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My Favorite Poem blog

Asking about a favorite poem is like asking about a favorite food, as so much depends on mood and setting and what one has a taste for at the moment. My most dog-eared volumes include my collections of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Lord Byron, and A.B. "Banjo" Paterson. One of Paterson's poems—"A Song of the Pen"—is posted on my refrigerator, it's conclusion, that for writers, "Work is it's own reward," eliciting a smile every time I stop and scan the verse. But favorite poem. I think there is more tied up in that idea than just what I like. The poem to which I keep returning is the one my father used to always quote—the one that he loved so much that, even as Alzheimer's disease stole everything else, including at times my name, he could still recite until almost the end of life. It resonates for me not just because he loved it, but also because it describes the kind of unshakable love he demonstrated. It runs through my mind frequently, and brings tears to my eyes more readily than any other. It is Shakespeare's Sonnet 116.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 

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Billy Shakes

When I am down I pull out a copy of Shakespeare's sonnets -- really beautiful copy with color illustrations on each page -- and am always wowed by the power to reach through the centuries.

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Love the Bard

Yes -- our Mr. Shakespeare knew life, love, and human nature very well, and his work still speaks powerfully.

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something in common

The same thing was true for my grandfather, who also had Alzheimer's. The poem he was still reciting on his 100th (and final) birthday was "The Raven," by Edgar Allen Poe. This may tell us something about the power of poetry, hmmm? : ) Thanks for your post.

Peace.

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power of poetry

I agree, Evie. It does say something about the power of poetry. I wonder what we'll be reciting as we fade.