U is for Ubi sunt (whaaa?)


You know you’ve got to get exotic when you reach the end of the alphabet.

Ubi sunt

“A number of medieval European poems begin with this Latin phrase meaning ‘Where are they?’ By posing a series of questions about the fate of the strong, beautiful, or virtuous, these poems meditate on the transitory nature of life and the inevitability of death. The phrase can now refer to any poetry that treats these themes.”

Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/glossary-terms

A contemporary example given is Mark Strand’s “Where are the Waters of Childhood?”

“See where the windows are boarded up,
where the gray siding shines in the sun and salt air
and the asphalt shingles on the roof have peeled or fallen off,
where tiers of oxeye daisies float on a sea of grass?
That’s the place to begin.”

And I suggest checking out the rest. Certainly not the stuff of kid lit, but an arresting meditation on what has happened to the childhood of an adult.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s