My Papa’s Waltz” is unquestionably the most anthologized of Roethke’s poetry and a case can be made that much of the reason behind that omnipresence is the room provided within its ambiguity for a multitude of interpretations.
|I met a traveller from an antique land|
|Who said: ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone|
|Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,|
|Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,|
|And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,|
|Tell that its sculptor well those passions read|
|Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,|
|The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:|
|And on the pedestal these words appear:|
|“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:|
|Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”|
|Nothing beside remains. Round the decay|
|Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare|
|The lone and level sands stretch far away.’|
Both light and shadow
are the dance of Love.
Love has no cause;
it is the astrolabe of God’s secrets.
Lover and Loving are inseparable
Although I may try to describe Love
when I experience it I am speechless.
Although I may try to write about Love
I am rendered helpless;
my pen breaks and the paper slips away
at the ineffable place
where Lover, Loving and Loved are one.
Every moment is made glorious
by the light of Love.
It’s been a while since I’ve read this gorgeus book – poetry in the form of a monstrous story. Man trying to be God by creating life – in his own form and shape – and then having to deal with the birth of identity, free will and intelligence. Does it sound familiar to you? A creature, after receiving the gift of thought, starts doubting the purpose of his existence and hating his maker? A mis-understood lost soul only looking for affection and upon receiving none going out to destroy?
“I, who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst”
Frankenstein is a literature classic as it deals with concepts of Man vs God, Man vs Man and inner doubt about the ethics of creation. It’s still valid today as it was nearly two hundred years ago as it poses the question: If man is able to create life, should he?
He would not stay for me, and who can wonder
He would not stay for me, and who can wonder?
He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand, and tore my heart in sunder,
And went with half my life about my ways.
Im Wasser wogt die Lilie, die blanke, hin und her,
Doch irrst du, Freund, sobald du sagst, sie schwanke hin und her:
Es wurzelt ja so fest ihr Fuß im tiefen Meeresgrund,
Ihr Haupt nur wiegt ein lieblicher Gedanke hin und her!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
“Death Be Not Proud” is among the most famous and most beloved poems in English literature. Its popularity lies in its message of hope couched in eloquent, quotable language. Donne’s theme tells the reader that death has no right to be proud, since human beings do not die but live eternally after “one short sleep.” Although some people depict death as mighty and powerful, it is really a lowly slave that depends on luck, accidents, decrees, murder, disease, and war to put men to sleep. But a simple poppy (whose seeds provide a juice to make a narcotic) and various charms (incantations, amulets, spells, etc.) can also induce sleep—and do it better than death can. After a human being’s soul leaves the body and enters eternity, it lives on; only death dies.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
From Death comes “Much pleasure” (line 5) since those good souls whom Death releases from earthly suffering experience “Rest of their bones” (line 6).
After the lovely Sonnet 116 and Sonnet 130, I present to you another love poem. Despite being a popular Shakespeare poem, this is not a sonnet of any kind. It only has twelve lines and a sonnet needs fourteen. Of course, this poem isn’t even written in iambic-pentameter! It’s rhyme scheme is AABCCB-DDEFFE.
O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.
What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies not plenty;
Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.
This poem is about Shakespeare telling a mistress that she should stop waiting for the right man to come along and sweep her off her feet and instead settle for him because he’s there right now. “What’s to come is still unsure: / In delay there lies not plenty;”. Besides, he says, maybe they will turn out to love each other anyway, “Journeys end in lovers meeting”.
This is a song, to put it simply, where a man is wooing a woman.
He feels that she is not paying attention to him and so is trying to convince her that he is her own true love.
He is telling her not to keep looking around for a love in a different place, because he’s right in front of her.
He is telling her not to delay, because we only have the present for certain. We don’t know what the future will bring.
So the longer she delays the greater the chance that she will lose the sweetness of her youthful love with him.
In the film of the play, “Twelfth Night: or What You Will”, directed by Trevor Nunn (absolutely wonderful director of Shakespeare–his Macbeth is the best I’ve seen) he has Feste the clown use it subtly to bring out the feelings between Maria and Sir Toby and to kind of encourage them to quit playing around with their feelings and do something about it. When Maria joins in with Feste there’s a kind of unsaid sense that she feels her youth slipping by without love and that she does love Sir Toby.