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Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Chesil (---.clvdoh.adelphia.)
Date: February 21, 2004 05:23PM


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-01rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: February 22, 2004 12:07PM

Arguably one of the ten best poets ever born. Tempting to post his Platonic one again, but here is a more haunting verse, the rhymes almost unnoticed as one reads through:


Musee des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully
along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: February 23, 2004 04:35PM

I love this one.

[www.poets.org] />
pam


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Chesil (---.clvdoh.adelphia.)
Date: February 25, 2004 04:35PM

Who would be the other nine?

Hugh Clary wrote:

Arguably one of the ten best poets ever born. Tempting to post
his Platonic one again, but here is a more haunting verse, the
rhymes almost unnoticed as one reads through:


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: February 25, 2004 07:33PM

Lemme ponder that for a bit, and get back. They will be only one person's opinion, you understand. I could send some up off the top of my head, but I want to cull out those I like best (such as Newman Levy) who would not necessarily fit the definition of 'greatest poets'.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: ph (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 26, 2004 01:03AM

Hey, Pam--I was just going to post this one too! I love it.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-02rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: February 26, 2004 12:52PM


Who would be the (10)?

Well, I'm gonna have to go with only those who wrote in English, since I cannot follow the other languages well enough to make any personal judgments. That kills off the Beowulf guy, since I cannot make heads or tails of it in the original. Goodbye to Dante, Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, and Neruda, too. The Rubaiyat was likely brilliant in the original, and Fitzgerald did a great job, but 'Away!' as well.

I notice there are no women poets in the list below, but if I squeeze in an Elizabeth Bishop, Edna Millay, Sylvia Plath, or whomever, someone else will have to go away, so tough tiddies.

I also notice, running through my list for similarities, that my choices seem to have been made solely on the criteria that a poet MUST have something important to say, and has found wonderful ways of saying it.

These are not in any particular order:

Robert Frost
William Butler Yeats
Wystan Hugh Auden
Thomas Stearns Eliot
George Gordon, Lord Byron
Robert Browning
Thomas Hardy
Alfred Edward Housman
William Shakespeare
William Blake

Lack of room also bids farewell to Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Kipling, and other master wordsmiths. Sorry, guys.

Others will hate mine, and have favorites of their own, goes without saying.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: February 26, 2004 01:22PM

All such lists are subjective I think, Hugh, I'm not a big fan of Blake, Auden, or Housman. My list would include Dickinson, Kipling, and Robert Burns. I also like many American poets, such Longfellow, Dunbar, Whitman, et. al.

Les


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Chesil (---.clvdoh.adelphia.)
Date: February 26, 2004 05:56PM

The real problem with a top ten is that it might change tomorrow. Oh well, today's might be:

William Shakespeare
John Keats
John Clare
Robert Herrick
Thomas Gray
S T Coleridge
Ted Hughes
Dylan Thomas
Tennyson
Byron




Hugh Clary wrote:

Robert Frost
William Butler Yeats
Wystan Hugh Auden
Thomas Stearns Eliot
George Gordon, Lord Byron
Robert Browning
Thomas Hardy
Alfred Edward Housman
William Shakespeare
William Blake

Lack of room also bids farewell to Shelley, Keats, Coleridge,
Wordsworth, Tennyson, Kipling, and other master wordsmiths.
Sorry, guys.

Others will hate mine, and have favorites of their own, goes
without saying.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: February 28, 2004 12:07PM

Housman and Eliot? Masters, yes, but much smaller than Donne and Milton. Housman and Eliot had a very small range of things to say, wonderfully though they said them.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Chesil (---.clvdoh.adelphia.)
Date: February 28, 2004 12:28PM

RJ, doesn't the extent of what a poet has to say depend on the listener?

RJAllen wrote:

Housman and Eliot? Masters, yes, but much smaller than Donne
and Milton. Housman and Eliot had a very small range of things
to say, wonderfully though they said them.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: February 29, 2004 11:08AM

Who Dunbar? The only Dunbar I know is the wonderful Scot, William Dunbar.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: February 29, 2004 11:18AM

Well, there's a lot of him on the Classical Poets List (above). Haven't read any of them yet, from the first lines they look as if they are written in American dialect (patois? I can never remember where one ends and the other begins.). But if Les says Dunbar is good, then I'll at least give them a try.


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: February 29, 2004 12:04PM

A Madrigal
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Dream days of fond delight and hours,
As rosy-hued as dawn, are mine.
Love's drowsy wine,
Brewed from the heart of Passion flowers,
Flows warmly o'er my lips
And save thee, all the world is in eclipse.

There were no light if thou wert not;
The sun would be too sad to shine,
And all the line
Of hours from dawn would be a blot;
And Night would haunt the skies,
An unlaid ghost with staring dark-ringed eyes.

Oh, love if thou wert not my love,
And I perchance not thine--what then?
Could gift of men
Or favor of the God above,
Plant ought in this bare heart
Or teach this tongue the singer's soulful art?

Ah, no! 'Tis love, and love alone
That spurs my soul so surely on;
Turns night to dawn,
And thorns to roses fairest blown;
And winter drear to spring--
Oh were it not for love I could not sing!

Les


Re: Happy Birthday W H Auden
Posted by: joseph torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: February 29, 2004 12:56PM

I just can't imagine any list of "greatest" poets not including Tennyson at or near the top. Someone once said that reading Tennyson is akin to reading scripture. I agree. Surely, the sheer beauty of his words must have been inspired from somewhere beyond.

It's hard to argue with the selections on any of the lists, even though I'm not a big fan of several.

My list, for what it's worth is:

Alfred Lord Tennyson
William Shakespeare
Emily Dickinson
Robert Frost
William Blake
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Elizabeth Barrett Browing
A. E. Housman
Thomas Hardy
Ogden Nash




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