U is for Ubi sunt (whaaa?)

U.jpg

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.

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