Photo of George Olesky by Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots from SpeakEasy Stage Co. “Shakespeare in Love”
Dorothy Parker’s six-line poem from the 1920s is a cynical assessment of romance. However in the age of Tinder and exchanging dozens of emails or texts before coming together or organically meeting, Ms. Parker’s cynicism seems remarkably current for a poem that is nearly 100 years old.
By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering, and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Indefinite, undying –
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.
– Dorothy Parker, from Unfortunate Coincidence
Every winter I share this poem – a personal favorite from one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is a poem Frost wrote nearly 100 years ago in 1922 and was first published a year later in his Pulitzer Prize winning, New Hampshire volume.
STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
In what has become an unintentional tradition, each October I post this poem on my blog. It is one of my favorite poems and happens to be by the famous 20th century New England poet, Robert Frost.
Nothing gold can stay was inspired by the fall foliage in New England. Despite the fact that the poem was written nearly 100 years ago, back in 1923, it remains current and still inspires.
Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean –
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.
Devotion was written by American Poet, Robert Frost, and first published in 1928. I love the simplicity of this poem and the imagery he evokes to describe such a personal and intimate concept.
I’ve posted this poem previously but thought it worth sharing again. In the Summer was written by a Syrian named Nizar Qabbani. I love this poem. It has a slightly melancholic message that makes it all the more romantic, which is pretty impressive considering the entire poem is less than 40 words.
I enjoy poetry and from time to time I do write down a few lines like this haiku, which I believe I wrote about 15+ years ago when I was first coming out. Like most of my poetry, it isn’t that deep or abstract so perhaps you can relate.
a random meeting
the handsome smile is trouble
The Coming of Light
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.
I had never heard of this poem by Mark Strand until late December when The Closet Professor (NSFW) posted it on his website.
Mark Strand was a Canadian-born American poet, essayist and translator. He was born on Prince Edward Island in a secular Jewish family. He received a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1999 for Blizzard of One. You can purchase some of his works including The Coming of Light on Amazon.com, here.