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Favorite Poem

  1. Nov 29, 2012 #1


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    Inspired by Gad's thread on translating poetry, I decided that it would be neat to see what poems people here enjoy and hopefully be introduced to new works. So with that said, I'll start.

    Alone With Everybody by Charles Bukowski

    the flesh covers the bone
    and they put a mind
    in there and
    sometimes a soul,
    and the women break
    vases against the walls
    and the men drink too
    and nobody finds the
    but keep
    crawling in and out
    of beds.
    flesh covers
    the bone and the
    flesh searches
    for more than

    there's no chance
    at all:
    we are all trapped
    by a singular

    nobody ever finds
    the one.

    the city dumps fill
    the junkyards fill
    the madhouses fill
    the hospitals fill
    the graveyards fill

    nothing else
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2012 #2


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    Did he commit suicide after writing this?
  4. Nov 29, 2012 #3


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    Not at all, he died in 94 from cancer if I remember correctly. I think he was in his 70's.
  5. Nov 29, 2012 #4


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    Wow, that poem sounds like it was written by someone that hates life and all that goes with it. Very much like the person would have written this right before killing themself. It's so depressing, full of hate and loathing and has just given up. :frown:

    BTW, it was very good, in a dark, dark way.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  6. Nov 29, 2012 #5


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    One of my favorite pieces is from "This is my Beloved" by Walter Benton.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Nov 29, 2012 #6


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    My favorite reading of a poem was Sudden Light, in the tv series "Sliders".

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
    Sudden Light

    I HAVE been here before,
    But when or how I cannot tell:
    I know the grass beyond the door,
    The sweet keen smell,
    The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

    You have been mine before,—
    How long ago I may not know:
    But just when at that swallow's soar
    Your neck turned so,
    Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

    Has this been thus before?
    And shall not thus time's eddying flight
    Still with our lives our love restore
    In death's despite,
    And day and night yield one delight once more?

  8. Nov 30, 2012 #7


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    You can actually infer a lot from that, rather than the direct meaning.. Pretty peculiar, though.
  9. Nov 30, 2012 #8
    Hands down it's The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
  10. Nov 30, 2012 #9


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    A famous poem, but deservedly so. It's always been one of my favorites.

    The Road Not Taken
    by Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I marked the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.​
  11. Dec 1, 2012 #10
    The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

    I'll just quote the last part of the poem

    No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
    Am an attendant lord, one that will do
    To 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 waves
    Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
    When the wind blows the water white and black.

    We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
    By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
  12. Dec 1, 2012 #11
    I really like this one by Amelia Earhart :)

    Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.
    The soul that knows it not
    Knows no release from little things:
    Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
    Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear the sound of wings.

    Nor can life grant us boon of living, compensate
    For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
    Unless we dare
    The soul’s dominion.
    Each time we make a choice, we pay
    With courage to behold the resistless day, And count it fair.
  13. Dec 1, 2012 #12
    I'm glad some people here know and love Prufrock. It should probably be the official PF poem.

    I've posted this one before in other threads but it bears re-posting as one of the top poems produced in the 20th century:

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    -Dylan Thomas
  14. Dec 1, 2012 #13
    I don't know if I necessarily have a favorite poem, but I've always enjoyed Poe's A Dream Within a Dream:

    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow-
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand-
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep- while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?
  15. Dec 1, 2012 #14


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    That poem always gives me chills.
  16. Dec 1, 2012 #15


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    That poem and "And Death Shall Have No Dominion" are truly two of the greatest poem's of the 20th century. I find it hard to believe that some people actually do not enjoy Dylan Thomas!
  17. Dec 1, 2012 #16
    For me it's got to be Kilmer's Trees. Who can resist the image of someone whose mouth is on the ground and arms in the air?
  18. Dec 1, 2012 #17


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    For many years I presumed that Joyce kilmer was woman. His real name was Alfred Joyce Kilmer. He was killed in WWI at the age of 31.:cry:
  19. Dec 1, 2012 #18


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    This is one of my favorites.

    Annabel Lee

    It was many and many a year ago,
    In a kingdom by the sea,
    That a maiden there lived whom you may know
    By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
    And this maiden she lived with no other thought
    Than to love and be loved by me.

    I was a child and she was a child,
    In this kingdom by the sea;
    But we loved with a love that was more than love-
    I and my Annabel Lee;
    With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
    Coveted her and me.

    And this was the reason that, long ago,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
    A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
    My beautiful Annabel Lee;
    So that her highborn kinsman came
    And bore her away from me,
    To shut her up in a sepulchre
    In this kingdom by the sea.

    The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
    Went envying her and me-
    Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
    In this kingdom by the sea)
    That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
    Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

    But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we-
    Of many far wiser than we-
    And neither the angels in heaven above,
    Nor the demons down under the sea,
    Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

    For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
    Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
    In the sepulchre there by the sea,
    In her tomb by the sounding sea.

    Edgar Allan Poe
  20. Dec 1, 2012 #19


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    I had an aversion to fiction, plays and poetry. For me it was an unpleasant distraction from mathematics and science, which was my main interest in school.

    In 4th grade, I was forced to read literature (fiction/poetry) since it was mandatory. So, with great resignation, I browsed an anthology of poetry, and fortunately found a really cool image and the poem 'The Skeleton in Armour' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    "Speak! speak! thou fearful guest!
    Who, with thy hollow breast
    Still in rude armour drest,
    Comest to daunt me!
    Wrapt not in Eastern balms,
    But with thy fleshless palms
    Stretched, as if asking alms,
    Why dost thou haunt me?"

    Then, from those cavernous eyes
    Pale flashes seemed to rise,
    As when the Northern skies
    Gleam in December;
    And, like the water's flow
    Under December's snow,
    Came a dull voice of woe
    From the heart's chamber.

    "I was a Viking old!
    My deeds, though manifold,
    No Skald in song has told,
    No Saga taught thee!
    Take heed, that in thy verse

    Thou dost the tale rehearse,
    Else dread a dead man's curse!
    For this I sought thee.

    "Far in the Northern land,
    By the wild Baltic's strand,
    I, with my childish hand,
    Tamed the ger-falcon;
    And, with my skates fast-bound,
    Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,
    That the poor whimpering hound
    Trembled to walk on.

    "Oft to his frozen lair
    Tracked I the grisly bear,
    While from my path the hare
    Fled like a shadow;
    Oft through the forest dark
    Followed the werewolf's bark,
    Until the soaring lark
    Sang from the meadow.

    "But when I older grew,
    Joining a corsair's crew,
    O'er the dark sea I flew
    With the marauders.
    Wild was the life we led;
    Many the souls that sped,
    Many the hearts that bled,
    By our stern orders.

    "Many a wassail-bout
    Wore the long Winter out;
    Often our midnight shout
    Set the cocks crowing,
    As we the Berserk's tale
    Measured in cups of ale,
    Draining the oaken pail,
    Filled to o'erflowing.

    "Once as I told in glee
    Tales of the stormy sea,
    Soft eyes did gaze on me,
    Burning yet tender;
    And as the white stars shine
    On the dark Norway pine,
    On that dark heart of mine
    Fell their soft splendour.

    "I wooed the blue-eyed maid,
    Yielding, yet half afraid,
    And in the forest's shade
    Our vows were plighted.
    Under its loosened vest
    Fluttered her little breast,
    Like birds within their nest
    By the hawk frighted.

    "Bright in her father's hall
    Shields gleamed upon the wall,
    Loud sang the minstrels all,
    Chanting his glory;
    When of old Hildebrand
    I asked his daughter's hand,
    Mute did the minstrels stand
    To hear my story.

    "While the brown ale he quaffed,
    Loud then the champion laughed,
    And as the wind-gusts waft
    The sea-foam brightly,
    So the loud laugh of scorn,
    Out of those lips unshorn,
    From the deep drinking-horn
    Blew the foam lightly.

    "She was a prince's child,
    I but a Viking wild,
    And though she blushed and smiled,
    I was discarded!
    Should not the dove so white
    Follow the sea-mew's flight,
    Why did they leave that night
    Her nest unguarded?

    "Scarce had I put to sea,
    Bearing the maid with me, -
    Fairest of all was she
    Among the Norsemen! -
    When on the white sea-strand,
    Waving his armed hand,
    Saw we old Hildebrand,
    With twenty horsemen.

    "Then launched they to the blast,
    Bent like a reed each mast,
    Yet we were gaining fast,
    When the wind failed us;
    And with a sudden flaw
    Came round the gusty Skaw,
    So that our foe we saw
    Laugh as he hailed us.

    "And as to catch the gale
    Round veered the flapping sail,
    `Death!' was the helmsman's hail,
    `Death without quarter!'
    Mid-ships with iron keel
    Struck we her ribs of steel;
    Down her black hulk did reel
    Through the black water!

    "As with his wings aslant,
    Sails the fierce cormorant,
    Seeking some rocky haunt,
    With his prey laden;
    So toward the open main,
    Beating to sea again,
    Through the wild hurricane,
    Bore I the maiden.

    "Three weeks we westward bore,
    And when the storm was o'er,
    Cloud-like we saw the shore
    Stretching to leeward;
    There for my lady's bower
    Built I the lofty tower,
    Which, to this very hour,
    Stands looking seaward.

    "There lived we many years:
    Time dried the maiden's tears;
    She had forgot her fears,
    She was a mother;
    Death closed her mild blue eyes,
    Under that tower she lies;
    Ne'er shall the sun arise
    On such another!

    "Still grew my bosom then,
    Still as a stagnant fen!
    Hateful to me were men,
    The sunlight hateful!
    In the vast forest here,
    Clad in my warlike gear,
    Fell I upon my spear,
    O, death was grateful!

    "Thus, seamed with many scars,
    Bursting these prison-bars,
    Up to its native stars
    My soul ascended!
    There from the flowing bowl
    Deep drinks the warrior's soul,
    Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!"
    - Thus the tale ended.

    The taming of the ger-falcon (gyrfalcon) was appealing, as was the sea and the life of the Viking. :biggrin:

    I suffered through English classes from then through high school (except for one course in science fiction) and first year of university.
  21. Dec 2, 2012 #20
    Wow, some great choices here I'd not encountered before. I'm going to cheat a little and give you two because they're really short...

    The Octopus, Ogden Nash

    Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
    Is those things arms, or is they legs?
    I marvel at thee, Octopus;
    If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

    ... and the second a verse from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. I find it comforting, somehow.

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
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