Tag Archives: national poetry month

Eternal Lives

I can’t not mention Shakespeare this week. This Saturday will be the 400th anniversary of his death.


So its sonnet 18 that comes to mind. Yes, he’s using May and not April, but still, 400 years is getting on eternal lines. It’s not Beowulf, let alone Gilgamesh, but it’s nothing to sneeze at!

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A Faery’s Song

John Waterhouse

John Waterhouse

I know they’re different stories-so far as I know La Belle Dame sans Merci has an Arthurian feel but isn’t based on a particular tale, while Aengus is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann in Irish mythology-but these two pieces strike me as a matched set.

(I’m not fond of Keats’ stock character, but I’m a bit enamored of the Pre-Raphaelite art it inspired. Though the combination of military haircuts, multi-era armor and gauzy gowns sometimes crack me up a little bit too.)

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Child of the wandering sea

The Chambered Nautilus


Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.



This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

Sails the unshadowed main,—

The venturous bark that flings

On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings

In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,

And coral reefs lie bare, Continue reading

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Some Untidy Spot

Landscape with fall of Icarus

Musee des Beaux Arts

W. H. Auden


About suffering they were never wrong,

The old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position: how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood:

They never forgot

That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course

Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot

Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse

Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.



In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away

Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may

Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone

As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green

Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen

Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,

Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

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Diamond and Verse

The idea of birthstones seems to go pretty far back but I’ve yet to find much trustworthy information on the whys and wherefores. In 1870 Tiffany & Co. published a poem with the traditional birthstones of English speaking countries, which sort of codified them. As new gemstones are discovered the calendar is sometimes modified to include them. (For instance adding pink tourmaline to October-why couldn’t they have left well enough alone? And tanzanite to December-now that’s an upgrade!)


April has remained steadfastly diamond.


“She who from April dates her years,

Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears

For vain repentance flow; this stone,

Emblem of innocence, is known.”

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It’s been a long winter; let’s start National Poetry Month with some seasonal haiku.

A Cold Spring

Banrai (pre-1800)


So chilly is the spring,

My little tea plants quite forget

They should be blossoming!

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spring shakes tightly wrapped

blankets bulge, are cast aside

wings reach for the sun


What with Merian’s birthday yesterday and it being National Poetry Month…well, my haikus are rusty but had to give it a shot!

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National Poetry Month

Happy April, the cruelest month of diamonds and poetry. (And showers too, though we’ve yet to get any…)

Another villanelle of mine had made the rounds on dA, so it seemed that I might as well continue to be brave and post some things here for national poetry month.


Life is a masquerade.
You’re only safe when in disguise.
Remove your mask and be betrayed.

There’s every reason to be afraid—
A stranger’s frozen face, flashing eyes,
Life is a perilous masquerade.

A look sharp as a tempered blade.
Honeyed words—do not listen to their lies.
If you remove your mask you’ll be betrayed.

Dance, smile, and nod; a silent shade,
Hide deep your heart and beware of spies.
Life is a dance, a whirling masquerade.

Difficulty comes with your temper frayed—
Take courage, and let no one hear your cries.
Dare you remove your mask, risk being betrayed?

Discover who you are, before you fade.
But keep part of yourself secret, if you are wise.
Life is nothing but an unending masquerade
Remove your mask and be betrayed.

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