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Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Jan 31, 2008.
Post your favorite poem from a dead poet below and tell us why you dig it.
A personal favourite:
'Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
'Is there anybody there?' he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,' he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.
The Listeners, Walter De La Mare ([SIZE=-1]April 25, 1873 – June 22, 1956)[/SIZE].
Best enjoyed with the lights out and in excitable company, I will say no more.:wink:
My personal favorite is The Death of the Hired Man by Robert Frost (1874-1963) I just enjoy the feel of the entire story from start to finish. Well told, well written and with an end which I hadn't seen coming. Additionally Professor Bogen of English 101 used it as a writing assignment; wherein, we the students had to create a storyline as for what happened next, and how exactly Silas had died.
The Death of the Hired Man
Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
To meet him in the doorway with the news
And put him on his guard. 'Silas is back.'
She pushed him outward with her through the door
And shut it after her. "Be kind," she said.
She took the market things from Warren's arms
And set them on the porch, then drew him down
To sit beside her on the wooden steps.
'When was I ever anything but kind to him?
But I'll not have the fellow back,' he said.
'I told him so last haying, didn't I?
"If he left then," I said, "that ended it."
What good is he? Who else will harbor him
At his age for the little he can do?
What help he is there's no depending on.
Off he goes always when I need him most.
'He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
Enough at least to buy tobacco with,
won't have to beg and be beholden."
"All right," I say "I can't afford to pay
Any fixed wages, though I wish I could."
"Someone else can."
"Then someone else will have to.
I shouldn't mind his bettering himself
If that was what it was. You can be certain,
When he begins like that, there's someone at him
Trying to coax him off with pocket-money, --
In haying time, when any help is scarce.
In winter he comes back to us. I'm done.'
'Shh I not so loud: he'll hear you,' Mary said.
'I want him to: he'll have to soon or late.'
'He's worn out. He's asleep beside the stove.
When I came up from Rowe's I found him here,
Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep,
A miserable sight, and frightening, too-
You needn't smile -- I didn't recognize him-
I wasn't looking for him- and he's changed.
Wait till you see.'
'Where did you say he'd been?
'He didn't say. I dragged him to the house,
And gave him tea and tried to make him smoke.
I tried to make him talk about his travels.
Nothing would do: he just kept nodding off.'
'What did he say? Did he say anything?'
'Anything? Mary, confess
He said he'd come to ditch the meadow for me.'
'But did he? I just want to know.'
'Of course he did. What would you have him say?
Surely you wouldn't grudge the poor old man
Some humble way to save his self-respect.
He added, if you really care to know,
He meant to dear the upper pasture, too.
That sounds like something you have heard before?
Warren, I wish you could have heard the way
He jumbled everything. I stopped to look
Two or three times -- he made me feel so queer--
To see if he was talking in his sleep.
He ran on Harold Wilson -- you remember -
The boy you had in haying four years since.
He's finished school, and teaching in his college.
Silas declares you'll have to get him back.
He says they two will make a team for work:
Between them they will lay this farm as smooth!
The way he mixed that in with other things.
He thinks young Wilson a likely lad, though daft
On education -- you know how they fought
All through July under the blazing sun,
Silas up on the cart to build the load,
Harold along beside to pitch it on.'
'Yes, I took care to keep well out of earshot.'
'Well, those days trouble Silas like a dream.
You wouldn't think they would. How some things linger!
Harold's young college boy's assurance piqued him.
After so many years he still keeps finding
Good arguments he sees he might have used.
I sympathize. I know just how it feels
To think of the right thing to say too late.
Harold's associated in his mind with Latin.
He asked me what I thought of Harold's saying
He studied Latin like the violin
Because he liked it -- that an argument!
He said he couldn't make the boy believe
He could find water with a hazel prong--
Which showed how much good school had ever done
him. He wanted to go over that. 'But most of all
He thinks if he could have another chance
To teach him how to build a load of hay --'
'I know, that's Silas' one accomplishment.
He bundles every forkful in its place,
And tags and numbers it for future reference,
So he can find and easily dislodge it
In the unloading. Silas does that well.
He takes it out in bunches like big birds' nests.
You never see him standing on the hay
He's trying to lift, straining to lift himself.'
'He thinks if he could teach him that, he'd be
Some good perhaps to someone in the world.
He hates to see a boy the fool of books.
Poor Silas, so concerned for other folk,
And nothing to look backward to with pride,
And nothing to look forward to with hope,
So now and never any different.'
Part of a moon was filling down the west,
Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw
And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
Among the harp-like morning-glory strings,
Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves,
As if she played unheard the tenderness
That wrought on him beside her in the night.
'Warren,' she said, 'he has come home to die:
You needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time.'
'Home,' he mocked gently.
'Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he's nothing to us, any more
then was the hound that came a stranger to us
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.'
'Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.'
'I should have called it
Something you somehow haven't to deserve.'
Warren leaned out and took a step or two,
Picked up a little stick, and brought it back
And broke it in his hand and tossed it by.
'Silas has better claim on' us, you think,
Than on his brother? Thirteen little miles
As the road winds would bring him to his door.
Silas has walked that far no doubt to-day.
Why didn't he go there? His brother's rich,
A somebody- director in the bank.'
'He never told us that.'
'We know it though.'
'I think his brother ought to help, of course.
I'll see to that if there is need. He ought of right
To take him in, and might be willing to--
He may be better than appearances.
But have some pity on Silas. Do you think
If he'd had any pride in claiming kin
Or anything he looked for from his brother,
He'd keep so still about him all this time?'
'I wonder what's between them.'
'I can tell you.
Silas is what he is -- we wouldn't mind him--
But just the kind that kinsfolk can't abide.
He never did a thing so very bad.
He don't know why he isn't quite as good
As anyone. He won't be made ashamed
To please his brother, worthless though he is.'
'I can't think Si ever hurt anyone.'
'No, but he hurt my heart the way he lay
And rolled his old head on that sharp-edged chair-back.
He wouldn't let me put him on the lounge.
You must go in and see what you can do.
I made the bed up for him there to-night.
You'll be surprised at him -- how much he's broken.
His working days are done; I'm sure of it.'
'I'd not be in a hurry to say that.'
'I haven't been. Go, look, see for yourself.
But, Warren, please remember how it is:
He' come to help you ditch the meadow.
He has a plan, You mustn't laugh at him.
He may not speak of it, and then he may.
I'll sit and see if that small sailing cloud
Will hit or miss the moon.'
It hit the moon.
Then there were three there, making a dim row,
The moon, the little silver cloud, and she.
Warren returned-- too soon, it seemed to her,
Slipped to her side, caught up her hand and waited.
'Warren?' she questioned.
'Dead,' was all he answered.
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]THE FIRST ELEGY[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica] Who, if I cried, would hear me, of the angelic orders? or even supposing that one should suddenly carry me to his heart I should perish under the pressure of his stronger nature. For beauty is only a step removed from a burning terror we barely sustain, and we worship it for the graceful sublimity with which it disdains to consume us. Each angel burns. And so I hold back, and swallow down the yearning, the dark call heard in the cave of the heart. Alas, who then can serve our need? Not angels, not human beings; and even the sly beasts begin to perceive that we do not feel too much at home in our interpreted world. Perhaps we can call on a tree we noticed on a slope somewhere and passed in our daily walk the streets of a city we knew, or a habits dumb fidelity, a habit that liked our space, and so it stayed. Oh, and the night, the night when the wind full of emptiness feeds on our features how should she not be there? the long desired, mild disenchantress, sure disappointer of the labouring heart. Is she kinder to lovers perhaps? No, they hide from her, seeking security in an embrace. Havent you grasped it yet? Throw from your arms the nothing that lies between them into the space that we breathe as an atmosphere to enable the birds, perhaps, in new zest of feeling to hurl their flight through the expanded air.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica] Yes, the springtimes needed you. Stars now and then craved your attention. A wave rose in the remembered past; or as you came by the open window a violin was singing its soul out. All this was a given task. But were you capacious enough to receive it? Werent you always distracted with expectation, imagining these hints the heralds of a human love? (Where will you keep her, the loved one you with your vast strange thoughts always coming and going, and taking up too much houseroom.) If you feel longing, though, sing of the lovers, the great ones; who has adequately immortalized their alchemy of the heart? The unrequited - you envied them almost, finding them so much more loving than the physically satisfied. Begin, then, the praise of what can never be praised enough. Consider: the hero maintains an identity, even his last stand merely a last occasion for self-assertion a kind of ultimate birth. But lovers Nature takes to herself again as if she lacked resources to do it a second time: exhausted and fulfilled. Have you pondered enough on Gaspara Stampa that any girl whose lover jilts her can take that life as a model and think: I could be like her? Shouldnt at last these ancient familiar sorrows bear feeling fruit in our lives? Isnt it time to free ourselves from the loved one, and bear the tension as the arrow endures the tensed string to gather its forces and spring to a state of being that is more than it could ever be? It is death to stand still. Voices; voices, and echoes. Listen, my heart, as only saints listened of old, till the giant summons lifted them from the ground but they went on kneeling, impossibly, and stopped the ears of the heart. That was their way. Dont think, though, that you could endure Gods voice far from it. But listen for the whisper, the wind that breathes out of silence continuing news. Those who died young: their fate a picture you saw on speaking tablets at Rome or Naples or in Santa Maria Formosa, where a few bare words spoke volumes. What do they want of me? That I should gently undo the apparent injustice of their deaths: that last hindrance to their spirits progress.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica] Strange it is, to inhabit the earth no longer, to have no more use for habits hardly acquired roses, and other things of singular promise, no longer to see them in terms of a human future; to be no more all that we nurtured and carried in endlessly anxious hands, and to leave by the roadside ones own name even, like a childs broken doll. Strange, not to have wishes any more. To see, where things were related, only a looseness fluttering in space. And its hard, being dead, and takes much difficult recapitulation to glimpse the tiniest hint of eternity. The living, though, are too ready to posit a border between two states of being: a human mistake. Angels, its said, are often uncertain whether they traverse the living or the dead. The eternal current pours through both worlds, bearing all ages with it, and overpowers their voices with their song. They finally need us no longer, the early departed: they grow beyond earthly things, as a child mildly outgrows the mothers breast. But we, left standing before closed doors we from whose living sorrow blessedest growth can spring where should we be without them?[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica] Think again of the story how at Linus departing a boldly tentative music pierced, for the first time, the souls blank grief; and in that startled vacuum from which an almost godlike boy exited for ever, the air fell into that intermittent pure vibration which for us mortals is rapture, and comfort, and help.
-Rainer Maria Rilke (translated from the German by John Waterfield)
When Man Enters Woman-Anne Sexton
like the surf biting the shore,
again and again,
and the woman opens her mouth in pleasure
and her teeth gleam
like the alphabet,
Logos appears milking a star,
and the man
inside of woman
ties a knot
so that they will
never again be separate
and the woman
climbs into a flower
and swallows its stem
and Logos appears
and unleashed their rivers.
with their double hunger,
have tried to reach through
the curtain of God
and briefly they have,
in His perversity
unties the knot.
i love that poem alot...but my favorite written work
would be "the emerald tablet" by hermes,it gives me insight everytime.
Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the working of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.
What else should he be set for, with his staff?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All travellers who might find him posted there,
And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch 'gin write my epitaph
For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare,
If at his council I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
Nor hope rekindling at the end descried,
So much as gladness that some end might be.
For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
What with my search drawn out through years, my hope
Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
With that obstreperous joy success would bring, -
I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
My heart made, finding failure in its scope.
As when a sick man very near to death
Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
And hears one bid the other go, draw breath
Freelier outside, ('since all is o'er,' he saith,
'And the blow fallen no grieving can amend'
While some discuss if near the other graves
Be room enough for this, and when a day
Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
With care about the banners, scarves and staves:
And still the man hears all, and only craves
He may not shame such tender love and stay.
Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
So many times among 'The Band' - to wit,
The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed
Their steps - that just to fail as they, seemed best,
And all the doubt was now - should I be fit?
So, quiet as despair, I turned from him,
That hateful cripple, out of his highway
Into the path he pointed. All the day
Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.
For mark! no sooner was I fairly found
Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
Than, pausing to throw backward a last view
O'er the safe road, 'twas gone; grey plain all round:
Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound.
I might go on; naught else remained to do.
So, on I went. I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers - as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
You'd think: a burr had been a treasure-trove.
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land's portion. 'See
Or shut your eyes,' said Nature peevishly,
'It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
'Tis the Last Judgement's fire must cure this place,
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.'
If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock's harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to balk
All hope of greeness? 'tis a brute must walk
Pushing their life out, with a brute's intents.
As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud
Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood.
One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare,
Stood stupefied, however he came there:
Thrust out past service from the devil's stud!
Alive? he might be dead for aught I know,
With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain,
And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe;
I never saw a brute I hated so;
He must be wicked to deserve such pain.
I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart.
As a man calls for wine before he fights,
I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,
Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
Think first, fight afterwards - this soldier's art:
One taste of the old time sets all to rights.
Not it! I fancied Cuthbert's reddening face
Beneath its garniture of curly gold,
Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold
An arm in mine to fix me to the place,
That way he used. Alas, one night's disgrace!
Out went my heart's new fire and left it cold.
Giles then, the soul of honour - there he stands
Frank as ten years ago when knighted first.
What honest man should dare (he said) he durst.
Good - but the scene shifts - faugh! what hangman-hands
Pin to his breast a parchment? His own bands
Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst!
Better this present than a past like that;
Back therefore to my darkening path again!
No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain.
Will the night send a howlet or a bat?
I asked: when something on the dismal flat
Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.
A sudden little river crossed my path
As unexpected as a serpent comes.
No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms;
This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath
For the fiend's glowing hoof - to see the wrath
Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.
So petty yet so spiteful! All along,
Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it;
Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit
Of mute despair, a suicidal throng:
The river which had done them all the wrong,
Whate'er that was, rolled by, deterred no whit.
Which, while I forded, - good saints, how I feared
To set my foot upon a dead man's cheek,
Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek
For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard!
- It may have been a water-rat I speared,
But, ugh! it sounded like a baby's shriek.
Glad was I when I reached the other bank.
Now for a better country. Vain presage!
Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage,
Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank
Soil to a plash? Toads in a poisoned tank,
Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage -
The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque.
What penned them there, with all the plain to choose?
No foot-print leading to that horrid mews,
None out of it. Mad brewage set to work
Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk
Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.
And more than that - a furlong on - why, there!
What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,
Or brake, not wheel - that harrow fit to reel
Men's bodies out like silk? with all the air
Of Tophet's tool, on earth left unaware,
Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.
Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood,
Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth
Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
Changes and off he goes!) within a rood -
Bog, clay and rubble, sand and stark black dearth.
Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,
Now patches where some leanness of the soil's
Broke into moss or substances like boils;
Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.
And just as far as ever from the end!
Naught in the distance but the evening, naught
To point my footstep further! At the thought,
A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom-friend,
Sailed past, not beat his wide wing dragon-penned
That brushed my cap - perchance the guide I sought.
For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
'Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
All round to mountains - with such name to grace
Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
How thus they had surprised me, - solve it, you!
How to get from then was no clearer case.
Yet half I seemed to recognise some trick
Of mischief happened to me, God knows when -
In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, the,
Progress this way. When, in the very nick
Of giving up, one time more, came a click
As when a trap shuts - you're inside the den!
Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the right,
Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight;
While to the left, a tall scalped mountain...Dunce,
Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!
What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart,
Built of brown stone, without a counterpart
In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf
Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf
He strikes on, only when the timbers start.
Not see? because of night perhaps? - why, day
Came back again for that! before it left,
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:
The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay,
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay, -
'Now stab and end the creature - to the heft!'
Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
Of all the lost adventurers my peers, -
How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
And such was fortunate, yet each of old
Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.
There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.'
Awe. :frown1: My favorite poem of all time is written by someone who is still alive... so I'll go with this:
i love you much (most beautiful darling)
i love you much(most beautiful darling)
more than anyone on the earth and i
like you better than everything in the sky
-sunlight and singing welcome your coming
although winter may be everywhere
with such a silence and such a darkness
noone can quite begin to guess
(except my life)the true time of year-
and if what calls itself a world should have
the luck to hear such singing(or glimpse such
sunlight as will leap higher than high
through gayer than gayest someone's heart at your each
nearness)everyone certainly would(my
most beautiful darling)believe in nothing but love
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight - Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
This poem turns my crank because it so easily describes the joys and freedom of flight.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941
by John Donne
Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
To-morrow when thou leavest, what wilt thou say ?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow ?
Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were ?
Or that oaths made in reverential fear
Of Love, and his wrath, any may forswear ?
Or, as true deaths true marriages untie,
So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose ?
Or, your own end to justify,
For having purposed change and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true ?
Vain lunatic, against these 'scapes I could
Dispute, and conquer, if I would ;
Which I abstain to do,
For by to-morrow I may think so too.
Although it applies equally to men and women I think he's perfectly encapsulated the way people will alway find some reason to justify their infidelity. Donne is my favourite poet.
On a side note where I used to work was a very grand Victorian building which had at one time been much larger, the 'garden' of the building was enclosed by the still standing walls of what had once been the east wing of the building, I was sitting there having a fag, pondering, and thought 'mmm this building is quite like Lucifera's palace', affected or what I was going to paste an excerpt from The Faerie Queen too, the part where Error dies but I couldn't find one and I can't be bothered going to get the book from the spare room
To his Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell (1621 - 1678)
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
I love the message and the imagery of this poem - the message, in short, is that while the dance between two people before they become lovers is exquisite and to be revelled in our time on this earth is too short to let that play out too long - too soon we die and there is no passion in the grave.
The image of Time's Winged Chariot has always captured my imagination but the bit I really love is the last stanza - the raw sexual energy is just delicious; 'am'rous birds of prey', 'tear our pleasures with rough strife', 'instant fires'. Very sexy.
Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 January 29, 1963)
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I'm not sure why this one has always captivated me, but it's been my favorite for many years. I love the imagery (I have often gone for late-night walks in a snowfall, and listened to the muffled sound of the snowflakes piling up...) and the rhythm, meter, and rhyme seem to flow well.
I have written some good, and some not-so-good poetry; but it's all very personal, and I've never had any of it published.
Tú vives siempre en tus actos.
Con la punta de tus dedos
pulsas el mundo, le arrancas
auroras, triunfos, colores,
alegrías: es tu música.
La vida es lo que tú tocas.
De tus ojos, sólo de ellos,
sale la luz que te guía
los pasos. Andas
por lo que ves. Nada más.
Y si una duda te hace
señas a diez mil kilómetros,
lo dejas todo, te arrojas
sobre proas, sobre alas,
estás ya allí; con los besos,
con los dientes la desgarras:
ya no es duda.
Tú nunca puedes dudar.
Porque has vuelto los misterios
del revés. Y tus enigmas,
lo que nunca entenderás,
son esas cosas tan claras:
la arena donde te tiendes,
la marcha de tu reló
y el tierno cuerpo rosado
que te encuentras en tu espejo
cada día al despertar,
y es el tuyo. Los prodigios
que están descifrados ya.
Y nunca te equivocaste,
más que una vez, una noche
que te encaprichó una sombra
-la única que te ha gustado-.
Una sombra parecía.
Y la quisiste abrazar.
Y era yo.
pedro salinas is one of my fav.
I read this to a girl and she gave me fellatio.
This is beautiful. I've heard this several times, and seen excerpts (most famously Reagan's extremely appropriate borrowing, of course) - I never knew the poet's name. Thanks.
I love nearly everything by Donne, this is one of his best though. (Spencer's Faerie was forced upon me in college and I have bad memories of it - I should probably give it a second chance)
I love that one too, DC, thanks for posting it.
My own attempts at poetry are just too awful - I come up with a nice phrase with a bit of cadence or good imagery to it - but when I try to write it into a poem of even minimal substance it falls on its arse. Just not a talent I have I guess, shame.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.
This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.
Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her void. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my sould is not satisfied that it has lost her.
Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.
And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.
And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
(I listened to Thomas's own reading of this poem many times as a child, and he made the poem sound even more lyrical than it is.)
There once was a man from Nantucket.....
I forget if that was by keats or Yates.:wink:
I am not into poetry, I do love the poetry which is lyrics of songs.
One cold damp evening
The world stood still
I watched as I held my breath
A silhouette I thought I knew
And someone spoke to me
Whispered in my ear
This fantasy's for you
Fantasies are "in" this year
My whole life passed before my eyes
What they say is true
I shed my skin and my disguise
And cold, numb and naked
I emerged from my cocoon
And a half remembered tune
Played softly in my head
Then he turned smiling
I realise a miracle is due
I dedicate this melody to you
But is this the stuff dreams are made of?
If this is the stuff dreams are made of
No wonder I feel like I'm floating on air
It feels like I'm everywhere
It's like you fail to make the connection
You know how vital it is
Or when something slips through your fingers
You know how precious it is
Well you reach the point where you know
It's only your second skin
Someone's banging on my door
You should give it another go, I found myself disliking a lot of what I read at school just because I had to read it and the teacher's often spoiled it for me by insisting the text book interpretation was the only way to go - unless we're the writer we can only guess at what he really had in mind. I adored The Faerie Queen when I came back to it when I was all grown up.
Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay
This is Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay." I typed it from memory, so the punctuation's missing.
To me, it speaks of the inevitable sorrow that is bound up in even the happiest moments of our lives.
NCbear (who also might post some Yeats poetry and some Elizabethan poetry)