Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Time

When I read this week's Poetry Thursday prompt I had two poems come into my head. Interestingly enough I was transported to the two ends of my education. I remembered a poem that I learned as a song when I was small and a poem that I had to dissect line by line and word by word in university.

The dissected poem was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I remember thinking what a fabulous name for a poem that was. On first reading I hated the poem. In fact, on first reading in university I hated most of the poems I had to read. I was thoroughly pissed off about having to rip them apart at the seams trying to understand every little nuance. I was idealistic and romantic. I wanted to let poetry, "drip from our tongues like honey." (Dead Poets Society) But I found that as I learned more and more about the poems, I liked them more and more. I liked knowing the references and understanding the era in which they were written. This was one of the poems that struck me. By the time we finished studying it, I could read it and hear the swishing of the gowns, the fading, the passage of time. I loved it because I understood it.

The second poem that came to my head was My Grandfather's Clock. The funny thing about this one was when we learned it in primary school, we didn't study it at all. We learned it as a song. Looking it up today I realized that we only learned the good-parts version. No tearing this poem apart to learn and understand. No looking to see what the poet was doing with the passage of time. Instead we sang exactly two verses and two choruses. We ignored the parts about servants and about him properly dying. As far as our young lives were concerned he got married and that was as far as it got. Oh sure in the chorus he died, but we were too preoccupied enjoying the 'tick tock tick tock' to pay any attention. It's funny how things change as you get older!

If you'd like to know what happened to the grandfather, you can follow the link I've provided. If you only want the 'good parts version,' here it is:

My Grandfather's Clock
by Henry Clay Work

My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor.
It was taller by half, than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride.
But it stopped short, never to go again,
When the old man died.
Ninety years without slumbering, tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering, tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short never to go again,
When the old man died.

2. In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood, the clock seemed to know,
And to share both his grief and his joy,
For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride.


paris parfait said...

Thanks for sharing these marvelous poems. I found the Grandfather's Clock one particularly poignant, as at various important events in my life, my watch has suddenly stopped -usually at a time when a relationship ended or something bad happened! Strange but true.

twitches said...

Ha - I just got through ripping apart "Prufrock" with my English students! But I do think it's lovely. The "Clock" I'd never read, so thanks for posting it.

Jamie said...

I so enjoyed these poems this morning. Somehow the simple line "Indeed, there will be time" is resonating for me today, allowing me to take a breath.

I loved hearing how time has been a factor in your experiencing of these poems about time.

Remiman said...

"But I found that as I learned more and more about the poems, I liked them more and more."

Everything in good time.
You have a marvelous understanding of what's important and you easily pass it along.

Again, nicely done.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love love love's one of my all time favorite poems. So many of those images come back to me again and again--measuring our lives with coffee spoons, do I dare disturb the universe?, etc...

Thanks for the great post. :)

Karen said...

Meg--I can't find the link to the 'full' version of the song---??? I'm intrigued....

The Quintessential Feline said...

Grandfather's Clock brings back memories....

Hi, Meg! Got your email. Here's the link to where I found Sunday Scribblings -
(Once you click on the link, notice that SS is a "Pick!". Thought you'd like to know that too.)

It was part of Yahoo! Finance section on Blogging for Bucks today. There was a separate link for with it for Blogs by Category (or Title?). Hope this helps!

TQF/Lisa :-)

chiefbiscuit said...

I love your two takes on time! And the way your asides and explanations have filled in and embroidered the edges of the ideas, delightful.

Alexandra S said...

I can't find your email and I wanted to tell you I just found the CD you made for me when I moved and was going through that awful time and I'm listening to it again and just LOVE it and wanted to thank you once again! (Laini & I are sending you a surprise this week!)tg

la vie en rose said...

isn't it amazing what sticks with us from childhood. i still remember parts of tiger, tiger, burning bright and casey jones at the bat.

Alexandra S said...

just popping in to let you know your package is on the way to you this very moment!

b/sistersshoes said...

Great poem

funny how as children the dreadful parts go unnoticed and then when we get older...sometimes that's all we see.

interesting food for thought...

xxx d