Selected by Devin Johnston
National Poetry Month 2016
Letter from the Editors
Our thanks to Devin Johnston for today's Poet's Pick!
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Thank you so much for your support! Enjoy today's special poem and commentary!
Don Selby & Diane Boller
Devin Johnston's Poetry Month Pick, April 13, 2016
"Another and another and another"
by James Henry (1798–1876)
Another and another and another
And still another sunset and sunrise,
The same yet different, different and the same,
Seen by me now in my declining years
As in my early childhood, youth and manhood;
And by my parents and my parents’ parents,
And by the parents of my parents’ parents,
And by their parents counted back for ever,
Seen, all their lives long, even as now by me;
And by my children and my children’s children
And by the children of my children’s children
And by their children counted on for ever
Still to be seen as even now seen by me;
Clear and bright sometimes, sometimes dark and clouded
But still the same sunsetting and sunrise;
The same for ever to the never ending
Line of observers, to the same observer
Through all the changes of his life the same:
Sunsetting and sunrising and sunsetting,
And then again sunrising and sunsetting,
Sunrising and sunsetting evermore.
Devin Johnston Comments:
James Henry (1798–1876) was an Irish doctor and classicist, mostly remembered for his commentaries on the Aeneid. He was a skeptical freethinker, a pagan, and poet of considerable interest. A good deal of his verse is “chiefly philosophical” as well as comical: “By what mistake were pigeons made so happy, / So plump and fat and sleek and well content, / So little with affairs of others meddling, / So little meddled with?” To get a full sense of Henry’s range, see his Selected Poems (Handsel Books, 2002), edited by Christopher Ricks. To my ear, his strongest poems tend to be rooted in observation, drawn from the shape of an ordinary day.
Devin Johnston’s most recent book is Far-Fetched (FSG, 2015).
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