I don't read enough poetry, but I can definitely appreciate the craft.
In college, one of my two minors was English. After finishing the required English Literature I and II, I signed up for a Beginning Poetry course on a whim. It was a little daunting because the syllabus stated we had to write poetry, read poetry, keep a journal and recite two poems from memory. We're not talking a few poems here. We're talking multiple poems a week, and they had to be good.
For someone who didn't even read much poetry, all of this was a challenge. My first few poems were awful, and to make matters worse, we had to distribute copies of them so the rest of the class could make comments and suggestions. Ugh.
At first, all of this stressed me out. But, by the end of the semester, the poetry class had become somewhat of an outlet for me. I really enjoyed reading the poetry books and the other students' work. Plus I could actually write a pretty decent poem, and I truly understood how much time goes into writing poetry.
Looking back on the experience four and a half years later, I realize how much beauty exists within poetry, if only we take the time to read...
Of all the poems I read that semester, these two are my favorites. Enjoy.
How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the wings. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breadth,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! And if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
She Walks in Beauty
George Gordon Byron
She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and in her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Do you read poetry? What is your favorite poem?