new york 191

(photo is of my own realm of gold – the sky over New York City on the evening of July 4th, 2011)

More poetry from me today. Teaching it has given me a new appreciation for the power of poetry; the distillation of so much emotion and insight into so few words is a skill like no other. I was watching TV the other day when I was arrested by an advert for the BBC; beautiful, passionate and inspiring lines of poetry had been set to a series of images that had an incredibly moving effect. I recognised a couple of the lines, but it didn’t sound like any complete poem I knew. Googling, I found this blog post from the BBC, explaining that the poem I heard is actually a specially commissioned cento that was created by poet Alison Chisholm. I had never heard of a cento before; apparently it is an ages old tradition, where poets lift lines from other poets and merge them together to create a new composition. Alison Chisholm discusses her methodologies on the blog post and explains where the lines are from, and I loved what she had to say about the process of creating her cento. It made me think about resetting jewellery; sometimes you need to strip away the old surroundings in order to let a gem of real beauty shine.

Here is the poem, and here is a video of it being read. I hope it makes your spine tingle as much as it did mine. I am so looking forward to teaching it! – Rachel

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen,

But still I long to learn tales, marvellous tales,

Of ships and stars and isles where good men rest,

How others fought to forge my world.

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What wild ecstasy?

How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Step forward,

To feel the blood run through the veins and tingle

Where busy thought and blind sensation mingle.

Come, my friends, ‘tis not too late,

For we are the movers and shakers

Of the world for ever, it seems;

To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.