To continue the January theme of beginnings and firsts, I thought I’d include the first lines of American poems that I remember from high school and have inserted, on occasion, into conversations. It’s always amazing how many people either can add the next line or just stare at you with that “deer caught in headlights” look when you quote lines of poetry. I was exposed to such amazing literature . Of course, most of it was either British or American. I had to wait until university to discover world literature. Thank you teachers at Lyons Township High School for making me memorize so many poems. These words have become old friends.
in just spring when the world is mud-luscious
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me
I, too, sing America.
All I could see from where I stood was three long mountains and a wood
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Lift ev’ry voice and sing
James Weldon Johnson
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
We real cool.
Hog Butcher for the World
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
William Carlos Williams