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Brian's blog about classical poetry gave me an idea for this thread.

What was/is your favorite Poem, and give an example.

I'll start you off with mine.

Here are a few stanza's From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

The Moving finger writes; and, having writ
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.

Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of paradise!
One thng at least is certain---THIS life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is lies;
The flower that once has blown forever dies.

Strange, is it not? That of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the road,
Which to discover, we must travel too.

Whose next??

Grandma Bea

Related Items


The following comments are for "Favorite Poem!"
by Beatrice Boyle

William Blake
Gee this is an easy one for me Bea. It's been my favourite for decades because my mom used to recite it, with much gnashing of teeth, when I was a little girl and long before I knew that I was born in the year of the Tiger!

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: March 14, 2011 )

The Thread
Suits you to a T Pen...I'm not surprised!

Thanks for joining in...this is fun!

Who's next?

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: March 14, 2011 )

The Thread
Here's mine:

before the 7th race
Charles Bukowski

have carried this notebook around
all day
at the racetrack and
have written down

am now on the 2nd floor of
the Pavilion,
in the
men's crapper, sitting
within these cool
gray walls

I find solace
in a common

at last
to put


( Posted by: HeRoCoMpLeX [Member] On: March 14, 2011 )

Favorite poem
I have lots of favorites, mostly by Dickinson, Neruda, and McKuen. But today I choose this one by Sylvia Plath, one that's very haunting and sad.

A Mad Girl's Love Song
by Sylvia Plath

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"

( Posted by: PETERPAULINO [Member] On: March 14, 2011 )


for Jane
by Charles Bukowski

225 days under grass
and you know more than I.
they have long taken your blood,
you are a dry stick in a basket.
is this how it works?
in this room
the hours of love
still make shadows.

when you left
you took almost
I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.

what you were
will not happen again.
the tigers have found me
and I do not care.

( Posted by: slackjaw [Member] On: March 14, 2011 )

Lucie, Dave, Peter & John
Wow...this is fantastic! Thanks Dave, Lucie, Peter and John.

What a great diversity of authors we have here. Dylan Thomas, Chsrles Bukowski, Sylvis Plath, William Blake and Omar Khayyam! The best of the best.

I'm sure there are many more of you who like to pitch your favorites! Don't be shy!

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: March 15, 2011 )

There are many, but this one is a Favorite
Overtures To A Dance Of Locomotives
By William Carlos Williams

Men with picked voices chant the names
of cities in a huge gallery: promises
that pull through descending stairways
to a deep rumbling.

The rubbing feet
of those coming to be carried quicken a
grey pavement into soft light that rocks
to and fro, under the domed ceiling,
across and across from pale
earthcolored walls of bare limestone.

Covertly the hands of a great clock
go round and round! Were they to
move quickly and at once the whole
secret would be out and the shuffling
of all ants be done forever.

A leaning pyramid of sunlight, narrowing
out at a high window, moves by the clock:
disaccordant hands straining out from
a center: inevitable postures infinitely
Porters in red hats run on narrow platforms.
This way ma'am!
—important not to take
the wrong train!
Lights from the concrete
ceiling hang crooked but—
Poised horizontal
on glittering parallels the dingy cylinders
packed with a warm glow—inviting entry—
pull against the hour. But brakes can
hold a fixed posture till—
The whistle!

Not twoeight. Not twofour. Two!

Gliding windows. Colored cooks sweating
in a small kitchen. Taillights—

In time: twofour!
In time: twoeight!

—rivers are tunneled: trestles
cross oozy swampland: wheels repeating
the same gesture remain relatively
stationary: rails forever parallel
return on themselves infinitely.
The dance is sure.

( Posted by: pablowilliams [Member] On: March 15, 2011 )

Sylvia Plath - DADDY

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time---
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one grey toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of *you*,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You---

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two---
The vampire who said he was you
and drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat, black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always *knew* it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

( Posted by: weepingwillow [Member] On: March 15, 2011 )

Sir Smasham Uppe

I learned this poem at school 1962/63 I think and the words just seemed to stick in my head. I expect I didnt care who wrote it at the time.

Sir Smasham Uppe
E.V. Rieu

Good afternoon, Sir Smasham Uppe!
We're having tea: do take a cup!
Sugar and milk? Now let me see-
Two lumps, I think?...Good gracious me!
The silly thing slipped off your knee!
Pray don't apologise, old chap;
A very trivial mishap!
So clumsy of you? How absurd!
My dear Sir Smasham, not a word!
Now do sit down and have another,
And tell us all about your brother-
You know, the one who broke his head.
Is that poor fellow still in bed?-
A chair - allow me, sir!...Great Scott!
That was a nasty smash! Eh, what?
Oh, not at all: the chair was old-
Queen Anne, or so we have been told.
We've got at least a dozen more:
Just leave the pieces on the floor.
I want you admire our view:
Come nearer to the window, do;
And look how beautiful...Tut, tut!
You didn't see that it was shut?
I hope you are not badly cut!
Not hurt? A fortunate escape!
Amazing! Not a single scrape!
And now, if you have finished tea,
I fancy you might like to see
A little thing or two I've got.
That china plate? Yes, worth a lot:
A beauty too...Ah, there it goes!
I trust it didn't hurt your toes?
Your elbow brushed it off the shelf?
Of course: I've done the same myself.
And now, my dear Sir Smasham - Oh,
You surely don't intend to go?
You must be off? Well, come again.
So glad you're fond of porcelain!

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: March 15, 2011 )

Too many to choose from
I'll contribute something from Walt Whitman:

A Clear Midnight

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best-
Night, sleep and the stars.

I hope I've recalled it accurately.

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: March 16, 2011 )

The Listeners
[Of many, this one.]

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
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.

Walter de la Mare

( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: March 16, 2011 )

Ancient Irish Incantation
Fain, we ask Erin.
Faring o’er oceans.
Motions to mountains,
fountains and bowers.
Showers, rills rushing.
Gushing waves welling.
Swelling streams calling,
Falling foam thunder,
Under lakes filling
Willing - (abiding
Riding rounds, holding,
Olden fairs meetly) -
Fleet to lift loyal
Royal king’s towers
bowers for crowning;
Frowning foes over -
Rover Mil’s warlike
Starlike sons therin
Erinn shall longer,
Stronger show honour,
On our Milesians -
Wishing, in trouble,
Noble Isle’s wooing,
Suing, we stay here; -
Pray here to sail in,
Wailing maids royal!
Loyal chief leaders,
Pleaders, blend pray’r in.
So we seek Erinn -

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: March 17, 2011 )

Hi Bea!
Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.

Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim,
As should be a-lyin' in graveyard.
Caveyard! Paveyard!
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in graveyard.'

'My lad,' said Troll, 'this bone I stole.
But what be bones that lie in hole?
Thy nuncle was dead as a lump o' lead,
Afore I found his shinbone.
Tinbone! Thinbone!
He can spare a share for a poor old troll,
For he don't need his shinbone.'

Said Tom, 'I don't see why the likes o' thee
Without axin' leave should go makin' free
With the shank or the shin o' my father's kin;
So hand the old bone over!
Rover! Trover!
Though dead he be, it belongs to he;
So hand the old bone over!'

'For a couple of pins,' says Troll, and grins,
'I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.
A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet!
I'll try my teeth on thee now.
Hee now! See now!
I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins;
I've a mind to dine on thee now.'

But just as he thought his dinner was caught,
He found his hands had hold of naught.
Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind
And gave him the boot to larn him.
Warn him! Darn him!
A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought,
Would be the way to larn him.

But harder than stone is the flesh and bone
Of a troll that sits in the hills alone.
As well set your boot to the mountain's root,
For the seat of a troll don't feel it.
Peel it! Heal it!
Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan,
And he knew his toes could feel it.

Tom's leg is game, since home he came,
And his bootless foot is lasting lame;
But Troll don't care, and he's still there
With the bone he boned from its owner.
Doner! Boner!
Troll's old sear its still the same,
And the bone he boned from its owner!

J.R.R. Tolkien

( Posted by: Philo [Member] On: March 17, 2011 )

Enjoyed reading everyone's poems
I am weary of the Garden,
Said the Rose;
For the winter winds are sighing,
All my playmates round me dying,
And my leaves will soon be lying
'Neath the snows.

But I hear my Mistress coming,
Said the Rose;
She will take me to her chamber,
Where the honeysuckles clamber,
And I'll bloom there all December
Spite the snows.

Sweeter fell her lily finger
Than the bee!
Ah, how feebly I resisted,
Smoothed my thorns, and e'en assisted
As all blushing I was twisted
Off my tree.

And she fixed me in her bosom
Like a star;
And I flashed there all the morning,
Jasmin, honeysuckle scorning
Parasites forever fawning
That they are.

And when evening came she set me
In a vase
All of rare and radiant metal,
And I felt her red lips settle
On my leaves til each proud petal
Touched her face.

And I shone about her slumbers
Like a light
And, I said, instead of weeping,
In the garden vigil keeping,
Here I'll watch my Mistress sleeping
Every night.

But when morning with its sunbeams
Softly shone,
In the mirror where she braided
Her brown hair I saw how jaded,
Old and colorless and faded,
I had grown.

Not a drop of dew was on me,
Never one;
From my leaves no odors started,
All my perfume had departed,
I lay pale and broken-hearted
In the sun.

Still I said, her smile is better
Than the rain;
Though my fragrance may forsake me,
To her bosom she will take me,
And with crimson kisses make me
Young again.

So she took me . . . gazed a second . . .
Half a sigh . . .
Then, alas, can hearts so harden?
Without ever asking pardon,
Threw me back into the garden,
There to die.

How the jealous garden gloried
In my fall!
How the honeysuckle chid me,
How the sneering jasmins bid me
Light the long gray grass that hid me
Like a pall.

There I lay beneath her window
In a swoon,
Till the earthworm o'er me trailing
Woke me just at twilight's failing,
As the whip-poor-will was wailing
To the moon

But I hear the storm-winds stirring
In their lair;
And I know they soon will lift me
In their giant arms and sift me
Into ashes as they drift me
Through the air.

So I pray them in their mercy
Just to take
From my heart of hearts, or near it,
The last living leaf, and bear it
To her feet, and bid her wear it
For my sake.

George H. Miles

( Posted by: JackGrady [Member] On: March 17, 2011 )

Favorite Poems.
WOW! Thank you Pablo, Willow, Eric, Bobby, Brian, Pen,Jack and Philo (Welcome Back Philo!)

I must confess that there are one or two on the list that I was not familiar with...will have to investigate them further!

Sign of the times...most of them are contemporary authors in this lot.

Has Will Shakespeare been put to bed for good?

Love these and thanks all for your participation...hope you'll all be back for our annual party theme in May!


( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: March 18, 2011 )

A. Pope's Essay On Man
(small excerpt)

Respecting man whatever wrong we call,
May, must be right, as relative to all.
In human works, tho' labour'd on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God's, one single can its end produce;
Yet serves to second too some other use.
So man, who here seems principal alone,
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.

When the proud steed shall know why man restrains
His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains;
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now an Egypt's god:
Then shall man's pride and dullness comprehend
His actions', passions', being's, use and end;

( Posted by: Poeteye [Member] On: March 25, 2011 )

My Favorite Poem
My username is derived from my favorite poem, "Ars Poetica" by Archibald MacLeish.

"Ars Poetica"

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown --

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind --

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.

A poem should be equal to
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea --

A poem should not mean
But be.


( Posted by: ArsPoet2789ica [Member] On: March 27, 2011 )

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