Archive for the Inspiring poetry Category

Tyger, Tyger still burning bright

Posted in Inspiring poetry with tags , , , , , , on February 18, 2012 by echostains

What I know about tigers could be written on one hand (and I certainly wouldn’t be putting that hand out to one, calling ‘here kitty kitty” )  I’ve had a few tigers by the tail in my time, but here’s a list about what I know about tigers;- they are big cats, they are striped, they live in the jungle and they hunt, kill and they eat their prey.  I’ve always found tigers fascinating creatures.  I  think that this probably stems back to being read a story of the tigers chasing each other around a tree so fast until all that was left of them was butter!  Then there was some unfortunate platform shoes I covered in tiger print in the 70s because I wanted to have ‘Tiger Feet’…but I digress.  The inspiration for this post came from a  painting I saw on the art blog Leslie White which features a wonderful painting of a white tiger – please check it out, – the tiger is just one of many great paintings painted by Leslie.

The Tyger was published in one of Blake‘s collections ‘Songs of Experience in 1794 and is probably one of his best known poems.  The original archaic spelling that Blake uses for ‘tiger’ has been kept usually when the poem appears in anthologies, Though it appears as ‘tyger’ in the title, elsewhere the usual spelling applies.  ‘Tyger’ endows  the animal with more mystique and enhances its exotic qualities.  The tyger is also used a s a metaphor for many things and there have been many interpretations that seem to change with the years.  Here’s some analysis of this deep and powerful poem, some of them stemming from William Blakes’s own life experience.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?………….      (The rest of the poem can be found here with thanks)

Image from here thanks

The poem, beautifully read by Samuel West, video by Justaudio2008 with thanks

The Bronte, Pooh, Poe, Briggs birthday party!

Posted in Authors Birthdays, BRONTE, Inspiring poetry, period drama with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by echostains

No sooner do I begin writing about one author whose birthday it is, –  another pops up!   Over the past three days Anne Bronte, A.A. Milne, Raymond Briggs and Edgar Allen Poe have all celebrated  birthdays, or to be exact, they have had their birthdays celebrated for them – apart from Raymond Briggs who at 78, is still with us.

Anne Bronte

January 17th was  the birthday of writer and poet Anne Bronte (1820 –  1849 Thornton Yorkshire)   Anne, was the youngest of 6 children born to the Reverend Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell. She was barely one year old when her mother died. Anne wrote 2 books in her short lifetime (Agnes Grey which was published in 1847 and The Tenent of Wildfell Hall published 1848) and a  lot of poetry.  Much has been written about the Bronte family, their story is well-known.  This website is dedicated to Anne and includes all her poems and a biography.  But this beautiful poem, a tribute to the simple flower, the bluebell  could almost be a metaphor for the author’s life,  made poignant by her sad death at the age of 29.  She is buried in Scarborough – her favorite place.

Read my review about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall here

18th January saw the birthday of British children’s author Alan Alexander Milne  (1882 –  1956) the author best known for his books about Winnie the Pooh and children’s poems.

A.A. Milne

Born in Kilburn,  London, Milne  grew up at Henley House school,  a small public school ran by his father.  One of his teachers was H. G. Wells (who taught there 1889 – 1890).  The young Milne attended Westminsterschool and Trinity College Cambridge, where he studied mathematics.  Whilst at Cambridge, he edited and wrote for the student magazine Granta.  His collaborated on articles with his brother Kenneth  and caught the attention of Punch magazine.  Milne went on to be a contributor and later, assistant editor.

He married Dorothy “Daphne” de Sélincourt in 1913 and in 1920 Christopher Robin Milne was born.  Milne bought Cotchford farm in East Sussex in 1925. He joined the army in World War 1, serving as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and later, after a debilitating illness, the Royal Corps of Signals. He was discharged on February 14, 1919 .  During World War 11 Milne was Captain of the Home Guard in Hartfield Forest Row.  In 1952 he had a stroke and had to undergo brain surgery.  He retired to his farm an invalid.

Milne published 18 plays and 3 novels and in 1924 produced a collection of children’s poetry called When We Were Very Young, this was illustrated by Punch illustrator E. H. Shepherd.  Milne was also a screen writer for the British film industry (founded in 1920).  But it is the two Pooh books which Milne is most famous for.

The books feature a boy named Christopher Robin (after Milnes’ son).  The characters in the book were inspired by Christopher Robin’s stuffed toys – the most noteworthy being the bear named ‘Winnie the Pooh’.  The bear was originally called ‘Edward’ but was renamed ‘Winnie the Pooh’ after a Canadian black bear called ‘Winnie’ (after Winnipeg) used as a military mascot in World War 1 and was left to London Zoo during the war.  The ‘Pooh’ comes from a swan of the same name.’

Winnie the Pooh was published in 1926. A second collection of nursery rhymes Now we are Six was published in 1927 and was followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928 and were all illustrated by E. H. Shepherd.  For a more in-depth look at this author please look here and this website and there are lots of Pooh related information to be found here

The author Raymond Briggs also shares his birthday with A.A. Milne.  Briggs was born in 1934 Wimbledon London.  He is a graphic artist, novelist and illustrator.  though he is best known for his story The Snowman, shown every Christmas in cartoon form on television, he has illustrated many children’s books.

Briggs liked to cartoon at an early age, even though his father tried to dissuade him from what he saw as an unprofitable pursuit.  He attended the Wimbledon School of Art from 1949 – 1953 studying painting, then the Central School of Art to study typography.

In 1953 he became a conscript in the Royal Corps of Signals, based at Catterick, where he was made a draughtsman.  He returned to study painting at Slade School fo Fine Art after 2 years of National Service where he graduated in 1957.

He briefly painted before becoming a professional illustrator, and soon began working on children’s books.  He taught illustration part-time at Brighton College of Art between 1961 and 1986

His famous works include Father Christmas (1973), Father Christmas goes on Holiday (1975) which both featured a rather grumpy Father Christmas and Fungus the Bogeyman (1977).  These were in the form of comics, rather than the typical children’s book format where the text is separate to the illustrations.

Briggs has said that The Snowman (1978) was inspired by Fungus the Bogeyman;-

For two years I worked on Fungus, buried amongst muck, slime and words, so… I wanted to do something which was clean, pleasant, fresh and wordless and quick.

This work was entirely wordless and illustrated only with pencil crayons, which I feel lends it charm and spontaneity. In 1982 The Snowman was made into a Oscar nominated animated cartoon, becoming Briggs best known work and much-loved by all who see it.  It is shown every year on British television  and Christmas would not be the same without it!  For a more in-depth look at the author and his life try this and the charming Snowman website here

19th January saw the birthday of celebrated Amercian author, editor, poet and literary critic  Edgar Allan Poe (b. Boston Massachusetts) USA 1809 – 1849)  Poe is famous for his tales of the macabre and mystery.  He is considered an early pioneer of the short story and  the inventor of the detective fiction genre and a contributor to the emerging genre Science fiction.

Orphaned young, Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond Virginia.  He attended the University of Virgina for only one semester as he was short of money.  He enlisted in the army but failed as an officers cadet at West Point.  He started his literary career with a collection of poems in 1827 (Tamerlane and Other Poems).  The poems were credited anonymously to ‘A Bostonian’

Poe spent worked for literary journals and periodicals for the next several years, becoming known for his literary criticism.  He lived in several cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City and it was in Baltimore 1835  he married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm.

In 1945, his poem The Raven was published too much acclaim and was an instant success.  Poe died in  1849 at the age of only 40, the cause is still unknown.

Edgar Allan Poe’s short life is a very interesting one, full of adventures, triumphs and some sadness.  His fiction work is considered Gothic and of dark Romanticism.  His particular theme include death, decomposition and premature burial.  But he also wrote humourous tales, satire and hoaxes, using themes that catered to the public taste of the time.  Much more can be read about Poe’s life here and short stories and poems can be read on this excellent site.

Read my post about his poem Annabel Lee

Anne Bronte portrait from here

Read about  Anne here

Thanks to JustAudio2008 for The Bluebell video

A.A. Milne image from here  Pooh illustration  from here

Raymond Briggs image from here and Father Christmas illustration here

Edgar Allan Poe image from here

Thanks to KajiCarson for the video

Original birthday invite image from here

UPDATE:  There’s a video featuring Scottish Artists over on Echostains to celebrate Burns Night

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLES DICKENS!

Happy Belated Birthday Sir Walter Scott!

Posted in Authors Birthdays, Inspiring poetry, POETS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by echostains

August 15th was  the birthday of Scottish poet, writer and playwright  (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) Scott was  a 1st Baronet who wrote poems and historical novels.  He has the distinction in being the first english language author to achieve international fame in his own lifetime. Rob Roy, Ivanhoe and the Lady of the Lake still remain classics both in English and Scottish literature.  

Sir Walter Scott by Rarburn

Privately educated, the young Scott  loved reading romantic adventure stories, history and travel books.  He began studying the Classics in 1783 at the age of 12 years old, becoming one of the youngest students to do so in Edinburgh University.   Lochinvar was a poem that my late father used to recite to me.  It is suitably romantic and Pre Raphealite like to appeal to a girl raised on fairy tales!    

The Knight Errant by Millias

Here it is read beautifully!

 Lochinvar
  O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he enter’d the Netherby Hall,
Among bride’s-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all:
Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
“O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?”

“I long woo’d your daughter, my suit you denied; —
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide —
And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”

The bride kiss’d the goblet: the knight took it up,
He quaff’d off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She look’d down to blush, and she look’d up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar, —
“Now tread we a measure!” said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a gailiard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whisper’d, “’twere better by far
To have match’d our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.”

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reach’d the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
“She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting ‘mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

.

Thanks to  for the video

Image and more about this interesting poet and novelist here

Poem from Poemhunter

The Knight Errant by Millias image from here

A beautiful walk

Posted in Inspiring poetry with tags , , , , on August 1, 2011 by echostains

It’s day 6 in my personal challenge to blog every day for a week on Bookstains. 

I heard a song ages ago.  It was one of those songs which keep going round and round in your head, but try as you may, you just can’t see to remember where it came from!  I couldn’t even remember many of the words, which would have at least given me a clue.  All I had was the tune – and the words ‘walk’ and  ‘beauty’.  However Eureka!  Here’s where it’s from:-

She walks in beauty, like the night
        Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that’s best of dark and bright
        Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellowed to that tender light
        Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 
                                   

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
        Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
        Or softly lightens o’er her face;
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
        How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 
                                    

    And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
        So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
        But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
        A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron

This is where I heard that tune that has been going round and round in my head –‘Vanity Fair’ a DVD which I watched ages ago.  The poem, written by Lord Byron was penned upon  see his cousin Lady Wilmot Horton in a mourning gown.  There are many YouTube versions of this poem and also narrations, but this one is the one that I originally heard.

Video from  with thanks

More beautiful poetry here 

Notes from the ‘The Life of Lord Byron’ by Thomas Moore 1835 here

Johnny Rhymes

Posted in Inspiring poetry with tags , , on July 31, 2011 by echostains

A very short post today (day 5 in the blog everyday on bookstains challenge) and I make no apology for featuring another John Cooper Clarke poem.  He is one of my favorite poets and has featured in a few posts of mine. 

A little bit of Burnley

This one is called  ‘I don’t want to go to Burnley’ and the poet very cleverly rhymes Northern towns – sometimes with the most incongruous words (yes I’m talking to you Elsa Lanchaster!)  I went to Burnley for the first time the other week – and it was great by the way!  I certainly don’t think the poet meant any offence to the towns mentioned (at least I think he didn’t 😀 )

Elsa Lanchaster

Vidoe by  with thanks

Elsa Lanchester image from here

Burnley images taken last week

Happy Birthday Emily Bronte!

Posted in Authors Birthdays, Inspiring poetry, POETS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2011 by echostains

Emily Jane Bronte

Today is the birthday of writer and poet Emily Bronte (b.1818 – 1848 Thornton Yorkshire).  She was the fifth child of Patrick Branwell and Maria  Branwell, parents of the famous Bronte’s of Haworth Yorkshire.  Emily wrote poetry and one novel ‘Wuthering Heights‘ before she died in 1848 after catching cold at her brother Branwell’s funeral, refusing all medical aid until it was too late.  Emily is always depicted as the quiet Bronte, other worldly, spiritual.  But she was also a home body too and pined for her home and the moors when she was sent away to school at Roe Head.

Wuthering Heights has inspired many films

Wuthering Heights, a tale of passion, tragedy and love beyond the grave was published in 1847 and received mixed reviews, but it was become a literary classic.  Much has been written about Emily Bronte the woman and there has been a lot of speculation about this quiet, private and almost mystical author.

Angria artifacts

As children the Bronte’s devised stories and poems about the exploits of their toy soldiers who inhabited an imaginary kingdom called Angria.  When Emily was 13, she and her sister Ann  left Angria and built Gondal – an imaginary island in the South Pacific. They wrote stories about Gondal, but only the Gondal  names and places and some diary papers survive.  Her poems are often described as spiritual and passionate.  The following comes from Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell in 1846 (Emily is of course ‘Ellis’

How clear She Shines

How clear she shines! How quietly
I lie beneath her guardian light;
While heaven and earth are whispering me,
“To morrow, wake, but dream to-night.”
Yes, Fancy, come, my Fairy love!
These throbbing temples softly kiss;
And bend my lonely couch above,
And bring me rest, and bring me bliss.

The world is going; dark world, adieu!
Grim world, conceal thee till the day;
The heart thou canst not all subdue
Must still resist, if thou delay!

Thy love I will not, will not share;
Thy hatred only wakes a smile;
Thy griefs may wound–thy wrongs may tear,
But, oh, thy lies shall ne’er beguile!
While gazing on the stars that glow
Above me, in that stormless sea,
I long to hope that all the woe
Creation knows, is held in thee!

And this shall be my dream to-night;
I’ll think the heaven of glorious spheres
Is rolling on its course of light
In endless bliss, through endless years;
I’ll think, there’s not one world above,
Far as these straining eyes can see,
Where Wisdom ever laughed at Love,
Or Virtue crouched to Infamy;

Where, writhing ‘neath the strokes of Fate,
The mangled wretch was forced to smile;
To match his patience ‘gainst her hate,
His heart rebellious all the while.
Where Pleasure still will lead to wrong,
And helpless Reason warn in vain;
And Truth is weak, and Treachery strong;
And Joy the surest path to Pain;
And Peace, the lethargy of Grief;
And Hope, a phantom of the soul;
And life, a labour, void and brief;
And Death, the despot of the whole!

The Bronte’s themselves have inspired many books, plays and songs – Wuthering Heights especially. 

Here’s two videos the first inspired by  Emily Bronte’s novel and the second by her poem above:-

More about Emily here and this wonderful site here

Emily Bronte image here and Bronte parsonage books here

Wuthering Heights still here

Bronte Parsonage Museum website

Bronte Parsonage Blog

Poem from here with thanks

Kate Bush video from  with thanks

How Clear she shines video from

There are more of my Bronte related posts in the Bronte category on the right side of the blog

Annabel Lee

Posted in Inspiring poetry with tags , , , , on July 28, 2011 by echostains

It’s the second day of my ‘post each day on Bookstains for a week’ challenge.  I came across this poem by Edgar Allan Poe, (1809 – 1849) the American mystery and horror writer.  The poem is about Poe first love Annabel Lee and is the last completed poem Poe wrote.  The subject, as well as being about lost love is also about death.  The poem was written in 1849 and published that same year – which coincidently was also the year the writer died.  The poem speaks of a love that can transcend death.  No one really knows who the woman  was, though some think that lady may have been  his wife Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe.

If the poem seems a little familiar to you, that may be because it featured in the 1971 film Play misty for me which starred Clint Eastwood as the unwitting Radio DJ who got himself embroiled with one of his listeners who turned out to be a demented mad woman.  Annabel Lee was the woman’s favorite poem and it is quoted in the film.  Dangerous love.

One of Poe’s favorite themes was the death of a beautiful woman and this one fulfills the criteria.  the poem is about an ideal love – a love that not even death can break.  Here’s the poem in its entirety-

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
 Poem from Poemhunter with thanks

More about this poem  and its possible source here

Play Misty image here

Poe poster from here