March 18, 2006

Poetry festival selections III

Laura has two choices as well, though instead of fitting into the lyrical or narrative category, her first choice, part of the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V has been slotted into the solos section under Shakespeare, for 8 and under; she was inspired last summer during our very long Shakespearean rabbit trail at the end of SOTW3, when she got the chance to watch my old video of the Kenneth Branagh production. Her Canadian choice is by Sir Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943), known as the "father of Canadian poetry" for his inspiration to those who followed, including his cousin Bliss Carman (1861-1929), considered by many of his contemporaries as Canada's unofficial poet laureate. Roberts, Carman, two others -- Archibald Lampman and Duncan Campbell Scott -- were known as the "Confederation poets". Which is much more about Canadian poetry than I knew several months ago!

Excerpt from the St. Crispin's Day speech,
from Henry V by William Shakespeare

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

The Brook in February
by Charles G.D. Roberts

A snowy path for squirrel and fox,
It winds between the wintry firs.
Snow-muffled are its iron rocks,
And o’er its stillness nothing stirs.

But low, bend low a listening ear!
Beneath the mask of moveless white
A babbling whisper you shall hear
Of birds and blossoms, leaves and light.

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