Poetry

April 11th 2011
Prologue for the Silverdale Village Players: Easter 1924 NEIGHBOURS, to-night we come once more In this our home beside the shore To turn ourselves to other men And other women once again, And for a passing hour or so Make ourselves not the folk you know But strangers come from other places Or other times or other races To please you with old tales and new Of things that men and women do In every place and every time. And, as we make believe and mime, Beneath the fun and passion and glow Of... Read Post
April 3rd 2011
Dead Men Tell No Tales They say that dead men tell no tales! Except of barges with red sails And sailors mad for nightingales; Except of jongleurs stretched at ease Beside old highways through the trees; Except of dying moons that break The hearts of lads who lie awake; Except of fortresses in shade And heroes crumbled and betrayed. But dead men tell no tales, they say! Except old tales that burn away The stifling tapestries of day; Old tales of life, of love and hate, Of time and space... Read Post
March 21st 2011
Alcove John Ashbery Is it possible that spring could be once more approaching? We forget each time what a mindless business it is, porous like sleep, adrift on the horizon, refusing to take sides, "mugwump of the final hour," lest an agenda—horrors!—be imputed to it, and the whole point of its being spring collapse like a hole dug in sand. It's breathy, though, you have to say that for it. And should further seasons coagulate into years, like spilled, dried paint, why, who's to say we weren't... Read Post
March 4th 2011

Monday we in the U.S. lost a living connection to a crucial period in modern history: Frank Buckles, the last living American veteran of World War I, died at his home in West Virginia at the age of 110. The First World War takes a back seat in our imagination and memory to the Second, but it was every bit as overwhelming in its consequences. As a result of the war Europe was devastated. Nearly an entire generation of young French and British men died. The war destabilized the Czarist regime... Read Post

October 17th 2010
Every October it becomes important, no, necessary to see the leaves turning, to be surrounded by leaves turning; it's not just the symbolism, to confront in the death of the year your death, one blazing farewell appearance, though the irony isn't lost on you that nature is most seductive when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its incipient exit, an ending that at least so far the effects of human progress (pollution, acid rain) have not yet frightened you enough to make you believe is... Read Post
April 24th 2010
The Passionate Freudian to His Love Only name the day, and we'll fly away In the face of old traditions, To a sheltered spot, by the world forgot, Where we'll park our inhibitions. Come and gaze in eyes where the lovelight lies As it psychoanalyzes, And when once you glean what your fantasies mean Life will hold no more surprises. When you've told your love what you're thinking of Things will be much more informal; Through a sunlit land we'll go hand-in-hand, Drifting gently back to normal.... Read Post
April 22nd 2010
Coda There's little in taking or giving, There's little in water or wine; This living, this living, this living Was never a project of mine. Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is The gain of the one at the top, For art is a form of catharsis, And love is a permanent flop, And work is the province of cattle, And rest's for a clam in a shell, So I'm thinking of throwing the battle - Would you kindly direct me to hell? Ultimatum I'm wearied of wearying love, my friend, Of worry and strain and... Read Post
April 11th 2010

What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month than with an exciting story told in verse?  M. T. Anderson's The Serpent Came to Gloucester is just such a story.  It's based on a true series of events that took place in Gloucester, Massachusetts - not 40 miles from Somerville - during the summers of 1817 and 1818. Hundreds of people reported seeing a sea serpent playing in the harbor and around the shores of Cape Ann, and the author references some of the many eyewitness accounts in a... Read Post

April 20th 2009

We shouldn't let National Poetry month go by without considering the limerick. You can find the Library's limerick books by clicking here. There are also lots of very funny ones to be found online at the Limerick Database. Not all of them are good, and not all of them are clean - you have been warned! - but here's an example of one that's both. (Bonus: it's not just a limerick, it's a template for would-be poets who are metrically challenged!)

There once... Read Post

April 15th 2009
John Tenniel illustration of Father William and his son

The Old Man’s Complaints and How He Gained Them by Robert Southey (1774 - 1843)

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,

"The few locks which are left you are grey;

You are hale, father William, a hearty old man;

now tell me the reason, I pray."

 

"In the days of my youth," father William replied,

"I remember'd that youth would fly past,

And abus'd not my health and my vigour at first,

That I never might need... Read Post

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