Three Poems

I’ve been working on this blog post for more than two weeks. To make it happen, I spent a lot of time and I

  • Copied three poems into my notebook (1 long one, 1 medium length, and 1 short one)
  • Set up a new Blogger web site
  • Made myself a bit crazier than I was before I started the process

Was it worth it? I think so. Here’s what the “it” is.

One of my all-time favorite poems is, Ode 536, Intimations of Immortality, by William Wordsworth. Another is, DEROS: My Soul, by Steve Mason, from his book Johnny’s Song (out of print but you can still find copies). Recently, I reread DEROS. As I was reading it, I had an idea, combine lines from each of the poems to make one poem, since they share a theme – the origin, death, and rediscovery of the soul.

I didn’t have a clue what that would look like, so I decided to find out. First I copied them into my notebook – a technique I often use to make sure I understand something that I really want to understand (that’s why I’ve copied the book, The Tao of Power, six times, from cover-to-cover, and I’m about to start a seventh copy).

Since Intimations of Immortality is the longest of the poems, I started with it. Somewhere around line 190, it hit me that there is another poem on my noteworthy list that should be added to the project, Rainer Maria Rilke’s short poem that I call, The Church in the East, since Rilke elected not to give it a name. So, I finished copying Intimations, then I copied DEROS, and finally I copied The Church in the East. Then I counted the lines in The Church in the East, since it is the shortest, by far, of the three. There are only fifteen of them, plus two line breaks. Fifteen lines became my target. I found fifteen lines, of the 240 lines of Intimations of Immortality, that I wanted to use and did the same for DEROS (though that meant leaving out my three favorite lines). Then, by alternating the three sets of lines, I created the poem that was in my mind from the beginning.

I read the results, liked it, but realized it needed something – a way to distinguish one poem from the others. So, I decided to color code them. If you use WordPress, you know the next problem that I encountered. If you don’t use WordPress, the problem is no color fonts. That was fairly easy to overcome. I used Blogger for years before I set up my first WordPress site, so I knew that I could change font color there. I thought about using one my existing Blogger sites but decided instead to I set up a new blog. I call it Noteworthy Poems.

Before you follow the link to the 45 lines, here’s the color code: Red – Rilke, Black – Wordsworth, and Blue – Mason.

I posted the forty-five lines there, and then I posted the full text of each of the poems in separate posts: Wordsworth, 536 Ode, Mason DEROS: My Soul, and Rilke, Church in the East.

The links will take you to each one.

Let me know what you think about the results, or anything else you’d like to let me know about.

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One Response to Three Poems

  1. Bert Carson

    Jo VonBargen
    How beautifully you have connected the dots here, Bama!! This makes for a truly awesome, memorable work. How perfectly it tugs on the heartstrings, and knits together all the senses in a wondrous act of remembering, of learning, of growing. Outstanding effort, my lovely friend!! I am so in awe of you!!
    Bert Carson recently posted…Three PoemsMy Profile

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