Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Frederick Goddard Tuckerman

Joseph Bradshaw and Sam Lohmann were the weekend victims of the bad case of Tuckerman I caught in Maine. The goth bard of Greenfield, MA was a blank to me until someone in Orono mentioned him as some scholars' pick for the "Missing Number 3" of America's Top Poet: Nineteenth Century. Here's a brief autumnal gust from Mr. T.
VII (from Sonnets, Part I)

Dank fens of cedar, hemlock-branches gray
With tress and trail of mosses wringing-wet;
Beds of the black pitch-pine in dead leaves set
Whose wasted red has wasted to white away;
Remnants of rain and droppings of decay,--
Why hold ye so my heart, nor dimly let
Through your deep leaves the light of yesterday,
The faded glimmer of a sunshine set?
Is it that in your darkness, shut from strife,
The bread of tears becomes the bread of life?
Far from the roar of day, beneath your boughs
Fresh griefs beat tranquilly, and loves and vows
Grow green in your gray shadows, dearer far
Even than all lovely lights, and roses are?


Sam Lohmann said...

That's pretty good. "The bread of tears," yum. But #3? Poe? Melville? Or ooh, how about Joseph Smith? Or William Cullen Bryant of "Thanatopsis" fame?
But maybe I should suspend judgement until I've read "The Cricket."

rodney k said...

Hi Sam,

I know, my "Jeopardy!"-level knowledge of 19th-century American poetry would have me grabbing for one of the names you suggest, or "Longfellow" or something. Still hunting for a good affordable edition of Clarel. I guess Tuckerman has his advocates though, and they're on the march. Or it's fun to think so, anyway. Good name for an Americana band, too: "Frederick Goddard Tuckerman."

Joseph Smith? The Stormin' Mormon? I'll have to check that out.