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22 March, 2020 04:45:02 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 March, 2020 04:45:53 PM

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Coronavirus: 10 poets you must read during self-quarantine

Independent Online/ Hindustan Times
Coronavirus: 10 poets you must read during self-quarantine

 

Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry -- Thomas Mann, Death in Venice and Other Tales. Coronavirus pandemic has forced us away from the cacophony of our regular, outside world. 

It has made us take shelter inside the confines of our homes, scared, waiting for the tide to turn over. And while it is trying times indeed -- with the best minds trying to figure out a way to halt a never-before-seen illness -- our self-proclaimed isolation has also given us enough time to reflect, ponder and simply see what we often overlook.

And if you are stuck at home, wallowing in your isolation, there are some wonderful poems out there that will teach you to celebrate solitude.

William Wordsworth:

The English poet behind such verses like I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, has written poems that perfectly captures the beauty of nature, something we miss while busy in our professional lives.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils...

William Shakespeare:

The Bard who is best known for his works of drama also penned innumerable sonnets, each of which are gems in their own right.

Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 29 about an outcast state, which perfectly captures the essence of solitude, before going on to reflect on the love of a Fair Youth.

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

(Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Alexander Pope:

Written by Pope when he was barely 12, the poem Ode on Solitude encapsulates the essence of solitude, calling it a blessed thing of life.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find

Hours, days, and years slide soft away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

Quiet by day…

Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

The poet had written the This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison in 1797 when his wife had accidentally dropped a skillet of boiling milk, forcing him to be confined while friends went for walks. During isolation, he penned the poem.

Well, they are gone, and here must I remain,

This lime-tree bower my prison! I have lost

Beauties and feelings, such as would have been

Most sweet to my remembrance even when age

Had dimm’d mine eyes to blindness!

John Keats:

One of the most read Romantic poets, Keats had written To Solitude when he was only 19. He had said that if he must be alone, he would rather be in pleasant surroundings rather than being close to murky buildings.

O solitude! if I must with thee dwell,

Let it not be among the jumbled heap

Of murky buildings

Edgar Allan Poe:

While he is known more for his tales of macabre and the gothic, Poe is also the man who wrote the poem Alone speaking about loving a beloved -- alone.

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow—I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone—

And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone …

Pablo Neruda:

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote his landmark collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair before he had turned 21. He wrote poignant verses like Tonight I can Write the Saddest Lines and Ode to Silence.

For once on the face of the earth,

let’s not speak in any language;

let’s stop for one second,

and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment...

Philip Larkin:

His Verse de Societe is a light and witty piece that talks about the difficulty of finding some alone time.

Funny how hard it is to be alone.

I could spend half my evenings, if I wanted,  

Holding a glass of washing sherry, canted  

Over to catch the drivel of some bitch  

Who’s read nothing but Which;

Just think of all the spare time that has flown

Straight into nothingness by being filled  

With forks and faces…

Emily Dickinson:

The poetess had written powerful verses about loneliness and solitude, best exemplified in The Loneliness One Dare Not Sound.

The Loneliness One dare not sound—

And would as soon surmise

As in its Grave go plumbing

To ascertain the size—

Robert Duncan:

The American poet who is known for his prominence in the history of pre-Stonewall gay culture and in the emergence of Bohemian socialist communities, wrote Childhood’s Retreat which speaks of solitude that is fearful, high and pushing the poet to “shaking uncertainties.”

It’s in the perilous boughs of the tree  

out of blue sky    the wind  

sings loudest surrounding me.

And solitude,   a wild solitude

’s reveald,   fearfully,   high     I’d climb  

into the shaking uncertainties…

BK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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