To Entertain A Company Of Words

One year
It’s Fourteenlines.blog One Year Anniversary

Life is too important to be taken seriously.

Oscar Wilde

Success
(From The Ladder of St. Augustine)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

We have not wings, we cannot soar;
But we have feet to scale and climb
By slow degrees, by more and more,
The cloudy summits of our time.

The mighty pyramids of stone
That wedge-like cleave the desert airs,
When nearer seen and better known,
Are but gigantic flights of stairs.

The distant mountains, that uprear
Their solid bastions of the skies,
Are crossed by pathways that appear
As we to higher levels rise.

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.


A year ago I sat down and decided to create a blog.  I had been thinking about it for awhile but didn’t know a thing about creating a website or using WordPress. I dove in head first and haven’t looked back. This is my 173 blog post. There have been nearly 6,500 visitors to Fourteenlines this past year. I have shared over 300 poems from 152 different poets with people from over 30 countries around the world.

What have I learned in the past year? Mostly that my appreciation for poetry continues to grow. Writing this blog is a self taught course in English literature. Surprisingly my obsession with sonnets is showing no sign of abating.  A testament to how deep the well of sonnets for exploration. Most importantly, one year into writing this blog I am still having fun!

I have given some thought to my goals with this blog, knowing that my creative pursuits tend to have a beginning, a middle and an end. I am shooting for 1,000 blog posts. At a pace of 3 postings a week this project will carry me onward for another 5 years.

In researching sonnets about writing for this anniversary edition, I came across the fine sonnet by Malcom Guite called Hospitality. I rather like his idea that some words are “shy and rare, unused to company” and must be coaxed out of the darker recesses of writer’s imaginations to take center stage on the starkest of white stages.

To read the entire blog in which the sonnet Hospitality is published click on this link:

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/entertaining-words-a-sonnet-about-writing/


Hospitality

by Malcom Guite

I turn a certain key within its wards,
Unlock my doors and set them open wide
To entertain a company of words.
Whilst some come early and with eager stride
Others must be enticed and coaxed a little,
The shy and rare, unused to company,
Who’ll need some time to feel at home and settle.
I bid them welcome all, I make them free
Of all that’s mine, and they are good to me,
I set them in the order they like best
And listen for their wisdom, try to learn
As each unfolds the other’s mystery.
And though we know each word is my free guest,
They sometimes leave a poem in return.

My Eager Heart of Fire

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The Bliss of A Summer Camp-Fire

 

Heed me, feed me, I am hungry, I am red-tongued with desire;
Boughs of balsam, slabs of cedar, gummy fagots of the pine,
Heap them on me, let me hug them to my eager heart of fire,
Roaring, soaring up to heaven as a symbol and a sign……

Excerpt from The Song of the Camp-fire by William Service

Life is good.  Summer life in Minnesota can be extravagant in its simplicity.  Friday night I grilled sweet corn, ate outside on the patio and afterwards enjoyed a summer backyard campfire. We are in that sweet spot of June; the mosquitos are almost non-existent, the fire flies have hatched and highlight the growing darkness and the temperature was cool enough that you could enjoy a bit of heat emanating off the coals.   We toasted marsh-mellows, ate a couple of smores (roasted marshmallows between graham crackers with a bit of a chocolate bar), sipped a glass of red wine and talked through our week, realizing how incredibly lucky we are to be alive.

There is something pleasantly visceral pleasant about watching a fire die down, as the fading light turns to darkness. There is more than just smoke that rises into the evening sky,  as anxiety and stress follow it on its winding path high above the tree tops.  The smell of ash and smoke a reminder of our more primitive selves when fire was the primary source of energy of human endeavors. There are few things as peaceful as a campfire, when there are no responsibilities for a moment, other than to feed a log or two to keep it going and experience the fellowship of life with those that gather with you, in circle, to share its flames.


Sonnet Li

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Not without fire can any workman mould
The iron to his preconceived design,
Nor can the artist without fire refine
And purify from all its dross the gold;
Nor can revive the phoenix, we are told,
Except by fire. Hence if such death be mine
I hope to rise again with the divine,
Whom death augments, and time cannot make old.
O sweet, sweet death! O fortunate fire that burns
Within me still to renovate my days,
Though I am almost numbered with the dead!
If by its nature unto heaven returns
This element, me, kindled in its blaze,
Will it bear upward when my life is fled.