Friday, March 30, 2012

Fictional Favorites, part two

This series of posts considers What would fictional characters' favorite poets/poems be?

Today we are welcoming author Irene Latham, who brings us poems in honor of characters from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.

For Katniss Everdeen's favorite, Irene chose Hidden by Naomi Shihab Nye:

by Naomi Shihab Nye

If you place a fern
under a stone
the next day it will be
nearly invisible
as if the stone has
swallowed it.

If you tuck the name of a loved one
under your tongue too long
without speaking it
it becomes blood
the little sucked-in breath of air
hiding everywhere
beneath your words.

No one sees
the fuel that feeds you.


For Rue, Irene picked:

When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."


And for Peeta:


by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off our heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.


Wow, Irene! Thank you.

Extra bits:

* The lyrics for Rue's Lullaby, which Katniss sings to Prim and Rue, can be found here.
* I think When You Are Old by W.B. Yeats is one that Peeta might recite to Katniss.
* And wouldn't Cinna want to be a part of the 100,000 Poets for Change movement?
* A side-note: Hunger Games movie cast asks fans to help end world hunger.

Visit My Juicy Little Universe for the Poetry Friday round-up.


Author Amok said...

Irene made a perfect choice for Katniss. Beautiful poem, but it's also so world-weary.

"Courage" is heart-breaking. "The first spanking when your heart/ went on a journey all alone."

GatheringBooks said...

My family and I have just seen The Hunger Games and my daughter is in a frenzy about the books as well along with a few of her classmates in the 4th grade. Will read these poems with her tomorrow when she wakes up. And yes, my pick here is Anne Sexton's as well, who happens to be an absolute absolute favorite of mine. In fact, I was about to feature this particular poem in one of the upcoming Poetry Fridays as it fits perfectly with our Girl Power and Women's Wiles theme, would have to choose a different Sexton poem, then. :) Thanks Tabatha again for sharing. Hopefully, we also get to do our own Fictional Favorites before April ends.

Tara said...

These were just perfect! I especially like Rue's ... now I must get over to a movie theater to see this!

Robyn Hood Black said...

An intriguing project, Tabatha, and Irene - these are perfect picks. Thanks for sharing!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

To begin with, I just love the assumption that everyone, even characters in all kinds of fiction, would have favorite poems. Irene's choices are wonderful--literally, they make me wonder how my view of the characters will change having read these poems with them in mind, when I reread the trilogy.

Ruth said...

What wonderful poems! And all of them except one are new to me!

Oh, and the Yeats is perfect for Peeta to read to Katniss.

This post makes me smile!

Christine said...

I love the idea of imagining what the characters would read or recite. Both of my boys read and loved these books, so this post will be a fun way to sneak them into the world of poetry! Thanks, Tabatha:)

Irene Latham said...

Tabatha, thanks SO MUCH for this project! Since you brought it up I've been assigning poems to other book characters, including the ones I'm currently writing about. Why shouldn't the whole world be poetry-lovers, fictional or not? I look forward to what others have come up with.