Friday, October 24, 2008

Poetry Friday


I didn't set out to look for poems with big words. I was searching for one that talks about attitudes, and how they can shape our experiences. And there it was,
pusillanimous hanging out with the other words so comfortably as though it were just another word like "ready " and "bread."

Cheerfulness Taught By Reason
by
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I think we are too ready with complaint

In this fair world of God's. Had we no hope
Indeed beyond the zenith and the slope
Of yon gray blank of sky, we might grow faint
To muse upon eternity's constraint
Round our aspirant souls; but since the scope
Must widen early, is it well to droop,
For a few days consumed in loss and taint ?
O pusillanimous Heart, be comforted
And, like a cheerful traveller, take the road
Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread
Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod
To meet the flints ? At least it may be said
'Because the way is short, I thank thee, God.'

Big A little a is hosting Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

6 comments:

TadMack said...

I'm going to have to think about this one -- I think I like it, but I'm reading it while being grumpy and unreasonable!

Yat-Yee said...

I'm grumpy quite a bit these days as well. I'm trying to give myself some perspective. Hope your grumpiness goes away soon!

Sara said...

Right. So if I ever have to take the SAT again, I'll know how to use pusillanimous in a sentence. :)

I'm not sure my cheerfulness can be taught by reason. I'm happy when surprised by unreasonable beauty, which is often in the evening sky, or elsewhere outside. I have to leave my reasonable, contrary mind out of it entirely and trust my eyes.

Cloudscome said...

I think Browning shows a very sharp wit here, in a Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm sort of way. Always looking for the sunny side, and if it's all miserable at least it's short! Ha!

Yat-Yee said...

Sara: You're right, joy usually comes as a surprise and often bypasses our minds. But I suppose reason can coax our complaining attitude into something resembling cheerfulness.

Cloudscome: I didn't even catch the witty part. I was quite seriously agreeing with her that yep, life's hard but at least it's short.

Thanks for reading!

Mary Lee said...

I think I'll go with Cloudscome's reading and believe I'm hearing a glimmer of wit here. (Maybe as surprising and hard to swallow at first as THE WILLOUGHBYS by the same author as THE GIVER? Great review, by the way!)

I also like the reminder that we are here in GOD'S world. It's not ours. We would do well to remember that more often. (We humans, that is. And not that the world has to belong to any particular God or god...or goddess for that matter...just that we're visitors here and we oughta be acting more like company!)