This week we are studying the short lyric poem as a category. Here are three examples that range from the 8th century to our own. I’ve decided not to post the “Poet’s CHoice” introduction for the week because I think it would be redundant. This is the place where we’ll pre and post talk the introduction, certainly though, we will be attentive to what the poet’s choice introduction alerted us to.
On another note, please be aware that the poet’s choice introduction is supposed to address the formal aspects of the poem (stanzas, rhythm, rhyme scheme, sound etc…) and meant to be accompanied by a written essay (not a power point alone, though adding a power point to it is fine) 2-5 pages in length. I will have a stack of the expectations for this assignment in class today (it has also been sent in an email previously).
It is a delight to read your entries here and hear people think aloud but in the privacy of their own rooms about these poems. Keep up the meditative work.
You don’t need to commment on each poem unless you’d like to. Chose one, or compare/contrast them, or explore the category they are in (short lyric) in relationship to the poem itself.
A Mountain Spring
Ch’u Ch’uang I (early 8th century)
There is a brook in the mountains,
Nobody I ask knows its name.
It shines on the earth like a piece
Of the sky. It falls away
In waterfalls, with a sound
Like rain. IT twists between rocks
And makes deep pools. It divides
Into islands. It flows through
Calm reaches. It goes its way
With no one to mind it. The years
Go by, its clear depths never change.
Those Winter Sundays
(Robert Hayden 1913-1982)
Sunday’s Too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place amoong the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window spare
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
You handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.