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Here’s three more poems I’ve enjoyed reading recently. The theme that links these poems is, simply… “life!”

Click on each poem’s title to read it in full. Let me know what you think of them by adding a comment at the bottom!

1) ‘Winnowing‘ by Simon Ó Faoláin (from Anam Mhadra, 2008)

This is a very short poem. One of those poems that expresses a single, simple idea, yet expresses it beautifully. Here is the second of the two wonderful stanzas:

At the last breath
none of us know
whether it was
the chaff
or the grain
that flew off in the wind.

Is this a cry against the impossibility of ever finding for certain the meaning of life? Possibly, but I read it as a celebration of life – we all give it our best shot, and if you lose some of the ‘grain’ with the ‘chaff’ well don’t worry! Everyone else does too!

Winnowing the Grain, Ethiopia [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Ryan Kilpatrick]

Winnowing the Grain, Ethiopia
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Ryan Kilpatrick]

2) ‘Life‘ by Charlotte Brontë (from Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, 1848)

A motivational poem. You can overcome the trials of life! The bad times will pass!

“Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
O why lament its fall?”

(Poetry geek warning…) I like this poem because of Brontë’s creative use of poetic meter. She uses couplets, like those above, with one line in iambic tetrameter (4 beats) followed by a line of trimeter (3 beats) meaning you pause on the missing fourth beat, giving each couplet extra weight.

She then switches to a different pattern for her fast-paced motivational stanzas, swapping the 4-beat tetrameter lines for trippy dactyls:

“Rapidly, merrily,
Life’s sunny hours flit by,
Gratefully, cheerily,
Enjoy them as they fly.”

Clever, very clever…

3) ‘Wanderer‘ by Mù Dàn trans. K Maynard

This is by the twentieth century Chinese poet Mù Dàn.

It has a curious surreal sensuality to it, but sums up somehow the experience of life: “step, after step, after step……”

Read it and see what you think!

Wanderer... [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © AlicePopkorn]

A Wanderer…
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Cornelia Kopp]

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