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Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010 
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Post Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
I'd like to borrow this idea from the Poets.org website:

We each carry lines of poetry with us. Words that others have written float back to us and stay with us, indelibly. We clutch these "Life Lines" like totems, repeat them as mantras, and summon them for comfort and laughter.

The Academy of American Poets asked you to share the lines of poetry that are the most vital to you, along with notes about the precise situation that summoned them to mind. Some of these "life lines" appear, below.


Website:
http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/339

My idea is to do the same right here on this thread. I think it would be a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month.



Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:10 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
These aren't necessarily "life lines," but they are lines that come to mind most often, and that I "carry" with me everywhere, all the time.
---
notice the convulsed orange inch of moon
perching on this silver minute of evening.
-e.e. cummings
---
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me.
The carriage held but just ourselves
and Immortality.
-Emily Dickinson
---
'Twas brillig, and the slithy tove
did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogroves,
and the momeraths outgrabe.
-Lewis Carrol, Jabberwocky
---
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
...
for life's not a paragraph

And death I think is no parenthesis
-e.e. cummings (these are the lines I think of most, even though it's not the whole poem)
---
Since all is passing,
retain the melodies that wander by us,
that which assuages when nigh us,
shall alone remain.

Let us sing what will leave us
with our love and art.
Ere it can grieve us,
Let us the sooner depart.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
---
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry
fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the
starry dynamo in the machinery of night...
-Allen Ginsberg, Howl
--
More when they come to me. I like this thread. :)



Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:19 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
bleachededen wrote:
'Twas brillig, and the slithy tove
did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogroves,
and the momeraths outgrabe.
-Lewis Carrol, Jabberwocky


If you typed this from memory I take my hat off to you!
I feel lucky if I can spell normal words, in normal ways--"momeraths outgrabe" would drive me to distraction.


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"Freedom is feeling easy in your harness" --Robert Frost


Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:55 am
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
GaryG48 wrote:
bleachededen wrote:
'Twas brillig, and the slithy tove
did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogroves,
and the momeraths outgrabe.
-Lewis Carrol, Jabberwocky


If you typed this from memory I take my hat off to you!
I feel lucky if I can spell normal words, in normal ways--"momeraths outgrabe" would drive me to distraction.


:lol:

I actually did type it from memory. I never stopped to think how incredibly quirky of me that was. But it seriously goes through my head every day, sung in the singsong way the cartoon Cheshire cat sings it in the original Disney Alice in Wonderland (which is probably why I know these lines so well, because I found out early that I learn things more quickly and permanently if they are put to music).

I really did spell everything properly, too. I am so weird!! :lol:



Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:23 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
These are the lines of poetry that most often come to my mind:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on

From Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

These few lines capture some of my most basic beliefs about life. We are biological creatures first and formost. The fact that we have self awareness complicates the business of being alive and our only solace is each other.



Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:40 am
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
Saffron wrote:
We are biological creatures first and foremost. The fact that we have self awareness complicates the business of being alive and our only solace is each other.


Now, these two sentences require pondering.
Without self-awareness we do not find solace in each other?--That sounds right to me.
Without self-awareness life would be uncomplicated?--I don't see the relationship, maybe I am missing something?
If we were not biological creatures first and foremost would we be capable of self awareness?--Yes, I think so.


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Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:18 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
This is a great idea. Many of us have these talismanic lines floating around our heads. I have a couple that I say for tension relief, which are:

I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed. (Shelley)

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floor of silent seas. (Eliot)

Others:

pity this busy monster manunkind not.
progress is a comfortable disease
your victim, death and life safely beyond
plays with the bigness of his litttleness
electrons deify one razorblade into a mountainrange.
Lenses extend, unwish through curving wherewhen
till unwish returns on its unself.
a world of made is not a world of born:
pity poor flesh and trees,
poor stars and stones,
but never this fine specimen
Of hypermagical ultraomnipotence

And what have you to say wind wind wind?
did you love someone, and have you the petal
of somewhere on your heart
pinched from dumb summer?

O crazy daddy of death
dance cruelly for us
and start the last leaf whirling
in the final brain of air.
let us as we have seen
see doom's integration.

(all the above from cummings and not word perfect)



Last edited by DWill on Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:13 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
That's also an excellent cummings poem, DWill. I do love him so. :love:



Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:37 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
bleachededen wrote:
That's also an excellent cummings poem, DWill. I do love him so. :love:

I kept remembering lines from "pity this busy monster" as I put them down. Now I remember the final lines that just floored me when I first read them in high school. Along with Paul Newman in "Coolhand Luke," cummings was the coolest guy going.

listen,there's a hell of a good universe next door:
let's go.



Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:21 am
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
DWill wrote:
listen,there's a hell of a good universe next door:
let's go.


I remember the first time I read that, probably one of the lines that made me fall in love.



Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:06 am
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
A poem that is my own favorite cool drink of water is Li-young Lee's From Blossoms. It is the last stanza and especially the last two lines that make this a life line poem for me. A sustaining thought for me has always been how amazing, how shockingly beautiful the natural world is. No matter how I feel at any particular moment, the world goes right on being beautiful. In dark moments this thought and these lines of poetry are a comfort to me.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.



Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:08 am
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue.
Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new. (last two lines of Milton's "Lycidas")

But there may come another day to me--
Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty. (Wordsworth, "Resolution and Independence")

By our own spirits are we deified. (Wordsworth, ibid.)

At length the man percieves it die away
And fade into the light of common day.

High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty Thing surprised. (both from Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality")

Those beauteous forms,
Through a long absense, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and amid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration. (Wordsworth, "Tintern Abbey")

I can get quite a few of these lifelines from Wordsworth!



Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:08 am
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
DW wrote:
Those beauteous forms,
Through a long absense, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and amid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration. (Wordsworth, "Tintern Abbey")


I especially like this bit. Thanks, I've not read much Wordsworth; Mr. W may have to be my next project.



Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:28 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
Saffron wrote:
DW wrote:
Those beauteous forms,
Through a long absense, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and amid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration. (Wordsworth, "Tintern Abbey")


I especially like this bit. Thanks, I've not read much Wordsworth; Mr. W may have to be my next project.

Sure. Just watch out for "The Excursion." I know a certain fellow who lost much of his youth and sanity writing a master's thesis on that monumental work.



Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:32 pm
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Post Re: Life Lines for National Poetry Month 2010
I must go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and the sky (especially poignant now that I live in the middle where the sea is so far away) John Masefield

....I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep
and miles to go before I sleep

Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

Could so forget his handiwork on which
He spent himself the labour of his axe,
And leave it there far from a useful fireplace
ยท To warm the frozen swamp as best it could
With the slow smokeless burning of decay.

Those four are Frost of course

I'm with bleachededen on Jabberwocky too, it has even invaded my dreams

You have taken the east from me; you have taken the west from me;
you have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me;
and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!


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Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:13 pm
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