One Poem

Poetry
I recently stumbled across a well-known poem I'd read many times before, and something compelled me to read it yet again.

There are only a few poems I know so well that they feel like well-worn clothing to me, and this poem happens to be one of them. I know at least half the lines by heart, even though I've never tried to memorize it. And now, as I read it again, I am yet still amazed by how powerful, chemical and magical these particular lines are, and how much concentrated truth they seem to hold, and how deeply important it seems to me that everybody in the world have the chance to hear the words of this one searingly beautiful, singularly perfect poem.

Even though I don't put much stock behind the concept of "favorite", I suppose I have to face the fact that this is my favorite poem in the universe, and has been so for a long time.

Just to build up some suspense, though, I'd rather not tell you the title of this work until next week. This week, I'd like to know if there is any one poem you feel this way about -- any work of free or structured verse, long or short, modern or old, that you love and admire so much that you want to proclaim to everyone you know and anyone who is willing to hear that this is the one greatest poem in the world. If so, please tell us what it is.

I'm also happy to take guesses as to what poem I am speaking of as my favorite. I will give one hint, just to sweep away a couple of obvious guesses. The title has more than four letters.
76 Responses to "One Poem"

by jamelah on

My favorite poemT.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is my all-time favorite poem, la de da, amen. It's strange, though, because I've never been a fan of Eliot and I don't really like many of his other works (although some of them have their moments). It wasn't always my favorite. In fact, there was a time that I didn't really like it much, but then a few years ago I read it again, and it hit me just right, the way good poetry should. And then I read it a few more times. And then some more. And by a certain point I knew that I loved it, despite my intentions or any of my feelings about the poet (but isn't that the way it always is with love?).I love the poem for Prufrock's questions ('Do I dare?' and 'Do I dare?') and that he "should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas." I love it because he's seen the eternal Footman and heard the mermaids and there are those damned women talking of Michelangelo. I love it because "In a minute there is time/ For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."Yes, I love this poem. Unabashedly. For all of those reasons I listed above, and also none of those reasons, I still have a visceral reaction to the words, no matter how many times I read them. And that is why it is my favorite.The runner-up in the Jamelah's Favorite Poem Contest is, of course, completely different. It came out of the 1950s and the title has four letters.

by Billectric on

High FlightBecause my father was a pilot, this poem was printed on the program for his memorial service. It's written by another pilot. By way of introduction I would like to quote Dave English from his website Great Aviation Quotes:"On 3 September 1941, Magee flew a high altitude (30,000 feet) test flight in a newer model of the Spitfire V. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem ... "Once back on the ground, he wrote a letter to his parents. In it he commented, 'I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed.' On the back of the letter, he jotted down his poem, 'High Flight'."Three months later, on 11 December 1941 Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was killed when his plane collided with another plane. "John's parents were living in Washington D.C. at the time, and the sonnet was seen by Archibald MacLeish, who was Librarian of Congress. He included it in an exhibition of poems called 'Faith and Freedom' in February 1942. And after that it was widely copied and distributed."Here is the poem:High Flightby John Gillespie Magee, Jr Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of EarthAnd danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirthOf sun-split clouds, - and done a hundred thingsYou have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swungHigh in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,I've chased the shouting wind along, and flungMy eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .Up, up the long, delirious burning blueI've topped the wind-swept heights with easy graceWhere never lark, or ever eagle flew -And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trodThe high untrespassed sanctity of space,Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

by anniefay on

My first responsewas the first poem I ever really loved. I memorized it and can still quote most of it. It is Oliver Wendell Holmes's The Height of the Ridiculous. Reading it made me laugh.But actually the rhythm and beauty of this passage from the Bible is probably my favorite. You may not feel it is poetry, but from the King James Version, it reads like poetry. It is from Jesus' sermon on the mount... and although I love that entire passage (Matthew 5 - 7) here are my very favorite verses Mt 6:25 - 34Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

by Billectric on

I remember listening to a recording of Eliot reading this poem in a Lit class. It was on vinyl - a long play album. His voice was not unlike that of William S. Burroughs as he intoned, "April is the cruelest month..."Good choice, J.

by kilgore on

Out of the Cradle Endlessly RockingSome of my favorite lines from this poem: From the memories of the bird that chanted to me, From your memories, sad brother-from the fitful risings and fallings I heard, From under that yellow half-moon, late-risen, and swollen as if with tears, From those beginning notes of sickness and love, there in the transparent mist, From the thousand responses of my heart, never to cease, From the myriad thence-arous'd words, From the word stronger and more delicious than any, From such, as now they start, the scene revisiting, As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing, Borne hither-ere all eludes me, hurriedly, A man-yet by these tears a little boy again, Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves, I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,Taking all hints to use them-but swiftly leaping beyond them, A reminiscence sing.And then, when the he-birds mate disappears, and operatic singing ensues the he-bird calls out: O darkness! O in vain! O I am very sick and sorrowful.O brown halo in the sky, near the moon, drooping upon the sea! O troubled reflection in the sea! O throat! O throbbing heart! O all-and I singing uselessly, uselessly all the night. And finally, when the narrator child is responding to the bird:Now in a moment I know what I am for-I awake, And already a thousand singers-a thousand songs, clearer, louder and more sorrowful than yours, A thousand warbling echoes have started to life within me, Never to die. O you singer, solitary, singing by yourself-projecting me; O solitary me, listening-nevermore shall I cease perpetuating you;Never more shall I escape, never more the reverberations, Never more the cries of unsatisfied love be absent from me, Never again leave me to be the peaceful child I was before what there, in the night, By the sea, under the yellow and sagging moon, The messenger there arous'd-the fire, the sweet hell within, The unknown want, the destiny of me.

by kilgore on

I love the last line: "till human voices wake us and we drown."

by anniefay on

This is also one of my favorites, Bill. As a matter of fact, way back in the day, when I was a teacher this poem was in the 8th grade literature text I used. I doubt you could find it in a school text today, however. Don't know, just a guess.

by firecracker on

... punished by your absence"Everything is punished by your absence"This is a line from Li-Young Lee's poem, The City in Which I Love You. I'm not sure I have a favorite poem, but I circle back to this selection any time this question comes up. I don't think it's deeply important to me that everybody in the world has the chance to hear the words of this piece. I'm not sure it would matter to most or that it would hold the same meaning to those I might tell. In this case, I think it's more of a personal tether relating to events of my life and my innermost feelings that lash this poem to me, even though at times I find it nearly painful to read. More than well-placed words, meter, metaphor and rhyme -- a poem gains its highest importance from the memories, emotions and realizations it evokes in the reader. Beyond this, I admire Li-Young Lee's word choices in this and other works -- as he seems to have a gift to maintain a gritty realism and lyrical otherworldness in the same lines. In The City in Which I Love You, Lee seems to transcend any contemporary stereotypes about love as he combines raw sexuality, mystical want and longing, the profanities of urban snapshots and even hope within the use of simple language. Although the poem seems to be skewed into a metaphor (depending on your perspective), it's almost as if the metaphor itself is the act of not hiding behind one in the first place. It could be the personal identification that draws me back to this piece, or the raw honesty ... or just the talent of the words. In any case, here is a portion of the poem:

And your otherness is perfect as my death.Your otherness exhausts me,like looking suddenly up from hereto imposssible stars fading.Everything is punished by your absence.Is prayer, then, the proper attitudefor the mind that longs to be freely blown,but which gets snagged on the barbcalled world, thattooth-ache, the actual? What prayerwould I build? And to whom?Where are youin the cities in which I love you,the cities daily risen to work and to money,to the magnificent miles and the gold coasts?Morning comes to this city vacant of you.Pages and windows flare, and you are not there.Someone sweeps his portion of sidewalk,wakens the drunk, slumped like laundry,and you are gone.You are not in the windwhich someone notes in the margins of a book.You are gone out of the small fires in abandoned lotswhere human figures huddle,each aspiring to its own ghost.Between brick walls, in a space no wider than my face,a leafless sapling stands in mud.In its branches, a nest of raw mouthsgaping and cheeping, scrawny fires that must eat.My hunger for you is no less than theirs.

I don't need to proclaim that this is the best poem in the world ... if I thought that, I don't know what business I'd have trying to write, but for me, this seems to catch everything I'd expect a good poem to contain. Including a hard slap at the end:

I enter, without retreat or help from history, the days of no day, my earth of no earth, I re-enterthe city in which I love you. And I never believed that the multitude of dreams and many words were vain.

by jamelah on

And I guess I should include the text of this poem because including text seems like the hip thing to do, and this text deserves inclusion and all of that, so yeah:The Love Song of J. Alfred PrufrockT. S. EliotS'io credesse che mia risposta fosseA persona che mai tornasse al mondo,Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondoNon torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero,Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.Let us go then, you and I,When the evening is spread out against the skyLike a patient etherized upon a table;Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,The muttering retreatsOf restless nights in one-night cheap hotelsAnd sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:Streets that follow like a tedious argumentOf insidious intentTo lead you to an overwhelming question ...Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"Let us go and make our visit.In the room the women come and goTalking of Michelangelo.The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,And seeing that it was a soft October night,Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.And indeed there will be timeFor the yellow smoke that slides along the street,Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;There will be time, there will be timeTo prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;There will be time to murder and create,And time for all the works and days of handsThat lift and drop a question on your plate;Time for you and time for me,And time yet for a hundred indecisions,And for a hundred visions and revisions,Before the taking of a toast and tea.In the room the women come and goTalking of Michelangelo.And indeed there will be timeTo wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"Time to turn back and descend the stair,With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--(They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--(They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")Do I dareDisturb the universe?In a minute there is timeFor decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.For I have known them all already, known them all:Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;I know the voices dying with a dying fallBeneath the music from a farther room. So how should I presume?And I have known the eyes already, known them all--The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,Then how should I beginTo spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? And how should I presume?And I have known the arms already, known them all--Arms that are braceleted and white and bare(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)Is it perfume from a dressThat makes me so digress?Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl. And should I then presume? And how should I begin? ...Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streetsAnd watched the smoke that rises from the pipesOf lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...I should have been a pair of ragged clawsScuttling across the floors of silent seas. ...And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!Smoothed by long fingers,Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,And in short, I was afraid.And would it have been worth it, after all,After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,Would it have been worth while,To have bitten off the matter with a smile,To have squeezed the universe into a ballTo roll it toward some overwhelming question,To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"--If one, settling a pillow by her head, Should say: "That is not what I meant at all; That is not it, at all."And would it have been worth it, after all,Would it have been worth while,After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor--And this, and so much more?--It is impossible to say just what I mean!But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:Would it have been worth whileIf one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,And turning toward the window, should say: "That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all." ...No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;Am an attendant lord, one that will doTo swell a progress, start a scene or two,Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,Deferential, glad to be of use,Politic, cautious, and meticulous;Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--Almost, at times, the Fool.I grow old ... I grow old ...I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.I do not think that they will sing to me.I have seen them riding seaward on the wavesCombing the white hair of the waves blown backWhen the wind blows the water white and black.We have lingered in the chambers of the seaBy sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brownTill human voices wake us, and we drown.

by Arcadia on

Dylan Thomas's Poem in OctoberI used to love this poem and I still love it:..................And the twice told fields of infancyThat his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.These were the woods the river and seaWhere a boyIn the listeningSummertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joyTo the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.And the mysterySang aliveStill in the water and singingbirdsAnd there could I marvel my birthdayAway but the weather turned around. And the true Joy of the long dead child sang burningIn the sun.It was my thirtiethYear to heaven stood there then in the summer noonThough the town below lay leaved with October blood.O may my heart

by Billectric on

Cool. And the thing is, I like the poem for its literal meaning, and also as a metaphor for that epic striving of man's spirit. And it goes hand-in-hand with the old Zen saying, "Before I was enlightened, I chopped wood and carried water. After I was enlightened, I chopped wood and carried water." Because when those pilots came back home, they watered their lawns and went to the grocery store, etc. but inside they were changed.

by Billectric on

FC, you did a great job explaining why you like that poem.

by Billectric on

Oh, man, I love that! Who wrote it?

by judih. on

yes!When i finally get to teach an English class (English as a Foreign Language) that isn't special ed, i'll dare to teach them Prufrock.It's a classic, alright.

by Billectric on

Heavy. It gives me a feeling I can't express.

by judih. on

Two - uh, 3Constantly Risking Absurdity by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, because it's so accessible to someone with an artistic mind.And A Supermarket in California, by Allen Ginsberg, because it's so wonderful and embodies so much culture in such a short space.and e.e. cummings l(a

by jamelah on

judih!"A Supermarket in California" is another one of my favorites (and you, garcia lorca, what were you doing by the watermelons?). I actually read it at a stuffly library-sponsored poetry reading a couple of days after Ginsberg died.The cummings poem -- this is the one about the leaf? Love that one, too.

by Billectric on

Now, to guess Levi's favorite...I'll say "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman.

by jamelah on

Well Bill, this is just a guess, but I'm thinking Dylan Thomas.

by jamelah on

Consider the lilies -- yes, it is a lovely passage. And I think it counts as poetry. At least, I had a teacher once who used it as an example of poetry in a class, so there's that.

by panta rhei on

rilke, autumn dayi know there are stronger, deeper, more pulsating poems by rilke than this one, but this one is like an old friend to me.i read it for the first time in the fall when i was 16, and it captured the essence of this very fall so perfectly for me (and, in a way, it's still part of the very nature of my autumn, my favourite time of the year).i had just moved into my own place a few months ago back then, and i put the poem on my wall.since then, i have moved over 15 more times, and i still have it hanging on my wall.HerbsttagHerr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr gross.Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los. Befiehl den letzten Fr

by panta rhei on

i have found several different translations of it on the web, but none of it is able to transport the original's energy and melody... still, i post them here so that you can get an idea about the content:Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.Lay your shadow on the sundialsand let loose the wind in the fields.Bid the last fruits to be full;give them another two more southerly days,press them to ripeness, and chasethe last sweetness into the heavy wine. Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time,will stay up, read, write long letters,and wander the avenues, up and down,restlessly, while the leaves are blowing. (Translated by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann, "The Essential Rilke" (Ecco)) Lord, it is time. The summer was too long.Lay your shadow on the sundials now,and through the meadow let the winds throng.Ask the last fruits to ripen on the vine;give them further two more summer daysto bring about perfection and to raisethe final sweetness in the heavy wine. Whoever has no house now will establish none,whoever lives alone now will live on long alone,will waken, read, and write long letters,wander up and down the barren pathsthe parks expose when the leaves are blown. (Translated by William Gass, "Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problem of Translation" (Knopf))Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,and on the meadows let the wind go free.Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;grant them a few more warm transparent days,urge them on to fulfillment then, and pressthe final sweetness into the heavy wine. Whoever has no house now, will never have one.Whoever is alone will stay alone,will sit, read, write long letters through theevening,and wander the boulevards, up and down,restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.(Translated by Stephen Mitchell, "The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke" (Random House))Lord, it is time now,for the summer has gone onand gone on.Lay your shadow along the sun-dials and in the fieldlet the great wind blow free.Command the last fruitbe ripe:let it bow down the vine -- with perhaps two sun-warm daysmore to force the lastsweetness in the heavy wine. He who has no homewill not build one now.He who is alonewill stay longalone, will wake up,read, write long letters,and walk in the streets,walk by in thestreets when the leaves blow.(Translated by John Logan, "Homage to Rainer Maria Rilke," (BOA Editions))

by panta rhei on

a few years ago, i wrote a poem that was inspired by rilke's autumn day, using his images and atmosphere, trying to capture the essence of how the original feels to me:leaves falling down on you ---------------------------you walk the alleysof tired sunlightwarm summer stillinside your shoesthere's a shadowon the sundialand the windsthe windsare loosethe fruits are fullwith southern daysthe grapes are filledwith purple wineyou wander restlesslythru falling leavesbreathe words into descending time

by panta rhei on

paul celan, death fuguethis is the other poem that whenever i read it feels like looking at a familiar picture of the family album... or, as levi puts it, is like a well-worn clothing that still helds my own private scent and at the same time still inheres the intensity that i experienced when i first wore/read it.-------------Todesfuge Schwarze Milch der Fruehe wir trinken sie abendswir trinken sie mittags und morgens wir trinken sie nachtswir trinken und trinkenwir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lueften da liegt man nicht engein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit dem Schlangen der schreibtder schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margareteer schreibt es und tritt vor das Haus und es blitzen die Sterne er pfeift seine Rueden herbeier pfeift seine Juden hervor laesst schaufeln ein Grab in der Erdeer befiehlt uns spielt auf nun zum TanzSchwarze Milch der Fruehe wir trinken dich nachtswir trinken dich morgens und mittags wir trinken dich abendswir trinken und trinkenEin Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibtder schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar MargareteDein aschenes Haar Sulamith wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lueften da liegt man nicht engEr ruft stecht tiefer ins Erdreich ihr einen ihr andern singt und spielter greift nach dem Eisen im Gurt er schwingt seine Augen sind blaustecht tiefer die Spaten ihr einen ihr andern spielt weiter zum Tanz aufSchwarze Milch der Fruehe wir trinken dich nachtswir trinken dich mittags und morgens wir trinken dich abendswir trinken und trinkenein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margaretedein aschenes Haar Sulamith er spielt mit den SchlangenEr ruft spielt suesser den Tod der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschlander ruft streicht dunkler die Geigen dann steigt ihr als Rauch in die Luftdann habt ihr ein Grab in den Wolken da liegt man nicht engSchwarze Milch der Fruehe wir trinken dich nachtswir trinken dich mittags der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschlandwir trinken dich abends und morgens wir trinken und trinkender Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland sein Auge ist blauer trifft dich mit bleierner Kugel er trifft dich genauein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margareteer hetzt seine Rueden auf uns er schenkt uns ein Grab in der Lufter spielt mit den Schlangen und traeumet der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschlanddein goldenes Haar Margaretedein aschenes Haar Sulamith------------Two translations:Paul Celan - Fugue of DeathBlack milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfallwe drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at nightdrink it and drink itwe are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie thereA man in the house he plays with the serpents he writeshe writes when the night falls to Germany your golden hair Margaretehe writes it and walks from the house the stars glitter he whistles his dogs uphe whistles his Jews out and orders a grave to be dug in the earthhe commands us strike up for the danceBlack milk of daybreak we drink you at nightwe drink in the mornings at noon we drink you at nightfalldrink you and drink youA man in the house he plays with the serpents he writeshe writes when the night falls to Germany your golden hair MargareteYour ashen hair Shulamith we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie thereHe shouts stab deeper in earth you there and you others you sing and you playhe grabs at the iron in his belt and swings it and blue are his eyesstab deeper your spades you there and you others play on for the dancingBlack milk of daybreak we drink you at nightfallwe drink you at noon in the mornings we drink you at nightfalldrink you and drink youa man in the house your golden hair Margareteyour ashen hair Shulamith he plays with the serpentsHe shouts play sweeter death's music death comes as a master from Germanyhe shouts stroke darker the strings and as smoke you shall climb to the skythen you'll have a grave in the clouds it is ample to lie thereBlack milk of daybreak we drink you at nightwe drink you at noon death comes as a master from Germanywe drink you at nightfall and morning we drink you and drink youa master from Germany death comes with eyes that are bluewith a bullet of lead he will hit in the mark he will hit youa man in the house your golden hair Margaretehe hunts us down with his dogs in the sky he gives us a gravehe plays with the serpents and dreams death comes as a master from Germanyyour golden hair Margareteyour ashen hair Shulamith.-----------Deathfugue (Paul Celan)Black milk of daybreak we drink it at eveningwe drink it at midday and morning we drink it at nightwe drink and we drinkwe shovel a grave in the air there you won't lie too crampedA man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writeshe writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margaretahe writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are all sparkling he whistles his hounds to come closehe whistles his Jews into rows has them shovel a grave in the groundhe commands us to play up for the dance. Black milk of daybreak we drink you at nightwe drink you at morning and midday we drink you at eveningwe drink and we drinkA man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writeshe writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair MargaretaYour ashen hair Shulamith we shovel a grave in the air there you won't lie too crampedHe shouts jab the earth deeper you lot there you others sing up and playhe grabs for the rod in his belt he swings it his eyes are so bluejab your spades deeper you lot there you others play on for the dancingBlack milk of daybreak we drink you at nightwe drink you at midday and morning we drink you at eveningwe drink and we drinka man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margaretayour aschenes Haar Shulamith he plays his vipersHe shouts play death more sweetly this Death is a master from Deutschlandhe shouts scrape your strings darker you'll rise then as smoke to the skyyou'll have a grave then in the clouds there you won't lie too crampedBlack milk of daybreak we drink you at nightwe drink you at midday Death is a master aus Deutschlandwe drink you at evening and morning we drink and we drinkthis Death is ein Meister aus Deutschland his eye it is bluehe shoots you with shot made of lead shoots you level and truea man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margaretehe looses his hounds on us grants us a grave in the airhe plays with his vipers and daydreams der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschlanddein goldenes Haar Margaretedein aschenes Haar Shulamith

by panta rhei on

constantly risking absurdity is what first brought me to litkicks!i had read the poem somewhere and then did a search on ferlinghetti - and then landed at litkicks and remembered the beats that i had been getting into years ago but hadn't read again for quite a while... and i found tons of material to read there, and i kept coming back to read and followed links, and then, two years later, the board appeared, and, well, the rest is history...

by panta rhei on

ah... yes!this poem makes me expand from the inside... expand with longing and that yellow swollen moon...

by panta rhei on

this definitely counts as poetry.

by Arcadia on

hey you ... don

by kkizer on

The Cloud In TrousersBy the maddest of the mad Russian poets, Vladimir Mayakovsky. Completely blows me away every time I read it, for many of the same reasons other people have stated for their favorite poems. And my guess for Levi's favorite is "The Wasteland."Here's a sample from "Cloud":The stroke of twelve felllike a head from a block.On the gray windowpanes, gray raindropshowled together,piling on a grimaceas though the gargoylesof Notre Dame were howling.Damn you!Isn't that enough?Screams will soon claw my mouth apart.Then I heard,softly,a nerve leaplike a sick man from his bed.Then, barely movingat first,it soon scampered about,agitated,distinct.Now, with a couple more,it darted about in a desperate dance.The plaster on the ground floor crashed.Nerves,big nerves,tiny nerves,many nerves!-galloped madlytill soontheir legs gave way.But night oozed and oozed through the roomand the eye, weighed down, could not slither out of the slime.

by brooklyn on

Answers ...These are great responses so far. I've heard of some of these poems, others are new to me. It's also fun to read the guesses, about which I must remain silent for now ...

by Rog on

a well-known poemWell, assuming that it must be a well-known poem, I would venture this one, by W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming". It's haunted me since I first read it.Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all convictions, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

by shamatha on

SomeMy favorite poems seem to resemble incantations, prayers.Kaddish stuck in my head the first time I read it, moreso after I found an mp3 of Ginsberg reading the first part of it himself.And Corso's Power.But Lew Welch, especialy, there are many, but one I say every night, as a prayer against the too often awfullness of the world:What strange pleasure do they get who'd wipe whole worlds out, ANYTHING to end our lives, our wild idleness?But we have charms against their rage-must go on saying, "Look,if nobody tried to live this way,all the work of the world would be in vain"And now and then a son, a daughter, hears it.Now and then a son, a daughtergets awayand a reminder and affirmation:I saw myselfa ring of bonein the clear streamof all of itand vowed,always to be open to itthat all of itmight flow throughand then heard"ring of bone" wherering is what abell does

by Daughter on

Bits and PiecesI do love entire poems. There are many that are great when read all the way through. But, what mostly sticks in my mind on repeat are fantastic sections of poems. Here is whats playing now, and mostly has been playing for years and years:There's just no accounting for happiness,or the way it turns up like a prodigalwho comes back to the dust at your feethaving squandered a fortune far away.~Jane KenyonGone, I say and walk from church,refusing the stiff procession to the grave,letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.It is June. I am tired of being brave.~Anne SextonTo live a shameless, shameful life,His plaything and his love,He wore me like a silken knot,He changed me like a glove.~Christina RossettiI will read ashes for you, if you ask me. I will look on the fire and tell you from the gray lashes And out of the red and black tongues and stripes, I will tell how fire comes And how fire runs far as the sea.~Carl SandburgThere they are. My favorite lines. There are of course more, but these ones really stick.

by coolazice on

2 to pickThe perfect poem? Seems kinda difficult. But there are poems that seem to work completely on their own, outside of any prior knowledge of the poet or of poetry in general.Some well known poems come to my mind - Yeats' 'Wild Swans at Coole', Rimbaud's 'Le Bateau Ivre'. Then there's any Shakespeare you care to throw in, and great passages from the Bible. Most of my favourite poetry isn't 'perfect' - it's more likely to be imbalanced, not straight truth, giving it a bit of edge. But after eliminating the well known and more imbalanced works, I arrived at two pieces, both published last century in Spanish, from South/Central America. The translations are both by Martin Seymour-Smith.Soneto PostreroI.Mi voluntad de ser no tiene cielo; s

by minfin on

mud-lusciousin Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious the little lame balloonmanwhistles far and weeand eddieandbill come running from marbles and piracies and it's springwhen the world is puddle-wonderfulthe queer old balloonman whistles far and wee and bettyandisbel come dancing from hop-scotch and jump-rope andit's spring and the goat-footedballoonMan whistles far and weeE.E. CummingsA teacher made poetry fun and pertinent to my young world. How much fun is cummings? This is the poem she used to that taught me that poetry and words can be used in a million wonderful ways and that poetry was in everything, even rock songs or news stories, if we look for it. It's is a fun poem, playful in form and tone, with the haunting little minor chord "the goat-footed balloonMan whistles far and wee"The vernal equinox is coming next week and I remember this poem every year.

by judih. on

Lew Welch is a wonderful poet.He was my fourth choice a sad thing that he died so young

by Billectric on

How silly of me.Obviously what happened here is, I saw the name "Arcadia" and knew it would be a great post, regardless of the subject line, so I simply jumped right into the text, referring back to the small type under the "Post!" icon...Yeah, that's it...

by Billectric on

Does this count as a poem?"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so." --From Shakespeare's Hamlet (II, ii, 115-117)

by brooklyn on

Sure it does. I love that one. "What is this quintessence of dust?" That's some good stuff.

by judih. on

Shakespeare's Sonnets - all of them are exquisite, but this is the one I like to teach:SONNET 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.

by Arcadia on

all right, you

by Andeh on

A Great OneAfter really thinking about it, Ginsberg's HOWL is still #1 with me. It's interesting, and long, and back in the day was a wee bit controversial. In my interpretation, it captures both frustration and zest with his generation, time and life of which he speaks of, perhaps I "could" post the poem later, but I'm sure many have read it. As well, it reminds me of good times in my youth and is also a poem I will never forget. I cannot say that about too many other poems.(Guess: The Raven by Poe..hey, it is more than 4 letters!)

by tomcat on

MiltonThis one always had a resonance with me.When I consider how my light is spent,Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,And that one talent which is death to hideLodged with me useless, though my soul more bentTo serve therewith my Maker, and presentMy true account, lest He returning chide,"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"I fondly ask; But patience, to preventThat murmur, soon replies "God doth not needEither man's work or his own gifts. Who bestBear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His stateIs kingly: thousands at His bidding speedAnd post o'er land and ocean without rest;They also serve who only stand and wait."

by tomcat on

The PuristThis is the first poem I ever memorized. It still makes me laugh:The Purist --I give you now Professor Twist,A conscientious scientist,Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"And sent him off to distant jungles.Camped on a tropic riverside,One day he missed his loving bride.She had, the guide informed him later,Been eaten by an alligator.Professor Twist could not but smile."You mean," he said, "a crocodile."-- Ogden Nash

by gypsylud on

Two SonnetsThis poem was read by the Justice of the Peace when I got married, so when I recite it to myself, or stumble upon it in some anthology, I think of that day, and my wife. It was a good day. Sonnet 116Let me not to the marriage of true mindsAdmit impediments; love is not love Which alters when it Alteration finds,Or bends with the remover to remove. Oh no it is an ever fixed markThat looks on tempests and is ne'er shaken;It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown although his height be taken.Loves not times fool though rosy lips and cheeksWith in his bending sickle compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,But bares it out even to the edge of doom.If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ nor no man ever loved.This is just a damn good sonnet. It's not vague, or difficult to understand. It's clear and beautiful. It's a poem of Eros. Of Absolute Divine Love. I think Sonnets make great poems cuz they're easy to memorize, (not to write though.) You can always amuse yr self when you're on a long drive alone and sick of the radio by reciting poems. ee cummings could write a mean sonnet. Look at "next to of course god america i"... (one of the finalists for my favorite poem.) "next to of course god america i love you land of pilgrims and so forth ohsay can you see by the dawns early mycountry tis of centuries come and go and are no more what of it we should worry in every language even deafanddumbthy sons acclaim your glorious name by gory by jingo by gee by gosh by gum why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-iful than these heroic happy dead who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter they didn't not stop to think they died insteadthen shall the voice of liberty be mute?" He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water. I like this poem because of its haste, its relevance, its wit, and its form. Where I live it's quite a novelty to recite poems. On par with a magic card trick or something. I like pulling "next to of course god," out at gigs, parties, or social gatherings when the war/patriotism comes up. It's hard to argue with a good poem. It's damn near impossible. (At parties I sometimes substitute "glass of water" for "bottle of beer" in the last line.)

by Ian Dystop on

As a catalystOh, yes, yes. Wow.I was taught this at school last year. Prufrock had a big part to play in getting me into poetry. It helped that I had an awesome cover teacher for that one lesson, excellent luck.A strong candidate for my own favourite. I'm going to go and stick it on my wall right now.Emily Dickinson said that 'If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know THAT is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know THAT is poetry.'That's what we're talking about here.

by melford12 on

As the Mist Leaves No Scar(this from memory, apologies to the Silent One if i got something wrong)As the mist leaves no scarOn the dark green hillSo my body leaves no scarOn you nor ever willAs wind and hawk encounterWhat remains to keepSo you and I encounterThen turn and fall to sleepAs many nights endureWithout a moon or starSo you and I endureWhen one is gone and far.--Leonard Coheni found this in some hippy anthology of poetry (poems with drawings, poems scattered haphazardly), long before hearing any Cohen songs. i just like the simple imagery, the easy rhyme, the emotion. and how despite the endurance promised in the last line, there's a buddhist kinda impermenance about the whole thing.also, reciting Leonard Cohen will get you laid.the same anthology had:The Reason I Write (Leonard Cohen):The reason I writeis to create somethingas beautiful as youWhen I'm with youI want to bethe kind of manI wanted to be when I was six years oldA perfect man, who kills.

by peggy on

archie ammonsthere are others of his that I love for the metaphysics, but the alliteration towards the ineffable via the quotidian makes this my favorite:So I said I am EzraSo I said I am Ezraand the wind whipped my throatgaming for the sounds of my voice I listened to the windgo over my head and up into the nightTurning to the sea I said I am Ezrabut there were no echoes from the wavesThe words were swallowed up in the voice of the surfor leaping over the swellslost themselves oceanward Over the bleached and broken fieldsI moved my feet and turning from the wind that ripped sheets of sand from the beach and threw them like seamists across the dunesswayed as if the wind were taking me awayand said I am EzraAs a word too much repeatedfalls out of beingso I Ezra went out into the nightlike a drift of sandand splashed among the windy oatsthat clutch the dunesof unremembered seasA. R. Ammons

by peggy on

I love that quote, from my favorite Shakespeare play. And yet I must also confess that whenever I see it I sing it to myself as it was set to music in "Hair."

by Julba on

This is Just to Say...Well, this may not be my favourite poem, but it makes me smile and dream of summer...mmm....it's such a simple poem, but you want to keep reading into it. Also, I've included a variation I think is worthwhile, too. This is Just to Say (W.C.Williams)I have eatenthe plumsthat were inthe iceboxand whichyou were probablysavingfor breakfastForgive methey were deliciousso sweetand so cold ********************************Variations on a Theme byWilliam Carlos Williams1I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer,I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to doand its wooden beams were so inviting.2We laughed at the hollyhocks togetherand then I sprayed them with lye.Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.3I gave away all the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.The man who asked for it was shabbyand the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.4Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.Forgive me. I was clumsy, andI wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!- Kenneth Koch(P.S. A lot of people have come up with variations on variation--I'm just putting it out there for all you "poet types"...)

by peggy on

" your golden hair MargaretaYour ashen hair Shulamith"I first saw this quote appended to a painting by Anselm Keifer made of tar and straw in the early 90s when I was working at Christie's auction house, and it made a powerful impression on me, the phrase as well as the painting. Not least of which because my real name is Margaret and my hair is blonde, and I felt dimly implicated by the associations, although my personal heritage is Irish working class etc. Anyway, I didn't know the attribution until now. Thank you!!

by Steve Plonk on

One Favorite PoemI have many favorite poems; however, one favorite poem is this one by Dylan Thomas:"And Death Shall Have No Dominion" By Dylan ThomasAnd death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. Under the windings of the sea They lying long shall not die windily; Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, And the unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up they shan't crack; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. No more may gulls cry at their ears Or waves break loud on the seashores; Where blew a flower may a flower no more Lift its head to the blows of the rain; Though they be mad and dead as nails, Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion.Hope everyone likes it...

by bohonato on

I don't know about greatest...But I do adore Allen Ginsberg's 'In Society'. I really can't say why, except I love the last stanza. It was one of the first Ginsbergs I read beyond his more famous ones. I also like the rhyming in Robert Frost's 'Acquainted with the Night'. There's another one, about a man who swims from the Titanic as it sinks to New York and gets drunk, but I can't remember the author nor title.

by brooklyn on

this is greatI really like reading all these favorites. What a collage of different voices show up among us. And ... yeah, the title of my own favorite poem does appear somewhere in the above posts. (Which one? This will be revealed next week.)Thanks everybody ... it is really inspiring to read all these great finds.

by brooklyn on

Nice one. For some reason this makes me recall the first poem I ever memorized, which I found in "The Outsiders". It's by Robert Frost.nature's first green is goldher hardest hue to holdher early leaf's a flowerbut only so an hourthen leaf subsides to leafso eden sank to griefso dawn goes down to daynothing gold can stayI actually don't agree that nothing gold can stay. But "then leaf subsides to leaf/so eden sank to grief" just killed me.

by MorbidMike on

So many to choose from...I've been on a Wallace Stevens kick, here are my two faves..."13 Ways of looking at a blackbird"(Stanza 5 is my favorite)Among twenty snowy mountains,The only moving thingWas the eye of the blackbird. III was of three minds,Like a treeIn which there are three blackbirds. IIIThe blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.It was a small part of the pantomime. IVA man and a womanAre one.A man and a woman and a blackbirdAre one. VI do not know which to prefer,The beauty of inflectionsOr the beauty of innuendoes,The blackbird whistlingOr just after. VIIcicles filled the long windowWith barbaric glass.The shadow of the blackbirdCrossed it, to and fro.The moodTraced in the shadowAn indecipherable cause. VIIO thin men of Haddam,Why do you imagine golden birds?Do you not see how the blackbirdWalks around the feetOf the women about you? VIIII know noble accentsAnd lucid, inescapable rhythms;But I know, too,That the blackbird is involvedIn what I know. IXWhen the blackbird flew out of sight,It marked the edgeOf one of many circles. XAt the sight of blackbirdsFlying in a green light,Even the bawds of euphonyWould cry out sharply. XIHe rode over ConnecticutIn a glass coach.Once, a fear pierced him,In that he mistookThe shadow of his equipageFor blackbirds. XIIThe river is moving.The blackbird must be flying. XIIIIt was evening all afternoon.It was snowingAnd it was going to snow.The blackbird satIn the cedar-limbs.Also,"The poem that took the place of a mountain"There it was, word for word,The poem that took the place of a mountain.He breathed its oxygen,Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.It reminded him how he had neededA place to go to in his own direction,How he had recomposed the pines,Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,For the outlook that would be right,Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:The exact rock where his inexactnessWould discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,Recognize his unique and solitary home.

by jota on

Dylan Thomas and Randall JarrellThese were the two most influential to me:The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. Randall Jarrell FERN HILL 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.Dylan Thomas

by Billectric on

And I'm going to print that Emily Dickinson quote and put it on my wall. That's good stuff. Especially the part about the scalp. An old friend of mine used to say, "The eagle flew down and snatched my scalp!" when he got that feeling.

by Billectric on

I do like this one very much. Dylan Thomas seems to be quite popular here.

by Ian Dystop on

Yeah, great discussion, really interesting.That is all.

by jamelah on

"...as if the top of my head were taken off."Yes, that's it exactly.

by kilgore on

favorite poem collageWe should run all the quotes from people's favorite poems together in a collage. What do you'll think?As an aside, I recently learned that there is no authority in english usage and style that prohibits the use of "but" at the beginning of a sentence! This was a revelation to me, because when I was in grade school that false rule was drilled into me, and I have since used "however" for a contrasting link at the beginning of sentences. But that word "however" makes the writing much more cumbersome and interrupts the musicality of the language. We examined a New York Times article, and sure enough, two out of ten sentences began with the word but, and William Zinser ("On Writing Well") claims it is the single most effective way to begin a sentence. Incidentally, there is also no rule of usage which prohibits ending a sentence with a preposition. It is funny how the word of some grade school teacher, one lady whose name I don't remember, could be transformed into a law that has significantly affected my writing for decades. I wish I had her address, I want to send her a letter that reads: "you were wrong."

by jim vinny on

My Poem and My GuessWell, I'd have to say that Frost's "Mending Wall" is my favourite...oh sure, I love "Howl" and "Love Is A Dog From Hell" as much as the next guy, but there's something about this one that really strikes me as having been able to capture the dichotomy between mundane human endeavours and that certain metaphysical je ne sais quoi with which those same endeavours often get wrapped up...here's the text:"Mending Wall" - Robert FrostSomething there is that doesn't love a wall,That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,And spills the upper boulders in the sun;And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.The work of hunters is another thing:I have come after them and made repairWhere they have left not one stone on stone,But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,No one has seen them made or heard them made,But at spring mending-time we find them there.I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;And on a day we meet to walk the lineAnd set the wall between us once again.We keep the wall between us as we go.To each the boulders that have fallen to each.And some are loaves and some so nearly ballsWe have to use a spell to make them balance:"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"We wear our fingers rough with handling them.Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,One on a side. It comes to little more:He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.My apple trees will never get acrossAnd eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonderIf I could put a notion in his head:"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't itWhere there are cows? But here there are no cows.Before I built a wall I'd ask to knowWhat I was walling in or walling out,And to whom I was like to give offence.Something there is that doesn't love a wall,That wants it down!" I could say "Elves" to him,But it's not elves exactly, and I'd ratherHe said it for himself. I see him there,Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the topIn each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.He moves in darkness as it seems to me,Not of woods only and the shade of trees.He will not go behind his father's saying,And he likes having thought of it so wellHe says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."And my guess at Levi's favourite? well, I'm simply going to agree with the mad Floridian and say "Leaves of Grass", for reasons I'm not entirely sure of.

by Arcadia on

Fern Hill is my second favourite Dylan Thomas poem. The last two lines are great.

by panta rhei on

yes, those last two lines.they have a melody.every time i say them, they sing me.and i sing them.

by panta rhei on

interesting -i hadn't known that.thanks, peggy.here's a link to a few anselm kiefer paintings (among them "your golden hair maragarete"):http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/kiefer/

by jim vinny on

This I love...goddamned grade school English teachers. I laboured under the same BS for centuries, I tell you!!! CENTURIES!!!

by firecracker on

Kilgore, you've set us free from our shackles. As jim_vinny says, we've been under their thumbs for way too long. Thanks for the tip!

by Arcadia on

Great! I like W. Stevens very much.

by Arcadia on

I didn

by Arcadia on

I like it!

by Arcadia on

Great poem!A fan's club?

by Ian Dystop on

... just the reply that Prufrock never got.In fact there is now a copy on my wall and in my wallet. Tommorow I'm going to go into college and hide copies in library books and stick them on the backs of toilet doors.It is time for guerilla poetry.

by Billectric on

Yes, I first became familiar with it from Hair. I really must get that original broadway musical soundtrack on CD. Jerome Ragni, Galt McDermot, James Rado... I remember it like it was yesterday.You know, Hair has recently been making a come-back, which could be why Levi (brooklyn) said he recently saw that poem again. Not only that, but I know he's a Shakespeare fan. Hmmm...

by Billectric on

I don't know, Jim. I'm starting to waffle on my guess. The musical 'Hair' is making a come-back, and there is a fine Shakespeare quote in it, and Levi is a fan of the Bard."What a piece of work is man..."

by nimzoindian on

If it wasn't fleeting, it isn't gold. If it stays, tarnish becomes it's mainstay. Do you have an example of gold that can stay?