As others were; I 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 loved, I loved alone.
--Edgar Allan Poe
Well, it's apparently World Poetry Day.
I like poetry. I don't love it, but I do like it, and I think it's something fiction writers should practice, particularly in its formal, rhyming forms. Why? Because learning to use language in such a strict, disciplined way is great mental exercise, and really helps to free up the ol' vocab when you go back to writing prose. So, I write horrible fan poetry (Shadows on a Whispered Breath, From the Depth of Midnight's Soul) just to play around with rhyme and meter and get in shape. Maybe it's time to try an HP poem. Er, other than the Sorting Songs in most chapters of Of A Sort (my favorite is Tonks's year).
Anyway, the first poet I went crazy over is also the first fiction author I went crazy over: Edgar Allan Poe. "Annabel Lee" was the first poem I memorized. No, I'm not quoting it from memory here; it's pasted in.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love –
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me –
Yes! – that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we –
Of many far wiser than we –
And neither the angels in Heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea –
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Through the Dark Tower books, Stephen King introduced me to T.S. Eliot (at least in a way that made me interested in him). The Waste Lands introduced me to "The Waste Land", but when I got out a book of his poems, I fell in crazy muskrat love with "Ash Wednesday".
I used these as the opening and closing on a SW story called "Prophesy to the Wind":
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgment not be too heavy upon us.
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air...
....And God said,
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen.
And the bones sang...
...Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose
O my people what have I done unto thee...
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.
I like the whole poem--Lady of silences, calm and distressed...
Anyway, that's my poetry day post.