Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Saturday, January 09, 2021

The road you didn't take because of a lie

I thought of writing about Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken because many (most?) people misinterpret it.  Well, Today I Found Out covered the topic so well, there's no sense in my writing about the poem's meaning.  Please enjoy their video:


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference..

Friday, December 25, 2020

Do And Die, not Do or Die - common misquote

The poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson called The Charge of the Light Brigade is often misquoted.  Lines 14 and 15 are commonly verbalize as "Ours is not to ask why, but to do or die", or something similar.  The key here is that a choice is present; "do or die".  In other words, we follow our orders or be will held accountable.  Or perhaps, do or die trying.

However, within the actual poem (below), such a choice never is present.  The lines are actually "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die".  The soldiers of the poem never question their order, even though the order is clearly erroneous.  For these soldiers, these six hundred brigaders, a choice is never even in their thoughts.  They would ride headlong into cannon fire, being cut to pieces, while knowing there was no hope of success nor life afterwards.  

When one applies this poem to one's own situation, the phrase "do and die" is far more powerful, potent and critical.  No choice is available, even though the required action surely leads to failure.  In this regard, one might be unintentionally critiquing their orders as folly.

Of course, the poem is poetic. Though the poem does mention some survivors, it romanticizes the sacrifice of the brigade on the whole.  In reality, many of the soldiers survived.  Further, history has characterised the order to charge as a misunderstanding or miscommunication.  However, the order being a mistake of some sort is not undermined by the fact that some brigaders survived.  The Light Brigade was decimated in their charge of the cannons, and that decimation was obviously inevitable. 

The Charge of the Light Brigade

                    I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                    II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
   Someone had blundered.
   Theirs not to make reply,
   Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.
   Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                  III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
   Rode the six hundred.

                   IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
   All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
   Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
   Not the six hundred.

                    V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
   Left of six hundred.

                   VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
   All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
   Noble six hundred!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Be like Jay?

Be like Jay!  Be gay and scolding, I guess. Looks like poetry of questionable quality isn't only the domain of grade school English class.

THE BLUE JAY.

Something glorious, something gay,
Flits and flashes this-a-way!
’Thwart the hemlock’s dusky shade,
Rich in color full displayed,
Swiftly vivid as a flame—
Blue as heaven and white as snow—
Doth this lovely creature go.
What may be his dainty name?
“Only this”—the people say—
“Saucy, chattering, scolding Jay!”

-uncredited c.1897

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Relaxing inside

Wiley wind whistles through jostled forest timber which heaves and howls. Ease and warmth fills us from the glow of the comforting fireplace.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dead Plants

Winter is here,
Oh my dear.
My plants are dead
"I'll see you again,
next year."

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Seriously, who thought of this? Let the rhymes commence

There really is a website for everything.  Well, there is a site for word rhyming called Visual Rhymes. This site is so smart that it can even find rhymes for orange.  I always believed there are no English words that rhyme with orange.  Of course, the website shows the closest rhyme, but I think it is a bit rough, though it is technically correct.  Let me try to use the rhymes with orange in a bad poem that only Vogons will love.

Let me say how I love your skin orange.
Random pieces dogs will scavenge.
Keep your dogs away from that syringe.
Oh, o'er there the bad dogs whinge.
Watchout for the skintle to avoid a cringe
face from roughed up skin.  Oh, I love your skin orange.
Orange, orange, Oh, orange of color grand, 
sometimes impinge.

I did warn that it would be bad poetry.  As bad poetry goes, I'd say that was pretty good attempt and being really really bad.  So bad.  So very very bad. Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex might be proud. Anyway, I'm not convinced it is a good idea to try to attempt rhymes with the word orange, even if there are words that are available for such as task.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Remote Stone

Of what world we wonder true?  Our lacking nature holds fast our corporeal soul upon the bosom of thriving abodes that guise the cradled womb.  In this place stand we, me and all others, bound not in chains but yoked hereto nonetheless.  Grand thrusting spears slice through the wondrous  blue veil, floating on the currents of bent universe beyond this round realm, bringing to the helm  fleshless anthropomorphized cold creatures to cast away the dark cloak, thus revealing remote stone for stone’s sake.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Casted Branches

I never thought I'd revisit this work, but I believe I've improved it substantially with a rough spot it used to have in the second verse.

Night's pale spirit dashes spiderwebs upon earth,
Like villains cast onto silver screens,
Lying without breath; but breathing, as wind affects,
To spook our children on All Hallows' Eve.

Creaks and cackles echo,
While creep jostles our own essence.
This imparts solace upon howling ghosts,
Who excape from Inferno's demented joy.

Clamoring so, and wailing,
Lost souls seek new abodes;
Haunting our windows as light upon memories;
Whisking about, agitated, frustrated...then night wanes.

Apollo rides out with his own cast of characters,
To sweep away specters and their weeps,
And comfort bring to little ones as they arise,
Oblivious to the crypts under tread.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ocean's Edge

Sun sprinkles below
Waves' crests and pitches dancing
Cliffs glorious view

Sunday, August 01, 2010