Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Celebrate

One of my favorite childhood memories is listening to an album of poetry by famous poets. I no longer remember the people who did such a compelling job of reading the poetry – yet the words linger in the recesses of my mind and come to my consciousness when I see the beauty recorded in the words of those poets.
Today is the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born on February 27, 1807, in Portland, Maine. His father, Stephen Longfellow, was a Portland lawyer and congressman, and mother Zilpah, was a descendant of John Alden of the Mayflower. Longfellow was fond of reading and at thirteen he wrote his first poem, "The Battle of Lovell's Pond," which appeared in the Portland Gazette.

In celebration of his birth share with me:

WOODS IN WINTER

When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.

O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.

Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!

But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Sandy said...

Longfellow is one of my husband's favorites, too. If you haven't been to his house in Portland, that would be something you might enjoy when you come to Maine, next time. There is also a pretty garden hidden behind the house.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

This was a wonderful choice for a tribute to a great poet. Happy Birthday!

5:48 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

hmm, i enjoyed reading this. perfect for this wintry day.

6:21 PM  
Blogger z said...

I have always appreciated his smooth couplets and elegant simple words.

3:14 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

A lovely poem that draws us into the season.

8:20 AM  
Blogger HoBess said...

Thanks for the reminder that winter has it's own special beauty, even as I crave spring. A wonderful tribute!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Maggie Ann said...

Absolutely beautiful. What rich gifts God bestows on men. Just visiting for the first time and enjoying myself. I liked what you say in your profile..."I simply love to read".

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

one of my all time favorite poets.. I was reading 'high school' poetry in grade school.. my teachers weren't always pleased with that fact, but they didn't understand that I looked *beyond* the words.. a suitable poem for this most gifted poet and beautiful season (although I'm VERY ready for spring) ;)

2:52 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Visiting your blog for the first time and really enjoying it, thank you! E

4:43 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

sandy
A visit to Longfellow's house in Maine is on my list!

tammy
I find it so difficult to pick from his poems

leah
so glad you like it... I think Longfellow has a poem for almost any day :)

z
i agree - besides his poems are easy to memorize

pam
the "Winter" description fits New York and Vermont just now :)

hobess
I think I like all of the seasons with the exception of mud season, bug season and tornado season...

maggie ann
welcome glad you came to visit - love your fashion plates and advertising from the early 20th century

cindy
what is it with teachers - do you think they are afraid we might learn something?

4:43 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

elizabeth
sorry i missed you - your comment must have gotten posted the same time as mine... glad for your visit - i had a lovely time wandering through your blogs.

4:58 PM  
Blogger KerrdeLune said...

Endment, how beautifully Longfellow crafted his images of winter - and he is one of my very favourites. Thank you!

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Yes, I also enjoyed reading your tribute to Longfellow and his poems. As a native Southern Californian, I love the mystery of a snowy winter, but I'm frankly glad I am rarely exposed to it. We can see the snow-topped mountains ringing the L.A. basin today and it is cold (50s) and windy, but compared to what you are experiencing, I guess you would find it mild.

That rhyme scheme of Longfellow's, what is that called?

6:38 PM  
Blogger Tim Rice said...

Beautiful poem and photo! Great poet, too. :)

7:07 PM  
Anonymous NatureWoman said...

Excellent post Endment! I love the poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. My parents took us to his home when I quite young - I need to go back someday. Thank you!

7:25 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

kerrdelune
Longfellow's words paint such clear pictures - i think i recognize places i have never been.

fran aka redondowriter
i grew up in southern california - i will take the snow over the smog any day :) i do think fondly of wandering on the beach in february -- sigh

tim rice
we agree on that

naturewoman
a visit to his home is on my to do list!!!

7:54 PM  
Blogger Sigrid Jardin said...

Very evocative poem, and a lovely reminder of one of our great writers. I love your photo of the apple blossoms...

10:04 PM  
Blogger Potato Print said...

Endment,
Thank you for introducing me to Longfellow. I studied French literature for so many years that American literature faded into the background. I always confused him with Alfred Lord Tennyson for some odd reason. Now I have a sense of his gentle outlook.

Also, thanks for that link to the fashion blog. Wonderful. Shoes for $3, tapered waists.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah yes-- but oh how I am ready for Spring as the snow dumps down on us again-- it is a white out --outside my window!

~bluepoppy

2:04 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

What a lovely poem - the sort I like, rhythmic and rhyming. I don't really know Longfellow's work, only Hiawatha - I think he wrote that didn't he? It's one we had to learn at school many moons ago. They don't learn poetry by heart any more unfortunately. I was interested to read that his house is in Portland, near enough for me to visit next time I'm in New Hampshire.

3:17 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

What a treat to read your latest posts after having been away for a week. Thank you.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Sky said...

I, too, love Longfellow - what a nice treat to find your current post!

Longfellow's grand-daughter, Anne Longfellow Thorpe, was a life long friend of May Sarton's, and Sarton visited her at her island home in Maine many summers. Sarton's The Magnificent Spinster was based on her life.

4:52 PM  
Blogger M. Shahin said...

Longfellow is one of my favorite poets also. What a beautiful tribute to him!

4:37 PM  
Blogger CabinWriter-- said...

Well, my family name is Wadsworth but I must not be related to Henry W. as I have no talent for poetry. Despite the fact that HW had a relative who moved to the South, perhaps if he's my ancestor, he didn't pen poems, either! I never tire of HW's poetry. One of the highlights of my college American Lit class many years ago was the study of his works. So glad you thought to honor him on his birthday.

12:01 AM  

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