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Thread: Greatest lines of poetry.

  1. #28

    Default Re: Greatest lines of poetry.

    In speaking of Frost, he perhaps is a bit under appreciated in my opinion. Frost was a master of sounds. Poetry goes far beyond diction and expression, it has music buried within it. Frost was a musician.

    Stardust posted a line from ?Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.? Poetry is meant to be heard out loud, not just in our mind's ear. So listen, don?t read, listen to the music in the sounds of the first line:

    ?Whose woods these are I think I know.?

    One could hardly say this line out loud without whispering and that's not by mere accident. The whole poem is under his complete control.

    A great example of control, not only of the sound, but also of the rhyme is his ?Bereft.? If you are interested, read it out loud paying special attention to the music and beat. Once you begin your natural inner voice instinctively starts to feel the gallop of the words. A better description than gallop might be the hammer striking the anvil. There are four distinct heavy stresses in each line. This does not occur in natural speech. It can only occur by design.

    Bereft

    Where had I heard this wind before
    Change like this to a deeper roar?
    What would it take my standing there for,
    Holding open a restive door,
    Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
    Summer was past and day was past.
    Somber clouds in the west were massed.
    Out in the porch's sagging floor,
    leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
    Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
    Something sinister in the tone
    Told me my secret must be known:
    Word I was in the house alone
    Somehow must have gotten abroad,
    Word I was in my life alone,
    Word I had no one left but God.

    Robert Frost

    The English language is naturally spoken in about five foot lines of which each line is approximately 40-45% iambic. The vast majority of Shakespeare?s work is also in five foot lines. While this wouldn?t take anyone by surprise, Shakespeare?s lines were actually 95-98% iambic. (There was actually a study conducted in which this was discovered.) Shakespeare is extraordinarily hard to read, and interpretation is even more difficult for my small mind to grapple with, but his music astonishes.

    Brother Morris, I spoke to China briefly about 20 minutes ago. It?s morning there, which is her good time, but she was seated in a chair and talking. She tries to convince me she is feeling better and maybe she is, but it looks like it will take more time. I hope to have her home by the weekend. Thanks again for listening to me.

    --pm

  2. #29

    Default Re: Greatest lines of poetry.

    I wouldn't call Frost underrated.

    If you asked people to name a poet, I'd bet you'd get quite a few Robert Frost responses.

    Nothing Gold Can Stay is a my personal favorite of mine (and of Ponyboy)

  3. #30
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    Default Re: Greatest lines of poetry.

    Random musings on language: just when I think I'm fairly conversant in English in my world of prose, I run into real poets like PM, and the authors quoted here, and realize there are people who engage language in a much deeper way. And that's a good thing. It gives the rest of us something to aspire to, and reflect upon.

    When I had Shakespeare in college, and we had to read his full plays, our text book (which I still have) had translations at the bottom of the page, and this helped immensely.

    It just occurred to me that Shakespeare's works, and the King James version of the Bible were published contemporaneously. Funny how these works, 400 years later, are still some of the most read in the English language--and how different they are.

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