Here we are, half way through National Poetry Month. I like having an excuse to indulge in local, national and international poets. Of particular interest to me are poems that give us a glimpse into the mind of the poet. Here is a wonderfully deep poem written by Edgar Allen Poe. I think you’ll agree that the description he gives of himself seems rather accurate given the subject of his writings.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were – have not seen
As others saw – I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov’d, I lov’d alone.
Then – in my childhood – in the dawn
Of a most stormy life – was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that ‘round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold –
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by –
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
I am also very fond of the poem by David J. Bauman about his father. David was honored by having his poem published in the San Pedro River Review, Vol. 8 No. 1 (Spring 2016)
He was born before spring, on the third day
of the third month of 1993, the year they laid
concrete on Hoover Dam. I’ll never know
how he grew, slab by slab, the cold
copper veins the gradual hardening, the dark
tunnels of blood-boiling heat and poison gas,
the tense diversion of nature’s power, rushing
youth, and the life his parents built on sacrifice
and solid ground. By the time I had arrived
he was tall and solid, with a deep canyon-voice,
he kept in reserve, as behind a stone, a wall
of power, sustaining, intimidating and resolute.
Only now do I begin to know
the vast calm beauty, deep as the Meade,
that rests behind the man, and begin
to fathom what it takes to tame a wild thing.
We have a collection in the library called “Common Wealth.” It contains poems from contemporary poets on Pennsylvania. The collection is edited by Marjorie Maddox, Director of Creative Writing and Professor of English at Lock Haven University, and Jerry Wemple, Associate Professor of English at Bloomsburg University. This poem by Nathaniel Smith reminds me of coasting down the hill from Shikellamy State Park Lookout on my 10-speed at just a few minutes past dusk.
A Hill in Pennsylvania
At the top of the big hill at Gap, I let my motor fall silent and coast.
My dreams and I hiss down to earth like a balloon running out of
hot air; the wind becomes a voice I have not heard since it played
the same octaves years ago on a Jersey beach. I descend at 120
degrees, like a pilot taking aim at the tarmac. Other hills, minutes
ago just freckles on the back of the land, rise on all sides to become
a horizon approaching my windscreen. Regretfully, I slow down for
the ill-placed red light where hill meets valley. The shadows shrink,
panting out a few more moments of life. Advancing dawn finishes
them off as a brush shines a shoe. The excitement is over. From
here, it’s flatness and trucks all the way to Lancaster.
Perhaps you have a favorite poem or two, or might even write your own. The Cross Keys Artists and Writers Group meets the first and third Tuesday of every month from 6:30 to 8:00 at the Priestley-Forsyth Memorial Library. We would love for you to join us. Our next meeting is April 19, 2016 at 6:30.