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Michael Harmon Scottsdale, AZ / United States, Male, 69
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12/14/2009 11:08:00 PM
12/14/2009 10:54:00 PM

Michael Harmon's last comments on poems and poets

  • POEM: All Things Will Die by Alfred Lord Tennyson (12/1/2009 12:24:00 PM)

    Everyone faces (or, until it happens, denies) this issue. All poets eventually address it in their work, sometimes over and over again; and since there are really only two major themes, love and death, anyway, addressing it over and over again should not be all that surprising. Nonetheless, 'joyance', Tennyson has addressed it here. I may opine further, however, that, though there are some pretty lines here, he has not necessarily done it in a most memorable way in this particular poem.

  • POEM: A Letter From Italy by Joseph Addison (11/28/2009 10:29:00 AM)

    This is an end-stopped Erebus in verse, a rhyming-couplet catastrophe.
    Addison's forte was criticism, not poetry.

    The critical line here is:

    'But I've already troubled you too long, '

  • POEM: Conscience by Henry David Thoreau (11/21/2009 2:01:00 PM)

    I believe both Kevin Straw and Guybrush Threepwood have valid points. My two cents would be the following.

    Crudely-done didacticism is, well, crudely-done, and subject to rejection simply on that basis. Didacticism, however, need not, as in the above example, be so blatantly budgeoning, and need not, in itself, be detrimental.

    Here is some didacticism from the Tao Te Ching (Chapter 61) :

    A great nation is like a great man:
    When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
    Having realized it, he admits it.
    Having admitted it, he corrects it.
    He considers those who point out his faults
    as his most benevolent teachers.
    He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts.

    Here is some from the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter XIV. The Three Gunas) :

    Sattwa the shining
    Can show the Atman
    By its pure light:
    Yet sattwa will bind you
    To search for happiness,
    Longing for knowledge.

    Rajas the passionate
    Will make you thirsty
    For pleasure and possession:
    Rajas will bind you
    To hunger for action.

    Tamas the ignorant
    Bewilders all men:
    Tamas will bind you
    With bonds of delusion,
    Sluggishness, stupor.

    And here from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3.1-8) :

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
    A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
    A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

    And from The Koran(I believe this is from Verse 1, Surah: 14 –Ibrahim) :

    A good word is like a good tree whose root is firmly fixed and whose top is in the sky.

    To my mind, all the above excerpts are poetry, and didacticism done well, in other words, meant to enlighten and not to bludgeon.

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