Monday, May 26, 2008

Jess, who writes the blog Garish and Tweed and the most useful book reviews I know, issued a challenge the other day. She challenged her readers to check out her friend Kate's blog, red couch fever, (very funny) and try to write a poem in the style of William Carlos Williams' "This is just to say".

I tried my hand at it too - nothing as funny as Kate or Jess's addition to the repertoire, but it sort of summarizes the month I'm living through:

I’m sorry I yelped
When you urped down my shirt
I made your arms flail
And your sweet lips turn pale.
Forgive me -
I know it wasn’t malicious,
just quick
and cold.

Poetry seems to be in the air over here at Kolokolo. I ran out of books to read about a week ago (and when I'm feeding a baby, I need something to read), so I've been overhauling my poetry shelf, pulling out old favorites to see how they hold up to the rigors of a 2 am critic. Besides remembering just how much I like Marianne Moore, I've discovered something else cool too. All that pacing you put in walking a colicky baby? You might feel you'll never have your hands free again to eat a sandwich or fold the swarms of laundry surrounding you, but pacing is great for memorizing poetry. I roar out lines while the baby bellows, I whisper them while I bob him, nearly asleep, on my shoulder.

So far I've memorized one Marianne Moore poem, several William C Williams and e.e. cummings (so easy). Next up is some Donne and Shakespeare. Any suggestions on favorite poems you have memorized, I'd love to hear.


Jess said...

I'm so glad you took up the challenge!

The Highwayman would make for something over-the-top (and with great rhythm) for late-night pacing. I've always had a fondness for Eliot and MacNeice, for something a bit less...gruesome.

Anonymous said...

Marge Piercy is a favorite and also May Swenson. Her poem Question is one I love and is particularly easy for memorization:

lenabee said...

Yeats' Stolen Child! Not for any wishful thinking due to colicky babies, but the catchiness of the refrain makes it my favorite to mutter in times of stress.

"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."

tuckova said...

Jess-- I memorized the Highwayman in middle school, which started my love of memorizing, I think.

I still like to brag about myself for memorizing Prufrock, which was I think my most challenging (long; doesn't rhyme). It really does come in handy in more situations than you would think.