Welcome to gurglewords. My name is Helen McKinlay. I am a published author and poet from New Zealand. On this page I publish a wide range of poetry from around the globe. Browse through my archives and meet some of my guests. All work on this blog is copyright. For permission to use my writing contact mck-h at hotmail dot com For more information go to https://www.read-nz.org/writer/mckinlay-helen/
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
painted by George Frederick Watts
I heard Peter Fry read this poem on National Radio NZ recently. It’s a great poem for reading aloud. And Peter read it beautifully. If you want an analysis of this poem and some history about Tennyson and Ulysses go here.
My mother was a scholar of Latin and Greek in the days when the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey still meant a lot. Ulysses was a major character in both these works. It follows that one of Mum’s favourite bedtime storybooks was called The Adventures of Ulysses. I was enthralled with his various confrontations with monsters over the ten years it took him to get home from the Trojan war. See the Sirens above, who tried to entice him in to be shipwrecked on the rocks (note how he is tied to the mast to prevent him from succumbing to the temptation). I think Scylla, the six-headed monster who snatched six men, one for each of her heads, whenever a ship sailed by was for me the most memorable. And the charming Cyclops who ate six of them, hopefully not all at once! To read more about these monsters go here
Before you leave do visit Tuesday Poem and check out the other Tuesday Poets in the sidebar. There’s some excellent work there this week.