My Favorite Poem

My public library recently had a notebook propped up at the checkout desk. On the cover were the words, “Tell us your favorite poem.” So I opened the notebook to the first blank page, and I did. Now I’d like to tell you, too.

My favorite poem is “Rondeau” by Leigh Hunt.

Here is a drawing of Mr. Hunt. Isn’t he dapper?

He was an English poet, born in 1784. He wrote “Rondeau” about his friend Jane Carlyle, wife of the poet Thomas Carlyle. I discovered the poem in 1977, in a survey course of English literature taught by Professor John O’Connor, during my time as an English major at Rutgers University. I memorized it then and can still recite it at will.

I love this poem because, for me, it expertly does what I believe a poem should do: it captures a feeling inside the glass globe of language and holds it there forever. It turns a moment into a perfect jewel whose facets are the rhyme schemes and lilting rhythms that never fail to thrill me. There is nothing in it I would wish to change. And when I finish the last line, my heart fizzes like soda pop when you twist off the cap on a fresh bottle. Ahhh.

Rondeau (Jenny Kissed Me)

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in.
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me.
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kissed me.

Now didn’t that make your heart fizz?


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] kind of sharing is as much for the parents as it is for the children. Thus Susan shares My Favorite Poem at The Expanding […]

  2. 2

    Denise said,

    Wonderful poem! Thanks for sharing. It reminds me of the fun we used to have with sharing poetry at tea time. Have to get back to doing that…

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