Archives for posts with tag: poem of the week

This is one of my very favorite poems. It’s from When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (yes, the guy who wrote about Winnie-the-Pooh). 

I started my morning journaling about what could be next in my trip and I realized that I’m living this poem out more than I ever had before. 

My most obvious choices appear to be to go into Washington, go back to the woods, or just go wherever my feet take me. I still haven’t decided. 

spring1

Spring Morning

by A. A. Milne

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the streams where the king-cups grow –
Up to the hill where the pine-trees blow –
Anywhere, anywhere, I don’t know

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on the water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?

Where am I going, The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all,”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow –
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.
spring2

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you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you’re young, whatever life you wear

It will become you;and if you are glad
whatever’s living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man’s
flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation’s dead undoom.

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance

— e e cummings

I adore e e cummings. I’ve loved this poem for years; it never gets old. I’d love to hear what you think of it. And also, if you have any advice how I might post audio of me reading it to you.

 

Tonight, I’m going to start an orchestra. I’ve been meaning to do it for years. I’ve always thought it would be fun to find people to play chamber music with, but tonight I’m finally going to make it happen. It turns out that Alexander McCall Smith (the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books) stole my idea… way back in 1995. He was with some friends at a school orchestra concert and remembered how much fun it was to play music with other people. They looked around for a just-for-fun amateur orchestra and when they didn’t find one, they started the Really Terrible Orchestra. It’s about the joy of music without pretension.

I’ve had several conversations over the years with friends who used to play clarinet (or french horn or trumpet or…) but haven’t had any opportunities to play since high school. Starting tonight, I want to give them that opportunity. Does this describe you? Are you in Chicago? Feel free to drop by tonight at 8:30 and we’ll see what we can make happen.

And now, something completely different:

Once upon a time, I posted favorite poems here now and then and called it the poem of the week. I don’t think I ever made it by any sort of weekly deadline, but I’ll give it another go!

Here’s one by Roald Dahl, read by… some guy on youtube who’s been reading me poems for years. Roger Ebert introduced him to me ages ago.

“Will you spin me round?”
rainboots reflect sunbeams as
you ask, “one more time?”

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

e e cummings

I’ve just realized that it’s been far too long since I just sat and read e. e. cummings.

pity this busy monster, manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim (death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness
— electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange; lenses extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish
returns on its unself.
A world of made
is not a world of born — pity poor flesh

and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical

ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if — listen: there’s a hell
of a good universe next door; let’s go

— e. e. cummings

This is one of my very favorite poems. It’s from When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (who wrote about Winnie-the-Pooh).  I have shamelessly plundered the scans of Ernest H. Shepard’s decorations from here.

spring1

Spring Morning

by A. A. Milne

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the streams where the king-cups grow –
Up to the hill where the pine-trees blow –
Anywhere, anywhere, I don’t know

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on the water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?

Where am I going, The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all,”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow –
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.
spring2

Here’s a good favorite… I’ve noticed lately that more of my friends than ever identify themselves as “mad farmers” in some way or other.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you’re young,whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever’s living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man’s
flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation’s dead undoom.

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance

— e. e. cummings

That’s one of the e e cummings poems that I love to turn back to. Something different stands out to me every time I read it.

It’s true what they say, you know. Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% not being distracted by the internet.