Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Poetry to My Ears

One of the things I realize that I have sorely missed since finishing my English degree this past April is the reading of poetry for both enjoyment and analyzation. While novels are always a good source of pleasure, I think there is something to be said for the sentiment and meaning which poetry can provide within a few short lines. As a result, I've decided to try to dedicate more time to reading poems, and hope to share at least one of my favourites that I have come across each week here on my blog!

This weeks poem comes from Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), an English poet most well known for her poem entitled The Goblin Market. She is the sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous Pre-Raphelite artist. Christina Rossetti was a devote Christian, which is often noted within her poetry. After rejecting two marriage proposals (because both men weren't Anglican), Christina lived the remainder of her days as a spinster, spending most of her time with her brother and his friends: Swinburne, Whistler, and Lewis Carroll.

The poem by Rossetti that I have chosen is called "When I Am Dead, My Dearest," and was written in 1862. Rather than supporting the traditional male notion of the ideal woman, who mourns at being seperated from her lover, Rossetti paints the picture of a woman who is indifferent to her supposed  'beloved'. Instead, the man is the one insinuated as being distressed and grief stricken, resulting in a reversal of gender roles. One of the reasons that I enjoy this poem so much is the sense of relief and peace surrounding such a terrible subject as death. Rossetti's rhyme and meter just make the poem float off the tip of your tongue!

When I am dead, my dearest
by Christina Rossetti 

When I am dead, my dearest,
  Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
  Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
  With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
  And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
  I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
  Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
  That doth not rise nor set,
Haply* I may remember,
  And haply may forget.

                                               (*haply = perhaps)


Chels said...

This is such a great poem! I have read Rossetti before but nothing as nice as this! I wish I loved poetry the way you do =). You read such a great variety of ..everything! Beautiful picture too =)

Jenny said...

I've never gotten into poetry and I don't know why, often it gives me chills. Can I redeem myself by saying I know who painted the picture next to the poem? It was Waterhouse. I love his art!!!!

BTW, if you don't check back on my posts and see my reply comments, I just wanted you to know I'm so happy you watched Teen Wolf. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who watched it.

TG said...

I think this is a great idea for a weekly post! I don't read enough poems now, either. I love Christina Rosetti and this is definitely one of her most lovely to recite.

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