...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

April 19, 2006

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Is there any subject that can't be examined by a poet? Here we have biology, in a Shakespearian sonnet by English poet John Masefield (1878–1967):

What am I, Life?

What am I, Life? A thing of watery halt
Held in cohesion by unresting cells,
Which work they know not why, which never halt,
Myself unwitting where their Master dwells
I do not bid them, yet they toil, they spin
A world which uses me as I use them;
Nor do I know which end or which begin
Nor which to praise, which pamper, which condemn.
So, like a marvel in a marvel set,
I answer to the vast, as wave by wave
The sea of air goes over, dry or wet,
Or the full moon comes swimming from her cave,
Or the great sun comes forth: this myriad I
Tingles, not knowing how, yet wondering why.

Poet suggested by Casca.

Posted by annika, Apr. 19, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


so how does a marine know about masefield? nice poem.

Posted by: Scof on Apr. 19, 2006

Trained killers have souls, also.

Posted by: shelly on Apr. 19, 2006

What kind of fool has never heard of the warrior/poet?

I can't let this occasion pass without giving Masefield his due. He went to sea in the age of sail; was an accomplished poet & scholar when he went to the trenches in 1915 at forty; in 1930 became the Poet Laureat a post he held for the next 37 years until his death.

Leave it to Annika to find some Masefield that I've never seen. My favorite Masefield could be Sea Fever, but it isn't, it's The Passing Strange.

Only a beauty, only a power,
Sad in the fruit, but bright in the flower,
Endlessly erring for it's hour.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 19, 2006