The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not All Poets and Poems Are Mushy

For instance, I cite the poet A. E. Houseman:  

"Stars, I have seen them fall, 
But when they drop and die 
No star is lost at all
From all the star-sown sky.
The toil of all that be
Helps not the primal fault;
It rains into the sea
And still the sea is salt."

This is beautiful, profound and thought-provoking.  But certainly not 'sweet'.  So many seem to avoid poetry as old-fashioned, or lugubrious or, in the worst cases, unintelligible.  And there are certainly grounds for these attitudes.  But while that is true for some and many, it certainly isn't true for all.   A. E. Houseman, W. H. Auden, and Rupert Brooke, among many, can offer ideas that are wonderful distillations of thought.  Or there's Robert Frost.  And so many more.   How can one not love this by Emily Dickson:  "The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee; a clover, anytime, to him, is aristocracy."


  1. Emily Dickinson lured me to poetry with her precise prose that lacked the the syrupy sweetness associated with things that rhyme. Poetry is the way of saying things that can not be said any other way.

  2. I compliment both you and Aubrey's words, which are sheer poetry... :)