I think that Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is a perfect poem for teachers starting to teach poetry. A cautionary poem about the over-analysis of something that may be best appreciated by simply being quiet and paying attention.
For this prompt, we asked poets to write about something that defies analysis and study - and holds wonder for you simply because it is. Think of something which was full of wonder - before wonderful became merely good.
About Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass & other poems
Visit Whitman's New Jersey Home
It speaks of cool colored tiles
Onion domed arches
A disguised thief
Dry crumbly morsels
The broken heart and tortured soul
A soft belly draped in a gold coin girdle
Coal lined eyes
An overlooked fragment of antiquity
The smell of heat
A bright oceanic sky
The sudden chill of moonrise
Tales of a distant sea
Bones as clean as they might be
White bright light
And heavy air.
Resources and reference shall
This is satisfying, accurate, and complete.
I have always loved the word.
Michael Z. Murphy
Her face is effective, I'll give
but it's all about her nose, isn't it,
which appears unhappy. She looks
like someone who's in charge of
a real gal's gal, someone to clean the fish
on the camping trip and drink whiskey
with the boys over the campfire's
and then later, surrender to one of them,
using words to do it. Not like me,
who wouldn't be much fun. I'd
and tend the fire in a squat, and stir the stew.
What would I do with their risk but rice it?
I want to know how she does that.
that girl, and the girl I know doesn't sleep
most nights, and this one up there,
she's ready for the skeltonic
She isn't me - not the sea blue blouse
she wears, not the cares
she carries in the back of her
or the rote smile, the body language wile
she's whammying on the host, who's not
getting most of what she's all
the pout, the almost southern way
she drawls the words out - she bothers me,
that me. She's not the me I know
she reads her poems as if she means them -
I think she's what I meant to be.
If I could April your dove
I would not let it leave the wire
I'd bind its scaly little feet
With wool pooled from the moon
Of late night beamed light
If I could April me
I'd clip my winged words
And listen to the luster of your song
As you set the creature free for flight
Risking more than knowing you had done it right.
We do not travel on a straight
but on all paths possible at the same time.
We have no specific past.
A lecture on particles and waves,
thirty year old notes on lined paper,
matter waves, waves of probability.
Understanding that what was then
must lead inevitably to this now
Each word a particle
and a world of its own,
each line a wave
moving into a wave.
One interpretation from the other.
Same hand on the same paper,
limited choices of letters
but the wonder of the words,
the sum of pasts, before.
Why do lilacs know the time to
How can hearts for years beat on and on -
once mating strikes the spark in uteri?
How does life escape impending doom
in winter's blast, in heat of searing sun?
Why do we conserve our right to be,
presume that being makes us masters here?
Perhaps Ill lose my questions and my fear
when I perceive Your Wonders and Your Ways -
Your infinitely comprehensive Might -
and when I stand enwrapped in arms of night
made visible through Your innumerable gaze.
the face of a pretty girl
on a matchbook cover
with the words draw me
as i raised pen to paper
my field of view began to expand
first to the table before me then
to the window of my small room
then to the mountains in a far distant
place over valleys greened deserts golden
hued outward past desolate moon
farther still to the center of the milky way
even to the center of my soul
in humble contemplation i lay down
my pen and while the tears dimmed my view
gave praise to the master
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© 2015 poetsonline.org | | | | | |