Late Allusions Among Frost and Others

This post is an apology to those who have written splendid comments, thoughtful phrases and lovely sentiments on my blog posts in recent weeks. So sorry to have not replied sooner!

I am very grateful to you all and hope that I have replied to each one. Life has been rather full of late and I was not able to give them the attention they deserve.

Speaking of late, there have been some fabulous poems written that include the theme “late” or something similar. Thanks to poemhunter.com for the excerpts and links.

Here is a excerpt from one of Robert Frost‘s – A Late Walk

I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.

Full poem here. Frost is often remembered for A Road Not Taken and Birches. But A Late Walk is splendid too, as is the poem!

Here is a fun one from Rebecca Ryan – I Am Always Late For School

I am always late for school;
The reason why is obvious.
I am always in the pool,
So much, it is obnoxious.

When I don’t get there on time,
The teachers there get mad.
But if I could read and rhyme,
Surely they’d be glad.

The late and great Carl Sandburg wrote some as Poems Done On A Late Night Car. This one is powerful.
NB: it may trigger painful thoughts and feelings for some.

II. USED UP

Lines based on certain regrets that come with rumination
upon the painted faces of women on
North Clark Street, Chicago

Roses,
Red roses,
Crushed
In the rain and wind
Like mouths of women
Beaten by the fists of
Men using them.
O little roses
And broken leaves
And petal wisps:
You that so flung your crimson
To the sun
Only yesterday.

Mary Havran writes of Late Of Love

Love came late
Not shouting
Not leaping
Not looking to move mountains
Only tapping softly on my shoulder
As I tapped away
at my keyboard

Love came late
But bringing with it all
Love ever had to offer
Asking only
For my open heart.

There is much to dwell on “late”. Perhaps it could even be a writing prompt?

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Featured Poet: W H Auden

downloadImage from poets.org .

As those who have long suffered this blog may be aware, this is primarily about poetry.  I have been remiss in featuring other poets for some time. But, as I led a funeral yesterday, a poem was read. No, not the predictable Emily Dickinson, but W. H. Auden (1907-73). The poem was his well known “Stop the Clocks”.  You can hear it read in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, here on this youtube clip.

Poets.org tell of Auden’s life as born in York (UK), where his family later moved to Birmingham and Oxford. He was influenced by other poets and had a private collection published in 1928. Well travelled, he also showed interest in protestant theology, play-writing, editing and essay writing. More of his biography can be read at poets.org.

Here is an excerpt from another of his works, As I Walked Out One Evening

‘O look, look in the mirror,
   O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
   Although you cannot bless.

‘O stand, stand at the window
   As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
   With your crooked heart.’

It was late, late in the evening,
   The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
   And the deep river ran on.

More at poets.org.

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Night scene of the Lima River, Ponte de Lima, Portugal.  Taken while walking the Portuguese Camino in 2018.

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Behind the #Poet Chosen for Invictus Games 2018

Those in Australia, and other participating nations, would be aware that Sydney just hosted the Invictus Games 2018.   The Games website reveals that there is a story behind the Games:

The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’ and embodies the fighting spirit of our wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven that by embracing each other and the support of family and friends, they can reclaim their future. They are Invictus.

Most of us will never know the horrors of combat. Horrors so great that many servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries, while serving us. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries? How can we challenge perceptions and send a positive message about life beyond disability to an international audience?

More of the story can be read on this link.

But, I wish to look at one of the, shall we say, back stories behind the poem ‘Invictus’ chosen as the poem for the Games.  The poem is by William Ernest Henley and the Invictus Games website tells us that Henley…

was himself an amputee and the poem reflects his long battle with illness. The title means “unconquered” and the 16 short lines of the poem encapsulate the indefatigable human spirit, which is at the heart of the Invictus Games.

For more about Henley see The Poetry Foundation biographical notes.  An excerpt of his poem, ‘Invictus’ is below:

Invictus 

Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 
In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

The full text can be found here.

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A New Year with Poetry for #Peace

It is frequently a pleasure to read some regular wordpress bloggers.  One I often look forward to is Damyanti Writes.  This was especially so when I read her What do you plan to do this New Year?  For starters, it offers a very practical New Year resolution. It will not be popular with those who use social media as a means of attacking people and ideas.  But another reason it warrants a mention on Simon’s Still Stanza is that it includes a very good poet – Mary Oliver.

A New Year might be an opportunity to not only make fresh resolutions, but to read a different author, or to revisit one who has enriched us before.