6 different moods in poetry that I love 

There are so many emotions and moods that the poetic form expresses, bringing us closer to the deeper feelings within. Here are some of the poems that I love for the moods they evoke. 

1. Love, the emotion that makes the world go round. In How do I love thee, let me count the ways by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the poet talks of love in many different ways. This sonnet is about the quality of love, the sublime heights and the unfathomable depths of feeling. It is about the beloved and yet it transcends a person. The spectrum of love that the poem covers is amazing and is described so maturely. 

I love thee to the level of everyday’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle light. 

Read the complete love sonnet here

2. Transcience, as depicted by time, the great healer, the quicksilver entity, the unit that we use to measure our lives. Time can be fickle, it can be on our side and it can slip away while we wonder what happened. Dog Days by Derek Mahon examines the ways we live our lives, how days seem never ending and yet the years fly by. It hints at the regret men have as they dream and never get down to doing the things that they dream of. Simply, gently, the poet reminds us of the clock that is ticking away. 

When you stop to consider

The days spent dreaming of a future 

And say then, that was my life. 

Read the complete poem here

3. Pretension, the thing we do when we try to come up to others expectations and the norms set by society. In the little epigram, To Someone Who Insisted I look Up Someone by X. J. Kennedy, in just three lines, the poet talks of travel, friends and pomposity. Humour and brevity marry! 

Read the poem with another two epigrams here

4. Acceptance, what we as humans need the most. Love, appreciation and acceptance are what we crave for. This poem, Masks by Shel Silverstein, written for children, has a profound message for adults as well. It underscores acceptance; self acceptance, acceptance of others and knowledge that should be shared. 

5. Absurdity, the implausible and the incomprehensible. Much of poetry is like that to the readers especially when the verses are profound. And yet, written for children, The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Caroll, the absurd and the impossible happen through the story of a walrus, a carpenter and oysters. There is personification of these characters and the nonsense verses are fun. This narrative poem is recited by Tweedledee and Tweedledum to the protagonist Alice, in the book, Through the Looking Glass. 

The sea was wet as wet could be, 

The sands were dry as dry. 

You could not see a cloud, because 

No cloud was in the sky: 

No birds were flying overhead-

There were no birds to fly. 

Read this long poem here

6. Character as in Ethics, the principles that we live by. There is no comprehensive description of the guiding principles that a man ought to follow than in If by Rudyard Kipling. 

If you can keep your head when all about you 

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you 

Read this moving poem here

Which poems do you love the best? Do share your favourites! 

Friday Listicles‘, are running into their second month. It is a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

Let Me Count the Ways 

There are two kinds of people : the ones who make lists for everything and the ones who abhor list making. I firmly belong to category one. 

I feel that lists are made not just by type As but by perfectly normal procrastinators as well. List making is in fact an art form. 

    There is plenty of poetry in making lists. Lists and poetry put together remind me of the iconic sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning… How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 
    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
    I love thee to the level of everyday’s
    Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death. 

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

    Let me count the ways in which I love this sonnet. 

    • Before I was introduced to ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese ‘ the 44 sonnet sequence from which this 43rd sonnet has been taken, I read Pearl S. Buck’s short story of a plain, nondescript school teacher, leading a staid life, governed by routine. She gets a chance to play the poet Elizabeth, in a drama based on her life. Buck’s story is essentially about how a seemingly plain woman finds the wild passionate side of hers through playing that role. I loved the unpredictability of the tale as well as the astounding metamorphosis of a person. It created an aura of the great poet herself. I was intrigued by the life of the legendary poet who was widely read in her times (the sonnet was written between 1845-46 and published in 1850) and whose poetry transcends time. 
    • I am always impressed by the fact that Elizabeth wrote poetry that was deemed good by the male dominated literary society of the time. She was more popular than her husband Robert Browning, another notable poet. She conquered the male bastion of poetry, turning a very masculine poetic form to convey the feminine viewpoint. 
    • The Sonnet 43 from the Portuguese is about love, the quality of love, the sublime heights and the unfathomable depths of feeling. It is about the beloved and yet it transcends a person. 
    • There is so much maturity here. This is not merely a first crush or the fantastical musings of a love lorn person. There is romantic love which is grounded in the reality of an ‘everyday need ‘. 
    • I am always amazed by the spectrum of love presented in the sonnet. In just fourteen lines, the poet counts eleven ways in which she loves her beloved. From the poet’s ‘childhood faith’, it moves on to love beyond death. 
    • I love the idea that here is a woman expressing her love in a deeply powerful way. It is straightforward. It is philosophical. It is unapologetic. It is intellectual. The intense emotion is the most inescapable thing in her life, as is her breath. 
    • It is very comforting to read of a mature love that knows itself for what it is and knows its own power.

          Which is your favourite poem? I would love to hear from you.