04 February 2006

10 Poems I Love.

Not in any particular order, but these are the ten I could (and do) read time and again:

1. My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130) -- Shakespeare
2. Red Wheelbarrow -- William Carlos Williams
3. The Cremation of Sam McGee -- Robert W. Service
4. The Walrus and the Carpenter -- Lewis Carroll
5. Mending Wall -- Robert Frost
6. in Just -- e. e. cummings
7. Naming Mountains -- Stephen Scobie
8. Ars Poetica -- Archibald MacLeish
9. In a Station of the Metro -- Ezra Pound
10. Green Eggs and Ham -- Dr. Seuss

There are others of course, but these bubble to the front of my brain regularly and though I have memorized some of them, there are others which I find myself having to look up. Now, I have an online catalog!

All except for Naming Mountains.... but I am going to give you, fair readers, this sample of Stephen Scobie's funny and insightful poetic style. He has won the Governor General's Award and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada. I was lucky enough to take a class with him on modern literature and it kicked open my world to authors I would otherwise never have found and opened my ears to Bob Dylan. I owe an awful lot of my taste in literature to this one class, in fact. Naming Mountains was written in 1970 and is included in The Spaces in Between: Selected poems 1965-2001 (NeWest Press, 2003). My other favourite Stephen Scobie poem (and it was a real close call between the two) is Picasso's Radio, also in this collection.

Naming Mountains

It must have been tough --
I mean out West we've got
a lot of mountains. It took
some pretty fertile imaginations
to name them all. I think of
old explorers scratching their
heads, or wherever, and thinking
"What the heck can I call this one?"
Having run out of aunts,
uncles, sweethearts, passing
acquaintances, barmen, whores,
statesmen, animals, apt events,
moral abstractions, Indian names
(suggested by the guide), and still
saving up their own
names for a bigger one --
how many said "Mount
Horseshit!" and passed on,
out of the annals of

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