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Blupete's Weekly Commentary


October 10th, 1999.

"Poetry."

Recently I had occasion to once again read Sir Edmund Gosse's essay, "Walt Whitman," which I commend. These lines stood out: "All that can best be expressed in words should be expressed in verse, but verse is a slow thing to create; nay, it is not really created: it is a secretion of the mind, it is a pearl that gathers round some irritant and slowly expresses the very essence of beauty and of desire that has lain long, potential and unexpressed, in the mind of the man who secretes it." Such an expression of what brings about poetry led me to reread some of my favourites which I have put up on the site -- blupete's poetry passages, such as

"The Chambered Nautilus":
This is the ship of pearl, ... etc.
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new, ...
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

Or,

"To His Coy Mistress":
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, ... etc.
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near ;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity....
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rought strife
Through the iron gates of life :
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Or,

"Stanzas from the Kasidah":
Friends of my youth, at last adieu!
Haply some day we meet again;
Yet ne'er the self-same men shall meet;
The years shall make us other men:
Fie, fie! you visionary things,
Ye motes that dance in sunny glow,
Who base and build Eternities
On briefest moment here below;
Who pass through Life like caged birds,
The captives of a despot will;
Still wond'ring How and When and Why,
And Whence and Whither, wond'ring still;

Pearls. Every line! Are you not reading poetry? You should. But read the great classical poets; now dead. I have put a bit of a list together -- go see, "The Poets." Don't try to read them, all at once. Pick one and read his best. Re-read, and re-read.

"It may not be a downright duty to like poetry, or to try to like it; but certainly it is a misfortune that so large and lovely a division of the world's literature should be lost to any reader. The absence of a poetic taste is a sad indication of a lack of the imaginative faculty; and without imagination what is life?" (Charles Richardson, 1775-1865.)

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Peter Landry

October, 1999 (2011)