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31 August 2006

Poetry before 7 am

A few days ago I wrote here about a quote from Rilke regarding experience and emotion in poetry. This morning, I read the following poem by Donne. Another way, it seems to me, to express the same idea. I've been rereading Donne, having not read him for many years. I had forgotten how beautiful and concise his poetry was. Perhaps Donne's poetry is better understood by someone middle-aged. It takes a few years to realize one is a fool, and many more to understand the fool's wisdom.

The Triple Fool
John Donne
I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry ;
But where's that wise man, that would not be I,
If she would not deny ?
Then as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea water's fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth set and sing my pain ;
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read.
Both are increased by such songs,
For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three.
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.


(I really am frustrated by not knowing how to ident lines in Blogger without messing with the CSS template. Obviously, I didn't get it right here. Any suggestions?)

And here is a poem I stumbled across unexpectedly this morning--sometimes it pays to read those email ads from the big box bookstore. Hadn't read this one in a while. Wow! Two cool poems before 7am!

Fame is a bee.
It has a song --
It has a sting --
Ah, too, it has a wing.

--Emily Dickinson


And, because it's Thursday, which means it's Poetry Thursday, here is a page with lots of links to on-line literary magazines, some of them exclusively poetry. Thanks to Susannah at Ink on My Fingers for leading me to this page.

1 comment:

sciolist said...

I am quite ill-read when it comes to poetry. I don't agonize over my shortcomings of course but I am grateful when I come across a great piece of poetry in the course of my mindless ramblings through the cyberworld. Thanks for putting up the poem by John Donne. It made my day.