Monday, April 30, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 30

The Land of Lost Content
A. E. Housman

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 29

At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners (Holy Sonnet 7)
John Donne

At the round earth's imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall, o'erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space;
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,
When we are there. Here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou hadst seal’d my pardon with thy blood.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 28

Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
       For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
   Landscape plotted and piecedfold, fallow, and plough;
       And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                  Praise Him.

Friday, April 27, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 27

She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways
William Wordsworth

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

National Poetry Month, 26

A Red, Red Rose
Robert Burns

O my luve's like a red, red rose,
    That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like the melodie
    That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
    So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
    And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
O I will love thee still, my dear,
    While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
    And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
    Though it were ten thousand mile

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 25

The Tyger
William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 24

Death, Be Not Proud
John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
                                              

1 Corinthians 15:51-55

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O Death, where is your victory?
O Death, where is your sting?

Monday, April 23, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 23

Because I could not stop for Death (712)
Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me – 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves – 
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring – 
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – 
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity – 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 22

The Lamb
William Blake

Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice:
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee

Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 21

Snow-Flakes
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
    Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
      Silent, and soft, and slow
      Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
    Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
      The troubled sky reveals
      The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
      Now whispered and revealed
      To wood and field.

Friday, April 20, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 20

Who will believe my verse in time to come (Sonnet 17)
William Shakespeare

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say 'This poet lies:
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.'
So should my papers yellow'd with their age
Be scorn'd like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:
       But were some child of yours alive that time,
       You should live twice; in it and in my rhyme.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 19

Answer
Sir Walter Scott

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Doolittle Raid on Japan

On this date in 1942, Lt. Col. James Doolittle led an air raid on military targets in the Japan homeland (known as the "Doolittle Raid") in retaliation for the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor earlier on December 7. Sixteen B-25 bombers were launched on a 1-way mission from the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet (CV-8). All the planes were lost, and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured in this heroic attack (3 were executed by Japanese captors in China).* Militarily it didn't accomplish a great deal as part of the Pacific Theater of World War II, but it did signal to Japan that it was vulnerable to an American attack by air. The raid also boosted American morale in the war effort.

Doolittle and his crew
Source: Wing Commander CIG Forums

The carrier USS Enterprise was part of the escort group that accompanied the USS Hornet and the B-25 bombers on board that participated in Doolittle’s Raid. Later, my Dad will be part of Vestal's crew that will repair Enterprise during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, November 12-15, 1942.

*An interesting side note is the compelling story of Jacob DeShazer, one of Doolittle's Raiders, who was captured in China. For the next 3 years, he paid a heavy price for his bravery as the Japanese beat, tortured, and starved him as a war criminal. DeShazer recounts his experiences as a POW. Read his account in "Finding Forgiveness: Former Doolittle Raider, POW Shares Experiences."

National Poetry Month, Day 18

Up-Hill
Christina Rossetti

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
    Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
    From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
    A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
    You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
    Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
    They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
    Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
    Yea, beds for all who come.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 17

The Village Blacksmith
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
    The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
    With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
    Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
    His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
    He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
    For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
    You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
    With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
    When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
    Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
    And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
    Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
    And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
    He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
    And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
    Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
    How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
    A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling, —rejoicing, —sorrowing,
    Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
    Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
    Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
    For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
    Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
    Each burning deed and thought.

Monday, April 16, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 16

       A Hymn to God the Father
                      John Donne

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
            Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
            And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
                        For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
            Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
            A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
                        For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
            My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
            Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
                        I fear no more.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 15

According to CyberHymnal.org, this hymn was written after 3 major tragedies in Horatio Gates Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son, and then in the same year, his financial ruin in the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Then in 1873, while crossing the Atlantic, all 4 of Spafford’s daughters died in a shipwreck. Surviving the tragedy, Spafford’s wife, Anna, sent her husband the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.” Several weeks later, after Spafford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, he penned the words to this beloved hymn of faith in spite of his heartrending grief. Spafford, like Christians of all ages, rested in eternal hope in God, no matter what pain and grief befalls them on earth.

It is comfortingly poignant, then, that according to survivors of the Titanic, this hymn was played as that great ship sank beneath the Atlantic Ocean 100 years ago today.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 14

If—
Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
   And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run--
   Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Friday, April 13, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 13

Love (III)
George Herbert

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
        Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
        From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
        If I lacked anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":
        Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
        I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
        "Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
        Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
        "My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
        So I did sit and eat.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

National Poetry Month, Day 12

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

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