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- Sea & Sailing
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One of Jon Lachelt's comments on Adventure, is that if any single poet can "own" a categoty, this one is probaby ownd by Canadian poet Robert W. Service. Perhaps Australian poet Banjo Paterson would be a moderately close second.
Service's ballads, rhymes and tales of the Great White North are filled with well-imagined characters and convey an "anything can happen" sense of adventure. What is adventure exactly? For this category we have decided not to include war stories or, for the most part, tales of heroes or heroines. Stories of travel and poems about the sea and sailing are also treated in a separate subject index listings, as is story telling in general. Instead, these are poems which give a sense of excitement, a sense of wonder, mystery and energy - a sense of unknown possibilities. This still gives us a broad category to work with and plenty of poems to highlight.
For energy and excitement, there are few poems that can touch Browning's How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix. One of them might be Patterson's The Man from Snowy River, an Australian favorite.
Hunting is a common theme, with Carroll's Hunting of the Snark a favorite of many. On a shorter note there are also hunting pieces by Mathilde Blind and H.D.
In case you haven't watched too many pirate movies, there's Robinson's Flying Dutchman and Cooke's poem about Blue Beard's Closet, and Stevenson's Pirate Story for children.
One of the most famous story poems is here, Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, as is the adventure of two sisters Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market. And there are some characters of note, from Munchausen to Blanchard, a Rover, a Gypsy, a Vagabond, Wayfarers, and one lunatic shouting "Excelsior".
There are also a number of very short poems here that are not adventure stories, they just convey a sense of adventure - by describing a place or the simple action of entering a dark woods. There are even some requiems from lives filled with adventure, and the cries of unwilling adventurers to be set free.
Which brings us back around to Robert W. Service. His poems are still very readable, despite the passage of years, and his vernacular of the north. And they are entertaining enough to merit titles like The Call of the Wild or The Spell of the Yukon, and have characters like "the Sourdough" and "the Rolling Stone".
And finally, while we don't have a copy of it on Poets' Corner, there is the oldest and still one of the best adventure stories ever written, of a man battling against all odds, and against the gods themselves in his strugle to return home from a decade of war and wandering - Homer's Odyssey. For you stay-at-home types, there is also Millay's The Unexplorer to round off the category.
- The Call of the Wild by Robert W. Service
Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
- How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix by Robert Browning
A journey of such excitement the storyteller feels no need to explain what the news was.
- The Man from Snowy River by Andrew Barton Paterson
An entire western novel in 13 stanzas - and a good one at that - from Australia's master story teller.
- Reville by A. E. Housman
Adventure lies ahead: Carpe Diem:
Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.
- The Spell of the Yukon by Robert W. Service
A man finds it impossible to resist the lure of gold.
At the British Museum by Richard Aldington
A simple poem about how good writing can transport you to adventure.
- Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
This short adventure story has some of my favorite words in the English language, or whatever language this is that Carroll invented. Who wouldn't want their own Vorpal Blade?
- The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
A lyrrical but confusing quest for the Butcher the Baker the Banker the Barrister and the Bellman (and the Beaver)
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
An unexpected wedding guest tells the tale of a fantastic journey.
- Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson
A fitting, self-authored epitaph for one of the most famous adventure writers of all time. Elegantly understated.
- Embarcation by Thomas Hardy
The place where, for better or ill, journeys begin
- Song of the Galley-Slaves by Rudyard Kipling
Not everyone participates in the adventure by choice.
- To Mr. Blanchard, the Celebrated Aeronaut in America by Philip Freneau
Aeronaut, in this case, refers to French balloonist Jean Pierre Blanchard, whose 1793 was watched by many, including U.S. President George Washington
- The Wood by Charlotte Bronte
A dangerous journey through over land and sea, wary of spies and treachery.
- Adieu, Adieu! My Native Shore by Lord Byron
Welcome, welcome, ye dark blue waves!
And when you fail my sight,
Welcome ye deserts, and ye caves!
My native land -- Good Night!'
- The Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats
There are some beautiful lines in this short poem, part parable and part magic.
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
- The Odyssey by Andrew Lang
The great epic, distilled to fourteen lines.
- Excelsior by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There is adventure, then there is craziness; sometimes the difference is easy to recognize.
- The Men That Don't Fit In by Robert W. Service
The phrase "a rolling stone" personified -- for those who "can't sit still".
- Cross-Roads by Mathilde Blind
Through wind and rain...
- Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
Two sisters in a tale of adventure and loyalty; a long poem that reads quickly.
- The Rover by Robert W. Service
Adventure is good, but so is the homecoming.
- On the Mississippi by Hamlin Garland
You expect to turn around and find Huckleberry Finn.
- To an Island Princess by Robert Louis Stevenson
The fairy tale ending without the book.
- The Flying Dutchman by Edward Arlington Robinson
Not as squid-like as the Disney portrait.
- Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries by A.E. Houseman
Some adventurers have a bad reputation - and according to Houseman's brief sentiment, may not deserve it.
- Niagara by Joseph Rodman Drake
You can almost hear Drake's poem rushing along with the waters.
- Huntress by H.D.
Another headlong rush of a poem.
- The Three Voices by Robert W. Service
A song of adventure, courtesy of waves, wind, starlight and campfire.
- Go and Catch a Falling Star by John Donne
Not an adventure story really -- actually an incantation against love -- but with images of mystery and adventure.
- Winged Man by Steven Vincent Benet
One of the most ancient of adventure stories - the tale of Icarus
- The Heart of the Sourdough by Robert W. Service
There where the rapids churn and roar, and the ice-floes bellowing run;
Where the tortured, twisted rivers of blood rush to the setting sun --
I've packed my kit and I'm going, boys, ere another day is done.
- The Marvelous Munchausen by William Rose Ben�t
Recalling his wild tales of adventure.
- The Wood's Entry by Laurence Binyon
An imagist poem about a leaf on a tree - ever so brief, but foreboding and mysterious.
- The Child on the Curbstone by Elinor Wylie
Adventure (and Danger) is all around us. Crossing the street, even.
- Over the Hills and Far Away by William Ernest Henley
From faded hopes and hopes agleam,
It calls you, calls you night and day
Beyond the dark into the dream
Over the hills and far away.
- The Wanderer by Alan Seeger
To see the clouds his spirit yearned toward so
Over new mountains piled and unploughed waves,
Back of old-storied spires and architraves
To watch Arcturus rise or Fomalhaut...
- Ballad of the Tempest by James T. Fields
Weathering the storm.
- Blue-Beard's Closet by Rose Terry Cooke
Fasten the chamber!
Hide the red key;
Cover the portal,
That eyes may not see.
- The Land of Beyond by Robert W. Service
Another call of the wild.
- The Vagabond by Robert Louis Stevenson
The opening lines from Songs of Travel
GIVE to me the life I love,
Let the lave go by me,
Give the jolly heaven above
And the byway nigh me.
- Gypsy Songs by Ben Jonson
Two short songs for the road.
- The Rhyme of the Restless Ones by Robert W. Service
And you'll find us in Alaska after gold,
And you'll find us herding cattle in the South.
We like strong drink and fun, and, when the race is run,
We often die with curses in our mouth.
- Pirate Story by Robert Louis Stevenson
From A Child's Garden of Verses - with enough imagination, adventure is everywhere.
- The Unexplorer by Edna St. Vincent Millay
And then, there are those with no sense of adventure.