Great things come in fives. Five traditional elements. Five Olympic rings. Five senses. Most of us have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot. And now entering week five, my weekly poetry readings!
In the last post I hinted at a theme for this week: sleep. Unfortunately I forgot most traditional poets referred to death as sleep. Hence, I started out reading a lot of poetry about death. Which was depressing.
This coming week, I’m picking a much more cheery theme. Since my son just threw a toy fish at me, I’ll go with that. Join me next week as I list poems about fish!
But first, this week. My reading selections for week five:
January 29th – Japanese Lullaby, by Eugene Field
In through the window a moonbeam comes,–
Little gold moonbeam with misty wings;
All silently creeping, it asks: “Is he sleeping–
I like the description. I love it when people play with words, like giving moonbeams misty wings. I also like word creeping. For me, it changed the tone of this poem.
January 30th – A Nocturnal Reverie, by Anne Kingsmill Finch
When a sedate Content the Spirit feels,
And no fierce Light disturbs, whilst it reveals;
But silent Musings urge the Mind to seek
Something, too high for Syllables to speak;
I admit it, I was still stuck on silent. When I hit musings, I was a happy camper.
January 31st – You Are Tired, by Edward Estlin (E.E.) Cummings
You have played
And broke the toys you were fondest of
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break and-
I love how it feels like he is just speaking to me. I could picture someone saying these words in a conversation, not reading them in a poem. Another thing that grabs my attention is how the first two stanzas can be interpreted in different ways. The veiled and unveiled meaning within the words.
February 1st – To Night, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Thy brother Death came, and cried,
Wouldst thou me?
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
Murmured like a noontide bee,
Shall I nestle near thy side?
I’m a sucker for personification. Especially when something murmurs like noontide bees.
February 2nd – Sleep Spaces, by Robert Desnos
Sometimes at the moment of sleep strange figures are born and disappear.
When I shut my eyes phosphorescent blooms appear and fade
and come to life again like fireworks made of flesh.
The most vivid of the poems I read this week. This one stuck with me for days. I was confused, mesmerized and a bit frightened all at the same time.
February 3rd – Bed in Summer, by Robert Louis Stevenson
IN winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
My kids know this feeling all too well. Sweden is called, ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’ and in the summer, the sun never sets (this drove me NUTS the first few years. Thank God IKEA sells black-out rolling blinds). In the winter, we go down to maybe three hours of daylight each day. It’s depressing and by January, everyone starts dragging through the days. In the summer, everyone wants to stay up and play. Which is interesting because all Swedes disappear in the summer. You’d think they’d disappear in the winter.
February 4th – Silentium, by Fyodor Tyutchev
Live in your inner self alone
within your soul a world has grown,
the magic of veiled thoughts that might
be blinded by the outer light,
drowned in the noise of day, unheard…
take in their song and speak no word.
Veering away from sleep for a moment and drifting back toward silence. I wanted to paste the whole poem here. Loved every word.
Remember, next week: fish. You do not want to miss that!