Sunday, 19 October 2014

Pot of Poetry: Favourite Poets

This month, Classics Club poses an interesting topic.
Let’s talk about classic poetry! Have you got a favorite classic poem? Do you read poetry? Why or why not? // You could also feature a poet or a book of poetry, rather than a poem.
 I have to say that I'm in love with poetry. When I was little, I wrote my own poems, a hobby I can't let go of when I grow up. Why? Maybe I will never know.

When it comes to poets, "two loves I have" - Shakespeare and Keats. The two are very very different both in style and sense. Keats, as a Romantic poet, loves the melancholy of Nature. His poems flow like springs of water, or fall like leaves in autumn, or whisper like breeze before rain. The other is completely different. Shakespeare uses a lot of different rhetorical techniques to convey his thoughts. He's a drama king, and he knows how to get people's attention. His poems talk about so man different things, delivers huge variety of emotions and thoughts, and resonates with the deepest, most secret desires in human beings.

Shakespeare wrote mostly plays. Never mind they're poetic, they're still plays. It's quite a different thing. When using poetry for plays, Shakespeare pays attention to the dramatic nuance that poems have. That's why he wrote in metrical lines of iambic pentameter. But he also wrote poetry. They are not much, compared to his plays, but they are still worthily famous. If you are in love and don't know how to express your feeling, read his sonnets out loud. It helps.

Lately I sometimes find myself reciting this particular sonnet.

O! never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify,
As easy might I from my self depart
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again;
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe though in my nature reigned,
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
   For nothing this wide universe I call,
   Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.

It sounds like a lame excuse, but that depends on what you are talking about. I am a fangirl, so when I fall in love with something, I let myself fall hard. However, there are several things I can't entirely leave. "That is my home of love." If I get distracted, if I fall in love with something entirely different, if it seems like I have a new obsession, in short, "if I have ranged/Like him that travels," I will return.

Oh, but the poem above is hardly my favourite sonnet of Shakespeare. In fact, I cannot choose my favourite. It so much depends upon my moods and feelings at a given moment.

Now let's talk about Keats. I don't remember the first time I read his poems. I remember though, long before I actually read his works, I read a quote in a Japanese manga, saying, "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard, are sweeter." The manga attributed it to Keats. Sadly, it was a translation, and believe me, it took me some time to finally get the authentic English version of that sentence.

My current favourite from Keats is some lines from his "Lines to Fanny." But that's not it. The pain and beauty of reading Keats is reading death in every line. You can't forget that he's dying when he wrote those. I can't read "Bright Star" or "Ode to Grecian Urn" without thinking of the poet's desire to stay still, to be "still steadfast, still unchangeable", to happily "forever piping songs forever new," to stop the clock and enjoy that one perfect moment forever. Whether it's "Ode to a Nightingale" or "To Autumn" or anything else that he wrote, it always gives me some sort of melancholic sadness. The worst part is, of course, I love him nonetheless.

So, Keats and Shakespeare - my two big loves. Do you have any?

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love Keats' poetry too. 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' was one of the first poems I ever read, and still one of my favourites. I definitely agree with you about the melancholy that is present in his work. I think that's one of the reasons I love his poetry; it's deeply moving and you can't help but feel involved in it.