Prose in the trash


I was on my way home one day and saw this broken wardrobe door panel, which was stenciled with a sorrowful poem, lying in the middle of a walkway. My heart instantly went to the author who penned it and I quickly took a photo of it as I walked past. Upon closer inspection, I was slightly bemused by the juxtaposition of the sobriety of the content against its location, unwanted and discarded on top of drainage covers and near a yellow warning line.

After doing a quick internet search, I found out that the prose came out of an incomplete stanza from “Maud; A Monodrama” by Victorian poet Lord Alfred Tennyson. The actual stanza flows as such:

Half the night I waste in sighs,
Half in dreams I sorrow after
The delight of early skies;
In a wakeful doze I sorrow
For the hand, the lips, the eyes,
For the meeting of the morrow,
The delight of happy laughter,
The delight of low replies.

Not bad for such a random and spontaneous occurrence isn’t it?

View full poem HERE.


22 thoughts on “Prose in the trash

  1. Such a delight to find poems like this unexpectedly. I remember finding a haiku written on the arm rest of a chair in one of our classes:


    As blood lilies wilt
    Above the wet, muddy earth
    I sit and write poems.

    I thought it was nice and meaningful, so I memorized it.

  2. One of my favorite poets, Lord Tennyson had such a way with melding words together that you almost forget he’s not singing in your ear! To top it off, the randomness of the find makes for a fabulous story and great way to show Tennyson’s works off to people who don’t know him! Love it!

  3. I heard an artist interviewed recently who is going from major city to major city posting rap lyrics on ordinary items. I don’t think Tennyson is known for his rap, so this can’t one of his installations. But it is really cool. You had such a good eye to catch it!

    1. It sounds like a cool project to be sharing rap lyrics on everyday things and to bring simple pleasures into daily life (:

  4. I love that you found this poem fragment in such an unlikely spot. Poetry can be found everywhere if we look for it.

    The New York City Subway System had a program they ran for awhile called “Poetry in Motion” — the subway cars would feature short poems on the spaces above the windows (which were usually reserved for ads). It was so cool and whoever was in charge of choosing the poems was really good, because the poems were invariably thought-provoking and perfect for a quick read on the subway.

    I guess the cool thing about it was that unexpected juxtaposition of something so beautiful and fragile as a poem against the everyday clackety-clack, smells, and dreariness of the subway. Couldn’t help but lift your spirits.

    1. I totally agree that the best part about such findings is in the unexpected juxtaposition, giving it an element of surprise and beauty.

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