Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Poetry on My Mind

Words are on my mind. I just got finished sending an email to some members of my family inviting them to join me next month in taking an online course from the University of Pennsylvania in modern American poetry. I hope at least one or two will sign up. It would be fun having somebody I know along with the 22,000+ others taking the course.

Then there was the email from my son Ben this morning and our exchange on the word "anodyne." He spent 15 minutes today trying to get at the most precise definition. Best, we agreed, is at the Oxford site.

And then there are poems. The first poets we're going to look at in the course are Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Here's a poem by the former. It's #489 in The Complete Poems (Thomas Johnson, ed., 1961). I have reproduced here the exact same way it appears in the book.

#489

We pray--to Heaven--
We prate--of Heaven--
Relate--when Neighbors die--
At what o'clock to Heaven--they fled--
Who saw them--Wherefore fly?

Is Heaven a Place--a Sky--a Tree?
Location's narrow way is for Ourselves--
Unto the Dead
There's no Geography--

But State--Endowal--Focus--
Where--Omnipresence--fly?

I'll share my latest poem with you all tomorrow, long as we're talking poetry. :-)
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