April is National Poetry Month. In celebration I'd like to share a terrific site for finding poetry. Poem Hunter is a dandy little database you can search by poet, title, or subject. It is by no means exhaustive on each of the poets it archives but it is a terrific start. It has several other nice features but I'll let you go explore by yourself. I'd also like to share one of my favorite's with you. I have so many but this seemed sort of appropriate to the celebration.
Poet's Obligation by Pablo Neruda
To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or harsh prison cell;
to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.
So, drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my awareness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the autumn's castigation,
I may be there with an errant wave,
I may move, passing through windows,
and hearing me, eyes will glance upward
saying "How can I reach the sea?"
And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing,
the grey cry of the sea-birds on the coast.
So, through me, freedom and the sea
will make their answer to the shuttered heart.
(Translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid)
Now, share a favorite poem with me. It can be one you wrote, one you memorized, one you searched out on the database, silly, serious, or sublime. Just leave one in the comments. I discovered Neruda by recommendation of a friend so I love to hear what others enjoy.
Happy Poetry Month!