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Sunday, April 5, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author
For this first Sunday in April, and my scheduled post day, I want to talk about poetry. I realize that poetry is not for everyone. Still, April is National Poetry Month and I want to share some poems and the reason I love this writing form. I love Tennyson, Frost, and Ferlinghetti, however, this time around I will be looking at poems that inspire my imagination and touch something within me.

One of the first poems that had an impact on me was ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes. From the first stanza, the imagery and cadence captured my young girl's heart. I could see it and became a part of the story. (You can google the poem and find the complete poem)

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

Photo property of the author
Later I found the work of fellow Illinois resident, who wrote about a town eight-four miles from where I grew up. The stories of the residents of Galesburg, Illinois inspired Edgar Lee Masters to write “Spoon River Anthology” named for the river that ran through the area. It is told via the idea of what would be on the headstones in the graveyard. Each piece tells the life of the resident as you read the secrets and the intertwining of the lives in the town. Three of my favorites are, Lucinda Matlock, Dorcas Gustine, and Mabel Osborne. The last line of Lucinda’s verse is one that has stayed with me since I first read it. (You can download the book from the Gutenburg Foundation Books.)

At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you -
It takes life to love Life.

Although there are many more poets I love, I found Helen Jackson and fell in love with her work. Admittedly I also perform as her and live not far from where she lived here in Colorado. I truly do enjoy most of her poetry, and her poem, ‘Last Words’ brings tears when I read it. At the same time, her poem ‘Two Truths’ is a story I someday want to write.

Darling,’ he said,‘I never meant
To hurt you;’ and his eyes were wet.
I would not hurt you for the world:
Am I to blame if I forget?’

Forgive my selfish tears!’ she cried,
Forgive! I knew that it was not
Because you meant to hurt me, sweet-
I knew it was that you forgot!’

But all the same, deep in her heart
Rankles this thought, and rankles yet,-
When love is at its best, one loves
So much that he cannot forget.’

Photo property of the author
As I finish up this poetry post for National Poetry Month, I will leave you with the rough draft of a poem I wrote when I visited Helen’s gravesite the other day.

A Visit with Helen
She said,
I hear the wind
Remembering its feel
Caressing my skin.
The earth heats and cools
Memory seeing
Night and day
Winter and Spring
Roots wind around
The place I stay
Visualizing flowers, trees
Grasses, plants
Words written long ago
Sustaining me
Through eternity.”
Copyright 2020

May you all have a safe, productive April. My thoughts are with you as we navigate this stressful and for some a scary time. For me, the beauty of thoughts, events, and words from the past helps sustain me as I continue this journey of imagination, joy, and creativity. I wish the same for you.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. Replies
    1. You are welcome. I've felt that poets have much to teach us about emotion, description and economy of words. Doris

  2. Such beautiful gentle words. Just what we need right now. Thank you.

    1. My pleasure. I find peace and solace in poetry. So many idea, emotions and wisdom in what poets write. I'm glad you enjoyed them. Doris

  3. I always love your posts, Doris, and this one is extra special because of the poetry and your beautiful scenery photos. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. I admit, poetry is special to me. (And I love taking photos.)

  4. My sister and I were raised without TV and there were no computers or I Pads, or cell phones in our childhood. We read for entertainment and among our favorites were poems. We read them aloud to one another quite often. My sister's favorite author was Edna Saint Vincent Millay, and mine was Stephen Crane. We used to read "The Congo" by Nicholas Vachel Lindsay and we both loved the way it had a rhythm to it. When I grew older I became a fan of Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shallot".
    I have attempted poetry from time to time. Though I do enjoy writing it, I am not that good at it.
    I liked the poem you wrote after visiting Helen's grave. This was such a lovely post, Doris. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. Sarah, even though we had a TV, I spent a lot of time reading and poetry has always been a favorite. I think since I started performing at such a young age, poetry was also a large part of what I did.

      Thank you for the kind words about my own work. That means a great deal to me. While I may not be a master like those I highlighted, I do enjoy writing poetry. (Smile). Take care of yourself. Doris