Daily Archives: January 3, 2011

XIV

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.” 

            I think this was my first experiment with, or at least approach toward, that wonderfully versatile form the Irregular Ode.  The Irregular Ode is a lyric poem in praise of some idea or specimen of beauty, using meter and rhyme but varying the rhyme scheme and line length at will.  There are also various regular forms that use repeating stanzas.  The ode was a favorite form of the Romantics.  Wordsworth is at his best in “Tintern Abbey” and the “Ode on Intimations of Immortality,” and Keats raised the form to its ultimate perfection in the odes to a Skylark, to a Grecian Urn, and to Autumn.  Here I combine a fascination with natural lighting effects that would continue to occupy me with a certain youthful energy, the disappearance of which could lead us to further classic motifs such as ubi sunt

ONE WHOLE DAY

The bricks of the library have a different hue

Given by early rising sun.

It won’t last the whole day through,

For sunrise soon is done.

The world will be a bit more dead

And bricks not rose but merely red.

Apollo ‘cross the sky will tread

Until, no longer o’er our heads,

He crawls into a well-earned bed;

With sunset-golden clouds he spreads

His blanket.

My friends follow and rest their heads

But I’ll stay up a while instead

To watch the stars ‘til they come out

And a gentle ray is the sun’s first scout

And I know that my vigil is through.

The bricks of the library have a different hue

Given by early rising sun.

It won’t last the whole day through,

For sunrise soon is done.

The world will be a bit more dead

And bricks not rose but merely red;

So not that one whole day has fled,

I at last will go to bed.

(But not for long while this day’s new,

For it has something for me too!)

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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