Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Poetry today

It's poetry day today. Relax. I'm not going to give you one of mine, but one of the great ones of the English (or any other) language. I believe in rationality. I'm not always rational, but I believe in it. Further, I believe that our future, if any, depends on us finally becoming rational beings. I think that our Linnean name, homo sapiens, is a little presumptuous at present. So, here's the poem:

The Last Word
by Matthew Arnold

Creep into thy narrow bed
Creep, and let no more be said!
Vain thy onset! All stands fast.
Thou thyself must break at last.

Let the long contention cease!
Geese are swans, and swans are geese.
Let them have it how they will!
Thou art tired; best be still.

They out-talked thee, hissed thee, tore thee?
Better men fared thus before thee;
Fired their ringing shot and passed,
Hotly charged -- and sank at last.

Charge once more, then, and be dumb!
Let the victors, when they come,
When the forts of folly fall,
Find thy body by the wall.

Other than a slight overuse of the exclamation point, this is a wonderful poem and expresses exactly how I feel about my fellow beings.


Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

I have always loved best the second stanza of this poem and most especially the line: Geese are swans, and swans are geese.

Wonderful selection for today though I frankly like your poems a lot.

bekkieann said...

I sometimes feel this way too, about the "great and terrible national debate, without end, in which all must choose a side and hate/distrust/mock the other, forevermore, amen"! (Sorry about the exclamation point.) But I don't feel that way about individual fellow human beings. I hope you will look past my rants, for example, and see that I'm basically a good person who sometimes becomes more outspoken that is really good. I hope my ranting never sends someone to their narrow bed. :)

Love the poem.

Anonymous said...

Terrific poem. Easy to forgive all those exclamation marks

Bee's Blog said...

Reminds me of when I was growing up: "Do you always have to have the last word?"!!

ALL you fellow human beings???

I like Matthew Arnold so thank you for this - a reminder of a poet who I had to study for English Literature so many moons ago!