This is a guest post from my delightful friend and all around great guy, David Litty. When David isn't avoiding studying for his Grad School exit exam, he can be found walking on the American River Parkway, tutoring students in the writing center at ARC, and engaging in the wholly productive act of computer gaming. ;-)
I love prosidy; while I make no pretention that formal poetry is superior to free verse (it is not as I do love Kinnell, Jeffers, and Dove etc), I merely prefer to read formal works as I respect a poet who can develop a well written poem despite limitations of line, meter, or form. No matter how much I like the so called New Formalists: Phillis Levin, Julia Alvarez, Marilyn Hacker, and the satires of Charles Martin or R.S. Gwynn, I always find myself returning to Edward Arlington Robinson.
Robinson's "The Garden" is what currently speaks to me. I have found that I never really thought about the decisions I made as a youth, or how the choices I made shaped me into the person I am today. Good or bad, I find today I reflect much on the "Fruitage of a life that was my own" and how those choices have affected not only me, but the lives of all I have encountered.
Edward Arlington Robinson
There is a fenceless garden overgrown
With buds and blossoms and all sorts of leaves;
And once, among the roses and the sheaves,
The Gardener and I were there alone.
He led me to the plot where I had thrown
The fennel of my days on wasted ground,
And in that riot of sad weeds I found
The fruitage of a life that was my own.
My life! Ah, yes, there was my life, indeed!
And there were all the lives of humankind;
And they were like a book that I could read,
Whose every leaf, miraculously signed,
Outrolled itself from Thought’s eternal seed.
Love-rooted in God’s garden of the mind.