In honor of National Poetry Month, the following are some of my favorite stanzas of verse:
The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes dying, dying, dying.
~ From “The Splendor Falls,” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. This poem always makes me think of some old Medieval tale I’ve never read, of some ancient Golden Age, with knights and princesses and vast green landscapes with sparkling rivers and enchanted forests.
UP the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And a white owl’s feather!
~ From “The Fairies,” by William Allingham.
Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
~ From “The Stolen Child,” by W. B. Yeats. Loreena McKennitt makes this poem sound so deep and nostalgic when she sings it, especially that “Mingling hands and mingling glances” line, and the poem’s final stanza sounds so bittersweet and plaintive in her voice.
In that November off Tehuantepec,
The slopping of the sea grew still one night
And in the morning summer hued the deck
And made one think of rosy chocolate
And gilt umbrellas. Paradisal green
Gave suavity to the perplexed machine
Of ocean, which like limpid water lay.
~ From “Sea Surface Full of Clouds,” by Wallace Stevens