Poetry has long been one of my passions but it was only when I began reading it to my father during the last months of his life that I fully realised the extent to which some poems are so beautifully and carefully crafted that they beg to be seen, and not just heard, for the masterpieces that they are.
Alfred Lord Tennyson’s, The Lady of Shallot, was one of Dad’s favourites and the more I read it , the more I came to love the way in which Tennyson used length of line to add extra dimensions to his work. This stanza is a dream that always has me seeing fondly-held streams and rivers at high water:
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.
And what of E.E. Cummings and the way he uses spacing and parentheses to lend meaning and emphasis? The contrast between the lone i fear and the final line with words and characters cuddling as close, close can be:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
i carry your heart with me(i carry it inmy heart)i am never without it(anywherei go you go,my dear;and whatever is doneby only me is your doing,my darling)i fearno fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i wantno world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meantand whatever a sun will always sing is youhere is the deepest secret nobody knows(here is the root of the root and the bud of the budand the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which growshigher than soul can hope or mind can hide)and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars aparti carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)