Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Aurora Lee, seventh book
Earth is crammed with summer heaven in Maine, as Molly so beautifully shows us in her Poetry Friday post today. Be sure to read her “Summer, Ten Times.”
I’ve been reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning this week. The quote above is taken from the seventh of nine books in her epic poem Aurora Lee. I love that passage so much, and I’ve been inspired by it for years. However, before this week, I never remember learning about Aurora Lee (1856), one of the first ever English novels in verse. I wasn’t sure I would be able to get into it, but after reading the first few lines, I was mesmerized:
Of writing many books there is no end;
And I who have written much in prose and verse
For others’ uses, will write now for mine,—
Will write my story for my better self,
As when you paint your portrait for a friend,
Who keeps it in a drawer and looks at it
Long after he has ceased to love you, just
To hold together what he was and is.
I, writing thus, am still what men call young;
I have not so far left the coasts of life
To travel inland, that I cannot hear
That murmur of the outer Infinite
Which unweaned babies smile at in their sleep
When wondered at for smiling; not so far…
You can read or download the whole epic poem as a Kindle or EPUB or other format free at Project Gutenburg.
A Golden Shovelful of Heaven
the mystery of sweet earth’s
bliss and beauty is still crammed
full of crude confusion, with
scandalous prayers to heaven
Tomorrow the monthly Ethical ELA Open Write begins. Have you considered joining in, checking out the five prompts for poetry writing each month? On this site, you can listen to an encouraging and welcoming video from teacher-poet Stacey Joy. The prompts will be posted here starting at 7:00 a.m. Central time on Saturday, 17 July and proceeding through Wednesday. See poster below.
Did you remember we’ve been invited to join the dichotomy villanelle challenge with #PoetryPals. It happens in two weeks. Read about it here on Tanita’s blog. I also wanted to share this useful tool again that helps you keep track of all those lines: Villanelle Village – I find it helpful!