An Autumn Sonnet for Your Saturday.

Good morning everyone, happy first day of Fall. This time of year is my favorite and not just because I’m basic and Starbucks changes their menu. I love the cooling temperatures and the harvest moon. I love the colors and getting to wear a favorite hoodie.

Today is also a good day to get some Shakespeare in. As are most days. We can guess Shakespeare’s Birthday to April 1564. We know he was baptized on April 26th according to church records. There is lots we don’t know before we get to his acting and playwright days. However in some lost years of his youth, we know young William Shakespeare was a poet and produced a quantity of poems or Sonnets. Today I share one for the start of my favorite season.

Sonnet 73: That time of year thou mayst in me behold

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Have a great weekend and keep up to date with Mid-American-Culture!

Another Saturday Morning Poetry Corner.

Hey everyone, I was thinking about the way people come across poetry and what that initial contact was that introduced us to a poem. Growing up in the 1980’s my first feel for poetry came from Robin Williams and Director Peter Weir’s 1989 film, Dead Poet’s Society. I’m actually sure I’d enjoyed some Shel Silverstein that Mrs. Wagner read us in first grade, but Robin Williams made it epic.

Honestly, aside from a couple of good performances, notably Mr. William’s, the movie isn’t that good. It’s heavy handed and slightly derivative. William’s plays Mr. Keating, an English teacher at an all boys prep school. He’s the righteous fire brand who hopes to fuel the boys out of their ultra conservative 1950’s life. He does it with poetry. William’s is awesome at oration, no doubt benefiting from his years as a stand up comedian. He gives the boys pieces of poetry by Frost, Keats, and Dickinson and fires them up but they don’t ever analyze a damn thing. The writing is kinda weak and he totally blows the meaning of The Road Not Taken. I’ve set through a few commencement speeches that do the same. However to my twelve year old self who was thrilling on the adventures that summer of Batman, Indiana Jones, and even Field of Dreams, the climatic end of Dead Poet’s Society was pretty fantastic. Mr. Keats is being dismissed for his rebel rousing ways and in a show of solidarity, the kids that made up The Dead Poets Society climb atop their desks and break all the rules and recite Walt Whitman’s eulogy to Abraham Lincoln Oh Captain, My Captain. It was pretty cool then and even today. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend and keep up with several things considered here at Mid-American-Culture.

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

And here’s the Oh Captain ending to the film so I guess spoilers?

I Miss Sylvia Plath

Good morning everyone, in sticking with my Saturday Poem sharing I present my favorite Sylvia Plath poem, The Colossus. The poem was released in 1960 as part of a collection called The Colossus and Other Poems. The collection stands as the only selections of poetry Sylvia published before her death at age 30 in 1963.

The poem is full of wonderful imagery that was a hallmark of her work, she had a way of telling you something in her poem but also leaving it to the reader’s own interpretation. My favorite line is ” I crawl like an ant in mourning”

Sylvia was prolific in her short 30 years on the planet, I’d invite you to grab a cup of coffee and pull it close and enjoy this poem and then search out more of her work, she also published a novel, The Bell Jar that has a place among the best American literature. Have a great day and keep reading.

The Colossus

I shall never get you put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles
Proceed from your great lips.
It’s worse than a barnyard.
Perhaps you consider yourself an oracle,
Mouthpiece of the dead, or of some god or other.
Thirty years now I have labored
To dredge the silt from your throat.
I am none the wiser.
Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of lysol
I crawl like an ant in mourning
Over the weedy acres of your brow
To mend the immense skull plates and clear
The bald, white tumuli of your eyes.
A blue sky out of the Oresteia
Arches above us. O father, all by yourself
You are pithy and historical as the Roman Forum.
I open my lunch on a hill of black cypress.
Your fluted bones and acanthine hair are littered
In their old anarchy to the horizon-line.
It would take more than a lightning-stroke
To create such a ruin.
Nights, I squat in the cornucopia
Of your left ear, out of the wind,
Counting the red stars and those of plum-color.
The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue.
My hours are married to shadow.
No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel
On the blank stones of the landing.