Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Victorian poetry

Yeah, I know, the advert said there would be only bits of Victorian poetry. And really that is my intent. But I found this volume of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in a thrift shop, and I've found the verses to be absolutely stunning. I've also found them to be much like very rich chocolate -- if you have too much at one sitting, you will end up with digestive problems. So I will present Sonnets From the Portuguese, one at a time.

I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was 'ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove, --
"Guess now who holds thee?" -- "Death," I said. But, there,
The silver answer rang, -- "Not Death, but Love."

Don't let the fame of XLIII get in the way of all the rest of them.


Blogger Carol Anne said...

Yeah, I'm supposed to be a tough cookie. And Pat maybe even doesn't realize it, but these poems are real. If your long-term relationship is sagging, try these poems out. They won't fix up a dysfunctional relationship, but they could restore an edge to a functional but dull one.

Fri Jul 15, 02:04:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Mom said...

I was very touched by your poem. It is real to me. Not to take away from the meaning, but no one writes real poetry anymore. Just slog down a bunch of words, maybe they have meaning (to the writer). But somehow the structure of rhyme and meter give a poem strength and dignity.

Love, Mom

Tue Jul 19, 04:49:00 PM MDT  

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