Thursday, December 06, 2012

Happy Birthday Joyce Kilmer !

Alfred Joyce Kilmer
Today is the birthday of an American writer and poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer (06 December 1886 – 30 July 1918), mainly remembered for a short poem titled "Trees" (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his Roman Catholic religious faith, Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. While most of his works are largely unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. At the time of his deployment to Europe during World War I (1914–1918), Kilmer was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). He enlisted in the New York National Guard and was deployed to France with the 69th Infantry Regiment (the famous "Fighting 69th") in 1917. He was killed by sniper's bullet at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31. He was married to Aline Murray, who later became a poet and author in her own right, with whom he had five children. Presenting some poems : Being Poet
Easter
The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings.
Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Love's Lantern
(For Aline)
Because the road was steep and long
And through a dark and lonely land,
God set upon my lips a song
And put a lantern in my hand.
Through miles on weary miles of night
That stretch relentless in my way
My lantern burns serene and white,
An unexhausted cup of day.
O golden lights and lights like wine,
How dim your boasted splendors are.
Behold this little lamp of mine;
It is more starlike than a star!
As Winds That Blow Against A Star
(For Aline)
Now by what whim of wanton chance
Do radiant eyes know sombre days?
And feet that shod in light should dance
Walk weary and laborious ways?
But rays from Heaven, white and whole,
May penetrate the gloom of earth;
And tears but nourish, in your soul,
The glory of celestial mirth.
The darts of toil and sorrow, sent
Against your peaceful beauty, are
As foolish and as impotent
As winds that blow against a star.
Alarm Clocks
When Dawn strides out to wake a dewy farm
Across green fields and yellow hills of hay
The little twittering birds laugh in his way
And poise triumphant on his shining arm.
He bears a sword of flame but not to harm
The wakened life that feels his quickening sway
And barnyard voices shrilling "It is day!"
Take by his grace a new and alien charm.
But in the city, like a wounded thing
That limps to cover from the angry chase,
He steals down streets where sickly arc-lights sing,
And wanly mock his young and shameful face;
And tiny gongs with cruel fervor ring
In many a high and dreary sleeping place.
Citizen of the World
No longer of Him be it said
"He hath no place to lay His head."
In every land a constant lamp
Flames by His small and mighty camp.
There is no strange and distant place
That is not gladdened by His face.
And every nation kneels to hail
The Splendour shining through Its veil.
Cloistered beside the shouting street,
Silent, He calls me to His feet.
Imprisoned for His love of me
He makes my spirit greatly free.
And through my lips that uttered sin
The King of Glory enters in.
Madness
(For Sara Teasdale)
The lonely farm, the crowded street,
The palace and the slum,
Give welcome to my silent feet
As, bearing gifts, I come.
Last night a beggar crouched alone,
A ragged helpless thing;
I set him on a moonbeam throne --
Today he is a king.
Last night a king in orb and crown
Held court with splendid cheer;
Today he tears his purple gown
And moans and shrieks in fear.
Not iron bars, nor flashing spears,
Not land, nor sky, nor sea,
Nor love's artillery of tears
Can keep mine own from me.
Serene, unchanging, ever fair,
I smile with secret mirth
And in a net of mine own hair
I swing the captive earth.
Easter Week
1 "Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
2 It's with O'Leary in the grave."
3 Then, Yeats, what gave that Easter dawn
4 A hue so radiantly brave?
5 There was a rain of blood that day,
6 Red rain in gay blue April weather.
7 It blessed the earth till it gave birth
8 To valour thick as blooms of heather.
9 Romantic Ireland never dies!
10 O'Leary lies in fertile ground,
11 And songs and spears throughout the years
12 Rise up where patriot graves are found.
13 Immortal patriots newly dead
14 And ye that bled in bygone years,
15 What banners rise before your eyes?
16 What is the tune that greets your ears?
17 The young Republic's banners smile
18 For many a mile where troops convene.
19 O'Connell street is loudly sweet
20 With strains of Wearing of the Green.
21 The soil of Ireland throbs and glows
22 With life that knows the hour is here
23 To strike again like Irishmen
24 For that which Irishmen hold dear.
25 Lord Edward leaves his resting place
26 And Sarsfield's face is glad and fierce.
27 See Emmet leap from troubled sleep
28 To grasp the hand of Padraic Pearse!
29 There is no rope can strangle song
30 And not for long death takes his toll.
31 No prison bars can dim the stars
32 Nor quicklime eat the living soul.
33 Romantic Ireland is not old.
34 For years untold her youth shall shine.
35 Her heart is fed on Heavenly bread,
36 The blood of martyrs is her wine.