Friday, February 26, 2010

Lines from Percy Bysshe Shelley for Poetry Friday

Today, some lines by Percy Bysshe Shelley, the opening lines of which seemed terribly appropriate given that we've just had another Nor'easter come through, and it's a snow day for the kids. Since the final two stanzas seem to refer to a dead person, I figured I should make clear they do not apply.

The cold earth slept below;
  Above the cold sky shone;
    And all around,
    With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
    Beneath the sinking moon.

The wintry hedge was black;
  The green grass was not seen;
    The birds did rest
    On the bare thorn’s breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o’er many a crack
    Which the frost had made between.

Thine eyes glowed in the glare
  Of the moon’s dying light;
    As a fen-fire’s beam
    On a sluggish stream
Gleams dimly—so the moon shone there,
And it yellowed the strings of thy tangled hair,
  That shook in the wind of night.

The moon made thy lips pale, belovèd;
  The wind made thy bosom chill;
    The night did shed
    On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
    Might visit thee at will.


Each of the stanzas follows the rhyme scheme ABCCAAB, and mostly uses iambs (two-syllable poetic feet consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one - taDUM), although some of the lines incorporate anapests as well (ta-da-DUM). I like the rhythm of the poem, the way it trips along, the clever line scheme, and the varying line lengths.



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2 comments:

Sherry said...

Old Percy was something of a Drama King (Is there such a thing, or only Drama Queens?), wasn't he?

I thought since you enjoy poetry that I'd invite you to contribute your list of favorite poems to my survey. Read more about it here: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=9520

Kelly Fineman said...

Love the phrase "Drama King". I'll be sending you an email. Eventually. Once I figure out what the heck my favorite poems might be.