Friday, July 20, 2018

One Afternoon: Then and Now

As I looked out over the Long Island Sound from the Connecticut shore a few days ago, I noticed how still it appeared. The sky had an azure tint with soft clouds floating like cotton balls. The water surrounding the sleek sailboats rippled ever so slightly. It was if nature had taken a paint brush to enhance the scene. Through the magic of digital tools, I was able to transform the marina scene into one that an artist might envision.


Intrigued by the area, I researched poetry written about the Long Island Sound and found the following, beautifully-crafted poem by Emma Lazarus. It may have been written from her family's summer cottage where poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lazarus' mentor, was a visitor. Through Lazarus' words, I was able to see Long Island Sound from her 19th century perspective.

Long Island Sound
by Emma Lazarus

I see it as it looked one afternoon 
In August,—by a fresh soft breeze o’erblown. 
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon, 
A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon. 
The shining waters with pale currents strewn, 
The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove, 
The semi-circle of its dark, green grove. 
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.
I shall study Lazarus' format in the days to come to write a poem about the Long Island Sound as a comparison to what Lazarus saw.  If anyone of my poet friends can shed light on the format, other than enjambment, that Lazarus used for this poem, I would be interested. While the poem looks like it is a sonnet, it has a different type of rhyme scheme.
In the meantime, I will travel to my poet friend, Heidi Mordhorst's blog site, "my juicy little universe," where she is describing her week-long professional development in Chicago at the Summer Poetry Teachers' Institute.