blessed Damozel" ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

And still she bowed herself and stooped

Out of the circling charm;

Until her bosom must have made

The bar she leaned on warm,

And the lilies lay as if asleep

Along her bended arm.


Another one from the same poem:

' I wish that he were come to me,

For he will come', she said.

'Have I not prayed in Heaven?--on earth,

Lord, Lord, has he not pray'd?

Are not two prayers a perfect strength?

And shall I feel afraid?


It is a very sad story of a young girl separated from her beloved, however, she has not given up hope and is waiting for the reunion. It is a very sensual poem. She dreams of the day that they will be together and present themselves in the beauty and glory of God. Gabriel Rossetti lets the reader know that she has not yet entered heaven. She is at the outer gates of the kingdom of heaven waiting for her lover.

In those days, being young meant having some crush on somebody, and we could easily relate with all the emotions and feeling depicted here.

I remember how we used to enjoy our poetry classes and the reason behind it was that we were all romantically inclined.


Another favorite: 
Stanzas From The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam.

The Moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it

There was a time I truly believed in this philosophy, but with experience I understood, that none of the words written above is true, or applicable to me. However, there are people who still believe in such theories and feel some unseen fate has control over their lives. Even now I love these lines, though their meaning no longer resonate with me.

John Keats, the most loved poet:

Ode To A Nightingale:

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,
That thou, light-wing├Ęd Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

In the end the poet says: Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:- do I wake or sleep?

The emphasis is so much on Nightingale's immortality. As we go through the poem we feel the happiness felt through the song of the Nightingale, but only to realize soon, that we are to face this ugly world full unhappiness and despair, we are left feeling lost, for we cannot be like the Nightingale.
Those days when we felt down and sad, we would go through such poems, and make ourselves more miserable.

When we felt lost and dejected, we would also turn to Shelly for inspiration:

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of prophecy; O, Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

I am sure many of us were inspired by Shelly's Ode To The West Wind.

The most romantic poem, and I simply love it: it is by Robert Burns

My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my love,
Thou’ it were ten thousand mile.

Then there is the beautiful sonnet of Milton's

On His Blindness
Who can forget these famous lines:

"God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

I also thoroughly enjoyed his Paradise Lost too

Then there is Wordsworth. We can never forget the famous lines from his famous poem: Daffodils:

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.

Awesome lines, flowing so beautifully one after another, which only Wordsworth could do. There was time I could recite this poem by heart, and even now although I don't remember it so well, I still enjoy reading it.

Then there is the sad romantic in all of us: Christina Georgina Rossetti was my favorite :

To meet, worth living for:
Worth dying for, to meet.
To meet, worth parting for:
Bitter forgot in sweet.
To meet, worth parting before,
Never to part more

I think I must have been crazy about her poems for they reflected everything I felt at that particular time. Here is another:

As you set it down it broke-
Broke, but I did not wince;
I smiled at the speech you spoke,
At your judgment that I heard:
But I have not often smiled
Since then, nor questioned since,
Nor cared for corn-flowers wild,
Nor sung with the singing bird.

Another :
My blindest buzzard that I know,
My special mole, when will you see?
Oh no, you must not look at me,
There's nothing hid for me to show.
I might show facts as plain as day;
But since your eyes are blind, you'd say:
Where? What? and turn away.

Shelly's:
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those
that tell of saddest thought.

Another favorite poet, Robert Frost.
What he said is so true even today. 

Such great poets, and such wise words.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. "


"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep".

Robert Frost

I can't believe I had written some of these verses and more, in the various empty back pages of my books in my beautiful handwriting.
Do you have any favorite poems which you enjoyed in your youth or enjoy now?
Please feel free to share them here.