Thursday, November 18, 2010

Joy 53/82: Poetry

Poetry is like "dancing on dynamite." 
  -- Hart Crane

I'm not sure I think poetry is quite as dangerous as Hart Crane suggests but it is an intriguing quote.  Here is one of my favorite poems by a British poet who died too early and has been largely forgotten except for these three verses from a much longer poem.


by Arthur O’Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,
   and we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
   and sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world forsakers,
   on whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers & shakers
   of the world forever it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
  We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story,
   We fashion an empire’s glory.
One man with a dream at pleasure,
   Shall go forth and conquer a crown,
And three with a new song’s measure
   Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
   in the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
   and Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
  to the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying
  or one that is coming to birth.


  1. Thank you for sharing this 'dithy' this morning!

    I too like the idea of 'dancing on dynamite' -- Ray Bradbury says that every morning he awakens and imagines he leaps into a minefield to see what explodes...

  2. Well, I think you might know how I feel about poetry. And I delight in having friends who make space for poetry in their lives.