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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Poems

My stint at Xavier's coming to an end soon, I applied for a job at a school, here in South Bombay. Luckily, I got selected after just one demo class. So, congratulations are in order once more. :)

So, come May, I will be an English Literature teacher at School B. And I'm pretty excited for this. The same prof, whom I'm covering for at Xavier's right now recommended me to the school and told me about the position available. Cool, eh? :)

Why Poems, you ask?

Because, for my demo class I was asked to do an unseen poem with the students. Thus, I got to researching, bringing out all my old poetry books et al. Finally, I selected I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou because Angelou is an important figure in literature and I wanted to introduce them to some African American literature. But during all that researching, I discovered and rediscovered some gems of poetry and wanted to share that with you all:

1. Refusal ~ Maya Angelou    

Beloved,
In what other lives or lands
Have I known your lips
Your Hands
Your Laughter brave
Irreverent.
Those sweet excesses that
I do adore.
What surety is there
That we will meet again,
On other worlds some
Future time undated.
I defy my body's haste.
Without the promise
Of one more sweet encounter
I will not deign to die.

It's just so beautiful a sentiment, so well-expressed and so touching! Most of us (well, girls, at least. I don't know about boys.) know how important it is to meet that one last time before saying good-bye. And that sentiment has been captured with such lovely and tragic imagery here. It's become one of my absolute favourites. And this is saying something because in general, I don't much like poetry as a medium.


2. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven ~ W. B. Yeats
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 

I was discussing the previous poem with Moon when she remembered this one from our poetry class with Chhaya Mam from 5 years ago. I came back home and immediately googled it and got it back. Some poems just take your breath away with the lovely images that they paint for you and this is one of them.

3. We Real Cool ~ Gwendolyn Brooks
The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

This was the second poem I did with the students during my demo class. I used it to show the students how two very different voices came from the African-American community during the same time in mid-20th century and how they brought out two completely different aspects of their way of life and their relation with the rest of the society. This one is so poignant and dark, it gave me goosebumps when I read it. And so, this one also goes in along with the other "favourite poems". 

There are a few more that I really like. Some poems by poets like e e cummings, Ogden Nash, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Eunice D'Souza, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats and sometimes even some Elizabethan (16th century) and Romantic (early 19th century) poets are included in the list of poems/ poets I like. I hope you liked these ones and that these names inspire you to go and research and read a few yourself. :)

7 comments:

  1. congratulations!!! :) am so happy for you. he wishes for the cloth of heaven is one of my favourite poems too!!

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  2. whoa! you are on a roll girl. congrats all over again. I can't even imagine how it would be to stand in front of a bunch of teenagers and teach... it's a scary thought, especially for someone as young as you!

    As for the post, totally loved it. Usually, I cringe at anything to do with poetry, because it's very difficult to write GOOD poetry, and I am allergic to sentimental mishmash. But this one does bring back memories of some of my favourite poems back in the school days. Tennyson, Browning, Wordsworth, Keats... very few pieces that I did enjoy reading!

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  3. @ Chinji: Thanks!! :) It is a beautiful poem, isn't it? I love Mam for introducing us to such amazing stuff! :)

    @ Nefertiti: Thanks very much! :) I've been doing the teaching bit since I was 18 myself. I know for sure now that this is exactly what I've been cut out for. :) But I agree with you, poetry is bloody difficult. However, if you get it right, it's also one of the most impressive ways to convey your feelings. :)

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  4. Cloths of Heaven still remains my favourite poem. I hate love poetry, but those eight lines of absolute, heartbreaking beauty are capable of reducing anyone into a puddle of sentimentality.

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  5. I managed to make two engineers read this poem and they loved it! Kudos Star.... we did it again!!

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  6. Bhavik and Rohan, I'm guessing. :)

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