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Thread: Anne Bradstreet: 1st Published Woman Poet in USA

  1. #1 Anne Bradstreet: 1st Published Woman Poet in USA 
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    This poem is a philosophical speculation on life inspired by the first woman in America to publish a book(1612-1672). This piece of writing is, in some ways, more literary than philosophical. But I think it has a legitimate place in this sub-section.
    _________________________________

    OF THE FOUR AGES OF MAN

    The following poem draws heavily on a poem of the same name by Anne Bradstreet, the first American woman(1612-1672) to be published in the United States. My poem, which includes many of Bradstreets phrases, is a tribute, a homage, to this lady of Puritan convictions who raised eight children, had a constant battle with illness and with early colonial life in United States. This is the first working of this poem. It needs much more work, but time does not permit, nor does the inclination allow. And so I leave this piece in memory of Anne Bradstreet. She remains an inspiration to us nearly 400 years after her birth for her humility, her spirituality, her genuine spirit of inclusiveness in religion.-Ron Price with thanks to Anne Bradstreet, Internet Sites, 2005.

    As you say, Anne, we live out four acts
    upon the stage: childhood and youth,
    adulthood and old age. The first one is
    grandchild to water, unstable, supple,
    cold and moist to natures touch.

    In the second frolic claims its pedigree
    in blood and air, for hot and moist is he.
    The third of fire and choler compos'd,
    vindictive and quarrelsome at times dispos'd.

    Such was your description of my years
    and many of those Ive seen thusfar as I head
    into the last stage and its heavy melancholy,
    solid, hating all lightness and all folly
    or so you put it once upon a time.

    Reminds me somewhat of Shakespeares
    Rhyme where tomorrow and tomorrow
    Crept on its petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time
    On our way to dusty death, our candle
    And our walking shadow, having strut
    and fretted on the stage, went finally out
    and was gone, its tale heard never more.

    But things have changed at least here:
    lightness seems just about compulsory
    even if the note is somewhat sad struck
    in the final act upon that stage with all
    its sound and fury-signifying what???
    Perchance some fruit of holiness
    From that tree of wondrous glory!

    Childhood was cloth'd in white and green
    to show its spring intermixed with snow:
    upon its head nature a garland set
    of primrose, daisy and the violet.

    Some cold mean flowers put forth by spring
    betime, before the sun doth thoroughly heat
    the time, the clime. Its hobby striding
    not a ride so much as run
    and in his hand an hour-glass new begun,
    in danger every moment of a fall,
    and when it is broke then ends its life and all:
    But if it holds till it has run its last,
    perchance it will even outrun my threescore years
    and come to live into that Old Age of which I speak.

    Youth comes up in gorgeous attire
    (As that fond age doth most of all desire),
    His suit of crimson and his scarf of green,
    His pride in countenance was quickly seen;
    Garland of roses, pinks and gillyflowers
    Seems on his head to grow bedew'd with showers.
    His face as fresh as is aurora fair,
    When blushing she first begins to light the air.
    No wooden horse, but one of mettle tried,
    He seems to fly or swim, and not to ride.
    Then prancing on the stage, about he wheels,
    But as he went death waited at his heels.

    The next came up in a much graver sort,
    As one that cared for a good report,
    His sword by side and choler in his eyes,
    But neither us'd as yet, for he was wise;
    Of Autumn's fruits a basket on his arm,
    His golden god in's purse, which was his charm.

    And last of all to act upon this stage
    Leaning upon his staff came up Old Age,
    Under his arm a sheaf of wheat he bore,
    An harvest of the best, what needs he more?
    In's other hand a glass ev'n almost run,
    Thus writ about: "This out, then am I done."

    Anne Bradstreet
    (With some variations
    by Ron Price)
    August 25th 2005
    :wink:


    Last edited by RonPrice; January 14th, 2013 at 01:28 AM. Reason: to take out the apostrophes
    married for 37 years; teacher for 30; living in Australia for 33 years; Baha'i for 45 years. Writer of poetry for 25 years.
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