Archives for posts with tag: Thomas Hardy

The One Page Poetry Circle met on November 13, 2019 to read and discuss Optimistic and Pessimistic Poetry.

Abigail opened the circle with lines from James Thomson’s “The City of Dreadful Night,” his evocation of London as a reflection of his own depression, “A sense more tragic than defeat and blight,/More desperate than strife with hope debarred.”

Roger read Tim Rice’s “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” which shows both optimism and pessimism. In Evita as Eva Peron faces death, she sings: “The answer was here all the time,/I love you and hope you love me.”

Hazel read John Keats’s beautiful sonnet that begins, “When I have fears that I may cease to be/Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,” and ends with his remedy, “then on the shore/Of the wide world I stand alone, and think/Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.”

Cate read Maxine Kumin’s “Mulching,” in which the narrator recycles her vegetables and newspapers, “wanting to ask/the earth to take my unquiet spirit,/bury it deep, make compost of it.”

Gail read Edgar Allan Poe’s “Alone” describing the singular outlook of this famous writer, “From childhood’s hour I have not been/As others were—I have not seen/As others saw.”

Barbara read Jack Gilbert’s “Failing and Flying” where he puts an optimistic spin on events, “I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,/but just coming to the end of his triumph.”

Daria read William Arthur Ward’s depiction of the opposing temperaments, “Pessimist vs. Optimist”: “The pessimist finds fault;/The optimist discovers a remedy.”

Pat read Christopher Logue’s poster poem, “Come to the Edge,” where fear is overcome, “And they came,/And he pushed,/And they flew.”

Howard read Wallace Stevens’s “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock,” which invokes the sameness of modern life, “The houses are haunted/By white night-gowns./None are green,/Or purple with green rings.”

AnnaLee read “The Darkling Thrush” by Thomas Hardy in which a thrush’s song breaks through the bleak winter dusk, “there trembled through/His happy good-night air/Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew/And I was unaware.”

Kai couldn’t be there but would like to have brought a pessimistic poem by Gary Snyder, “The Call of the Wild,” which envisions a world in which he describes “A war against earth./When it’s done there’ll be no place/A Coyote could hide,” and an optimistic poem, “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour” by Wallace Stevens, “Light the first light of evening, as in a room/In which we rest, and for small reason, think/The world imagined is the ultimate good.”

Maria suggested “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats, a pessimistic depiction of a dystopic world, “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

Carol thought of Pablo Neruda’s “The Sea” which, with its ebb and flow, seems hopeful on some level: “Its essence : fire and cold : movement.”

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the December 10th One Page Poetry Circle, for Poetry and Confession. Whether a poem is confessional, sounds like it is confessional, or veers away from confession, choose a poem by a published poet that has meaning to you. And if you can, come with copies for others to share. Can’t locate a poem you want to bring? Browse the poetry section at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or

In the meantime, please blog with us here at

Fall 2019 Schedule
December 10, Poetry and Confession

Upcoming OPPC 2020
February 11, Poetry that Makes You Cry
March 11, Poetry and Muses
April 14, Poetry and Satire
May 12, Poetry and Joy

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Welcome to One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

The Circle met on September 11 to discuss Poetry and Disaster. We had a lively turnout despite the confluence of 9/11 and Rosh Hashanah.

Abigail opened the Circle with “Inauguration Poem” by Lynn Melnick which invites us to share a personal disaster, “Do you know what it’s like when a body twice yours/holds you down in the room where you make your life/until you wouldn’t know how to move even if he wasn’t holding you down and then he splits you further open.”

Roger read Paula Bardell’s reaction to 9/11, “Silence (over Manhattan)”: “A black September shadow cloaks the dawn,/The City’s once white teeth now rotting stumps.”

Hazel read “Once by the Pacific” by Robert Frost, a poet we don’t often associate with the Pacific or disasters, “The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,/Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.”

Michelle read “The Children’s Moon” by Marilyn Nelson in which a black teacher meets her white students on their first day of class, “In my navy shirtwaist dress and three-inch heels,/my pearl clip-ons and newly red-rinsed curls,/I smoothed on lipstick, lipstick-marked my girls.”

Gail read Jane Kenyon’s “After an Illness, Walking the Dog,” in which connections are seen between the narrator and the dog, “I wait/until we’re nearly out to the main road/to put him back on the leash, and he/—the designated optimist—/imagines to the end that he is free.”

Cate read Ada Limón’s “Dream of Destruction” with its beautiful and strange imagery, “We somehow knew the electric orange volcanic ooze of hot lava was bound to bury us all, little spurts of ash popping early like precum and not innocuous at all.”

Terry read “The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy, “Yes; quaint and curious war is!/You shoot a fellow down/You’d treat if met where any bar is,/Or help to half-a-crown,” a sad reflection on killing.

Susan read Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Dirge Without Music,” which repeats its first statement several times, “I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been time out of mind.”

Rollene read Elizabeth Bishop’s villanelle, “One Art,” with its almost-humorous escalation of losses, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master;/so many things seem filled with the intent/to be lost that their loss is no disaster.”

AnnaLee closed the Circle with Muriel Rukeyser’s “George Robinson Blues” from her Book of the Dead about the 1929 Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, which shows how in a disaster, we are all the same, “As dark as I am, when I came out at morning after the tunnel at night,/with a white man, nobody could have told which man was white./The dust had covered us both, and the dust was white.”

Dominick couldn’t come to the meeting, but remembered “The Wreck of the Deutschland” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Make mercy in all of us, out of us all/Mastery, but be adored, but be adored King.” If Kai had been able to attend, she would have brought “Songs to Survive the Summer” by Robert Hass, “Should I whisper in her ear,/death is the mother/of beauty?” June was reminded of “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin: “with nobody listening we are saying thank you/we are saying thank you and waving/dark though it is,” registering a grateful note despite disasters

Fall 2018 Schedule

Tuesday, October 9, Cowboy Poetry
Tuesday, November 13, Poetry and Simplicity
Tuesday, December 11, Poetry and Wine

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.