Friday, December 31, 2010

Poetry Friday: We Have a Song....

I think the photo above (via friend and VCFA-colleague Louise Hawes) is a poem in itself- no text necessary. But since I'm on the subject of the moon, here is something Italo Calvino said about the work of Giacomo Leopardi, the great Italian poet:
          ...he simply takes the weight out of language, to the point that it resembles moonlight.

Now that seems like good writing advice to me - Attend to lightness. Shoot for moonlight. I sang lots of songs about the moon to my grandson these last two weeks while he was staying with us in Seattle. Oh, Mr. Moon, Moon, bright and shiny moon, won't you please shine down on me? and When the moon comes over the mountains, every beam brings a dream, dear of you....and we read the lovely story in Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel which contains the lines, "Oh, Moon, you have followed me all the way home. What a good round friend you are!"

2010 seems to have been the Year of the Moon for me. I wonder what 2011 will be? Here is a small poem about the moon by H. D. (Hilda Doolittle).


Will you glimmer on the sea?
Will you fling your spear-head
On the shore?
What note shall we pitch?

We have a song,
On the bank we share our arrows -
The loosed string tells our note:

O flight, 
Bring her swiftly to our song. 
She is great. 
We measure her by the pine-trees. 

New Year's Resolution 2011: I will measure my work by the pine trees.

Hope your year is wonderful.  Here is a small poem (2010 was a year of small poems, too) by Robert Herrick about the good luck I wish for you in the new year. I'm passing it along - it came to me via the wonderful owners of Open Books, Christine Deavel and John Marshall (they have a calendar of strong readers coming up...if you live in the Pacific Northwest and love poetry, check it out.)  

"The Coming of Good Luck"

So good luck came, and on my roof did light
Like noiseless snow, or as the dew of night:
Not all at once, but gently, as the trees
Are by the sunbeams tickled by degrees.

The Poetry Friday round-up this week is over at Carol's Corner.  Head over there to see what other people are posting.



  1. HD's poem left me a little breathless, surely because if had that moonlit lightness. Happy New Year!

  2. Happy 2011, Julie. Wonderful moon poems along with luck tickling my roof, thanks. Less gravity on the moon, fewer conventions, no atmosphere to collect the daily drudge. I'm wishing you a giant leap over a moon crater in 2011!

  3. Herrick is one of my dead boyfriends. I like him so much. I once indexed a collection of H.D.'s letters. Since, I've found that I can't read her poetry without the layer of melancholy I found there. That woman had a complicated life. And in response? She wrote poems so spare and beautiful.

    (And you ref Calvino and Leopardi--and Wallace Stevens. Seriously, that will keep me distracted for a day and half.)

  4. Blythe - I see by your profile you like Jacques Brel, too - we are definitely in sync this week!

  5. Daphne (and Marc) - Strange, strange, how having no atmosphere allows for less drudge. I am thinking on that one today. Promise me to stay tickled, roof-wise (and maybe cellar-wise) at least until 2012. Will I see you in Montpelier? Fingers crossed for that!

  6. Julie, the timelessness of the Herrick poem is amazing. It could have been written today (I looked up Herrick's dates just to make sure he was the poet I thought he was).


  7. I'm not familiar with either of the Italian poets, but what an extraordinary line! Beautiful. I hope your new year holds light, air, breath, and wonder.

  8. Language that resembles moonlight and measurement by pine trees. Fine. Fine indeed. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

  9. Hi, Julie. Thanks for reminding me to go back and read HD. It's a beautiful poem, light and filled with light.

  10. Great post, Julie. The quote by Calvino is fantastic.

    I hope when you reach the end of 2011 and you are assessing the word that describes your year, that the word is as lovely and buoyant as "moon"!

  11. Lovely all around! Thanks for the well wishes. Same to you! Make it a wonderful year no matter what! The poems really touched my heart, especially the last one.