Chapter and Verse
Lately, CM’s been blogging about DH Lawrence.
Today, I’m writing the chapter where my GOB heroine goes out to sea for the first time in her life. And I have this poem running through my mind. Although it’s from a different era and place entirely, the sensation it describes is universal.
By Emily Dickinson:
Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses — past the headlands —
Into deep Eternity —
Bred as we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?
Are you inspired by poetry? Care to share some?
I read this in high school in English Lit and fell in love:
The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
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.
Alive Together – Lisel Mueller
Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard’s woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pop
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague. I might have slept
in an alcove next to the man
with the golden nose, who poked it
into the business of stars,
or sewn a starry flag
for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas
or a woman without a name
weeping in Master’s bed
for my husband, exchanged for a mule,
my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole
to appease a vindictive god
or left, a useless girl-child,
to die on a cliff. I like to think
I might have been Mary Shelley
in love with a wrong-headed angel,
or Mary’s friend. I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,
our chances of being alive together
still we have made it, alive in a time
when rationalists in square hats
and hatless Jehovah’s Witnesses
agree it is almost over,
alive with our lively children
who–but for endless ifs–
might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.
Here’s another one where the imagery is so, so gorgeous:
Moon Fishing – Lisel Mueller
When the moon was full they came to the water
some with pitchforks, some with rakes,
some with sieves and ladles,
and one with a silver cup.
And they fished til a traveler passed them and said,
to catch the moon you must let your women
spread their hair on the water —
even the wily moon will leap to that bobbing
net of shimmering threads,
gasp and flop till its silver scales
lie black and still at your feet.”
And they fished with the hair of their women
till a traveler passed them and said,
do you think the moon is caught lightly,
with glitter and silk threads?
You must cut out your hearts and bait your hooks
with those dark animals;
what matter you lose your hearts to reel in your dream?”
And they fished with their tight, hot hearts
till a traveler passed them and said,
what good is the moon to a heartless man?
Put back your hearts and get on your knees
and drink as you never have,
until your throats are coated with silver
and your voices ring like bells.”
And they fished with their lips and tongues
until the water was gone
and the moon had slipped away
in the soft, bottomless mud.
I won’t post it, but my favorite Lisel Mueller poem is Why We Tell Stories. Here’s a link: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/why-we-tell-stories/
Of course, the link didn’t work…
But it’s on poemhunter.com
I really like this poem. It reminds me of what’s important when falling in love, or rather what my heroes should be focusing on in my WIP’s.
Sonnet 14 – If thou must love me, let it be for nought by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
‘I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’—
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.
To his Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
This is just part of it. My hero imagines every ton gentlemen quoting this to his wife while he’s away. Poor besotted fool 😉
Oddly enough, I’m not particularly inspired by poetry. Music tends to be what really gets under my skin. Different books definitely have different musical themes.
I’m a poetry lover, to be sure. I read some everyday. Here’s a short poem- perfect for this time of the year. Rumi is one of my favs.
Birdsong brings relief to my longing
I am just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say.
Please, Universal Soul,
What lovely selections, ladies! Very inspiring.
Bev, I also love Frost – particularly his darker poems on nature. “Nature,” for one, and “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”
Leigh, I did a paper on Rumi my senior year of high school and have treasured his poetry ever since. The imagery is so spare and sensual and startling. Gotta love those mystics.
Gillian and Kelly – thanks for sharing those love poems! I haven’t written any characters yet with particular devotion to poetry, but that’s something to keep in mind for the future. My current hero is more into Adam Smith than Shakespeare or Shelley!
Sara – that’s a new poet for me, and I *love* both of those! I’ll have to seek out more by her. Thanks!
For the Rumi lovers – actually, for all lovers of words, you should check out Jeanine Payer’s jewelry. (JeaninePayer.com or The Giving Tree Gallery) She engraves gorgeous quotes on silver and gold – I am completely obessed with her. For my college graduation, my mom had her custom make me a bracelet with the Shakespeare quote: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”
Very, very appropriate!
Like CM . . .I’m mostly just inspired by music. The only poems that seemed to touch me were Bilbo Baggins poems from Lord Of The Rings when I read them in 7th grade (a long, long time ago)
I am totally inspired by music. I do have pieces of poetry I love like Bonnie George Campbell and Sir Walter Raliegh’s The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepard of course I like Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd To His Love.
To much to put in a response. Lovely pieces gals.