Five Favorite Poems

It’s that time of the week!  I’m linking up again with Heather of Mama Knows, Honeychild to bring you five of my favorites.  This week I’m sharing five of my favorite poems, which may be intensely boring to many (most?) of you, but I’m an English major so you are just going to have to put up with me.  (Alternatively, if you are a literary snob, you will probably sneer at my choices for being too conventional.)
In no particular order:
1.  The Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Daffodils growing by the side of the Pellissippi Parkway earlier this year
Daffodils growing by the side of the Pellissippi Parkway earlier this year

Daffodils are my favorite flower and always have been.  Thanks to the beautification efforts of Lady Bird Johnson, our nation’s capital is covered in them in season.  My roommate and I decided to memorize this poem while one of our long walks, inspired by sights like this:
lincold daffodils
I still know it by heart and could copy it out here for you, but instead I will give you a link.
2.  The Master Speed by Robert Frost
You’ve probably never heard of this one.  I looked it up after seeing a phrase from it used to title a book on marriage (Frost wrote it on the occasion of a wedding).  And later it inspired me to write this story.
No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the stream of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still-
Off any still or moving thing you say.
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar 
3.  The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
This one really needs no explanation.  I used to know it almost by heart, because Jake and Teddy loved me to read it aloud to them when they were little.  I love the rhyme and rhythm (“and the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain . . .”), and the depiction of endless depression makes my heart ache: “and my soul from out that shadow . . . shall be lifted–nevermore.”  Read the whole thing here.
4.  Remember by Christina Rossetti
Here’s another one I know by heart.  I can’t remember how I discovered it, but I find it to be a lovely reflection on grief and healing.  It’s repeated in full in this post.
5.  Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
This is much less sentimental than my other choices, but I just love the way it sounds.  I don’t know the whole thing by heart, but I wish I did.  We had to write a paper analyzing this poem in my Sophomore Honors English class.  This led to one of my most embarrassing moments ever in school when one of my friends told the professor that I had a very interesting interpretation, and I had to explain in front of everyone the sexual imagery I found in the poem.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
   The shadow of the dome of pleasure
   Floated midway on the waves;
   Where was heard the mingled measure
   From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
   A damsel with a dulcimer
   In a vision once I saw:
   It was an Abyssinian maid
   And on her dulcimer she played,
   Singing of Mount Abora.
   Could I revive within me
   Her symphony and song,
   To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

What’s your favorite poem?  Tell me in the comments! And don’t forget to check out the rest of the Five Favorites here.

Walking in Knoxville

Before I started this blog, I had planned to write a very different one, which I was going to call Walking in Knoxville.  The main focus of it was going to be walks I liked to go on (hence the name!) but I was going to use that as a jumping off point to discuss other issues too.
Just because I decided to go with this much more eclectic blog instead doesn’t mean I have to give up the topic of walking entirely, though!  On the contrary, I can write about whatever I want!  And today I want to begin showcasing some of the many greenways those of us lucky enough to live in Knoxville or Knox County have access to.  Knoxville has over 65 miles of greenways, which I get the impression is kind of a lot.
Today Emily and I walked on the Pellissippi Greenway.  This is one’s a well-kept secret, particularly nice for walkers on these first fine spring days which typically find better-traveled routes like the Third Creek Greenway hazardous due to the volume of bike traffic.  We encountered one other party of walkers, just as we were finishing the return trip.
There’s plenty of parking, since the trailhead is at the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State Community College.  After crossing Hardin Valley Road, the paved trail follows the Pellissippi Parkway to the south.  The sight and sound of the nearby traffic is counteracted–at least at this time of year–by the daffodils.
Pellissippi 2
Pellissippi 3
Pellissippi 4
At the end of the paved trail comes a mystery:  a staircase to nowhere.
pellissippi 5
 
If you climb to the top, you’ll find a narrow footpath that continues along a ridge for some time farther, but no signs whatsoever of anything these stairs might have been built to reach.  They are too old to have been built with greenway walkers in mind, and in fact I’m not sure that we are supposed to keep walking past this point although we always do.  We didn’t quite make it to the end, because there’s a steep descent that would have meant a steep ASCENT to return, but I think the footpath ends on the (private) grounds of Centerpoint Business Park (just as pretentious as it sounds and apparently still awaiting most of the businesses).
I’d guess the whole thing is about a mile long each way, and the stairs are the hardest part, so it’s a nice spring stroll for the not-so-fit.  I feel so lucky to live in Knoxville where although so much has been lost the “country” is still quickly and easily accessible from the “city.”
pellissippi 1