Tuesday, 14 May 2013

'The Brook' a poem by Alfred Tennyson


In 1842, Alfred Tennyson published his popular volume, 'Poem' which became his most highly regarded work. Tennyson had a pretty rough start to his life being one of twelve children and having an alcoholic father - to mention just a couple of things! Later, he chose to live in solitude where he could focus on his poetry. Interestingly, his brother Charles was also a poet and they published a book together called, 'Poems by two brothers'- another very unimaginative title!

Once you read the poem below you will see how the titles of his works fail to match the beautifully intricately woven phrases; maybe, being the strong silent type, Tennyson liked to keep his titles very simple and descriptive of the contents! You can virtually see this brook and feel the life in it, the life eternal as Tennyson points out, and almost watch its journey as it changes form from time to time.

The poem is taken from a site called, 'Poetry Archive.'


THE BROOK
by: Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)
      COME from haunts of coot and hern,
      I make a sudden sally,
      And sparkle out among the fern,
      To bicker down a valley.
       
      By thirty hills I hurry down,
      Or slip between the ridges,
      By twenty thorps, a little town,
      And half a hundred bridges.
       
      Till last by Philip's farm I flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.
       
      I chatter over stony ways,
      In little sharps and trebles,
      I bubble into eddying bays,
      I babble on the pebbles.
       
      With many a curve my banks I fret
      by many a field and fallow,
      And many a fairy foreland set
      With willow-weed and mallow.
       
      I chatter, chatter, as I flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.
       
      I wind about, and in and out,
      with here a blossom sailing,
      And here and there a lusty trout,
      And here and there a grayling,
       
      And here and there a foamy flake
      Upon me, as I travel
      With many a silver water-break
      Above the golden gravel,
       
      And draw them all along, and flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.
       
      I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
      I slide by hazel covers;
      I move the sweet forget-me-nots
      That grow for happy lovers.
       
      I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
      Among my skimming swallows;
      I make the netted sunbeam dance
      Against my sandy shallows.
       
      I murmur under moon and stars
      In brambly wildernesses;
      I linger by my shingly bars;
      I loiter round my cresses;
       
      And out again I curve and flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.
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Jaz McKenzie

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