Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tis Not Too Late to Seek a Newer World: National Poetry Month

Odysseus and the SirensUlixes mosaic at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, Tunisia, 2nd century AD
(By Giorcesderivative work: Habib M'henni - File:GiorcesBardo54.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10353941)

I was pleased to speak with several classes of 8th graders at Cheyenne Eagle Butte Junior  High School last week. They are beginning to interact with poetry, and I look forward to reading their original efforts. 

They asked good questions. One was "What is your favorite poem?" If you love poetry, the answer to this question depends on the moment! At any given time, my answer might have been different, but one of my enduring favorites is the classic by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Ulysses." Based on Homer's The Odyssey, the aged ruler, Ulysses, also known as Odysseus, looks back--and forward--on his life and reign, and decides he wants to continue to contribute, to experience life, to keep moving, and to do what he can. 

I like the poetry itself, and the themes of optimism, strength, and persistence. It has so many quotable lines! Here are the last: 

'T is not too late to seek a newer world. 
Push off, and sitting well in order smite 
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds 
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
Of all the western stars, until I die. 
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: 
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, 
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. 
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' 
We are not now that strength which in old days 
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; 
One equal temper of heroic hearts, 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

For full effect read the complete poem or hear it read here

GIVEAWAY WINNERS: Winners of the Poetry Friday Power Books are Mr. Nickerson and Chel, who did not leave contact info. If I don't hear from them within a week, I will re-draw. 

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