Thursday, October 27, 2011

Aurora Leigh

I have a newly discovered poem.  At least it's new to me, but it is not new by any stretch of the imagination.  It is the poem Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  I came across a snippet of it when I was preparing for the chapter of Isaiah we were working on and was immediately smitten.  Here is the bit I first read:

"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees, takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck black berries,
And daub their natural faces unaware."

Don't you love it?  We were looking at Isaiah 6:3 where Isaiah is in God's throne room and the seraphim are saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory."  The poem came into the discussion with the idea of the whole earth being full of God's glory.  I love the image of earth being crammed full of heaven... if only we have eyes to see it.  (Which also fits in quite well with Isaiah 6, by the way.)

So I was intrigued and looked it up.  It turns out that Aurora Leigh is an epic poem about a woman named Aurora Leigh and how she became a poet.  That means it's a poem that is book length and divided up into 9 sections (books).  I found the full text online, but am quite sure that there is no way I can read the whole thing on a screen.  This is something that requires an actual book with pages and ink.  Reading the whole thing does seem intimidating, but then, the little bit I did read has me curious enough that I just might make a go of it.

Here's a little more:

"Books, books, books!
I had found the secret of a garret-room
Piled high with cases in my father's name;
Piled high, packed large,–where, creeping in and out
Among the giant fossils of my past,
Like some small nimble mouse between the ribs
Of a mastodon, I nibbled here and there
At this or that box, pulling through the gap,
In heats of terror, haste, victorious joy,
The first book first. And how I felt it beat
Under my pillow, in the morning's dark,
An hour before the sun would let me read!
My books! "



Don't you want to read it with me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've had that first quote above my sink for a few years now! Love it. - Rebecca Gallo

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