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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
    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
    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.
  22. Dec 2, 2012 #21
    My favorite is The Bells by Poe. A melody plays in my head as I read it, even though it's just words.


    Hear the sledges with the bells -
    Silver bells!
    What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
    How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
    In the icy air of night!
    While the stars that oversprinkle
    All the heavens, seem to twinkle
    With a crystalline delight;
    Keeping time, time, time,
    In a sort of Runic rhyme,
    To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
    From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
    Bells, bells, bells -
    From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


    Hear the mellow wedding bells -
    Golden bells!
    What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
    Through the balmy air of night
    How they ring out their delight! -
    From the molten - golden notes,
    And all in tune,
    What a liquid ditty floats
    To the turtle - dove that listens, while she gloats
    On the moon!
    Oh, from out the sounding cells,
    What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
    How it swells!
    How it dwells
    On the Future! - how it tells
    Of the rapture that impels
    To the swinging and the ringing
    Of the bells, bells, bells -
    Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
    Bells, bells, bells -
    To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!


    Hear the loud alarum bells -
    Brazen bells!
    What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
    In the startled ear of night
    How they scream out their affright!
    Too much horrified to speak,
    They can only shriek, shriek,
    Out of tune,
    In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
    In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
    Leaping higher, higher, higher,
    With a desperate desire,
    And a resolute endeavor
    Now - now to sit, or never,
    By the side of the pale - faced moon.
    Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
    What a tale their terror tells
    Of Despair!
    How they clang, and clash and roar!
    What a horror they outpour
    On the bosom of the palpitating air!
    Yet the ear, it fully knows,
    By the twanging,
    And the clanging,
    How the danger ebbs and flows;
    Yet the ear distinctly tells,
    In the jangling,
    And the wrangling,
    How the danger sinks and swells,
    By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells -
    Of the bells -
    Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
    Bells, bells, bells -
    In the clamor and the clanging of the bells!


    Hear the tolling of the bells -
    Iron bells!
    What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
    In the silence of the night,
    How we shiver with affright
    At the melancholy menace of their tone!
    For every sound that floats
    From the rust within their throats
    Is a groan.
    And the people - ah, the people -
    They that dwell up in the steeple,
    All alone,
    And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
    In that muffled monotone,
    Feel a glory in so rolling
    On the human heart a stone -
    They are neither man nor woman -
    They are neither brute nor human -
    They are Ghouls: -
    And their king it is who tolls: -
    And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
    A paean from the bells!
    And his merry bosom swells
    With the paean of the bells!
    And he dances, and he yells;
    Keeping time, time, time,
    In a sort of Runic rhyme,
    To the paean of the bells: -
    Of the bells:
    Keeping time, time, time
    In a sort of Runic rhyme,
    To the throbbing of the bells -
    Of the bells, bells, bells: -
    To the sobbing of the bells: -
    Keeping time, time, time,
    As he knells, knells, knells,
    In a happy Runic rhyme,
    To the rolling of the bells -
    Of the bells, bells, bells -
    To the tolling of the bells -
    Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
    Bells, bells, bells, -
    To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.
  23. Dec 6, 2012 #22
    Well, if the post was inspired by translating poetry i’ll throw one out. The poem is “Desmayarse, Atreverse, Estar Furioso” by the Spanish playwright/poet Lope de Vega. It’s not my favorite although it’s up there, but I found it translates extremely well.

    Here it is in spanish for those who understand it:

    "Desmayarse, atreverse, estar furioso,
    áspero, tierno, liberal, esquivo,
    alentado, mortal, difunto, vivo,
    leal, traidor, cobarde y animoso;

    no hallar fuera del bien centro y reposo,
    mostrarse alegre, triste, humilde, altivo,
    enojado, valiente, fugitivo,
    satisfecho, ofendido, receloso;

    huir el rostro al claro desengaño,
    beber veneno por licor süave,
    olvidar el provecho, amar el daño;

    creer que un cielo en un infierno cabe,
    dar la vida y el alma a un desengaño;
    esto es amor, quien lo probó lo sabe”

    And here it is translated:

    “To be fainthearted, to be bold, to be raging mad,
    Surly, tender, generous, aloof,
    Courageous, mortal, dead, alive,
    Loyal, treacherous, cowardly, spirited,

    Not to find beyond your lover, satisfaction or peace,
    To seem happy, sad, humble, arrogant,
    Irate, valiant, self-effacing,
    Satisfied, offended, distrustful,

    To turn your face from clear proofs of deceit,
    To drink poison as if it were a soothing liquor,
    To disregard gain and feel delight in being injured,

    To believe that heaven can lie contained in hell,
    To devote your life and soul to being disillusioned,
    This is love; whoever has tasted it, knows."
  24. Apr 3, 2013 #23
    In a Station of the Metro

    The apparition of these faces in the crowd,
    Petals on a wet black bough.

    The River Merchant's Wife

    And I
    Desired my dust
    To be mingled with yours
    Forever and ever and ever

    -Ezra Pound

    'Mail Sorters All Shifts' by Thomas Evans is pretty good too. He's fairly unknown, so here's an excerpt

    Niches of nakhes, he speaks of Ravachol,
    And when the evening is at last
    Electrolysed in an institutional, caramelized clasp,
    He purports to purchase a certain quantity of alcohol.

    Perhaps adopt a pretense?
    The period at the end of this sentence is every relevant facet of existence.
  25. Apr 3, 2013 #24
    Oh, this poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, albeit somewhat cliche, is pretty good too. It's a little known variant on her famous "How Do I Love Thee?", discovered in one of her diaries subsequent her death by the perpetrators of her estate.

    How can I f*ck thee? Let me count the ways.

    I f*ck thee to the depth and breadth and height

    My hands can reach, when feeling out of sight

    For the ends of capital and ideal grace,

    I f*ck thee to the level of every day’s,

    Most false need, by sun and Macbook blue light,

    I f*ck thee freely, and laugh, as you strive for right,

    I f*ck thee impurely, as the forests of the earth I raze

    I **** thee with the passion of an inert sphincter put to use,

    In my silken, gold-trimmed briefs, and with my infantile faith

    I f*ck thee with a love I seemed to lose

    With the saints I burned at stake. I f*ck thee with the breadth,

    Exploitation, rape; of all my life, and if this third quarter returns choose,

    I shall but f*ck thee better after your (inevitable) death.

    In the margins next to this poem was written the alternate title: "Capitalists Sonnet"
  26. Apr 4, 2013 #25
    I've recently developed an obsession with In Memoriam A.H.H. by Tennyson. It's divided up into cantos, and many of my favourite ones are too long to include in this thread, so I've chosen one which I think has a good balance between appropriate length and beauty:

    "Be near me when my light is low,
    When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
    And tingle; and the heart is sick,
    And all the wheels of Being slow.

    Be near me when the sensuous frame
    Is rack'd with pangs that conquer trust;
    And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
    And Life, a Fury slinging flame.

    Be near me when my faith is dry,
    And men the flies of latter spring,
    That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
    And weave their petty cells and die.

    Be near me when I fade away,
    To point the term of human strife,
    And on the low dark verge of life
    The twilight of eternal day."
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