Archive for the 'beginnings' Category

First lines of English Poems

The concluding post of the January beginnings includes the first lines of favorite poems from the British Isles.   Again a thanks to my high school English teachers, especially the wonder that was Norma Jordan, a woman who like Eleanor Rigby, kept her face in a jar by the door.  Never have I seen someone wear such heavy makeup, but what a teacher. 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
William Wordsworth

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
William Blake

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Percy Bysshe Shelley

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England.
Rupert Brooke

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
William Shakespeare

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree
Samuel Coleridge

April is the cruellest month
T.S. Eliot

The sea is calm tonight.
Matthew Arnold

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold
Robert w. Service

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First Lines of Favorite American Poems

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
e.e. Cummings

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
Walt whitman

Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me
Emily Dickenson

I, too, sing America.
Langston Hughes

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
Robert Frost

We real cool.
Gwendolyn Brooks

Hog Butcher for the World
Carl Sandburg
 
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
William Carlos Williams

Oldies’ Lyrics-Favorite First Lines

I decided to begin lising favorite first lines and stop at 10.  I seem to have as many favorites as I have songs on my MP3 player.  Isn’t it nice to be able to carry a jukebox in your pocket?

jukebox.jpg
  • “She can kill with her smile. she can wound with her eyes”-Billy Joel ‘s “Always A Woman To Me”
  • “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips”-The Righteous Brothers’ ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin”
  • “I read the news today, oh boy,” -The Beatles’ -“Day in the Life.”
  • “I’ve got sunshine/On a cloudy day.”The Temptations’ – “My Girl
  • You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht”-Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”
  • “I learned the truth at seventeen – that love was meant for beauty queens” – Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen”
  • “When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay.” – Journey’s “Lights”
  • “Hello, Darkness, my old friend” -Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence”
  • “I guess I shoulda known by the way you parked your car sideways
    That it wouldn’t last”-Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”
  • “I may not always love you but as long as there are stars above you, you never need to doubt it, I’ll make you so sure about it and God only knows what I’d be without you.-Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows”
     

First Things

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.–Lao-Tzu

anderson202.jpgIt’s the time of year when we think about beginnings.  Today I received a picture of one of Baby Anderson’s first smiles.  It was a glorious way to start the day.  A new year and a new baby; it doesn’t get much better than that.  For my next few posts, I plan to share some other “firsts” and “beginnings.” 

 First Lines of Favorite Books

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

It was a pleasure to burn.
– Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I have just returned from a visit to my landlord–the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.
– Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights.

In a village of La Mancha the name of which have no desire to recall, there lived not so long ago one of those gentlemen who always have a lance in the rack, an ancient buckler, a skinny nag, and a greyhound for the chase.
– Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra) Don Quixote

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
– Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.
– Joseph Heller, Catch-22

A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and in a shield, the World State’s motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.
– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.
– A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.
– Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book about the jungle called True Stories.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit