Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rhyme and Punishment

A few days ago, I read this very interesting piece on the Project Syndicate website: Osama bin Laden, Bard of Terror. It discusses Osama bin Laden's masterful use of classical Arabic poetic style to deliver his messages, with author Bernard Haykel noting that, "Arab culture places a high value on poetic expression, and so it is no coincidence that it appears repeatedly in Al Qaeda's propaganda."

Well, damn and blast...that foul bastard has found yet another good thing to ruin.

As it happens, I really enjoy poetry. I especially love to read good poems aloud for the rhythmic quality of the language. My favorites include:

"Casey at the Bat," by Ernest Lawrence Thayer - I can really do a rousing reading of this one, the classic fun baseball story.

"The Fool's Prayer," by Edward R. Sill - if this one doesn't make you think, or even bring tears to your eyes, something's wrong.

"The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost - the classic "what if?" poem.

"The Power of the Dog" and "The Thousandth Man," by Rudyard Kipling - if you're a dog lover, you'll love the first one; and the second is one of the best celebrations of friendship and loyalty you'll ever read.

"The Cremation of Sam McGee," by Robert W. Service - this is one of the best poems ever written to read aloud, with it's irresistible cadence and eerie lyrics building to a great tall tale of the Yukon.

And finally,

"The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe - a classic of poetic construction, and another poem meant to be read aloud...preferably on a dark and stormy night.

Osama bin Laden is a monster with much to answer for when Judgment Day rolls around, and using poetry as a way of spreading his evil message is another reason to despise him. I have this dream about Casey swinging that mighty bat at his empty, turbaned head...

Have a good day. Read some poetry. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

10 comments:

zero_zero_one said...

I really like "The Raven" too, I think I might have to dig out my Edgar Allan Poe when I get home tonight...

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Nevermore...

Poe is wonderful.

John said...

"I have this dream about Casey swinging that mighty bat at his empty, turbaned head..."

I have a feeling you're holding back, Bilbo. Tell us how you really feel!

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

I love Poe

Mike said...

I hate poe. I want to be able to buy things. I worked hard not to be poe.

Bilbo said...

I guess everyone loves Edgar Allan Poe. But you really should try the others...

John - in the immortal words of the Incredible Hulk: "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry!"

Mike - That was one of the lowest and most horrendously awful puns I've heard in a long time. Congratulations!

KKTSews said...

I'm not a poetry fan. Robert Frost's work is better than most. The rest, including gloomy Poe, I can do without.
I'm just much better at clear writing--too dense for oblique references I guess.

Claudia said...

From Mike's wife, Claudia:

My favorite is "Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden. It was recited by one of the characters in the film, "Four Weddings and a Funeral," and it makes me cry every time I see that scene or when I read the poem.

Bilbo said...

Claudia - welcome to the family! "Funeral Blues" is a great poem, too. If I'd had listed all my favorites (of which it is one), I wouldn't have had room to write anything else!

Anonymous said...

How could you forget, among great poems to be read aloud, "The Highwayman?" by Alfred Noyes. And what a wonderful name for a poet, surely an example of the Cosmic Jokester putting us on.

Poem is available at this link:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-highwayman/

Mr. Anonymous, as usual.