Love and Death–Lord Alfred Tennyson

Now, trust me when I say I am not a poet.  I’m not.  The occasional poetry that I do attempt to write doesn’t usually turn out too well (A perfect example of that can be seen in my post Lights).  However, on occasion, I do enjoy reading poetry.  Coincidentally, I happen to have two volumes of Tennyson’s poems that, until recently, I had never even opened.  As it so happened, when I did eventually open the first volume, this is the poem that I opened to.  And it just so happened that I love it (no pun intended).  So, I just wanted to share this lovely poem with the lovely blogosphere (if that is what it’s called).  Enjoy!

Love and Death

What time the mighty moon was gathering light

Loved paced the thymy plots of Paradise,

And all about him rol’d his lustrous eyes;

When, turning round a cassia, full in view,

Death, walking all alone beneath a yew,

And talking to himself, first met his sight:

“You must begone,” said Death, “these walks are mine.”

Love wept and spread his sheeny vans for flight;

Yet ere he parted said, “This hour is thine;

Thou art the shadow of life, and as the tree

Stands in the sun and shadows all beneath,

So in the light of great eternity

Life eminent creates the shade of death:

The shadow passeth when the tree shall fall,

But I shall reign forever over all.”

~Lord Alfred Tennyson

For some strange, possibly depressing, and definitely cryptic reason, I have always enjoyed works of literature that personify death. This poem in particular I enjoyed because it strongly reminded me of J.K. Rowling’s A Tale of Two Brothers, told in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (if you don’t know it, I highly suggest looking it up and comparing the two).  Death acted in an almost identical manner in this poem and in Rowling’s tale.  Plus, in both works, Death deals with a yew tree.  Is yew a sign of death?  Maybe that’s something I should look up.  But either way, I think it quite likely that Ms. Rowling has read this poem, she being who she his and Lord Tennyson being who he was.

To continue on the poem topic, I like how Love accepts the setback placed in front of him by Death, and stays confident in his supremacy despite Death’s eminent powers.  That general idea, I think, can easily be used to examine life today.  One must realize that life will have its setbacks, and despite the many misfortunes (and deaths) that we will encounter throughout it, there will always be some sort of goodness and love to lighten the earth, and to ease the load.

Now that I’ve attempted to get all philosophical, I should probably go away and do some homework.  Ugh.  Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy the Tennyson!

 Claire Marie
Post Script: I love Les Mis :)

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