Monday, October 12, 2015

Poem of the Week 10.12.15


I know I was supposed to contribute a poem of my mother's this week, but the den of the cloistered has yet to be breached, so stay tuned for a possible verse cameo later on in the semester. Since I waited until the last (least irritating) minute for a chance to acquire said poem, I scrambled for a replacement. It only took a 15-minute search through my feelings library before I found (and remembered with enormous delight) this one:

Solitude by Lord Byron
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude! 

Almost every online critique, commentary, and analysis of this poem seem to be collectively using it as proof of Lord Byron's (arguable) ostentatious, pretentious, and maudlin poetic style. Well, sucks to your assmar, foul academics! Literature noob though I am, this piece of verse is especially close to my heart.
~Pondering~ life (or... just eating an apple & trying to be artistic)

I often kid that my preferred major would be "Mountain Hermit." A visit to Mount Leconte Lodge in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer made that statement less of a joke. The lodge sits atop the tallest, but not the highest (don't assume I know the difference) mountain in the park, reachable only by foot. It has no electricity or running water. People drink out of a water pump; food and other such supplies are air-lifted in when necessary. My parents surprised this 7 mile, nearly vertical climb (14 miles round trip) on the next to last day of our vacation in the national park. On the way up, my Romantic heart's soppy sighs were drowned out by my screaming calves. At the summit, I nearly exercised my 19-year-old "I am an adult now and these here are my adult choices" card with my parents as I witnessed a film of my own life's older self sitting under gas lamps on that porch in the clouds with my bottomless cup of hot cocoa (and bears literally two feet away but let's ignore that), gray hair swishing in the wind and all that.

"Dear Lord," you say to me, "Alex, you are not Lord Byron."

To which I reply: "But that bottomless hot cocoa though."

Lettuce pretend that the white male is invisible

There is a point to me writing about this rustic hotel. In it, I had confirmed the existence of a tangible place that echoed the aesthetic and setting in which my thoughts reside. That, readers, is a gift. Especially to a person who spends the vast majority of her time longing for something or somewhere else like a paper moon version of a Murakami character. 

You have read Lord Byron's poem; you have bypassed perhaps 5 months of small talk friendship with me. I hospitably welcome you, pineapple doormat and all, to the real unreal Leconte Lodge of my mind.

Where did this poem send you? Let's talk about that.


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