NPM: Compressed Poetry

“Poetry is the simultaneous compression of language and expansion of meaning.” —Tom Stoppard.

Some poets have made it their goal to compress as much meaning as possible into the fewest possible words.

The Eclipse by Richard Eberhart

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As man’s hope of light in the face of darkness.

Fire and Ice by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

By Emily Dickinson

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

What is your favorite short poem?
Poetry Activity for today: Find a short poem and memorize it. Share it with the family at the dinner table.
Poet of the Day: Emily Dickinson

4 thoughts on “NPM: Compressed Poetry

  1. I thought it was “to an admiring blog.” That puts a diff. spin on it.

  2. Me too! I had to do a double take. Surely she wasn’t THAT prescient…

  3. My favorite short poem, which I frequently share with my kids at the dinner table–whenever we have peas, in fact:

    I eat my peas with honey,
    I’ve done it all my life.
    It makes the peas taste funny,
    But it keeps them on my knife!

    I discovered just a couple days ago that we need to have peas more often, because though a couple of them can finish the poem, none of them can remember how it starts out.

    I also love Christina Rossetti’s “Who Has Seen the Wind?”–for a more highbrow answer to your question.



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