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Thread: The Reformed Poetry-Hater Tells All

  1. #11
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    This is my favorite of Shakespeare's sonnets. I was too lazy to type it out last night.

    SONNET 116
    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle's compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning is another of my favorite poets. I love her life's story. How do I love thee? is probabaly so over-quoted but still a classic poem for lovers.
    *Has anyone read the letters between her and Robert Browning? The sappy romantic in me is a sucker for their love story.*

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
    I love thee to the level of everyday's
    Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    I love thee with a passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

  2. #12
    CCL is offline
    Climbing Solsbury Hill CCL's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    Here and there
    One of my favourite John Donne poems:

    A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

    As virtuous men pass mildly away,
    And whisper to their souls to go,
    Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
    "Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."

    So let us melt, and make no noise,
    No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
    'Twere profanation of our joys
    To tell the laity our love.

    Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears ;
    Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
    But trepidation of the spheres,
    Though greater far, is innocent.

    Dull sublunary lovers' love
    —Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
    Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
    The thing which elemented it.

    But we by a love so much refined,
    That ourselves know not what it is,
    Inter-assurèd of the mind,
    Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

    Our two souls therefore, which are one,
    Though I must go, endure not yet
    A breach, but an expansion,
    Like gold to aery thinness beat.

    If they be two, they are two so
    As stiff twin compasses are two ;
    Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
    To move, but doth, if th' other do.

    And though it in the centre sit,
    Yet, when the other far doth roam,
    It leans, and hearkens after it,
    And grows erect, as that comes home.

    Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
    Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
    Thy firmness makes my circle just,
    And makes me end where I begun.

    I'm also a big Hopkins fan.

    Carrion Comfort

    NOT, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
    Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
    In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
    Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
    But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
    Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
    With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
    O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

    Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
    Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
    Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
    Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
    Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
    Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

    And one by Hardy.

    Ah, are you Digging on my Grave?

    Ah, are you digging on my grave,
    My loved one? -- planting rue?"
    -- "No: yesterday he went to wed
    One of the brightest wealth has bred.
    'It cannot hurt her now,' he said,
    'That I should not be true.'"

    "Then who is digging on my grave,
    My nearest dearest kin?"
    -- "Ah, no: they sit and think, 'What use!
    What good will planting flowers produce?
    No tendance of her mound can loose
    Her spirit from Death's gin.'"

    "But someone digs upon my grave?
    My enemy? -- prodding sly?"
    -- "Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
    That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
    She thought you no more worth her hate,
    And cares not where you lie.

    "Then, who is digging on my grave?
    Say -- since I have not guessed!"
    -- "O it is I, my mistress dear,
    Your little dog, who still lives near,
    And much I hope my movements here
    Have not disturbed your rest?"

    "Ah yes! You dig upon my grave...
    Why flashed it not to me
    That one true heart was left behind!
    What feeling do we ever find
    To equal among human kind
    A dog's fidelity!"

    "Mistress, I dug upon your grave
    To bury a bone, in case
    I should be hungry near this spot
    When passing on my daily trot.
    I am sorry, but I quite forgot
    It was your resting place."
    Before we begin, what are the parameters of the guessing game? How many guesses do I get? Is there a time limit?

  3. #13
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Hi, Olivia!
    lildago, I like your choice from among Shakespeare's sonnets.

    I can't say, though, that I've ever been a fan of "love poetry," even though I recognize the power behind Dickinson and Browning's poetry.

    Until a few years ago, I always found the Transcendentalists (Thoreau, et.al.) appealing until a party J. and I had around this time of year. Every year, we throw a holiday party and invite family and all the people J. knew in college. Two of them, Jeff and Steve, hold Master's degrees in English from very good schools and, somehow, we got on the subject of literature and poetry.

    When I told them about my fondness for the Transcendentalists, they looked at each other and smirked. Jeff asked me, "So, Andy, you're talking about liberal, wealthy New Englanders who la-de-da through the woods and think they're sticking it to The Man. With their backgrounds, they don't really have any street credibility with me. Or would you disagree?" I couldn't argue that, so I lost some interest in the classic Transcendentalists.

    Now, I seek out poets with particularly compelling apocalyptic visions: Eliot and Yeats, of course; Dante because of my love for The Divine Comedy and now I'm adding Shelley to that group.

    Oh, by the way, in reference to "Terrence, this is stupid stuff" mentioned by Lucy a few posts up, here's a link to it: Terence, This is Stupid Stuff by A.E. Housman. It was a good read, Lucy. I especially like lines 28-29 ("To see the world as the world's not./And faith, 'tis pleasant till 'tis past:"). Good construction, that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann
    e. e. cummings is my favorite poet. He has so many compelling works. Phat, what's your favorite?
    It changes day to day, Dinahann, but having said that, there is nothing--and I mean nothing--I love more than good literary irony.


    Buffalo Bill's by e.e. cummings
    Buffalo Bill 's
    who used to
    ride a watersmooth-silver
    and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

    he was a handsome man
    and what i want to know is
    how do you like your blueeyed boy
    Mister Death
    Wonderful irony, this. The first and second lines get to the heart of the issue: "Hey, kids! Death!" But cummings lulls you in with the imagery of Buffalo Bill until the very last line, the very last two words. And then it's "Boo-YAH! In case you forgot, Buffalo Bill is DEAD!" Wonderfully jarring, very heart-wrenching, stuff.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  4. #14
    Premium Member Dinahann's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Small Town USA
    I enjoy doing calligraphy, and I've framed the following William Blake poem. It hangs in my office at work:

    A Divine Image

    Cruelty has a Human heart
    And Jealousy a Human Face,
    Terror, the Human Form Divine,
    And Secrecy, the Human Dress.

    The Human Dress is forgťd Iron,
    The Human Form, a fiery Forge,
    The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd,
    The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

    Short and sweet. I'm a social worker so I'm always interested in people and their motives.

    When I cut my son's first lock of hair I wrote this poem by Blake in calligraphy and sealed it in the plastic bag with his hair:


    My mother groaned, my father wept:
    Into the dangerous world I leapt,
    Helpless, naked, piping loud,
    Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

    Struggling in my father's hands,
    Striving against my swaddling-bands,
    Bound and weary, I thought best
    To sulk upon my mother's breast.

    I don't think my son has ever appreciated it. *sigh* Blake is so romantic.

  5. #15
    The new me! Feifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    by Robert Herrick

    GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old time is still a-flying :
    And this same flower that smiles to-day
    To-morrow will be dying.

    The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
    The higher he's a-getting,
    The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he's to setting.

    That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer ;
    But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

    Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And while ye may go marry :
    For having lost but once your prime
    You may for ever tarry.
    This poem always reminds me of Robert Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay.

    Nothing Gold Can Stay
    by Robert Frost

    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 greif
    So dawn goes down today
    Nothing gold can stay
    It occurred to me that no matter how bleak things might seem at times, at least I have a head. ----Stargazer

  6. #16
    everything under the sun lopevian's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    I love rhyming. It's like a word game..."there's a word that belongs here..what is it...what is it...ah ha!! Got it!"

    I write "Rhyming Recaps" of Survivor Guatemala for SurvivorUpdates.com.
    "...Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder..."

  7. #17
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I am loving this thread! I dug out my notebook of poems my husband wrote. This is one of my favorites.


    Two souls converge upon each other...
    They cast no shadows
    In their plight.
    Two souls held in gravity by one another...
    Symbiotic equilibrium
    In balanced flight.

    Two bodies united in a vacuum...
    In kinetic contact,
    Their covalence strong.
    Two entities in a serene rendezvous...
    Contented stillness,
    An enduring bond.

    Two spirits fortified in a symphony...
    A host of harmonious notes
    In an endless duet.
    Two lives entranced by the other...
    Each other's gaze,
    Each cannot forget

    Two lovers engaged in enamoration...
    Wishing more than the day's allotment
    To call their own.
    Two breaths mutually taken...
    Smitten, still breathless,
    To each other, each other is known.
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

  8. #18
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Hi, Olivia!
    lildago, it's very good. Your husband showed genuine talent writing something as difficult as a sonnet. And his feelings for you come through loud-and-clear.

    Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present Denise Levertov. I haven't been this excited about discovering a poet in quite a while.

    A sample of her poetry:

    After I had cut off my hands
    and grown new ones

    something my former hands had longed for
    came and asked to be rocked.

    After my plucked out eyes
    had withered, and new ones grown

    something my former eyes had wept for
    came asking to be pitied.
    Happy and cheerful! Just like the way I like 'em. All kidding aside, Intrusion is perhaps one of the most powerful poems I have read in a while. In a few short lines, Levertov expresses a powerful grief and longing in beautiful language. I'm overwhelmed.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  9. #19
    Phat, that poem nearly brought me to tears.(Intrusion)

    Quote Originally Posted by lildago View Post
    Lotuslander, It's called There's a certain Slant of light.
    I love that poem. I am a HUGE plath fan (Sylvia?)
    I used to write a bit. Will go home at lunch and dig out old poetry books to share.

    DADDY-Sylvia Plath

    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 gray 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 gipsy 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.

    Lady Lazarus
    by Sylvia Plath

    I have done it again.
    One year in every ten
    I manage it--

    A sort of walking miracle, my skin
    Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
    My right foot

    A paperweight,
    My face featureless, fine
    Jew linen.

    Peel off the napkin
    O my enemy.
    Do I terrify?--

    The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
    The sour breath
    Will vanish in a day.

    Soon, soon the flesh
    The grave cave ate will be
    At home on me

    And I a smiling woman.
    I am only thirty.
    And like the cat I have nine times to die.

    This is Number Three.
    What a trash
    To annihilate each decade.

    What a million filaments.
    The peanut-crunching crowd
    Shoves in to see

    Them unwrap me hand and foot--
    The big strip tease.
    Gentlemen, ladies

    These are my hands
    My knees.
    I may be skin and bone,

    Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
    The first time it happened I was ten.
    It was an accident.

    The second time I meant
    To last it out and not come back at all.
    I rocked shut

    As a seashell.
    They had to call and call
    And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

    Is an art, like everything else.
    I do it exceptionally well.

    I do it so it feels like hell.
    I do it so it feels real.
    I guess you could say I've a call.

    It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
    It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
    It's the theatrical

    Comeback in broad day
    To the same place, the same face, the same brute
    Amused shout:

    'A miracle!'
    That knocks me out.
    There is a charge

    For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
    For the hearing of my heart--
    It really goes.

    And there is a charge, a very large charge
    For a word or a touch
    Or a bit of blood

    Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
    So, so, Herr Doktor.
    So, Herr Enemy.

    I am your opus,
    I am your valuable,
    The pure gold baby

    That melts to a shriek.
    I turn and burn.
    Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

    Ash, ash--
    You poke and stir.
    Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--

    A cake of soap,
    A wedding ring,
    A gold filling.

    Herr god, Herr Lucifer

    Out of the ash
    I rise with my red hair
    And I eat men like air.

    The first 'daddy' was about her father and their screwed up relationship, the second about a suicide attempt where she slit her wrists and loosened a block in the basement and essentially buried herself in the wall. The y found her nearly dead and patched her up. She is amazing. There is a poem called cut and gigilo, oh, and the applicant is a masterpiece. I just love her work!!!
    Last edited by JAFO'S PRINCESS; 12-08-2005 at 11:37 AM.

  10. #20
    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    In the trees
    I generally don't care for poetry as a whole, but do like one entire poem as well as snippets from many of them.

    Favourite snippet (Larkin):

    They f**k you up, your mum and dad
    They don't mean to but they do

    This one resonates so strongly with me it brings me near to tears every time I hear it.

    Favourite entire poem (Poe):

    Lines on Ale

    Filled with mingled cream and amber
    I will drain that glass again
    Such hilarious visions clamber
    Through the chambers of my brain
    Queerest thoughts and quaintest fancies
    Come to life then fade away
    What care I how time advances
    I am drinking ale today

    The reason behind the Larkin poem affecting me so strongly probably explains why I like the drinking poem.
    And so it begins, the end of times..

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