Thursday, April 1, 2010
3 Poems, by Walter Savage Landor
To start National Poetry Month, I thought three short poems, by Walter Savage Landor, taken from a little book I had printed up on the Expresso Book Machine: Cameos: Selected from the Works of Walter Savage Landor.
Landor wrote at length, and beautifully, in poetry and prose, but these slighter things, these smaller thoughts, he wrote incidentally: to amuse himself, or for a friend, to please a child, or in memory of a fresh loss. The three I've read here are all to do, one way and another with youth and age, and all were written well after Landor had lived long enough to accept the latter -- he lived and wrote to the age of ninety -- without losing his appreciation for the charms of the former. Landor lost many things in a long life, but never that.
I like these poems best for their gentleness, which is an old man's gentleness, and then for the lovely rhythm of the lines, and finally for the good humored twinkle in each, even in the first, "To Youth," which is also saddest, as it might naturally be, coming from a poet so far removed from his on.
Because so much of what he wrote was never in a popular way of writing, Walter Savage Landor, even in his lifetime, was never read as widely or remembered as well as some of his contemporaries and friends, like Shelley and Byron. I imagine Landor minded this, but not so much that he ever wrote other than what pleased him. I wish more people read him now. Perhaps a little book like the one from which I read tonight, might go some small way to introduce him to at least a few more, and my reading these little poems might encourage at least one or two to look for the reprinted little book. That's the thought, anyway.