Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom - Robert Frost.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee...

From the moment I started this site, I knew that this was going to be up here; Lord Byron's masterpiece has always been one of my favourite poems. The hardest question, therefore, was not 'Should this be up here?', but rather, 'Which line from the first and last stanzas am I gonna use as the title, they're all brilliant!' I specified those two stanzas because, to me, they're just so powerful; imagery to make you weep. Enough babble.

The Destruction of Sennacherib

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Did He smile, His work to see?

The first poem I ever read, as a bloody nosy kid looking into senior class textbooks. Even now, I can remember thinking that 'eye' and 'symmetry' didn't quite rhyme...but then concluded that ol' William Blake just might know a wee bit more than me. End result? Pronounced it as sym-et-rye for quite some time. Ah well...can't tell why I like this poem so much. Simple, yet brilliantly worded.

The Tiger

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did He smile, His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night
,What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?