Jun 10, 2013

Lulu's Poetry Corner


     I have decided to post some of my opinions on poetry. Let's start in the romantic era with Percy Bysshe Shelley. I love how musical and fluid his work is. I also enjoy how his poetry not only tells a story, but sometimes depicts his own profound thoughts. Observe this stanza from Shelley's poem, Adonais:

Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep-
He hath awakened from the dream of life-
'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit's knife
Invulnerable nothings.-We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay."

     The poem tells of the death of Adonais and how much grief it has caused. This stanza then describes a thought that Adonais is, in fact, not dead. Shelley writes of how we, the living, are like zombies flowing through our course of life and Adonais has finally risen away from this through death. Then again, this is just one view that I take on the poem; I'm sure many people have different opinions.
     Now it's obvious that Percy was a rather morbid writer, as were many of his time (Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, etc.), so to cheer up, I like to indulge in Ogden Nash's poetry. Here's one of his poems that directly refers to Shelley. It is called You and Me and P.B. Shelley.

"What is life? Life is stepping down a step or sitting in a chair.
And it isn't there.
Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.
Life is pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL and not 
noticing notices which say PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR.
It is when you diagnose a sore throat as an unprepared geography lesson
 and send your child weeping to school only to be returned an hour
    later covered with spots that are indubitable genuine.
Life is a concert with a trombone soloist filling in for Yehudi Menuhin.
But, were it not for frustration and humiliation
I suppose the human race would get ideas above its station. Somebody once described Shelley as a beautiful and ineffective angel
    beating his luminous wings against the void in vain.
Which is certainly describing with might and main.
But probably means that we are all brothers under our pelts.
And that Shelley went around pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors

    marked PULL just like everybody else."

Ogden Nash
     My take on this poem is that Ogden Nash thinks Percy Bysshe Shelley is overrated. Percy has all of these profound thoughts in his poetry that make him sound clever, but really he is just another everyday man. Nash feels that life is not nearly as complicated as Shelley led people to believe. Again, this is only my view on the poem, others may feel differently.

Thank you for reading,



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