18 Apr 2010

re-awakening an old love

I used to love reading poetry for fun and also for relaxation. Sometimes to relax myself from work stress I'd read Frost or Emily Dickinson - they work wonders on my stressed-out soul. Then when I started teaching Literature at the University of Malaya, it sort of made my stress worse. The kids hated poetry and having to teach them poems made me quite sick - not of the poems themselves but just teaching. And when I stopped teaching that subject for a while I also switched off poetry too. But meeting a fellow blogger who is into poetry rekindled that love, especially when she posted Neruda's beautiful and touching poem - "The Saddest Lines" on her blog. It made me want to read Neruda again and its so much nicer reading the poems without having to explain it to students who just cannot appreciate them. Today I re-read my book of poems by Robert Frost and realised how much I've missed reading him really. And Emily Dickinson too. Langston Hughes is another of my favourite poets. The other poets that I love are John Donne and Andrew Marvell (To My Coy Mistress), also William Shakespeare's sonnets (Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?) and of course Robert Frost and Dickinson.

Below is one of my favourites by Emily Dickinson:
’Tis so much joy! ’T is so much joy!

If I should fail, what poverty!

And yet, as poor as I

Have ventured all upon a throw;

Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so

This side the victory!

Life is but life, and death but death!

Bliss is but bliss, and breath but breath!

And if, indeed, I fail,

At least to know the worst is sweet. 

Defeat means nothing but defeat,

No drearier can prevail!

And if I gain,—oh, gun at sea,

Oh, bells that in the steeples be,

At first repeat it slow!

For heaven is a different thing

Conjectured, and waked sudden in,

And might o’erwhelm me so! "

Thank you Naida for re- introducing me to the delights of poetry!

1 comment:

naida said...

Great post Kat! I'm very happy to have encouraged you to read poetry again, how wonderful. All of the poets you mentioned are favorites of mine as well. I never get tired of Shakespeare's sonnets and reading Emily Dickinson has always moved me.