Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Familiarity Breeds Contempt-Or Not (A Study in Poetry)

When I was younger, like school age, I had no appreciation for the finer nuances of poetry. I am a very black and white person. Poetry was too grey and obtuse. Just spit it out, already! Say what you mean!

I would get a headache plowing through poetry, so I gave it up as a bad effort. Who needs Keats or Frost, Dickinson or Burns?

But then two things changed my heart: 
-I learned the beauty and power of painting a picture with words. I'm a story teller. Details are my friend. I love big words. Poetry is not a big step from big words, details and storytelling.

-One of my friends posted Robert Frost's November Guest on FB. I was caught-hook, line and sinker. I got what he was saying. I understood it. Because November is such a depressing month. But, Robert Frost brought out the beauty of November for me, and it changed me.

Really and truly.

This year I determined the Barefoot Hippie off spring, and their mother, were going to take this poetry bull by the horns. We were going to learn it, and learn to love it. It has been my goal to memorize a Robert Frost poem every month. We are on our fourth. (skipped December because we had other poems to memorize for church. January and February got lost in the shuffle that was Japan/Borneo/Java)

The first week of the month, I scroll through Robert Frost's poems, and try to find one fitting for the month. I print it up, and we start to memorize it. And we discuss it. Just what is he saying? And then we are illustrating each poem. This ties together my two weak subjects-art and poetry.

All in all, it has been a blast. Plus, I feel more sophisticated as each month rolls by. (not really, but we can always hope) I am planning to dig deeper into Robert Frost's life before school ends this year. What made him tick? How did was he inspired? 

This month I picked Robert Frost's To the Thawing Wind. This a beautiful poem celebrating the time between winter and spring. Winter is almost done, and spring is creeping in. Slowly, but surely.
set between THIS and.....

To the Thawing Wind

Come with rain. O loud Southwester!
                                                        Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate'er you do tonight,
bath my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit's crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o'er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.

This is pretty easy to picture, isn't it. I basically just have to look out my window this month, to know exactly what is going through his mind. I'm seeing what he was seeing.

As Mr. Frost is sitting in his little house, he can see the raindrops hitting the snow piles. Most of the snow has melted, except for the piles. There is lots of brown mud and brown grass. The vibrant green hues of spring are not here yet. But from the little tender daffodil stems peeking up through the earth, to the song of the robin, you know spring is imminent. It is going to make its entrance soon.

Such a perfect poem for March, don't you think?

Last Thursday we hauled out the heavy paper and pencils, and we tried to sketch what we thought this poem looked like. This was very challenging for me. I drew a tree. As I was studying the cherry tree out back, I started to see the v's all over the place. I got the foundational branches and trunk pretty good, but I got a bit lost on the smaller twigs.
Robert Frost's House. Kind of quaint.

I attempted to sketch piles of snow, while letting my eye follow the lines of the piles outside, like Mr. Bj had taught our fall art class.

I looked up my picture of Robert Frost's house at Greenfield village, and added it to my drawing. My drawing turned out okay. Not spectacular, but okay. I was going to trace the pencil with black ink, and that did nothing for it. So I stopped.

my feeble attempt...I think I am going to add more branches tomorrow
At this point in time, art is not a relaxing activity for me. My shoulders ached, and it gave me a slight headache. I want my art to look nice because I am a perfectionist. But I have to practice. And practice. And practice some more.

And, maybe when it is more second nature, or at least not so foreign, to me, drawing and painting will be relaxing and cathartic. Like writing is for me.

Anyway, what's your favorite spring poem? What do you think of Robert Frost's poetry? What's your favorite poem of his? Are you a fan of poetry, or not so much?