The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have loved the rhythm of this poem since I was a kid. I could read it over and over and over.

Transported for two full nights into another world. Disappointed that I was not introduced to this at a younger age but also grateful that I’ve been able to discover it and enjoy it so thoroughly and fresh in my maturity. A poem in trochaic tetrameter that necessitates it being read aloud to fully experience its effect. Simply mesmerizing.

When I picked The Song Of Hiawatha, I admit I was a little concerned that I would have visions of the Bugs Bunny cartoon running through my head the entire time I was reading. Bugs starts out reading the poem, young Hiawatha comes floating down the river on a rabbit hunt, and the rest is poetic hilarity.

I was initially drawn to this poem after coming across some rather amusing parodies, so I was surprised that I enjoyed its mythical Native American tales so much. There is something grandiose about the poetic meter that makes me want to stand in the middle of a prairie somewhere and declaim it at passersby, be they humans or masticating cows.

I haven’t read Longfellow before, or if I have, it has been long enough that I don’t recall. I will be seeking out more of his works as I thoroughly enjoyed this. The epic nature of the work was compelling and it held my interest. I feel that Longfellow was able to paint a picture with his words and while the images may seem out of date, there is a level of respect that is demonstrated in his work. I will be reading this again.

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