Saturday, November 21, 2009

Poe Fridays (on Saturday)

This week's Poe selection is a poem, The Bells. If you are not familiar with this gem, I'll reprint the first stanza:

HEAR the sledges with the bells -
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

But really, you should read the whole thing - you can do that here.

Last week I said I was feeling burned out on Poe - this week reminded me why I started this year-long project. I love this poem, and I'd forgotten how much. I love the rhythm and meter, the unusual, hypnotic rhyme. I love the way the mood of each stanza shifts, so a poem that starts out joyfully ends up in tragedy. I think each different type of bell represents a different place in a person's life - from the joy of youth to the sadness of death, and I think Poe captures this brilliantly.

Also, one of my favorite composers, Sergei Rachmaninoff, wrote a choral symphony based on this poem, and it's gorgeous. Here's the first movement, based on the stanza above:

Poe Fridays is hosted by Kristen at WeBeReading.


mar10123 said...

I just like the word "tintinnabulation!"

Kristen M. said...

I'm glad I chose this poem at this time ... it was a refreshing change!