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

Friday, September 30, 2016

"The Eagle" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"The Eagle" was first published in 1851, shortly after Tennyson was appointed as Poet Laureate of Britain in 1850; a position he held until his death in 1892. In spite of its short length, "The Eagle" still contains a lot of meaning. It is packed with beautiful imagery and the iambic tetrameter Tennyson employs allows the words to flow off the tongue in an easy rhythm. It is simply a delightful piece to read and contemplate.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: J.D. Sutter
Composer: Kevin Duncan
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green (Some sounds from the Free Sound Project; http://www.freesound.org/people/dobroide/sounds/132993/)
Photography: rise-a-mui
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for "The Eagle"
Entry on Wikipedia for Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Very thorough analysis of "The Eagle" by blogger, Natasha Fernando
Bio of Tennyson on The Poetry Foundation

Protrait of Tennyson by P. Krämer
image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred,_Lord_Tennyson#/media/File:Alfred_Tennyson..jpg

"The Eagle" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

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!