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Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Written in 1947 and published in 1952 by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas this powerful poem has made numerous appearances in films, television and video games.  “The Bourne Ultimatum”,” Independence Day” and “Doctor Who” are just some of the many places you can find lines of this poem used. The 2014 film “Interstellar” uses the poem to dramatic and powerful effect with its appearance as a backdrop to one of the scenes, heightening the emotional intensity. So powerful was its presence that the internet lit up with viewers wanting to know ‘what’s that poem’?  So, you think you don’t like poetry?

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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Poetry Where You Least Expect It

It is National Poetry Month, the month long celebration of written things that don’t actually run on to the end of the line. (Sorry poets, this is a very poor description!) And it is sad to say that unless you deliberately search for it online you won’t know it was happening. You don’t really see it anywhere. Is anyone paying any attention to it? Probably Shakespeare’s big anniversary overshadowed it.

Like green vegetables to children poetry is most often an acquired taste. Not found too often, requiring focus and often some hard work we tend to avoid it. Unless you are a language purist who finds tight phrases and thoughtful pauses to your liking. However, poetry does lurk in some places where you least expect it. Have you watched a movie lately?

Poems are often hiding in movies. Either in a story about a poet or writer, as a side character or to add heightened drama in a special moment. They are there, and the choice of poems are often surprising and exciting. For the last few days of April let’s take a look at some poems that are hiding in the movies.

If you want a selection of movies about poets or with poetry as a main theme Poets.org has a great list to start with. Of course it includes “Dead Poets Society” with Robin Williams playing a passion fueled teacher lighting up the young men in his class.

 

“Four Weddings And A Funeral” a light hearted look at a group of friends and relationships has the deeply moving “Funeral Blues” by  W H Auden – a poem that sent more people to bookstores  than imaginable after hearing it in the movie.

If you really want to exhaust the topic MUBI has, what must be the most extensive list which is perfect for a rainy day, or total immersion. Go check out a couple…..you might something you love.

 

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To A Butterfly by William Wordsworth

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To A Butterfly

I’ve watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed/
How motionless!–not frozen seas
More motionless! And then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flower.
Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, thus were as long
As twenty days are now.

William Wordsworth

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The Peddler Of Flowers by Amy Lowell

The Peddler of Flowers
Amy Lowell1874 – 1925

I came from the country
With flowers,
Larkspur and roses,
Fretted lilies
In their leaves,
And long, cool lavender.

I carried them
From house to house,
And cried them
Down hot streets.
The sun fell
Upon my flowers,
And the dust of the streets
Blew over my basket.

That night
I slept upon the open seats
Of a circus,
Where all day long
People had watched
The antics
Of a painted clown.

 

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National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is here! And we are a little late getting to it, but no matter. There is still plenty of time to enjoy some wonderful poems. Time to meet some new ones, and time to revisit some old favorites.

But first, why should we have a month dedicated to poetry? Well, National Poetry Month is in its 2oth year, so it must be having some success! According to the Academy of American Poets this is a way to highlight the achievements of American poets, and to encourage the reading of poetry. There are numerous events that occur during this month to help you find your way to poetry. You can find a great list of suggestions here and one of the easiest things you can do is sign up to receive a poem in your mail box each day. No brainer! Or you can watch a movie (or two) that is about poetry and poets.

If you aren’t sure exactly how to read a poem there are several book and essays to be found that give detailed ideas and rationale on how to do it. But really, just find a poem. Then read it out loud. To the cat. Or the dog. Or the room. Don’t rush, follow the lines and punctuation and just read it. There is something wonderful about saying a poem. It does come to life, and makes a lot more sense. Just try it. Don’t be afraid, it is waiting there for you, and won’t judge. Have fun!