Thursday, March 15, 2018

Poetry Friday -- Eavan Boland

Happy Saint Patrick's Day...A bit o' the green has peeked through the cold breeze in Virginia. Today, I am preparing to spend time with Librarians in my region learning about ways of teaching and learning through librarianship.


Poetry Friday is hosted by poet, reader, grandmother, leader.....Linda Baie at Teacher Dance. Enjoy pearls of poetry she so graciously shares there. She's kicking off spring with some words from Robert Loveland.


I'm discovering Irish Poet, Eavan Boland (click on her name for video). Spoiler alert...she's great!

The Lost Art of Letter Writing (video here)
By Eavan Boland


The ratio of daylight to handwritingWas the same as lacemaking to eyesight.The paper was so thin it skinned air.
The hand was fire and the page tinder.Everything burned away except the onePlace they singled out between fingers
Held over a letter pad they set asideFor the long evenings of their leave-takings,Always asking after what they kept losing,
Always performing—even when a shadowFell across the page and they knew the answerWas not forthcoming—the same action:
First the leaning down, the pen becomingA staff to walk fields with as they vanishedUnderfoot into memory. Then the letting up,
read the rest

I was fortunate enough to be able to read some letters of my Irish ancestors after they made their way to New York. My Uncle has a beautiful collection of them and last summer I spent a few days enjoying the voices of people I wish I could have known. Eavan Boland really gets the Irish-American connection.







20 comments:

  1. I LOVE Eavan Boland's poetry, and glad you shared, as I need to brush up on it before our wee visit to Ireland this summer! You helped inspire my post for today, by the way... :0)

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  2. Oh, the sorrow of it, Linda, that "The lighter stroke, which brought back/Cranesbill and thistle" and more. She makes us ask good questions. Beautiful poem for all, but especially poets. Than you!

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  3. Linda, I found a link to Boland sharing about this poem and then reading it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3aVnei6MjY .. This line really stood out: "Always asking after what they kept losing,"

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    1. Oh, that's wonderful! I will share. Thank you

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  4. I've also read some words left by my Irish ancestors. I'll never forget their description of the sharks following the ships because so many had died on the journey. Just to arrive on these shores took fortitude.

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  5. Thanks for the lovely poem -- I know so little of Boland's work, and this is a real treat. How lucky to be able to read those letters from your Irish ancestors! Happy St. Paddy's Day!

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  6. Oh, this is lovely--and a new poet for me to meet! Thank you. Now I'm feeling the urge to sit down and write a letter. I used to write letters to many people, but I've fallen out of the habit with the convenience of email and Facebook and Snapchat and other forms of modern communication. I don't wish for any of them to go away (especially apps that let me video chat with my daughter in Englad), but I do wish to take time to write more letters, too.

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  7. Linda, this poem is so lovely and the first two lines reminds me of my roots: The ratio of daylight to handwriting
    Was the same as lacemaking to eyesight. My Nonnie from Italy made the most beautiful lace doilies that had an old world elegance. That art is lost as is handwriting. Question: Is it still there? is a haunting one for immigrants who traveled to this new land.

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  8. I was just thinking about how much has been lost with the decline of letter writing. This poem is beautiful and how lucky for you that you have access to letters from your ancestors. A year or so ago, I discovered some old letters my mother had written and I treasure them. I love so many lines in the poem you shared, but especially "The paper was so thin it skinned air" and that wonderful second verse. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Beautiful poem Linda, I especially enjoyed hearing Eavan Boland reading it–she added so much more to the meaning! And then hearing her interview–thanks for this rich blog post!

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  10. What a lovely poem - it harkens back to a different time and a different world view. Great blog post!

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  11. Terrific idea, posting Eavan Boland for St. Patrick's Day! Your post made me go look to see if I had posted her before (the name rang a bell) and I had paired her with Edna St Vincent Millay when I proposed having a March Madness Poetry Tournament (six days before Ed decided to do it, as it turns out!).

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  12. So interesting, Linda! I love the language and movement of this poem. I'm excited to read more from this poet!

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  13. Wow, so many memories and sensory details packed into that poem!

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  14. Oh Linda, what a wonderful poem! Thank you so much for sharing it! It brought tears the first time through, and I'm going to keep it open to read again.

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  15. Such a bittersweet poem. I love this perfect metaphor: "the pen becoming/A staff to walk fields with as they vanished/Underfoot into memory." How fortunate you are to have your ancestors' letters. We have some from the Swedish side of the family, but they're in Swedish! Maybe someday I'll find someone to translate them for us.

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  16. This is beautiful. I've always been enamoured with the art of letter writing, and so this is especially meaningful for me. :)

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  17. This is a wonderful poem! I especially like "the pen becoming/A staff to walk fields with". Thank you for sharing.

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  18. Such a gift this St. Patrick's Time post is, Linda. I love knowing more about you. And how connected several of us here are who have stories/photos/letters from Irish ancestors. Shout out to Brenda - that comment on the sharks following the ship is riveting & unforgettable. I didn't know of the poet Eavan Boland until this moment & with the luck o'the Irish, found my way here this morning. I cherish words on paper that arrive with a postal stamp & so want to spend more time with the section you've shared in this digital letter. Hope your librarian day of literature love was fun. More appreciations to you for leading me into great areas.

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Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!