Sunday, April 01, 2007

sun-down poem, bee, still life

I have been asking people to name their favorite poems; to be more specific the poem which, if one was ship wrecked on a desert island, one would recite to oneself as the sun goes down. Here is mine. It is an anonymous poem, which I found when I was young in volume one of a five volume anthology English verse. To the best of my knowledge, it has aroused the enthusiasm of nobody else, but it has always be one of those theraputic poems for me, in times of adversity, melancholy or even joy.

I heard a noise and wished for a sight,
I looke for life and did a shadow see
Whose substance was the sum of my delight,
Which came unseen and so did go from me.
Yet hath conceit persuaded my content
There was a substance where the shadow went.

I did not play Narcissus in conceit,
I did not see my shadow in a spring:
I saw the shadow of some worthy thing:
For as I saw the shadow glancing by,
I had a glimpse of something in mine eye.

But what it was, alas, I cannot tell,
Because of it I had no perfect view:
But as it was, by guess I wish it well
And will until I see the same anew.
Shadow or she or both or choose you whither:
Blest be the thing that brought the shadow hither.

A big, furry bumble bee announces Spring in the garden.

Through the open sash window of a basement flat, I see a pair of walking boots and a vase of tulips on the floor.


Lucy said...

I've never heard that poem before. The elusiveness is interesting...
There's so much detail to be seen walking in a town, like walking boots and tulips, sometimes I miss that.

Sam Thurston said...

I have loved that poem ( I heard a noise and wished for a sight) for over 40 years ever since I read it in the same volume you did when I was 21. More than once I have tried to do a picture - a woodcut perhaps- to accompany it. Last night I said to the English painter Timothy H. what trouble I had in doing a picture to be with a poem- the dual trap of being too literal or being too far away- he said we were too old to learn how now. So after doing a little sketch I decided to see if I could find anything more about the poem and found your pose. But nothing more about the poem.

Anonymous said...

i just tapped in "i heard a noise" and the poem i sought came straight up. you are not the only one to have your enthusiasm lifted by this great poem. as a struggling artist it resonated in my thoughts and culminated in a painting of my native highlands with the poem reflected in the water. it has always remained close to my heart.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden said...

Thank you!

I've been looking for that poem off and on for ages. I could remember it approximately but not exactly; and since I couldn't remember it exactly, Google couldn't find it.

Now, finally, here it is. Thank you, and thank you again.


Teresa Nielsen Hayden said...

And since I have the rest of the text, and can search on it, I'll tell you now that you're missing a line. It's "I knew my eyes were dimmed with no deceit," and it follows "I did not see my shadow in a spring."

viagra online said...

I really like this poem because it reminds me of a poem I wrote some time ago for my best friend. I remember I was run out of money so I decided to give him a poem.

Buy Viagra said...

I loved what you wrote above... I am a writer too... have you ever read something like this before?

I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

I did it for you dear blogger, I hope you like it. 23jj

pharmacy reviews said...

what a fanatastic peom I have to say when I read it I felt a blend of emotions... this was the same poem my mother read to me when I was at the hospital and before she died.