As a way of dealing with the heat, I've watched more television in the past few weeks than usual ~ no AC, so immobility is a primary goal.
Yesterday afternoon I watched most of an episode of Law and Order Criminal Intent. It's a quirky show, very dark psychologically and no glitz or glamor for the actors. I was struck yesterday by the layers of Detective Goren's character, layers being peeled off like an onion.
The guilty parties were a young couple trying to cover up the death of their baby; the husband was a wanna-be poet. Goren noted at one point that a poem the husband claimed to have written was actually one of Christina Rosetti's. And at the end of the show, reading the verse the husband had left with his daughter's remains, Goren commented, "Elizabeth Barrett Browning -- he can't even come up with something original for his own daughter."
The intriguing juxtaposition, of course is that this hard-nosed and psychologically astute investigator has such an easy and wide-ranging familiarity with poetry classics.
I studied a lot of poetry in school, and I still read quite a bit of it. But I can seldom do that ~ identify a fragment in casual conversation. Although today, reading a new book that Michelle sent to me, I took in a sentence and said immediately to myself, "Dylan Thomas."
I do have a few of my own favorites, though ~ bits and pieces that occasionally come out of my mouth or appear on my computer. A little Dante, a little Mary Oliver. Perhaps a bit more T.S. Eliot and Emily Dickinson. Shakespeare, of course, but mostly from Macbeth and Hamlet. Some John Donne, some Anne Sexton, some Hopkins.
Detective Goren's Browning quote? A paraphrase, but one I plan to remember, for obvious reasons:
"You are held not by death, but by love."
What about you? Do you have lines of poetry accessible to the immediate reaches of your mind and heart?