Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Poetry: Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell was born in 1874, the daughter of a prominent New England family. As such it was considered inappropriate for her to attend college. Her appetite for reading new no bounds and she collected books with enthusiasm. Lowell's first poem to be published was "Fixed Idea." More poems regularly were published after this. Lowell published more than 650 poems and was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1926. She is quoted as saying "God made me a business woman, and I made myself a poet."
Lowell tirelessly worked to introduce notions of modern poetry to society. She traveled to London to meet Ezra Pound and her poetry is in the imagist style. Pound introduced her to the poetry of Asia and amongst her body of work are many haiku. The themes of her poetry range. Please enjoy this sampling of the poetry of Amy Lowell!
Why do the lilies goggle their tongues at me
When I pluck them;
And writhe and twist,
And strangle themselves against my fingers,
So that I can hardly weave the garland
For your hair?
Why do they shriek your name
And spit at me
When I would cluster them?
Must I kill them
To make them lie still,
And send you a wreath of lolling corpses
To turn putrid and soft
On your forehead
While you dance?
Between us leapt a gold and scarlet flame.
Into the hollow of the cupped, arched blue
Of Heaven it rose. Its flickering tongues up-drew
And vanished in the sunshine. How it came
We guessed not, nor what thing could be its name.
From each to each had sprung those sparks which flew
Together into fire. But we knew
The winds would slap and quench it in their game.
And so we graved and fashioned marble blocks
To treasure it, and placed them round about.
With pillared porticos we wreathed the whole,
And roofed it with bright bronze. Behind carved locks
Flowered the tall and sheltered flame. Without,
The baffled winds thrust at a column's bole.
To A Husband
Brighter than fireflies upon the Uji River
Are your words in the dark, Beloved.
Must all of worth be travailled for, and those
Life's brightest stars rise from a troubled sea
Must years go by in sad uncertainty
Leaving us doubting whose the conquering blows,
Are we or Fate the victors? Time which shows
All inner meanings will reveal, but we
Shall never know the upshot. Ours to be
Wasted with longing, shattered in the throes,
The agonies of splendid dreams, which day
Dims from our vision, but each night brings back;
We strive to hold their grandeur, and essay
To be the thing we dream. Sudden we lack
The flash of insight, life grows drear and gray,
And hour follows hour, nerveless, slack.