Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

Musings of an Old Hippie

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Today, in a conversation Tim reminded me of this poem from my college days when he quoted “go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence” 

I still have a tattered copy in my desk drawer that I pulled out periodically and read when college life was overwhelming. I am wondering today why I ever stopped.  And yes, I still believe “it’s a beautiful world”.

desiderata – by max ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

Written by Gloria Ferris

November 8th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

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I Wonder If Mary Todd Lincoln Had A Chance To Say Good-bye

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Yesterday was the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s anniversary. I wonder about Mary Todd Lincoln who on that fateful Good Friday dressed for a night on the town with her husband, who attended the theater to enjoy a play with the well-known actor, John Wilkes Booth, when he shot her husband in front of her eyes. I wonder what she thought as she watched her husband slowly die from the assassin’s bullet. I wonder if she had the chance to tell him she loved him and that now he would be with their beloved Willie. I wonder how she coped with such a public end to her husband’s life. I believe Walt Whitman’s tribute to him is appropriate.

O Captain! My Captain!

1

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

    But O heart! heart! heart!

         5

      O the bleeding drops of red,

        Where on the deck my Captain lies,

          Fallen cold and dead.

   

2

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;

  10

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

    Here Captain! dear father!

      This arm beneath your head;

        It is some dream that on the deck,

  15

          You’ve fallen cold and dead.

   

3

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;

From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

  20

    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

      But I, with mournful tread,

        Walk the deck my Captain lies,

          Fallen cold and dead.

 

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 15th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Painting circles to Give People A Place To Gather

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Friday I attended Neighborhood Connections City Repair. Since I have been focused on poetry these past few days when I saw the beautiful paintings at the intersections in Portland Oregon I remembered this e.e. cummings poem.

“anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain”
? E.E. Cummings, Selected Poems

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 7th, 2013 at 9:50 am

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Gwendolyn Brooks Spoke to Me In College Even As She Does Now

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I discovered Gwendolyn Brooks and her beautiful poetry during college in a “Kiddie Lit” class that I didn’t even want to take.  I learned so much about literature and poetry in that class that it remains one of my fondest memories of college.

I related to this poem then and still do now.  Being a bit obstinate, i have never done what was expected. And since, my voice doesn’t stay in key any time I would decide to sing would be quite terrible.

The Crazy Woman

I shall not sing a May song.
A May song should be gay.
I’ll wait until November
And sing a song of gray.
I’ll wait until November
That is the time for me.
I’ll go out in the frosty dark
And sing most terribly.
And all the little people
Will stare at me and say,
"That is the Crazy Woman
Who would not sing in May."

                    -Gwendolyn Brooks

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 6th, 2013 at 11:50 pm

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Poetry Month Would Not be Complete Without One Sonnet

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Tim walks into the room as I am posting yesterday’s entry today and says The other day when you posted “To My Coy Mistress” I thought of “ I never Saw a Goddess Go”.  So today’s entry is from my spouse who keeps me entertained with his original poems as well as his knowledge of not only the poems I know but of many I am unaware.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)

by William Shakespeare

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
     And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
     As any she belied with false compare.

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 4th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

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April 3: William Blake A Favorite Poet of Mine

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THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

 

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

1794

I first heard this poem one year when the tiger lilies began to bloom.  My father recited it in its entirety.  I told him I didn’t think it was about a tiger lily. his answer was, “oh you got that”.  Anyone who knew my dad will think this story odd,  but i will have more throughout the month.

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 4th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

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Andrew Marvell’s To My Coy Mistress Remains A Favorite

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On Day 2 of National Poetry Month, I chose a poem that I remember from my college days when Time seemed like it would go on forever. Reading it forty-five years later, my perspective has changed, but my love of the metaphors remains unchanged.

To his Coy Mistress

by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
        But at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv’d virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.
        Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am’rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp’d power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 2nd, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Celebrating National Poetry Month In My Own Way

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April is National Poetry Month. Therefore, I have resolved to post a poem a day here on my blog. These are in no way to be construed the BEST list of poetry but rather thirty of my favorite poems. Since I am sure I have more than the thirty necessary for the month I may be doing this exercise for years to come.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 1st, 2013 at 8:59 pm

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Happy Birthday, Robert Louis Stevenson

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Thanks to Google, I was reminded of one of my favorite childhood authors Robert Louis Stevenson.  What ten year old doesn’t love Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kidnapped?  But my true love was the poetry written by the man.

Again, thanks to Google I found “A Child’s Garden of Verses”.  Someone, on my eighth Christmas, gave me an edition of that volume of poems and the memory of that gift sticks in my head like it was yesterday.  The cover  was pale green with pink ribbons streaming down the front and back of the book, and my rush to open presents stopped, as I took the time to run my hand over the silkiness of the cover.  The real treat came that afternoon, when I sat curled in my favorite overstuffed chair with my collie,Duchess sleeping contentedly at my feet,  and I cracked that oversized tome for the first time to experience the poems of RLS.   The illustrations were memorable and when I read the poems again today those pictures of yesterday filled my head.  Some time over the years, I lost my book of poems, but I never lost my love for the poetry.

I’ve provided links to three of my favorites for just a taste of his grasp of a young child’s curiosity. I would urge any one who has a young reader on their gift list this holiday season to consider choosing an author, 160 years young, who will undoubtedly still stoke the  creativity of a child’s imagination for that someone special, eight or 10.    

 

The Wind                  The Swing                      My Shadow

Written by Gloria Ferris

November 13th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

My New Year’s Wish For You

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Another year gone, added to our past.

Remember the laughter, the smiles, the bright sunny days.

Cherish the friends, the family, the time you spent together.

Reflect on the hopes, the dreams, the promise of a new tomorrow.

Be thankful for good health, for second chances, for all the good that came your way.

Another year waits to become our present, to create our future.

Bring the memories, the reflections, and the thanks with you.

Build a foundation of strengths within you and those around you.

Use each day to make the world a better place by being you.

Embrace your dreams by making them reality.

Dear Friends, on this New Year’s Eve, straddle the new and the old and make the future yours by living each day fully.

And as for me, I wish a New Year filled with health, prosperity, and happiness for each and every one of you.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 31st, 2009 at 6:50 pm