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Nature in American Poetry

Maslova Tatyana, 11A

Nature is an eternal theme of poetry and prose, and in American poetry we can find beautiful verses devoted to it. The first of them are written by Philip Freneau. Though he was the poet of the Enlightenment, he wrote a number of poems about nature, in which the influence of Romanticism is noticeable. His poem «The Beauties of Santa Cruz» tells his poetic raptures over the beauty of the nature of the island:
Sweet orange grove, the fairest of the isle…
But American nature came to life in all its beauty under the pen of Henry Longfellow. In his poetry for the first time we find truly poetic description of the forests, rivers and lakes of America. In his lyrics he drew very realistic, vivid and emotional pictures of American boundless prairies and the mountains of her far West, the mighty flow of the Mississippi at a law flood, the richly fertile plantation of the South «and the severe cold winters of the Eastern states. He was especially skilful in depicting the seasons of the year: …the birds are fledge and flown, And the dry leaves strew the path. I especially enjoyed his poem «The Day is Done»:

The day is done, and the darkness Дня нет уж. За крыльями Ночи
Falls from the wings of Night, Прозрачная стелется мгла,
As a feather is wafted downward Как легкие перья кружаться
From an eagle in his flight. Воздушной стезею орла.

Both English and Russian variants are wonderful.
Another American poet who described nature was Robert Frost. Never had there been such fine understanding of nature in the works of any American poet. In depicting nature he may he compared with Burns, though his poetry is American to the core. He had a gift for transmitting shades of colours and sound through simple words and comparisons when he described the scenery:
The West: was getting out of gold, The breath of air had died of cold, When shoeing home across the white I thought I saw a bird alight.
(«Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter»)
He wonderfully showed the beauties of nature in different seasons: Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leafs a flower; But only so an hour.
(«Nothing Gold can Stay»)
But beneath the surface of the smooth-flowing lines of Frost’s poetry we find a moral and some solid wisdom. His wonderful poems are fostered by his love for nature, and he wanted people to understand that nature is alive, and he wanted to sow seeds of love for it in the souls of others through his poems.
Earth — the right place for love I don’t know where its likely to go better, —
he says in his poem «Birches». And it is really impossible to stay indifferent while reading his enchanting descriptions.
Another American poet, William Bryant, was often called «The American Wordsworth» because like this lyrical English poet he was a passionate lover of nature 5 was at his best in descriptions of rivers, meadows, woods, etc. According to the words of Walt Whitman Bryant is «a bard of rivers and woods». Look only at the names of his poems, «A Forest Hymn», «Green River», «A Walk at Sunset». His most famous poem is «Thanatapsis», where he meditates on the interrelation of man and nature.
To him who is the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; far his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty…
The scenery takes an important place in the poems of Emily Dickinson. Here are one of her poems and its Russian translation:

The sky is low, the clouds are mean. Нависло небо, клочья туч
A travelling flake of snow Метель иль дождь сулят.
Across a barn or through a rut Снежинки, предвкушая ночь,
Debates if it will so. Хоть тают, но летят.
A narrow wind complains all day И ветер, песни не начав,
How someone treated him. Скулит, как в будке пес.
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught Застигнуть можно невзначай
Without her diadem. Природу, как и нас.

…Robert Frost, Henry Longfellow, William Bryant — these are the names of the most outstanding poets of the 18th, 19th cent. famous for their descriptions of nature. And in our days, in the 20th cent. nature is a source of inspiration for many poets and many of them praise its beauties and devote to it their best verses.


Опубликовано 23.01.2010 в категории Работы учащихся |
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Автор сайта

Щукина Надежда Михайловна
учитель английского языка, зав. кафедрой ИЯ, Заслуженный учитель РХ, МОУ “Гимназия”, г.Абакан, р. Хакасия.

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