“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.” - Simonides of Ceos

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Perhaps better known for his fiction works such as Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson was also a prolific poet, publishing a handful of collections of poems. "My Shadow" was first published in 1885 in a collection titled A Child’s Garden of Verses. The poem is a wonderful snapshot of childhood wonder and innocence.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Jeffrey K. Holbrook
Composer: Natasha Green
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green
Photography: Scott Liddell
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson's Bio on the Poetry Foundation

Robert Louis Stevenson, December 1870
Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rsl1.jpg

"My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"The Children's Hour" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote "The Children's Hour" about his relationship with his own three daughters, even using their names in the piece. It was first published in 1860 in the Boston-based magazine, The Atlantic Monthly. Subsequent publishings were often accompanied by a portrait of the three girls. The poem is a beautiful look at a father's love for his children, but also contains the bittersweet tones of the realization that the childhood years are fleeting.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Jeffrey K. Holbrook
Composer: Brandon Boone
Sound Design & Mixing: Andrew Riffenburgh (Some sounds from the Free Sound Project; http://freesound.org/people/mrbriandesign/sounds/86991/ and http://freesound.org/people/tuhinpaul/sounds/342838/)
Photography: Bill Badzo (Adapted and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.)
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for "The Children's Hour"
Entry on Wikipedia for Longfellow
Longfellow's Bio on Poets.org
Longfellow's Bio on The Poetry Foundation
Analysis of "The Children's Hour" by Andrea Kalifa

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron in 1868

"The Children's Hour" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
    When the light is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
    That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
    The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
    And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
    Descending from the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
    And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
    Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
    To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
    A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
    They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
    O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
    They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
    Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
    In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
    Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
    Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
    And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
    In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
    Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
    And moulder in dust away!

Monday, May 30, 2016

"Evening Solace" by Charlotte Brontë

English writer, Charlotte Brontë, is probably best known for her novel, Jane Eyre, although she wrote a handful of other novels as well as many poems. For many years she wrote and published her works under the pseudonym, Currer Bell. The poem, Evening Solace, was first published in 1846 as part of a collection of pieces by Charlotte and her two sisters, Emily and Anne.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Nicole Rodrigues
Composer: Brandon Boone
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green
Photography: Frank Meitzke
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë's Bio on the Poetry Foundation
Poem Analysis by blogger Sally Ren
Poem Analysis by blogger Sharda Lochan

Portrait of Charlotte Brontë by Evert A. Duyckinick, based on a drawing by George Richmond - University of Texas: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/exhibits/portraits/index.php?img=54, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10433

"Evening Solace" by Charlotte Brontë

THE human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion,
And nights in rosy riot fly,
While, lost in Fame's or Wealth's illusion,
The memory of the Past may die.

But, there are hours of lonely musing,
Such as in evening silence come,
When, soft as birds their pinions closing,
The heart's best feelings gather home.
Then in our souls there seems to languish
A tender grief that is not woe;
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish,
Now cause but some mild tears to flow.

And feelings, once as strong as passions,
Float softly back­ a faded dream;
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations,
The tale of others' sufferings seem.
Oh ! when the heart is freshly bleeding,
How longs it for that time to be,
When, through the mist of years receding,
Its woes but live in reverie !

And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
On evening shade and loneliness;
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
Feel no untold and strange distress­
Only a deeper impulse given
By lonely hour and darkened room
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven,
Seeking a life and world to come.