Thursday, August 31, 2006

Poetry Thursday: A Poem in my Pocket

This week's prompt at Poetry Thursday was to carry a poem around with me. My first instinct after coming back on holiday and finding all the cherry trees in bloom was to carry around A.E. Housman's poem "Loveliest of Trees". In Frances Maye's book, "The Discovery of Poetry", she tells how she was stunned on going to college by the blossoming cherry tree outside her dorm window. She had grown up in the American south and wasn't used to the dramatic season changes of the north. She and a friend copied Housman's poem and tacked it up to the tree. Every day people stopped to read the poem.

Here it is:

Loveliest of Trees

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride,
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom,
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

-A.E.Housman, 1859 - 1936

In the end, though, that's not the poem I chose to carry around. There is another poem that both inspires and mystifies me, that I wanted to get to know better. It is a wonderful midlife poem, "Crossroads" written by Joyce Sutphen. There are images in it that are clear to me, and others that puzzle me a little, such as this - "the second half of my life will be black/ to the white rind of the old and fading moon". After carrying it around for a few days I think I am getting to know it better. You can find the poem here. I hope you enjoy it - then you might follow the link at the top and find other wonderful poems from Poetry Thursday participants.

25 comments:

Tia said...

Catherine,thank you for the link to the poem - it is just beautiful!I love the strength she is affirming within her, the unapologetic announcement to the world of who she intends to be. So powerful!

leonie said...

these are both great poems. the poem about the cherry trees is making me smile, thinking about all the amazing trees that are blossoming here right now. i find the one you linked to interesting and - like you - find it mystifying, so i've printed it out to re-read. thanks.

Deb R said...

"Crossroads" is a wonderful poem!

jennypenny said...

Beautiful words! Congratulations on being named site of the day. Michele sent me.

Tracie said...

Fun! Congrats on being Michele's site of the day!

Mike Mc said...

'Loveliest of Trees' is one of the first poems I ever memorized. Thanks for the reminder.

Toni said...

Thank you for sharing the link to "Crossroads."

Congratulations on being Michele's Site of the Day!

Karen said...

What a nice poem and Congratulations on being Michele's site of the day. Enjoy the fame and fortune!

kenju said...

Catherine, both poems are lovely. I would have to study the meaning of the first two lines as well.

Congratulations on being Michele's site of the day!

Just a trumpet player said...

Wonderfull...

Michele sent me ; congrats on being SOTD !!

Uisce said...

Hello, Michele sent me! Congrats on being her SOTD. The poetry thing is neat, I'm glad I dropped in!

Tia said...

I'm back to say Congrats on SOTD! =))

Deb R said...

I had to pop back to say YAY you on being Michele's SOTD!

rampant bicycle said...

Yay for lovely poetry! Hello from Michele's and congrats on being SotD!

Star said...

"Crossroads" is an inspiring poem. It inspires me to continue with the changes I'm making in my life and it inspires me to write about those changes as Joyce Sutphen has done. Thank you for choosing this poem; it has been a gift to me.

Sparkling Diamond said...

I enjoyed your holiday photos! I would love to visit Christchurch someday, ..have an old friend there. The poems are wonderful!
Congrats on being SOTD.
Michele sent me!

Carrie said...

I loved both but I felt more from "Crossroads". Thanks for sharing.

Michele said hi!

chrysalis said...

Hi from Michele's and Happy Site of the Day day!

Janet (fondofsnape@gmail.com) said...

what a gorgeous poem! I love the imagery of the cherry blossoms :-)

Hi, Michele sent me!

mominprogress said...

Hello here via Michele's :)

barbie2be said...

i love both of those poems. hello from michele's.

paris parfait said...

Thanks for sharing these great poems. Crossroads rings some bells.

paris parfait said...

Thanks for sharing these great poems. Crossroads rings some bells.

Paste said...

Well congratulations on being SOTD, I enjoyed a wander around your blog.

moon said...

Congats on being SOTD!...loved your post and loved the pics in the previous one. Can't wait till u post more.
Here from Michele's, have a great day.