Here are the answers to the March 17 Five Poem Quiz
The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats (1965-1939). Such a black poem, but it spoke powerfully to me in adolescence, during the Cold War with its threat of nuclear annihilation.
The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) – still a relevant anthem to the anguish of youth and isolation of urban life. The stream-of-consciousness style is so engrossing.
If you love Eliot, here is a wonderful poetry memoir on Prufrock, from the New York Times
3. Last scene of all that ends this strange, eventful history,
is second childishness and mere oblivion.
I am sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Seven Ages of Man, As You Like It, Act 2 Scene 7, monologue – William Shakespeare (1564-1616). My brilliant Grade 5 teacher had us act out all seven stages, with costumes, providing an entry into the bard’s great works.
4. This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman (1819-1892) – One tiny excerpt from a section called This is What you Shall Do, in the long, controversial poetry collection. This poem has been a totem for me since I received the full collection as a tween.
5. You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
And Still I Rise, Maya Angelou (1928-2014) – One of the most meaningful poems about triumph I have ever read. The words are a reaction to so many universal themes – racism, brutality, sexism, failure, fear. Angelou speaks about its purpose on this video, then recites the poem.
Please feel free to share your own favourite lines in the comments section.