Favorite Poems

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Favorite Poems

Postby jbobsully11 » Thu May 23, 2013 7:19 am

What are everyone's favorite poems? Epic poems, really short poems, serious poems, silly poems, love poems, hate poems, indifference poems, whatever. I took a seminar on poetry this past semester (with an awesome professor) to finish off my humanities requirements, and I found it all a lot more interesting than I ever thought it could be.

A few of my favorites:
"Introduction to Poetry" by Billy Collins, about people who over-analyze poetry
"Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe, about a woman the narrator loved
"Proverbs of Hell" by William Blake, designed to challenge commonly accepted notions of right and wrong
"Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes" by Strickland Gilliland, officially the shortest poem ever published (sometimes mis-titled "Fleas"):

Adam
Had 'em
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Glassjaw Girl » Thu May 23, 2013 3:16 pm

I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG FOR THIS THREAD TO START!

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

I'm so thrilled that I've forgotten a bunch, but those two are eternal favorites.
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Aquila89 » Thu May 23, 2013 3:57 pm

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As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
--Carl Jung
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby LaoWai » Thu May 23, 2013 6:00 pm

Glassjaw Girl wrote:The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot


GlassJaw Girl took one of mine. Other favorites include the following:

Wallace Stevens' "The Snowman" http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/stevens-snowman.html
William Blake's "Infant Sorrow" http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/infant-sorrow/
Anything by Charles Dodgson
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Mr Dent » Fri May 24, 2013 4:01 am

I'm not a poetry nut at all but Bluebird by Bukowski is pretty cool.
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Glassjaw Girl » Fri May 24, 2013 5:08 am

ANIMALS


Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it's no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn't need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

I wouldn't want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

Frank O'Hara, 1950
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby QuincyMorris » Fri May 24, 2013 7:28 pm

Spoiler: show
The ones the cute girls I talk to write.


Otherwise, I don't read poems.
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Aquila89 » Sat May 25, 2013 9:13 am

W. B. Yeats: An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
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As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
--Carl Jung
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Glassjaw Girl » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:59 pm

Most, if not all, poems from The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagore are exceptionally beautiful.

Download legally here from Project Gutenberg.
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby D-LOGAN » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:10 pm

"Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away"

"Antigonish" - Hughes Mearns 1899
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Not just yet, I'm still tender from before.
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby LaChaise » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:16 pm

Spoiler: show
II

L’ALBATROS


Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

A peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l’azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule !
Lui, naguère si beau, qu’il est comique et laid !
L’un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L’autre mime, en boitant, l’infirme qui volait !

Le Poëte est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l’archer ;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l’empêchent de marcher.


Spoiler: show
XXII

HYMNE À LA BEAUTÉ


Viens-tu du ciel profond ou sors-tu de l’abîme,
O Beauté ? Ton regard, infernal et divin,
Verse confusément le bienfait et le crime,
Et l’on peut pour cela te comparer au vin.

Tu contiens dans ton œil le couchant et l’aurore ;
Tu répands des parfums comme un soir orageux ;
Tes baisers sont un philtre et ta bouche une amphore
Qui font le héros lâche et l’enfant courageux.

Sors-tu du gouffre noir ou descends-tu des astres ?
Le Destin charmé suit tes jupons comme un chien ;
Tu sèmes au hasard la joie et les désastres,
Et tu gouvernes tout et ne réponds de rien.

Tu marches sur des morts, Beauté, dont tu te moques,
De tes bijoux l’Horreur n’est pas le moins charmant,
Et le Meurtre, parmi tes plus chères breloques,
Sur ton ventre orgueilleux danse amoureusement.

L’éphémère ébloui vole vers toi, chandelle,
Crépite, flambe et dit : Bénissons ce flambeau !
L’amoureux pantelant incliné sur sa belle
A l’air d’un moribond caressant son tombeau.

Que tu viennes du ciel ou de l’enfer, qu’importe,
O Beauté ! monstre énorme, effrayant, ingénu !
Si ton œil, ton souris, ton pied, m’ouvrent la porte
D’un Infini que j’aime et n’ai jamais connu ?

De Satan ou de Dieu, qu’importe ? Ange ou Sirène,
Qu’importe, si tu rends, — fée aux yeux de velours,
Rythme, parfum, lueur, ô mon unique reine ! —
L’univers moins hideux et les instants moins lourds ?


Spoiler: show
CVII


L’HORLOGE




Horloge ! dieu sinistre, effrayant, impassible,
Dont le doigt nous menace et nous dit: « Souviens-toi !
Les vibrantes Douleurs dans ton cœur plein d’effroi
Se planteront bientôt comme dans une cible ;

Le Plaisir vaporeux fuira vers l’horizon
Ainsi qu’une sylphide au fond de la coulisse ;
Chaque instant te dévore un morceau du délice
À chaque homme accordé pour toute sa saison.

Trois mille six cents fois par heure, la Seconde
Chuchote : Souviens-toi ! — Rapide, avec sa voix
D’insecte, Maintenant dit : Je suis Autrefois,
Et j’ai pompé ta vie avec ma trompe immonde !

Remember ! Souviens-toi ! prodigue ! Esto memor !
(Mon gosier de métal parle toutes les langues.)
Les minutes, mortel folâtre, sont des gangues
Qu’il ne faut pas lâcher sans en extraire l’or !

Souviens-toi que le Temps est un joueur avide
Qui gagne sans tricher, à tout coup ! c’est la loi.
Le jour décroît ; la nuit augmente ; souviens-toi !
Le gouffre a toujours soif ; la clepsydre se vide.

Tantôt sonnera l’heure où le divin Hasard,
Où l’auguste Vertu, ton épouse encor vierge,
Où le Repentir même (oh ! la dernière auberge !),
Où tout te dira : Meurs, vieux lâche ! il est trop tard ! »


Spoiler: show
CXLVII


LA MORT DES PAUVRES





C’est la Mort qui console, hélas ! et qui fait vivre ;
C’est le but de la vie, et c’est le seul espoir
Qui, comme un élixir, nous monte et nous enivre,
Et nous donne le cœur de marcher jusqu’au soir ;

À travers la tempête, et la neige, et le givre,
C’est la clarté vibrante à notre horizon noir ;
C’est l’auberge fameuse inscrite sur le livre,
Où l’on pourra manger, et dormir, et s’asseoir ;

C’est un Ange qui tient dans ses doigts magnétiques
Le sommeil et le don des rêves extatiques,
Et qui refait le lit des gens pauvres et nus ;

C’est la gloire des Dieux, c’est le grenier mystique,
C’est la bourse du pauvre et sa patrie antique,
C’est le portique ouvert sur les Cieux inconnus !


All of these are from "Les Fleurs du Mal" (3rd edition) by Charles Baudelaire.

There's also "L'Homme à la Tête de Chou" by Serge Gainsbourg. I know it's an album, but in his case that counts as poetry.
  • 7

"Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?"

"I'll die soon. But the last twenty minutes have been the best years of my life."
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Blackfish » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:16 pm

Thanks for making this thread! It's given me reason to go back and revisit some poems I'd forgotten I enjoyed.

Tyranny of Choice

Pick a card, any card
You’ll say. I love this trick –
The tease and tyranny of choice –
The dove’s tail tender
On your fine and hidden fingers,
And the thumb I’m under.

You know my Queen of Hearts
By the dog-ear on her top-left
Bottom-right corner;
By the voluptuous sad mouth
Which will not smile,
Whichever way you turn her.

- Elizabeth Garrett

[My personal favourite poem. Even the individual lines are just so elegantly phrased.]

A Different History

Great Pan is not dead;
he simply emigrated
to India.
Here the gods roam freely,
disguised as snakes or monkeys;
every tree is sacred
and it is a sin
to be rude to a book.
It is a sin to shove a book aside
with your foot,
a sin to slam books down
hard on the table
a sin to toss one carelessly
across a room.
You must learn how to turn the pages gently
without disturbing Sarasvati,
without offending the tree
from whose wood the paper was made.

Which language
has not been the oppressor’s tongue?
Which language
truly meant to murder someone?
And how does it happen
that after the torture,
after the soul has been cropped
with a long scythe swooping out
of the conqueror’s face-
the unborn grandchildren
grow to love that strange language.

- Sujata Bhatt

[I really identify with this one as I'm not actually a native English speaker, but it's my first language now and the one I'm the most proficient in by far. It's also a more nuanced view of colonialism than either the usual anti-colonialist screeds or the apologists of empire.]

excerpt from Elegy XI

Who was the first that forged the deadly blade?
Of rugged steel his savage soul was made:
By him, his bloody flag ambition waved;
And grisly carnage through the battle raved.
Yet wherefore blame him? we're ourselves to blame;
Arms first were forged to kill the savage game:
Death-dealing battles were unknown of old;
Death-dealing battles took their rise from gold:

[...]

- Tibullus
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In the night there is something wild
Can you hear it breathing?
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Aquila89 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Philip Larkin: The Mower

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
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As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
--Carl Jung
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Glassjaw Girl » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:12 pm

We used to subscribe to Reader's Digest way back then, and they once had a feature on Pres. Jimmy Carter. The dude wrote this poem for his wife and I've never been able to forget it since. I'm not very sentimental, but man, this poem makes me go all teary-eyed and sighing.


IV. Rosalynn

She'd smile, and birds would feel that they no longer
had to sing, or it may be I failed
to hear their song.

Within a crowd, I'd hope her glance might be
for me, but I knew that she was shy, and wished
to be alone.

I'd pay to sit behind her, blind to what
was on the screen, and watch the image flicker
upon her hair.

I'd glow when her diminished voice would clear
the muddled thoughts, like lightening flashing in
a gloomy sky.

The nothing in my soul with her aloof
was changed to foolish fullness when she came
to be with me.

With shyness gone and hair caressed with gray,
her smile still makes the birds forget to sing
and me to hear their song.
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Re: Favorite Poems

Postby Aquila89 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:32 pm

Victor Hugo wrote a long poem, Boaz Asleep based on the Biblical Book of Ruth. It's a good poem, and there's one particularly beautiful passage in it, when Boaz speaks about his dead wife:

Long ago she, who used to share my bed,
O Lord, departed from it to your own;
And we are still inwoven and ingrown,
For she is half alive, and I am half dead.
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As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
--Carl Jung
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