Poetry Month #4: Robert Burns

To celebrate poetry month I’m sharing a few of my favorite poems this month. This is Robert Burns, Scotland’s most famous poet, in my favorite of his poems.

To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell-
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Poetry Month Post #3: Thomas Hardy

In celebration of Poetry Month, I’m sharing some of my favorite poems all throughout the month of April. This post is a sneaky little bit of snark a la Thomas Hardy.

Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?

“Ah, are you digging on my grave,
My loved one? — planting rue?”
— “No: yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
‘It cannot hurt her now,’ he said,
‘That I should not be true.'”

“Then who is digging on my grave,
My nearest dearest kin?”
— “Ah, no: they sit and think, ‘What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death’s gin.'”

“But someone digs upon my grave?
My enemy? — prodding sly?”
— “Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie.

“Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say — since I have not guessed!”
— “O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog , who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?”

“Ah yes! You dig upon my grave…
Why flashed it not to me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
A dog’s fidelity!”

“Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting place.”

Poetry Month post two: Sharon Olds

 

“The One Girl at the Boys Party” (Sharon Olds, 1983)


When I take my girl to the swimming party
I set her down among the boys. They tower and
bristle, she stands there smooth and sleek,
her math scores unfolding in the air around her.
They will strip to their suits, her body hard and
indivisible as a prime number,
they’ll plunge in the deep end, she’ll subtract
her height from ten feet, divide it into
hundreds of gallons of water, the numbers
bouncing in her mind like molecules of chlorine
in the bright blue pool. When they climb out,
her ponytail will hang its pencil lead
down her back, her narrow silk suit
with hamburgers and french fries printed on it
will glisten in the brilliant air, and they will
see her sweet face, solemn and
sealed, a factor of one, and she will
see their eyes, two each,
their legs, two each, and the curves of their sexes,
one each, and in her head she’ll be doing her
sparkle and fall to the power of a thousand from her body.


I love the clarity and the honesty in Sharon Olds’ poetry. and for some reason I especially love her poems about her children. I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I imagine she hits just on the head the odd mix of emotions watching your children grow up brings to you—pride in their strengths, anxiousness over what they don’t know and how they might stumble, wonder at the things they understand better than you. A t the things you know are headed their way.

April is Poetry Month!

bleedys-icons-teaandbooksAnd in celebration, this month I’m going to share some poems with you. The first is Emily Dickinson (#704), because she is one of my absolute favorites, and always a treasure. If you only ever want to read through the life’s work of one poet, I recommend Dickinson a hundred times over.

No matter—now—Sweet—
But when I’m Earl—
Won’t you wish you’d spoken
To that dull Girl?

Trivial a Word—just—
Trivial—a Smile—
But won’t you wish you’d spared one
When I’m Earl?

I shan’t need it—then—
Crests—will do—
Eagles on my Buckles—
On my Belt—too—

Ermine—my familiar Gown—
Say—Sweet—then
Won’t you wish you’d smiled—just—
Me upon?

I love everything about this poem. The sass. It is a perfect example of how sassy Dickinson could be. And, I’ll admit, a poem dear to my own heart. Because I’m still working my way up to Earl, too. Aren’t we all?