The structure and symbolic passages of mountains and valleys in poetry goes back to antiquity. In part, the poet lives by a code of paying attention.
If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke
Often, the changing landscape of society has driven the poet to embrace the simplicity of nature, as a stark contrast to the advance of industry and technology. The romantic poets chose to focus on nature in a radical way—communing with its ambience, delighting in its nourishing powers, and branding it sacred. Consider these lines from William Wordsworth’s poem Tinturn Abbey:
Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear, — both what they half-create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
Try It: Mountains and Valleys in Nature Poetry
Think of the intricacies of mountains and valleys. Ponder what symbolic or spiritual meaning they hold. Consider their place in Nature, as a connection point between you and Nature. Pay close attention to the details—the things that others miss or ignore. What is awakened in you? Write a poem incorporating this theme and share it with us in the comment section below.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem from Donna we enjoyed:
my own heart.
—by Donna Falcone
Photo by Lenny K. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland