To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I looked up Sara Teasdale the other day, because it crossed my mind to wonder about her poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains", and the Ray Bradbury story it inspired; and to wonder whether she was thinking about nuclear holocaust when she wrote it. It turns out she died in 1933, so most likely not. But I ran across this little thing she wrote:

The Look

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.

- Sara Teasdale

And it reminded me of this, by A. E. Housman, included in his collection entitled A Shropshire Lad:

When I Was One-and-Twenty

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

- A. E. Housman

Teasdale was American, and Housman, English. But their lives spanned the same time period: 1884 - 1933 for her, 1859 - 1936 for him. I think the poems' similarity has to do with the simplicity of the language and the wry, gentle humor each has, as well as the fact that there's obviously a story not being told here.

There's a terrific discussion of Bradbury's story here. I like the part about how the story parallels the poem.


DMG said...

Hi Laura,

Didn't know where to put this comment. Even though we disagree alot over at Cobb, I just want you to know that I will try to the best of my ability not to sink to personal insults, and I hope your signing off doesn't mean you are leaving for good.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Thanks for the comment, dmg. I just can't see letting myself in for more abusive crap from that person. I'd worry about the mental health of anybody who did, seriously. But I enjoyed our discussions. See you around.