When I was in high school,a half a century ago, I enjoyed the literature class taught by Mrs. Farnam. I memorized poetry for her and one poem, in particular, from that class has stuck with me: Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe.
Gaily benight, a gallant knight, in sunshine and in shadow, had journed long, singing a song, in search of Eldorado.
But he grew old – this knight so bold – and o’er his heart a shadow fell, as he found no spot on the ground that looked like Eldorado.
And, as his strength failed him at length, he met a pilgrim shadow – ‘Shadow,’ said he, ‘ Where can it be – this land of Eldorado?’
‘Over the mountains of the moon, down the valley of the shadow, ride, boldly ride,’ the shade replied, ‘if you seek for Eldorado!"
Langston Hughes was a great African American writer. I’ve enjoyed his poetry in particular. One part of his poem The Weary Blues comes to mind at times of disappointment and stress:
"Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, rocking back and forth to a mellow tune, I heard a Negro play. Down on Lenox Avenue the other night by the pale dull pallor of an old gas light…
Got the weary blues And can’t be satisfied – I ain’t happy no mo’ and I wish I had died
And far into the night he crooned that tune. The stars went out and so did the moon. The singer stopped playing and went to bed while the Weary Blues echoed through his head. He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead."
A Chinese proverb says: "There are pictures in poems and poems in pictures." Poetry is good for the soul.