Thursday, December 2, 2010

Literary Blog Hop: Favourite poetry

Literary Blog Hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase. If you features book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion, you too can join in!

This week's question is:

What is your favorite poem and why?

This is not easy to answer. I am a poet myself and I have been reading poetry for as long as I can remember. How does one compare the ancient poets with the medieval or the modern poets? Each one has written about what was relevant in their time period. Feelings and emotions do not change essentially but our reactions do change. Language too, changes with the time. Therefore, I can go on mentioning Homer to contemporary poets, who have made an impact on me. I have liked Rumi, Kahlil Gibran, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Yeats, Robert Browning, Robert Burns, Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and so many more. How do I mention only one when I like these poets and many more for entirely different reasons? 

Yet, I want to share here a poem by a Contemporary poet, Anne Caston

Irony is beyond a boy like mine. As is symbolism.
    Allegory. Metaphor, too. All is literal with him
        though that doesn't rule out a wildebeest,
the one he meets each morning in the fallow field
    beyond our yard, the one who lies beside him
        each night now in the dark.
Some morning the boy stands a long time, one hand
    shading his eyes, looking sunward, scanning the wide
        sky for that fiery wheel - Ezekiel's wheel - way up
in de middle ob de air
. He says he'd like to see that
    himself. Just once. If the sun would
        get out of the way.
God has a lamb, he tells me one night after prayers,
    who followed Jesus to school just like Mary's
        lamb in the Mother Goose book.
And God? God, for him, is just one giant eye roaming to and fro    

over the dark earth, peering through the windows at night
        like some neighborhood peeping Tom.
To him, a fiery wheel is a wheel in flames, a lamb a lamb, an eye
    an eye, and as of this morning's sermon, the Lion
        of Judah - coming again, and the unholy
shall be judged and torn
 - is an orange cat that belongs to Judah
    Michaels, a boy who lives two door down.
        "I will kill that lion if he comes near," he mutters,
pocketing stones and pebbles as he walks all afternoon the gravel drive
    between our house and Judah's, the young tom pouncing
        bugs in the weed-riddled grass of the Michaels' front yard.
But now, the Sunday sun is almost spent and we settle
    together on the splintered back stoop while shadows
        creep forward from the field where his wildebeest waits.
While fireflies sputter on and off and crickets
    call out across the twilit lawn, he is telling me now
        about Zion, that beautiful city of God, which is
somewhere, he says, in Georgia, near Stone Mountain
    except everything there - streets, people, trees - has gone
        gold as Christmas glitter. God's people, he says,
are marching, marching upward to Zion, and he tilts
    the stick he's holding to show me how steep is the climb.
        He's going there too one day, he says, when he is big,
when he is old, when he must leave me. I stare at the darkening
    field, considering again the lilies, the wildebeest I cannot see,
        the whole thorn-torn mess a world can sometimes be.
Who wouldn't long for a Zion like his: the sky gone fiery, bright
    overhead as Ezekiel's wheel, Gabriel singing us home
        to Georgia again, this boy and me and his wildebeest,
all of us marching up, up God's glittering mountain
    where the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah
        lie down together and wait for us
there, somewhere, in the polished hard and shining future.
This is written for her son, who had a  diagnosis of Autism. Here she tries to show us the world from his point of view. This poem touches us and shows us new insights about someone who is closed in a world of his own and yet can have wonderful view of the world, in his own way. That is what is beauty of poetry.

Come share your poetry post with me. I would like that very much.


@parridhlantern said...

I,ve worked with individuals with autism (A.S.D) & like the lines about metaphor & the line "All is literal with him" as this sums up perfectly the limitations language can face at times, because no matter how wonderfully you describe something it only works if what you communicate has relevance for the individual on the receiving end of it. thanks enjoyed your choice.

Anonymous said...

Impressive poem. As a non-poet, it's one I can definitely appreciate. I like this line - " And God? God, for him, is just one giant eye roaming to and fro
over the dark earth, peering through the windows at night
like some neighborhood peeping Tom."
Great imagery.

Olivia said...

What a great poem! I had never read this author before, but I think that I'll definitely have to read more.

Melody said...

Nice selection, thanks so much for sharing!

Amy said...

Wow. That's very moving.

bibliophiliac said...

An absolutely beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it.

Rachel said...

What a beautiful and impressive poem. Thank you for sharing :)

Unknown said...

I knew it was about autism as soon as I read the line about "everything is literal". As someone who works with student with special needs, I found this poem really moving. It somehow does a good job of highlighting the distance that many parents of children with autism feel from their children in a really subtle way. You can check out my post at

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Reading poetry and seeing metaphors opened up the world for me. I'd come from parents who saw life as very literal and very serious.

JoAnn said...

Wonderful, and so true! Thank you for sharing.

@parridhlantern said...


Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
feet to the stars, and moon- skulled,
gilled like a fish.A common sense
thumbs down on the dodo's mode.
wrapped up in yourself like a spool
trawling your dark as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the fourth
of july to all fools day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.

Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas,Our travelled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug
a creel of eels, all ripples
Jumpy as a mexican bean
Right, like a well done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.
Sylvia Plath

The Literary Nomad said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and also for sharing your poem. I love that you didn;t tell us it was about autism until the end as I found that really impacted on me and I went back and read it aain with a different perspective.

I am hoping to add some more internationally temed poems as part of my journey so stop by again please when you have the time.

Susan said...

A very moving poem. It really makes you pause and think...what an effort the mother has made to express her understanding of her child, and to come out with something so beautiful.

LL said...

Lovely poem.