1. John Donne – “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.” Lines 12-24.
Why I love it? I love this poetry quote and the entire poem because I think the poem speaks about the kind of love we should strive to have with our other-halves. Not the love of “[dull] sublunary lovers” which is only a physical connection that “[abscence] doth remove[s] / [those] things which elements it.” But love where, “two souls . . . are one” and when one lover dies the relationship does not end. Instead, the relationship is such as “gold to airy thinness beat,” not a “breach” but an “expansion” of love.
Dull sublunary lovers’ love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we by a love so much refined,
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
2. John Milton – Paradise Lost: Book 9 – The Fall of Mankind – Eve eating the Forbidden Fruit.
Why I love this quote? Adam and Eve live perfect lives in the Garden of Eden. But Eve is tempted by Satan in the guise of a snake who tells Eve she would be powerful and all knowing like God if she ate the forbidden fruit, even though God said that was the only thing that Adam and Eve cannot do. Many people will say, the Fall of mankind was Eve’s fault because she ate the fruit first and later, gave it to Adam. The thing was Eve was created from Adam’s rib, and he was supposed to love, protect her, and watch out for her. So, even when Eve takes that first bite, Adam has sinned to. And he does it again when he eats the fruit himself. This quote to me is savage and lustful: “Greedily, she ingorg’d without restraint / And knew not eating death.” Imagine this brilliant sexy vivacious woman who has been tricked by the devil, and done herself and her husband in. Immediately, she loses self-restraint and does not realize upon eating the fruit, she was ensuring that she would die, as would every member of the human race one day because we all relate back to Adam and Eve.
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost. Back to the Thicket slunk
The guiltie Serpent, and well might, for Eve
Intent now wholly on her taste, naught else
Regarded, such delight till then, as seemd,
In Fruit she never tasted, whether true
Or fansied so, through expectation high
Of knowledg, nor was God-head from her thought.
Greedily she ingorg’d without restraint,
And knew not eating Death: Satiate at length,
And hight’nd as with Wine, jocond and boon,
Thus to her self she pleasingly began.
3. Emily Dickinson – ” A Bird Came Down the Walk.” Lines 14-20.
Why I like this quote? The poetry in these lines is extremely beautiful. The wording is lush and descriptive. It creates this wonderful image. I didn’t quote the entire poem though maybe I should have. But a bird comes down the walk and eats an angle worm raw. This shows the savagery and realness of nature. The bird looks around weary of predators with his beady bird eyes. He is acting as birds do. But there is beauty in the flight of the bird taking off “unroll[ing] his feathers” and “row[ing]” a “softer Home.” The last verse is magnificent and I still barely can wrap my mind around it. Flying like “oars divid[ing] the Ocean / [too] silver for a seam.” And then a comparison of birds to butterflies who fly like they are swimming “plashless” or splashless in the sky. Just gorgeous wording you can feel and experience from Dickinson.
And he unrolled his feathers,
And rowed him softer Home –
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.
4. Robert Browning – “Porphyries Lover.” Lines 28-43.
Why I like this quote? In this poem I like the horror of what Porphyria’s lover does. He thinks she has another lover and when he decides she doesn’t, he decides the only way to keep her his, is to strangle her with her own hair. Clearly, this guy is crazy but Browning writes so eloquently in his poem that the deed of murdering Porphyria is all the more terrible. In his messed up mine the lover thinks, “Porphyria worship[s]” him. To hold that moment in time because Porphyria is at last his, “[perfectly] pure and good,” the lover wraps Porphyria’s hair ” three times her little throat around / [and] strangle[s] her.” Crazy, but Browning does a fantastic job of conveying an obsessive lover.
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
5. Robert Frost – “Mending Wall.” Lines 27-24.
Why I like this quote? Well, I think this an important poem because it talks about how to be good neighbours. I think Donald Trump should read this poem before he builds a wall to keep out Mexico and Canada. The speaker in this story is picking up the rocks from his stone fence and placing them back on the wall. His neighbour does the same thing on the otherside of the fence. The speaker does not understand why each year, him and his neighbour do this. His neighbour believes ” ‘ [good] fences make good neighbours.'” But the speaker wonders ” ‘ [why] do [fences] make good neighbours?'” He would like to know what “he is walling in or walling out.” The speaker “doesn’t love a wall” and he thinks it is unnecessary. But he would like his neighbour to understand why they shouldn’t be putting up walls for himself, but the neighbour will not change his ways. “He will not go behind his father’s saying.” This poem makes me think we too need to be careful what we wall out or wall in, in our lives. We need to be with other people to share and build friendships. We can’t wall each other out because of tradition or things we’ve done. We need to accept people in, and open our doors to be good neighbours.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Please see The Poetry Foundation for the complete works of poetry and other poems.
Thanks to La Duchesse D’erat and Rosema for this weeks list prompt of important words.
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