Saturday, October 23, 2010

Po~Et~Tree--PO~IT~THREE comes from the Greek word poico, "to make" or "to create". A complete definition of poetry is impossible, its higher qualities defying analysis and description. According the etymology of the word it signifies a production or creation of any kind; but in actual use it app.lies to the products of the imagination and to the form or language in which they are expressed. Here the critics differ as to whether any composition should be called poetry unless it is constructed in regular measure or matter - that is, whether it must be poetic in form as well as in essence. Certain it is that our literature as well as the literature of other nations abounds in works highly imaginative and composed in truly poetic language, but which are generally called prose works because of their form has not been reduced to meter or rhyme. The book of Ruth in the Old Testament is decidedly poetical in its substance, but prosaic in form, and the same may be said of the book of Job and the writings of the prophets. But whether we consider rhyme and meter essential to poetry or not, they greatly increase not only its beauty but its effect.

The reason of this is that the music of the words so arranged heightens the emotion produced by their meaning, and thus furthers the end that the poet has in view; and so the poet is ever a "maker" as well as a singer. But, on the other hand, neither meter alone nor meter combined will constitute poetry, unless there be truly poetic thought clothed in poetic language. The three principal kinds of poetry are the epic, the lyric and the dramatic. The first of these refers in general to poems that are to be read or recited, not sung. It included matters of narration, real or fictitious, philosophical reflections, etc. Lyric poetry includes the song in all its varieties, the hymn, the ode, the anthem, the sonnet, etc. Dramatic poetry embraces tragedy and comedy. In actual poetic compositions the distinction between these divisions of poetry is not always clear, as each one of them frequently contains elements belonging to the others.

In a Dark Time

by Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.