Longfellow is long out of fashion. His extravagant language, highlymemorizable rhyme schemes, and classical themes place him squarely within a poetic movement long left for dead. Reaction to his poetry created the Imagist movement… created modern poetry as we know it. And yet to have so many react so strongly… must mean something.
Living as I do now in the North Country (the land of Hiawatha), just a bit south on the map it seems at times of ultima thule, Longfellow cannot be easily ignored. Nor should he I think. There are few pleasures from my childhood as great as walking down the street singing lines from Paul Revere that I had memorized.
On a day when many of us are remembering, a poem about time and aging and the “undiscovered country” that we are all sailing toward seems like just the thing.