The Broken Oar
Once upon Iceland's solitary strand
A poet wandered with his book and pen,
Seeking some final word, some sweet Amen,
Wherewith to close the volume in his hand.
The billows rolled and plunged upon the sand,
The circling sea-gulls swept beyond his ken,
And from the parting cloud-rack now and then
Flashed the red sunset over sea and land.
Then by the billows at his feet was tossed
A broken oar; and carved thereon he read,
"Oft was I weary, when I toiled at thee";
And like a man, who findeth what was lost,
He wrote the words, then lifted up his head,
And flung his useless pen into the sea.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Monday, January 19, 2009
I was contemplating inspiration this morning when a poem of Longfellow’s nudged my memory. While not my favorite American poet, I’ve always related to Longfellow’s fascination with the sea and find it intriguing the way he used it as a narrative device to explore the nature of creativity and inspiration. Who can’t relate to a tired poet lacking, and thus looking for, inspiration? A broken oar, so useless to the rower, would inspire the poet. Well done, Mr. Longfellow.
Posted by Peggy at 9:26 AM