Sunday, April 9, 2017

A New Year - A New Idea



In a discussion that happened several weeks ago, we decided to put a little more effort back into our Cunningham Girls Book Club and expand it to include art, music, cinema and poetry. It's all in an effort of self-improvement and fun! Last month on a whim I decided to assign an artist to you and have you post your favorite work by "your" artist. This month I have poetry and I will do it a little differently. I will select a poet and you can tell us about one of his/her works that you enjoy. Shiloh has music, I don't know who has art, but our book and movie are still "Murder on the Orient Express". I hope you can set aside a few minutes this month to participate in this little piece of family fun. I love you!
Mom - Sis - Cindy

Classical poet of the Month! 
John Keats 1795-1821

He studied to become a surgeon and was almost finished with his education when he decided he wanted to be a poet. He was a contemporary with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley and is credited with reviving and reinventing the English Ode. When John was 8 his father was thrown from a horse and died of a skull fracture. His mother died when he was only 14 from Tuberculosis, a disease that also killed two of his brothers.  He was first published at the age of 19, but it was not a great success. His success came a year or two later. His two great loves were Isabella Jones and Fanny Brawne. The latter was the true love of his life and she stayed in mourning for 6 years after his death and didn't marry until 12 years after his death. He wrote hundreds of notes and letters to Fanny that survived her death. In October of 1819 he wrote
 - 
"My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my Life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving – I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you ... I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion – I have shudder'd at it – I shudder no more – I could be martyr'd for my Religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you."

Could there be a more beautiful declaration of love? He also wrote a poem for her entitled "To Fanny".  In 1821, after moving to Rome in hopes for improvement to his health from the dreaded disease that killed his mother and brother, John Keats died. He is buried in Rome.

Comment below and let us know what your favorite Keats' work is. I believe mine is "Ode On a Grecian Urn" because his prose makes the scenes on urn come to life for me. I have included his poem to Fanny in this post.  Enjoy!

To Fanny


Physician Nature! let my spirit blood!
   O ease my heart of verse and let me rest;
Throw me upon thy tripod, till the flood
   Of stifling numbers ebbs from my full breast.
A theme! a theme! Great Nature! give a theme;
         Let me begin my dream.
I come—I see thee, as thou standest there,
Beckon me out into the wintry air.

Ah! dearest love, sweet home of all my fears
   And hopes and joys and panting miseries,—
To-night, if I may guess, thy beauty wears
         A smile of such delight,
         As brilliant and as bright,
   As when with ravished, aching, vassal eyes,
         Lost in a soft amaze,
         I gaze, I gaze!

Who now, with greedy looks, eats up my feast?
   What stare outfaces now my silver moon!
Ah! keep that hand unravished at the least;
         Let, let the amorous burn—
         But, prithee, do not turn
   The current of your heart from me so soon:
         O save, in charity,
         The quickest pulse for me.

Save it for me, sweet love! though music breathe
   Voluptuous visions into the warm air,
Though swimming through the dance’s dangerous wreath,
         Be like an April day,
         Smiling and cold and gay,
   A temperate lily, temperate as fair;
         Then, heaven! there will be
         A warmer June for me.

Why this, you’ll say—my Fanny!—is not true;
   Put your soft hand upon your snowy side,
Where the heart beats: confess—‘tis nothing new -
         Must not a woman be
         A feather on the sea,
   Swayed to and fro by every wind and tide?
         Of as uncertain speed
         As blow-ball from the mead?

I know it—and to know it is despair
   To one who loves you as I love, sweet Fanny,
Whose heart goes fluttering for you every where,
         Nor when away you roam,
         Dare keep its wretched home:
   Love, love alone, has pains severe and many;
         Then, loveliest! keep me free
         From torturing jealousy.

Ah! if you prize my subdued soul above
   The poor, the fading, brief pride of an hour:
Let none profane my Holy See of Love,
         Or with a rude hand break
         The sacramental cake:
   Let none else touch the just new-budded flower;
         If not—may my eyes close,
         Love, on their last repose!

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