Oh, Hey, it’s Poetry Corner with Auntie Daghain!

Yep, kiddies, I am in a mood to show you why I am an English major. Seriously, I loved prose, but I LOVED poetry, and there’s some stuff out there you all need to know about. Let’s take a little tour of my poetry corner, shall we?

First up: The poem that made me realize poetry had something to say. I was probably ten at the time. And yes, I memorized this poem. So there you go.

Alone
-Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Next up: Poe made me, but Walter COMMITTED me. I knew I would be an English Major after this:

The Listeners
-Walter de la Mare

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:–
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Sealing the deal: Pablo Neruda. Patch Adams Movie. You do the math. He cemented my conviction that poetry conquers all.

Sonnet XVI
– Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

And, the poem that not only scares the crap out of me, but bodes true:

Aubade
– Philip Larkin

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
– The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused – nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast, moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear – no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anasthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small, unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

Quite honestly, I can totally trace most of my English Major roots to the above. They all spoke to me. They still do, all these years later. Oh, I could add lots of authors to the list, but Edgar, Walter, Pablo and Philip kind of say it all.

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Tales from the Bike Trail

Wow, only my second time on the bike trail this year and already the idiots are out. This does not bode well.

Just a couple of tips, folks, when you’re out on the bike trail:

1) just because you have your dog on one of those five million foot long retractable leashes DOES NOT mean you can let him run at the very end of it. This is ESPECIALLY true if you’re letting the dog run on the OTHER side of the trail. You have now created a great accident-in-waiting for the poor bastard who comes tearing around the corner and sees you. Oh, and when I holler out I’m behind you and want to pass, you need to PULL THE DOG TO YOU, not stand there and stare like I’m somehow going to magically take flight and go over you.

2) to the lady who was letting her medium-sized dog take her out for a drag: you, madam, not only need to ditch the retractable leash, you need to hie yourself and your canine to an obedience class. Honestly, what was the point of getting the dog if you weren’t going to train it? You aren’t doing anyone any favors, lady.

3) to the lady who was absentmindedly staggering down the middle of the trail trying to slap at a mosquito (or an invisible hamster, how the hell would I know): watch where the hell you are going, and when I holler I’m passing on the left, DON’T walk that way. I ended up passing you on your OTHER left, you moron.

4) to the four teenage morons who thought lining both sides of the bridge for photo ops would be fun: hogging half the bridge like that is the bike trail equivalent to standing in a doorway. Don’t do it. I don’t care how cute Brittany will look with the stream behind her, I and the guy coming the other way would like to be able to use the bridge at the same time, which we could do if you weren’t SO SPECIAL AND IMPORTANT.

There are lots of people on the bike trail, and there are RULES for a reason. Coming downhill around a blind corner and finding some idiot blocking the trail is not only annoying, it’s dangerous. If everyone followed the rules, we could all enjoy the trail. The Earth revolves around the sun, kids. Keep it in mind.