Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday's Poetry: "From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, I Was Undone"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Here it is again, President's Day, the time Americans set aside to pay homage to the forty-three (I'm sorry, but I only count Grover Cleveland once) men who have served as our country's chief executive - just before rushing off down the road to buy furniture.  Yes, it's a terribly important holiday for furniture stores and warehouses as they hold their annual President's Day Furniture Sales in a vainglorious attempt to grab every dollar they can of our tax refunds.

Missouri, the state where I reside, is especially proud of our nation's presidential heritage, offering no less than three paid holiday's to state employees in honor of the Presidents.   Missouri state offices close their doors for Lincoln's birthday on February 12th and Truman's birthday on May 8th.  They also close on President's Day, the national holiday, but refer to that day here in Missouri as "Washington's Birthday - observed."

Several of our President's fancied themselves as struggling poets.  Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama took pen in hand at one time or another in their lifetimes and inked their emotions into poetry.  For today's selection I have chosen a poem by our first President, George Washington, a poem which he wrote into his diary as a young man in 1749-50.   It was dedicated to Frances Alexander, a young woman of his acquaintance.  The poem began as an acrostic, an effort where the first letter of each line spells out a message - in this case the woman's name, but Washington quit the effort a few letters short.

Here then are young George Washington's words of love regarding Frances Alexander - words which could also be used to acknowledge February's other important holiday - Valentine's Day.

From Your Bright and Sparkling Eyes, I Was Undone
by George Washington

From your bright sprakling Eyes, I was undone;
Rays, you have, more transparent than the sun,
Amidst its glory in the rising Day
None can you equal in your bright array;
Constant in your calm and unspotted Mind;
Equal to all, but will none Prove kind,
So knowing, seldom one so Young, you’l Find
Ah!  Woe’s me that I should Love and conceal,
Long have I wish’d, but never dare reveal,
Even though severely Loves Pains I feel;
Xerxes that great, was’t free from from Cupids Dart
And all the greatest Heroes, felt the smart.

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