My favorite poet of all time is Daniel Hugh Verder. I found his book, A Book of Lyrics, at my local used book store a few years ago. He writes poems about flowers, birds, beautiful men, and how much he loves writing poetry and being a poet. He really speaks to me because I too love all those things and like to read poems about them. He's practically unknown, because a google search of his name will only yield amazon pages for one of his books. I did some searching on my own a few years ago and was able to unearth a fair amount of information about him because of all the public records that bear his name. I know when and where he was born, the members of his family, what he did as a profession, and where he went to school. His college, Trinity college, has all of their yearbooks on file, which was a true blessing because I was able to find a picture of him (!!!) using my expert detective skills and because he wrote a poem about graduating from college in 1899. He's a very cool guy, and its really sad that his works aren't more widespread and well known. So I'm taking it upon myself to share them with you today. Specifically, I'm going to be sharing two poems that I myself feel a special cosmic connection too, and then talk about them in a very sophisticated and graceful poetry analysis that would make any English teacher proud.
Books and Life
I like to hear a poet sing
Of jasmine white or golden;
But I had rather smell the blooms,
And be to them beholden.
I like to hear a story told
Of cunning or of daring;
But I had rather be afield,
And in the danger sharing.
Oh, books are good; oh books are fine;
And I their sincere lover,
But life itself is dearer far
The wide world over.
One Thing I Ask
I am resigned to turn to dust and mold;
The winter of my life is drear and cold.
I ask no immortality, no fame,
Nor that I be remembered by my name.
One thing I ask, and that a little thing:
My heart forget not ever how to sing.
I love the first poem because I too am a sincere lover of books, but also a sincere lover of life and experience. I like to go places, and smell wildflowers, and hear the birds chirping, and feel the real life sun shining on my face. I think too often we all get caught up not just in books and poems and songs, but in travel diaries and vlogs and tumblr pages. We sit around and become witnesses too often. We like to see people creating art and bullet journals and playing instruments and getting their hair cut, and we glorify this and reblog it and even set it as our home screen, but we never go out and do it. We never share in the danger or smell the blossoms. I think Daniel Hugh Verder did a really good job capturing that feeling of sitting on the sidelines and witnessing all the great things we see and read, but he took it a step further and instead glorified the action of getting up and doing something, rather than sitting back and wishing that you had.
The second poem is equally as beautiful and something that I always make a point to remember. The purpose of this life shouldn't rest in materialistic things like fame and glory, but instead in living life fully, and happily, or as Daniel Hugh Verder puts it, making sure your heart doesn't forget how to sing. Like the first poem, 'One Thing I Ask' also speaks on a topic relevant to today's society. Many people are very focused on gaining power and fame, especially with YouTube and other types of social media creating celebrities out of normal people. The purpose of this life has been warped by this access to fame and influence, and we get caught up in the noise and in the thrill of it all and let it cloud our vision on whats really important. Daniel Hugh Verder brings us all back to what really matters, and that is pure, honest enjoyment of life.
I read this article and felt inspired to follow it's advice and find some poems that I really connected with, and what I found were these two. I liked 'Books and Life' because I wanted to incorporate more doing in my life and less watching, and that poem inspired me to do just that. In fact, this summer I'm undertaking a massive project to see all the beautiful parts of my home state, so I'm no longer just wistfully looking at pictures of people taking road trips, I'm out there doing it. The second poem spoke to me because it reminds me of the reason we're all here doing what we're doing, and that fame and influence don't matter when compared to the value of doing what really makes you happy. This blog is a solid example of that. We're a very small operation over here on Little Egg and Carrot, but we love what we do and that's what keeps us going, and that's what matters most.
I encourage you all to read the article, its very short and very interesting, and hopefully you'll follow its advice too and set out on an epic search to find poetry that really speaks to your soul. If not that, I encourage you all to read some poetry, since all of it is beautiful and poignant and important to read, and when you don't have to analyze metaphors and imagery, it can be fun too.
Keep watch for a part two to this post coming next Friday, and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest! Have an awesome weekend!
Verder, Daniel Hugh. A Book of Lyrics. New York: Nelson, 1927. Print.
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