An imitation of “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Last semester, for Junior Novel project’s final, we were supposed to write an imitation poem of one of our focal poet’s works. I chose “Crossing the Bar”, in which Tennyson wistfully spoke of the pilot who directs us into the beyond, to the other side–to Heaven. Here’s a few points I wrote as the accompanying notes to my imitation! It’s not the greatest by any means but I love Tennyson’s poetry (thus my reason for choosing him, and I love this bittersweet poem with its hopeful overtone)

  • Tennyson used nautical terms when writing Crossing the Bar, to create a metaphor for God—the pilot—and crossing “the bar” of life into the next, to see the pilot face to face. I attempted to emulate this in a Dante-like way, as a wanderer lost in a dark wood, seeking reprieve and salvation.
  • Tennyson said of “Crossing the Bar”: “The Pilot has been on board all the while, but in the dark I have not seen him” (Tennyson’s Poetry, 578, note 1). I try to capture this in my poem as well, when I write “Moonbeams and starlight//may yet break past the roof//defeat all dread and light the night//for doubt needs proof”. Even in the darkness the light exists—though it might not be as obvious in the day when the bright sunshine—or the proof is vividly evident—it still shines and it can ‘break past the roof’ of the forest (dark times in life) and “light the night”.

Without further ado…

 

Shadows and twilight

And silence comes for me!

And then sun’s breaking dark gives holy sight;

The demon’s just a tree,

 

But dawn on forest floors is lost in shades,

Even with glory on gloom,

Just stars of sun-specks pour into dim glades

Yet dreams still bloom.

 

Moonbeams and starlight

May yet break past the roof,

Defeat all dread and light the night,

For doubt needs proof;

 

Once proved, this mortal coil will free at last

A pilgrim wand’ring on,

Before dawn and dusk unite and nightmares passed,

To memory, then gone.

The Paradox

In brief, I wrote a poem some late night a while back, and here it is. I found it again just now in the jumbled files on my computer. It has a meaning, or I mean to say, a history. Much discussion and contemplation has revealed one of the great puzzles of human life. One can pour everything into a person, an activity, a dream, a desire, but if God does not take foremost place in life, then the passion is misdirected and draining on the soul. This can be a danger for anyone, and as a creative person I realize that the power of an imagination can be twisted around for a demeaning purpose, rather than an uplifting or an inspiring one. While I must say this discourages me, and disappoints me (I would like to have it that the things I love dearly could not have a bad side to them, but they do), this understanding ought to be used to advance the resilience and strength of character. It is a challenge, yes. But it is a worthy one at that.

Aand, here is the poem:

Here in the quiet hush of night

I listen, wondering if you shall speak

I would that my thoughts take flight

And drowsiness drop from its peak

And then it be us alone, your spirit in mine

Mine dwelling in yours alone

Till my soul ‘comes a thing You refine

Not repulsed by Satan’s undertone,

His device, called Doubt or Distraction.

A struggle ever onward, life’s mark

You gave me a mind, it clouds with abstraction

And even vivid reveries are stark;

Barren without you, appearing in them.

I shut you out with my door I think

But you step around it, into my life so dim

Anguished, annoyed, away I shrink

To repulse you, afraid of facing doubt.

My own doubt, or yours? I can’t be sure

But it must be fear, existing without

You brings it on, giving room for worldly lure

Finally I turn and say hello, you sit

Beside me and we rest, sudden light breaking

How well it feels, how finely you befit

My Reality, my Truth, and I find myself forsaking

Everything else. For you. Nothing belongs

For you narrow the road and pluck

From my hands what should have long

Vanished, out of soul, out of mind. You tuck

Away fears, angers, tatters of an empty life

Empty without you.

Birds above us

A poem I wrote for poetry class, the assignment being birds. I haven’t written much poetry lately. I remember that I scribbled down a lot more of it that one semester in private school. Because the teacher lectured me for sketching during class, I decided to safely jot down lines of poetry . . . *winks deviously* . . . while I innocently appeared to be taking notes. But sketching has always been my means of absorbing and staying focused. So that I wouldn’t fall asleep in the middle of class (even if it was one of my favorite classes at the school: Paideia).

What a ramble.

Oh, don’t you love the illustration I used in this post, by Alexandra Douglass?

//#found new favorite artist #I love the colors and ambiance she uses//

 

Birds do not dream,
They live a dream
Day by day, above
Our heads, and seem
To sing such reams
As humans shove
To scale vocal heights
And superior flights
That only birds can attain.
by Alexandra Douglass

by Alexandra Douglass

Have some hot chocolate + a poem

10312451_437226573088514_3310061218135208916_nIt’s Monday morning. My alarm went off at six, even though I went to bed at almost three. But then again, I have always viewed sleep as an overrated pastime. Spooned up the fluffy creaminess of greek yogurt, bananas and berries mixed in with it, and then heated up a mug of water, poured in the hot chocolate mix, because every day is just fine for hot chocolate. Maybe even in the middle of summer, during a movie.

And now, here is a poem I wrote a couple weeks ago, when I needed desperately to write something. Writer’s block, ya’ll. It’s annoyingly mainstream.

I wonder if it is all over, if it is going to fall apart
Before it does, and when does, how do
You know what it would look like, a form of art
Disjointed and shattered, but whole, true
To the heart of the hands, a pulsing Verity
But where do we go when it does undo,
A fine rippling, threads of a tapestry.
How does it repair, not in lieu
But in chaotic disorder, when must turn
Aside from Reason and believe in spite
Of The Logic of Homo sapiens. learn
To trust, to see darkness as absence of Light
And Light as a prevalent way to reason
Complete without the shadows, entire
In composition, no matter the season
However much our demands require
Explanation has no ground
However much gravity pulls us down
Away from Heaven’s undiluted sound
We give ourselves scepters and crowns
Which do not belong
We blindly speak and see and understand
Nothing, but the veritas of our long
egocentric universe,

 

 

 

 

A Riddle

e9f7d8c2ca8ba1f18b3e67910cb50dfdFor a recent assignment in literature, I was supposed to write a riddle inspired by those given in Jane Austen’s Emma (namely Mr. Elton’s significant one, which was intended to mean Courtship). I had a great deal of fun with it. This riddle is supposed to be from a studious guy to a girl he admires. I was grinning stupidly the whole time I wrote it, because I was thinking, “Gee, why can’t a guy send this to me?” I tend to romanticize, ya know. So do forgive this indulgence in . . . uh . . . sentimentality. It has a lame rhyme, but oh well.

 

 

{Getting to know . . . you}

 

Please engage your mind to study

A most delicate subject

Do not permit irrational thought to muddy

A future prospect, to not object!

 

For I am the scholar,

You my tutor, and each time you speak

You illuminate, your humor choler

So persuasive, you draw me to seek

 

Knowledge of yours, which I could but know

If I opened you, read you as

A book, to be memorized, slow

And steady. The scholar must be amorous!