Intro to Poetry
In the beginning
I’ll tell you how the Sun rose —
The lies I could tell
Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit;
Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Of bodies chang’d to various forms, I sing:
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How we have heard of the might of the kings.
I am the essence of powwow, I am
The whiskey on your breath.
When I have fears that I may cease to be,
I Celebrate myself, and sing myself.
Had we but world enough, and time,
I’d sing of Love in such a novel fashion.
Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
What needs my Shakespeare for his honour’d Bones?
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
In the end, I made myself.
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me:
Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
There is a place where the sidewalk ends.
Who will go drive with Fergus now?
He sang of life, serenely sweet,
He ate and drank the precious Words —
I have eaten.
Let us go then, you and I –
The sea is calm to-night.
© 2014 Bill Lord
Intro to Poetry includes lines from the following texts, listed in the order they appear:
The Bible, “Genesis” – unknown author; “I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose” – Emily Dickinson; “White Lies” – Natasha Trethewey; Paradise Lost – John Milton; “The Harlem Dancer” – Claude McKay; “The Weary Blues” – Langston Hughes; Metamorphoses – Ovid; “Mutability” – Percy Bysshe Shelley; Beowulf – unknown author; from The Native American Broadcasting System – Sherman Alexie; “My Papa’s Waltz” – Theodore Roethke; “When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be” – John Keats; “I Celebrate Myself, and Sing Myself” – Walt Whitman; “To his Coy Mistress” – Andrew Marvell; “Sonnet 131” – Petrarch; “Sonnet 115” – William Shakespeare (and no one else!); “On Shakespeare” – John Milton; The Odyssey – Homer; “Circe’s Grief” – Louise Glück; “Piano” – D. H. Lawrence; “Who Goes with Fergus?” William Butler Yeats; “The Poet” – Paul Laurence Dunbar; “He Ate and Drank the Precious Words” – Emily Dickinson; “To the Virgins, to make much of Time” – Robert Herrick; “Where the Sidewalk Ends” – Shel Silverstein; “This is Just to Say” – William Carlos Williams; “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” – T. S. Eliot; and “Dover Beach” – Matthew Arnold
Bill Lord is an adjunct faculty member at Northern Virginia Community College, where he teaches Composition and Literature. When he is not teaching, Bill spends a ridiculous amount of time grading papers with his cat, Leonidas; when he isn’t doing that, Bill sings, and plays guitar/keyboards with his brother, who sings and plays drums. If there’s any time left, Bill writes whatever fragments of fiction and poetry he can scrape out of his big, round head. This is the first poem Bill has ever published.