Friday, October 28, 2005 

Rimes and Reasons

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one of the first poets I really got in to, and the poem that did it was "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". It's one of the only longer poems that I love reading over and over again. It moves fast for a long poem and hits home, I think, with anyone in this world who has made a hasty decision that we'd like to take back or perhaps do over (which is of course all of us). I'd love to type out the whole poem here, with hopes and anticiapations that every single one of you would actually take the time to read it. But, I'm realistic, so I'll just type the first part (still a little lengthy) and have simple hope that you'll get intrigued and read the whole thing on your own. Coleridge is still one of my favorites, his poems seek me out, they always have. He's lasting, he endures, and no matter how many times I pick him up we still have great converstations.

(this one, like most poetry, is better when read aloud . . . fyi)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Part I

It is an ancient mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
"By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din."

He holds him with his skinny hand,
"There was a ship," quoth he.
"Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

He holds him with his glittering eye ---
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

"The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The Sun came up upon the left,
out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon ---"
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

"And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And forward bends his head,

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy cliffs
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken---
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariners' hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white Moon-shine."

"God save the, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!---
Why look'st thou so?"--- With my cross-bow
I shot the Albatross.

~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

read the poem in its entirety here
(with notes by Coleridge)


Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

of people and places

Poetry has a way of connecting people to people, or people to places. This particular portion of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself does that very thing for me. But not only for me, for others as well. It's much like an inside joke, shared only between a few people . . . but poetry is, of course, deeper than that. It connects meaning and depth of soul. These next few lines take me to numerous places with a handful of people. The places may not be the same for each person, but it doesn't matter. I don't have to mention who they are, because when they read it they'll light up, and the memory will rush to the forefront of their minds and we will, for a brief moment, live it all over again. And if everyone else in the world read it with a question mark over their head . . . that wouldn't matter to us either.


from Song of Myself

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab
and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

~Walt Whitman


Saturday, October 22, 2005 

To begin

I'm not sure of the exact day I fell in love with poetry. I think it was more that poetry found me. It latched on to me and hasn't let go. Over the years I've read tons and tons of bad poetry, poetry that's really just rambling about nothing. It simply courses through my veins finding nothing to hold on to, nothing to tuck it in to a home, so it exits and is forgotten. But there were, and are, those wonderful poems that reach out and embrace me like a long lost friend, even if we'd never met before. Words do that to me. They talk to me like a next door neighbor, a companion over the backyard fence. We laugh, we cry, we think about the hard times and revel in the good. Sometimes they make me feel like a kid again, running in and through each stanza, up and down each tilled up line of thought and emotion until I finally plunge into the piles of words set out for me in the back yard. The poet's thoughts are thousands of red and yellow leaves, falling all over, and what he does is rake them into a pile for you and for me, so we can jump and play and find ourselves in the middle of his yard and realize that's it's our yard too. Our words. Our thoughts. Our emotions. Below is a poem that I dive into over and over. It's a poem about poetry. It's a poem for students of poetry . . . and those who aren't.


Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out.

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

~Billy Collins



What's to come

There's lots and lots of poetry on the way. Some of you are going to be bored out of your mind I'm sure, but, this is my blog and I can do whatever the heck I want!! On the other hand, some of you may really enjoy it, and for that I'm glad. I'll be posting my favorite poems, poems that to me are striking and influential, and probably some of my own stuff. I don't really let people read my stuff, but I guess now is as good a time as any. If there is no author recognition with the poem then it's mine, otherwise I'll post the author, along with, perhaps, some of my thoughts.

poeta nascitar non fit


Monday, October 17, 2005 

For a co-worker

i call this walk "sanity maintained."
made to alleviate the mundane
afternoon with hues of sun and sky and
a sweeping breeze across my forehead.

i have chosen these elements to simply
contrast the usual light and duct work,
the gangrenous greenhouse of artificial life,
the flourescent underground where meaning

meets malaise and dreams don't stand a chance.
and there you are, looking at my work and wondering
out loud about it, as though you can't participate,
crippled and unable to walk.


Saturday, October 08, 2005 

A Conversation

The following is a short conversation between a customer and myself this afternoon at the drive-thru window:

me: What's the score?
cust: Excuse me?
me: What's the score?
cust: The score of what?
me: The OU/UT game?
cust: Oh, I don't know. I don't really keep up with basketball.
me: Oh, ok.

There are too many things that make this funny. For those who understand, enjoy the humor, for those of you who don't and frankly don't care . . . enjoy it any way!!


Sunday, October 02, 2005 

aaaaaaaaaaaaand . . .

we're in!!!

Jon!!! We got some cheerin' to do!!!!!!!


About me

  • Chris
  • Dallas, Texas, United States
  • i am a little of this, a little of that. some of these, some of those...
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