Friday, December 20, 2013

Poetry Friday: Difference

I was looking for a poem about peace, a poem appropriate for this day, the first morning waking up with no grading to do, with hours to fill as I wish.  I didn't exactly find it, but I did find this one, which I hadn't read before.  I love its portrayal of two minds, his and (I imagine) a woman's.  It makes me want to write a poem about my own mind, and sets me thinking about how I would do it.  And after all, what better thing to do with this first day of my Christmas break, my first day of peace after days of frantic work? 

by Stephen Vincent Benét

My mind’s a map. A mad sea-captain drew it   
Under a flowing moon until he knew it;
Winds with brass trumpets, puffy-cheeked as jugs,   
And states bright-patterned like Arabian rugs.   
“Here there be tygers.” “Here we buried Jim.”   
Here is the strait where eyeless fishes swim   
About their buried idol, drowned so cold   
He weeps away his eyes in salt and gold.   
A country like the dark side of the moon,   
A cider-apple country, harsh and boon,   
A country savage as a chestnut-rind,
A land of hungry sorcerers.
                                              Your mind?

—Your mind is water through an April night,
A cherry-branch, plume-feathery with its white,   
A lavender as fragrant as your words,   
A room where Peace and Honor talk like birds,   
Sewing bright coins upon the tragic cloth   
Of heavy Fate, and Mockery, like a moth,   
Flutters and beats about those lovely things.   
You are the soul, enchanted with its wings,   
The single voice that raises up the dead   
To shake the pride of angels.
                                                 I have said.


Buffy Silverman said...

Love the differences that the author draws in this poem (Mars/Venus for sure!) and his awareness and appreciation of them. Enjoy your peaceful holidays!

GatheringBooks said...

Here there be tygers. :) Classic. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem today. Have fun with lots of lovely days to fill. :)

Tabatha said...

You pick great poems, Ruth. "A room where Peace and Honor talk like birds" -- her mind sounds beautiful, doesn't it?

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I just love these lines:

A room where Peace and Honor talk like birds,
Sewing bright coins upon the tragic cloth
Of heavy Fate, and Mockery, like a moth,
Flutters and beats about those lovely things.

Such an unusual and beautiful poem, Ruth.

Violet N. said...

Wonderful, unusual images in this, like, "A country savage as a chestnut rind" and "A room where Peace and Honor talk like birds."

For me, some of the best prompts are poems that get my mind thinking along unusual tracks, like this one does. Hope you had a wonderful day and may you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Thank you for sharing this engaging and imagery-rich piece. And you're right, it is a tempting prompt. I hope you will share your own mind poem in the near future!

Mary Lee said...

I, too, am tempted to try a my mind or a my mind-your mind poem. Thanks for a fun prompt for the beginning of break! Enjoy your time and freedom!!