TBPL Staff Poetry Favourites

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re featuring the favourite poems or poets of Thunder Bay Public Library Staff.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, adult services librarian, couldn’t pick just one poem:

I nominate The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot and Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden.  Please don’t make me choose!  I’ve loved them both for years as I find both transport me to an entirely different place and time. Both underscore the importance of perspective in how we see things.

tumblr - icarus
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Peter Brueghel

Musee des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Brueghel’s Icarus for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

WH Auden

Click here to read The Love Song of J Alfred Purlock online, and here to place your holds on books by or about these authors at TBPL.

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