I was first introduced to this poem in a tattered second-hand poetry anthology – it was in the chapter entitled “Visions of the End,” which already lends a sinister feel to every poem contained within. But Sakutarō Hagiwara’s short poem does a handy job of casting a deep foreboding without any help from an anthology editor. When Hagiwara succumb to what was most likely lung cancer before his 56th birthday during the throes of WWII, the world lost the father of modern and free verse Japanese poetry. Photo and composition by me.
Old Poem Saturday – The Cathedral is – Ashbery
The monostich is a one line poem (not including the optional title). “The Cathedral is” by John Ashbery (b. 1927) was my first introduction to this poetry form. This poem-illustration pair was originally part of a longer early blog post I wrote about micropoetry (if you’d like to take that trip down memory lane, you can right here!), but I thought that it deserved some solo time in the spotlight – especially after my one word poem yesterday. Photo collage (of the Pooh Stump at Harvard) and composition by me. Have a lovely weekend!
Double Original Friday – Penny Prayer
I’ve always heard that you aren’t supposed to pick up pennies off the ground if they are tails up – they are good luck only if they are heads up. When we were young, my friends and I would just leave pennies that were on tails: No need to temp fate, as it were. These days I am more egalitarian and I pick them up regardless. Poking around the internet for the origin of this superstition (which, like most, is mostly mysterious), I did find some variations of the legend that say a tails-up penny is good luck – if you give it away that day or turn it over for the next person to find. Poem, photographs, and collage by me. Have a great weekend!
Old Poem Saturday – The Amber Bead – Herrick
Robert Herrick was the youngest child of a goldsmith and was expected to follow suit, but he rebelled and left his apprenticeship early to study at Saint John’s College, Cambridge and eventually became a devoted admirer of the famous poet Ben Jonson. Herrick’s poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” (of “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…” fame), is now routinely included in English Literature/Poetry curricula and anthologies, so it is surprising to learn that his poetry was not at all popular in his own time and his singular large volume of poetry made not a single literary ripple upon publication! Photograph and composition by me.
Old Poem Saturday – Epigram by Frost
“The Span of Life” by Robert Frost (1874-1963). Photograph by Ms. Dawn Wenrich of Lake Piru, California – visit her website and linger on the beautiful photography. Composition by me. I hope everyone is enjoying the first weekend of fall (although it doesn’t feel like fall yet)!
Excerpt Tuesday – more lines from “The World” by Henry Vaughan
Last week I featured the opening lines of the “The World” by Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) and this week I’ve decided to keep going with the first stanza of this classic poem. Read the whole poem here. Photograph (of a snowdrift of petals from my first spring in Boston) and composition by me.
Double Original Friday – Mushroom Quatrain
Recently, an overnight rain storm brought out a wide variety of mushrooms in the yards and sidewalk grass strips in Boston. My daily walk to the bus stop wound up being punctuated by kneeling to take mushroom portraits – and a mushroom inspired quatrain. Poem, photographs, and composition by me. Happy Friday!
Excerpt Tuesday – Monet Refuses the Operation – Lisel Mueller
Today’s excerpt is from “Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller (b. 1924) – read the whole poem here. Photograph and composition by me. Enjoy!
Illustrated Excerpt – II of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Excerpt Tuesday – The Spirit Says You are Nothing – by Larry Levis
Today’s excerpt is from “The Spirit Says You are Nothing” by Larry Levis (1946-1996) – read the whole poem here. Drawing (pencil on newsprint), photograph, and composition by me.