Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Post by Doris McCraw, writing as Angela Raines
Hazy view from Pikes Peak
photo property of the author

Glimpses by Helen (Hunt) Jackson
As when on some great mountain-peak we stand,
In breathless awe beneath its dome of sky,
Whose multiplied horizons seem to lie
Beyond the bounds of earthly sea and land,
We find the circles space too vast, too grand,
And soothe our thoughts with restful memory
Of sudden sunlit glimpses we passed by
Too quickly, in our feverish demand
To reach the height,--
So darling, when the brink
Of highest heaven we reach at last, I think
Even that great gladness will grow yet more glad,
As we, with eyes that are no longer sad,
Look back, while Life's horizons slowly sink,
To some swift moments which on earth we had.

From the book"Poems" by Helen Jackson
Little Brown and Company 1908
First appearance in publication September 19, 1872, New York Independent
Colorado Springs from Pikes Peak
photo property of the author
The thing I love about the poetry of Helen Hunt Jackson is the musicality it has when it's read aloud. Not read as one usually reads poetry, with the breaks and breaths at the end of the line, but read as prose. If you read this poem aloud, pausing at commas or reading through the complete thoughts the true beauty of this piece comes through. When you read this piece, read it through more than once to get the feel for what Helen is trying to say. Try different combinations of breaths and thought to combine and see what you get. The beauty is, each time something different arises out of the different combinations. I believe that true poetry never has the same story, the same meaning twice. You can read it at different times and it will touch a different chord each time you read through the poem.
Sometimes when I am reading, I try to hear the voice of a favorite actor or singer saying the words. Then, of course, I try using different voices or even singing the words. It is a way to keep learning, hearing, and understanding.
As you read this or any poetry, keep an open mind and heart. This is the poetry that was popular during the time period we write about. Helen was favorably compared to many of the poets of her time. According to stories, she was actually considered the best, male or female. I always found it interesting that Helen was so popular during her lifetime. It was so much so that she was able to make a living as a writer. Emily Dickinson, her childhood in Amherst, on the other hand, did not become popular until her death. Now the tables have turned and Emily is the better known of the two. Each had their own style, and each wrote beautiful pieces of work.
There is a story that Helen wanted Emily to publish her work, but Emily was hesitant. Helen persisted and there is an anonymous poem written by Emily that Helen had a hand in getting published. Helen suggested that Emily make her the executor of the poems so that she could make sure they were published in case of Emily’s death. Unfortunately, Helen preceded Emily by nine months and three days.
The next time you are looking for something do to, search online for some of Helen's poetry, or better yet, find a book of her poems, and start reading. To me, the gift of the poet is the joy of finding something new every time I read their work. Give poetry, especially Helen’s, a try. It never hurts to try something new and different. Reading the older writers doesn’t make it good or bad, it is what you receive from the gift of the author. To me, that is why poetry will never grow old.
I challenge you to read a poem and then write one of your own or give cento poetry a try. For those who don't know, Cento poetry is taking lines from other poems and using them to create something new.
Of course, I couldn't let a post pass without mentioning how the classics play into my own writing. In my latest 'Lockets & Lace' novel, "The Outlaw's Letter", my heroine is passionate about Homer's Odyssey.  Here is a short excerpt:
      To Hetty's mind, Boggs was the worst kind of human. He seemed to take pleasure in tormenting her, knowing she couldn't leave; the ropes securing her had seen to that.
     "Mighty pretty rainbow," his voice whispered in her ear. "I always loved rainbows."
     "I don't believe you," Hetty spat. "How could someone who does what you do…"
     "See, you judge so harshly," Boggs interrupted, adding, "Just so you know, I have you here so Grant will see you, so he knows…"
     "Knows what? How do you know he's coming?"
     Boggs didn't make sense. There was no convincing him that holding her hostage was a waste of time.
     Hetty closed her eyes, shutting out the vision of freedom. What would Odysseus do in this situation, the hero she revered from Homer's Odyssey, Hetty wondered. "Who am I kidding, he would not be tied up in a mountain cabin."
     She must've spoken out loud for the voice continued in her ear. "You never know, Grant could find himself in your situation, except I've found out he's worth a lot more dead."
     At hearing Boggs' statement about Grant being worth more dead, Hetty started to panic. The more Boggs said, the more frightened Hetty became.  

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 

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