ROUSES POINT — The daughter of missionaries, Marita Boulos’s peripatetic childhood striated her life with many leave takings.
At a Japanese international school, John Donne’s poem, “Song: Sweetest love, I do not goe,” resonated with the 15 year old, who discovered the poem in “12 Poets."
That poem was the first she thought of when she submitted an essay about her favorite poem to the First New York State Unites contest.
The project’s goal “is to promote poetry and poetry readers in the hope that their enthusiasm will be contagious to thousands, if not millions, of others,” according to writer/filmmaker Ewa Zadrzynska.
Boulos was among four first place winners selected by Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate, Edward Hirsch, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and president of the Guggenheim Foundation and Marie Howe, State Poet of New York, 2012-2014.
“I was happy that it spoke to someone, that they saw something in it,” said Boulos, a Rouses Point resident, who works at Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County.
Boulos wrote her essay, “’tis best to use myself in jest thus feigned deaths to die,” extracted from the first stanza of Donne’s poem, the day before the April 15 deadline.
“I just had been mulling it over in my head,” Boulos said. “It’s kind of a weird choice because it’s a very old poem, John Donne poem, not a sonnet, not a meditation but one if his secular like love poems."
In her long ago English class, she was assigned a Shakespearean sonnet, LXV, which begins “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea…”
She thumbed through the Rinehart & Co. book, which included poems by Pope, Wordsworth, Keats, Browning, Housman, Yeats, Robinson, Frost, Eliot and Dickinson, her favorite.
“Donne’s “Song” is about a duty-bound man leaving his weeping wife once again.