225. April Midnight: Arthur Symons

Another poem and poet I do not know.  Welcome to National Poetry Month!

The one photograph that makes him look like he has a personality--Victorian photographers were not into capturing souls
Arthur Symons

The Victorian poem Arthur Symons was the choice of our local high school’s Poetry Out Loud representative, Casey Ober.  She went to the state competition and made the Top 10 regional finalists.  She coupled it with Suzanne Buffam’s Enough”, a pair of starkly different offerings.

There are many things I don’t like about Poetry Out Loud, but the same could be said about poetry slams or shape poems.  All three, though, have more going for them than their faults.  For Poetry Out Loud, I like that they memorize the poems.  Perform the poems.  And, most important, pick poems that mean something to them that they did not write.  Writing is important, but so is finding the words of those who came before us.

Click Poetry Out Loud to get to the site.  Check out the videos and advice and lists.  You  can get random poems to read generated by clicking hereYou  can get random poems to read generated by clicking here.  Know that Poetry Out Loud is for high school students, so some poems might be difficult or of a mature nature.

As for Symons, I’d challenge my student brood to pick out a single element that makes something true.  Spring.  Chopping wood.  Baking.  Twisting an ankle.  Capture the experience with words and phrases.  Then order them to create an image.  Finally, tell a story that extends from the image, not from the beginning or end.

April Midnight
Arthur Symons

Side by side through the streets at midnight,
Roaming together,
Through the tumultuous night of London,
In the miraculous April weather.

Roaming together under the gaslight,
Day’s work over,
How the Spring calls to us, here in the city,
Calls to the heart from the heart of a lover!

Cool to the wind blows, fresh in our faces,
Cleansing, entrancing,
After the heat and the fumes and the footlights,
Where you dance and I watch your dancing.

Good it is to be here together,
Good to be roaming,
Even in London, even at midnight,
Lover-like in a lover’s gloaming.

You the dancer and I the dreamer,
Children together,
Wandering lost in the night of London,
In the miraculous April weather.


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