I will be going overseas! From the 3rd to the 9th, I will be in India, and then from the 10th to the 14th, I will be in Bali. So to those people who posted requests at my drabble meme, I will probably be working on those requests while travelling, but in all likelihood will not be able to post them until after I return. My deepest apologies.
Also, I FINALLY finished Dante's Purgatorio last night. God, it was beautiful. The sheer beauty and power of the descriptions and everything just moved me. Sadly, the library does not have Paradiso by the same translator. :(
This is a bilingual edition; with the English translation by Professor Anthony Esolen on the right-hand page and the original Italian on the left. Although I do not speak/read Italian, well, although I cannot understand it, I actually can pronounce it okay, I think, and so sometimes I would read the Italian out, softly, to myself. And at those times, I wished so badly that I could understan Italian. I can make out a few of the words, where they share common roots with English, but it's rare to understand a whole line, let alone a page or two or poetry.
Even though I couldn't understand it, the Italian sounded so beautiful. The meter and the rhyme scheme - how Dante could stick to alternative rhyming couplets for a poem this length, with such depth of meaning, is beyond me - and the flow of Italian, were all so beautiful that even though, as I said, I cannot understand it fully without help from the English on the facing page, I was moved by the sheer beauty of it anyway.
This is poetry. Even when you cannot understand it, the sheer beauty and power of the words cause you to feel blessed, somehow. And when you can understand it, you can see what the poet describes before you eyes, and you feel what he felt while writing.
And this is why I dislike postmodern poetry, like that of Carol Ann Duffy. We have to do her poems for Literature, and frankly I dislike it. I admit, there is meaning, and it's probably beautiful in its own way. But as someone whose first poems were those from mythology and the classics, and those of Tolkien, I have grown to expect beauty from poetry. Not literal beauty, no; Dante's Inferno, for instance, deals with dark subject matter and there are no flowering glades, for instance, for him to describe. But the way he describes the darkness, and the suffering, and the stories of the lives of those damned souls, is beautiful, and it moves you.
Poetry should illuminate, not confuse. People these days seem to think poetry is supposed to be vague and hard to understand. I think that's silly. To me, poetry is a thing of beauty.