#AtoZChallenge ‘B’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘She Walks in Beauty’ #NPM17

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.


Today I offer you Treading on Stars by Luccia Gray, and She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron.

Today I’m Treading on Stars because dreams can also be beautiful…

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Treading On Stars

Treading on stars

On her way to the moon,

Swishing her dress

As she glides through the sky.

Catching her hair

As it flies in the wind,

Wrapping her eyes like a scarf.

Still she flies through the heavens,

Bursting with hope,

On her way to the moon,

But the warmth of the sun,

Unyielding and cruel,

Dissolves her last breath,

As she carries her beauty

Back into the dawn.

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She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron (1815)

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellow’d to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impair’d the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

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Lord Byron is considered one of the most representative poets of the romantic movement in England, and this short and intense poem, “She Walks in Beauty” is one of his most powerful works. The emphasis of the Romantic poets was on the writer’s spontaneous response to sensual stimulation. Byron isn’t interested in describing the lady’s clothes or her features, instead he tells us the feelings seeing her evoke, and allows readers to reach their own conclusion.

The lady is dark, like the night, she has dark hair, ‘raven tresses’, and she’s probably also wearing black or dark clothes, yet she also has sparkling jewellery and eyes, which light up her appearance.  She’s angelic, graceful and unreachable, as if she were a perfect goddess in heaven, looking down at mortals. The last three lines have always led me to imagine that perhaps he’s describing a woman who has died, ‘a mind at peace with all below’. The main idea is that feminine beauty is not based on external riches or physical appearance, but on symmetry, inner charm, peace and goodness.

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#3linethursday: Mary’s Monster

This post was written in response to this weeks’ Three Line Thursday prompt.

Week-3-Bruce

Picture by Bruce

 

Mary’s Monster 

 

A spark gave life to the monster in her mind,

The twisted ink from her quill ignited the blaze,

Her fingers drew the blood which spilled onto the parchment.

 

On 31 October 1831, the first revised edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus, was published. This version, which was revised by the author, is the one mostly published and read version of this classic horror story, which also has gothic, romantic, fantasy and even science fiction elements.

FrankensteinDraft

Draft of “Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

 

We have all heard versions of the story of Frankenstien’s birth. It goes something like this:

During the rainy summer of 1816, there was a long, cold, volcanic winter caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora. Mary Shelley, aged 18 at the time, and her lover, and later husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, were visiting Lord Byron at his villa by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Sitting around a log fire during the unusually cold and rainy summer, they amused themselves by reading ghost stories. Byron then suggested they each write a ghost story.

800px-RothwellMaryShelley

Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell – Scan of a print. Original housed at the National Portrait Gallery.

 

The short story Mary Shelley started that chilly summer evening became Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which was first published in three volumes, anonymously, on 11 March 1818 by a small London publishing house.

It has become one of my favourite novels, and one of the most well-known 19th century literary creations. Frankenstein’s influence on modern culture and psyche is easily recognisable and understandable.

800px-Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)

Frankenstein’s monster by actor Boris Karloff (Universal Studios)

Our rebellion against the inevitability of death and loss, and the need, albeit the futility, of rebellion, is a recurrent theme in life and literature.

Shakespeare knew literature was our only hope of influencing, and perhaps even living, beyond our short mortal lives:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

(From Sonnet 18)

I’m currently reading, and enjoying,  as part of Rosie’s Book Review TeamAlmost Invincible a biographical novel about the life of of Mary Shelley, which I’ll be reviewing shortly.

Almost Invincible.1