Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Game: Favourite poem.

Dear friend and fellow blogger Dust Road asked me to post about my favourite poem. Not an easy task as there are so many of them, each for different reasons.

Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favourite English language poets. His work still resonates today as it did back in the 19th century when he wrote it. Let me quote another favourite writer, Mr. Neil Gaiman, about Poe:

The best of Poe doesn't date. "The Cask of Amontillado" is as perfect a tale of vengeance as ever was crafted. "The Tell-tale Heart" is a clear-eyed look through the eyes of madness. "The Masque of the Red Death" seems more relevant with every year that passes. The stories still delight. I suspect they always will.

Poe isn't for everyone. He's too heady a draught for that. He may not be for you. But there are secrets to appreciating Poe, and I shall let you in on one of the most important ones: read him aloud.

Read the poems aloud. Read the stories aloud. Feel the way the words work in your mouth, the way the syllables bounce and roll and drive and repeat, or almost repeat. Poe's poems would be beautiful if you spoke no English (indeed, a poem like "Ulalume" remains opaque even if you do understand English -- it implies a host of meanings, but does not provide any solutions). Lines which, when read on paper, seem overwrought or needlessly repetitive or even mawkish, when spoken aloud reshape and reconfigure.

So here is one of my favourite Poe poems (love this!)

A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe - 1849

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow--
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision or in none,
Is it therefore the less _gone_?
_All_ that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
_One_ from the pitiless wave?
Is _all_ that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

And beautifully interpreted by a favourite band, Propaganda.

Let me invite, in my turn, Elafini, Indiktos, Tzotza, Meniek and Ritsa.


  1. one of my favourite poets as well...
    not to mention the peom itself!!!
    last week a good friend of mine bought me a book with Poe's sketches, all in black and white (naturally)..
    very impressive i'd say...

    kalhnyxta strato mou!!!
    se filw glyka

  2. Mia pou sou arese, eisai proskeklimeni mou na synexiseis me ti seira sou!

    Filia polla!

  3. Κοίτα να δεις: Αγάπη και μίσος του ερωτοκτυπημένου Εντγκαρ Αλαν Πόε για το Τζάντε......


    Ομορφο νησί, που απ'το πιο όμορφο όλων των λουλουδιών
    Το πιο ευγενικό όλων των ευγενικών ονομάτων πήρες!
    Πόσες αναμνήσεις φωτεινών στιγμών
    Εσύ και η θέα σου ξαφνικά ξυπνούν!
    Πόσα γεγονότα παρελθούσης ευδαιμονίας !
    Πόσα οράματα κάποιου κοριτσιού που
    Οχι πια -όχι πια, στις κατάφυτες πλαγιές σου δεν υπάρχει!
    Οχι πια! Αλίμονο, αυτός ο μαγικός θλιμμένος ήχος
    Ολα τα μεταμορφώνει! Τα μάγια σου δεν θέλω, όχι πια !
    Την ανάμνησή του, όχι πια! Καταραμένη γη, στο εξής
    Την ακτή με τους κρυστάλλινους ανθούς σου αρνούμαι
    Ω υακίνθινο νησί! Ω πορφυρένιο Τζάντε!
    "Τζολα ντ' ορο! Φιόρο του Λεβάντε!"

  4. Καλημέρα Στράτο, και χαίρομαι που έχεις ποιητική διάθεση!...


  5. lovely poem, lovely interpretation, lovely weather to think of poets and music. Thanks for the invitation, dear :)

  6. Πολύ όμορφο το ποίημα -κι εμένα μ' αρέσει ο Poe,κι αυτό δεν το ήξερα!

    Φιλιά Στράτο μου
    Καλό Σαββατοκύριακο!

  7. (νόμιζα πως άφησα σχόλιο χθες το βράδυ...το μυαλό μου και μια λίρα :))

    αφού με πρόλαβες με τον Poe, έβαλα κι εγώ Gaiman ;)

    καλό απόγευμα

  8. Ρίτσα υπέροχο το ποιήμα για το Τζάντε... Ευχαριστώ