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Greatest Poem

  1. May 23, 2004 #1
    What is the best Poem (or specific lines of poetry) in your opinion?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2004 #2


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    Dearly Missed

    "Should I compare thee to a summer's day.."
    (or something like that..)
  4. May 23, 2004 #3


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    Another classic, in Old Norse:
    "Gott har konung alit oss, ty det er ennu feitt um hjartarøtinn..
    Så hneig han aptr, og var så daudr"
  5. May 23, 2004 #4
    The first four lines of this one in particular are quite funky.

    Auguries of Innocence
    By William Blake


    TO see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.

    A Robin Red breast in a Cage
    Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
    A dove house fill'd with doves & Pigeons
    Shudders Hell thro' all its regions.
    A dog starv'd at his Master's Gate
    Predicts the ruin of the State.
    A Horse misus'd upon the Road
    Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
    Each outcry of the hunted Hare
    A fibre from the Brain does tear.
    A Skylark wounded in the wing,
    A Cherubim does cease to sing.
    The Game nozzle clipp'd and arm'd for fight
    Does the Rising Sun affright.
    Every Wolf's & Lion's howl
    Raises from Hell a Human Soul.
    The wild deer, wand'ring here & there,
    Keeps the Human Soul from Care.
    The Lamb misus'd breeds public strife
    And yet forgives the Butcher's Knife.
    The Bat that flits at close of Eve
    Has left the Brain that won't believe.
    The Owl that calls upon the Night
    Speaks the Unbeliever's fright.
    He who shall hurt the little Wren
    Shall never be belov'd by Men.
    He who the Ox to wrath has mov'd
    Shall never be by Woman lov'd.
    The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
    Shall feel the Spider's enmity.
    He who torments the Chafer's sprite
    Weaves a Bower in endless Night.
    The Catterpillar on the Leaf
    Repeats to thee thy Mother's grief.
    Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly,
    For the Last Judgement draweth nigh.
    He who shall train the Horse to War
    Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
    The Beggar's Dog & Widow's Cat,
    Feed them & thou wilt grow fat.
    The Gnat that sings his Summer's song
    Poison gets from Slander's tongue.
    The poison of the Snake & Newt
    Is the sweat of Envy's Foot.
    The poison of the Honey Bee
    Is the Artist's Jealousy.
    The Prince's Robes & Beggars' Rags
    Are Toadstools on the Miser's Bags.
    A truth that's told with bad intent
    Beats all the Lies you can invent.
    It is right it should be so;
    Man was made for Joy & Woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Thro' the World we safely go.
    Joy & Woe are woven fine,
    A Clothing for the Soul divine;
    Under every grief & pine
    Runs a joy with silken twine.
    The Babe is more than swadling Bands;
    Throughout all these Human Lands
    Tools were made, & born were hands,
    Every Farmer Understands.
    Every Tear from Every Eye
    Becomes a Babe in Eternity.
    This is caught by Females bright
    And return'd to its own delight.
    The Bleat, the Bark, Bellow & Roar
    Are Waves that Beat on Heaven's Shore.
    The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
    Writes Revenge in realms of death.
    The Beggar's Rags, fluttering in Air,
    Does to Rags the Heavens tear.
    The Soldier arm'd with Sword & Gun,
    Palsied strikes the Summer's Sun.
    The poor Man's Farthing is worth more
    Than all the Gold on Afric's Shore.
    One Mite wrung from the Labrer's hands
    Shall buy & sell the Miser's lands:
    Or, if protected from on high,
    Does that whole Nation sell & buy.
    He who mocks the Infant's Faith
    Shall be mock'd in Age & Death.
    He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
    The rotting Grave shall ne'er get out.
    He who respects the Infant's faith
    Triumph's over Hell & Death.
    The Child's Toys & the Old Man's Reasons
    Are the Fruits of the Two seasons.
    The Questioner, who sits so sly,
    Shall never know how to Reply.
    He who replies to words of Doubt
    Doth put the Light of Knowledge out.
    The Strongest Poison ever known
    Came from Caesar's Laurel Crown.
    Nought can deform the Human Race
    Like the Armour's iron brace.
    When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
    To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow.
    A Riddle or the Cricket's Cry
    Is to Doubt a fit Reply.
    The Emmet's Inch & Eagle's Mile
    Make Lame Philosophy to smile.
    He who Doubts from what he sees
    Will ne'er believe, do what you Please.
    If the Sun & Moon should doubt
    They'd immediately Go out.
    To be in a Passion you Good may do,
    But no Good if a Passion is in you.
    The Whore & Gambler, by the State
    Licenc'd, build that Nation's Fate.
    The Harlot's cry from Street to Street
    Shall weave Old England's winding Sheet.
    The Winner's Shout, the Loser's Curse,
    Dance before dead England's Hearse.
    Every Night & every Morn
    Some to Misery are Born.
    Every Morn & every Night
    Some are Born to sweet Delight.
    Some ar Born to sweet Delight,
    Some are born to Endless Night.
    We are led to Believe a Lie
    When we see not Thro' the Eye
    Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night
    When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.
    God Appears & God is Light
    To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night,
    But does a Human Form Display
    To those who Dwell in Realms of day.
  6. May 23, 2004 #5
    The last part of Ulysses by Tennyson:

    Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
  7. May 23, 2004 #6
    Beans, beans, the magical fruit...
  8. May 23, 2004 #7
    ...... Nice ......
  9. May 23, 2004 #8
    As for beans .... it is a wonderful food
  10. May 23, 2004 #9
    'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
    Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
    Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
    And one by one back in the Closet lays.
  11. May 23, 2004 #10
    I know the Way You Can Get

    I know the way you can get
    When you have not had a drink of love:

    Your face hardens,
    Your sweet muscles cramp.
    Children become concerned
    About a strange look that appears in your eyes
    Which even begins to worry your own mirror
    And nose.

    Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
    And call an important conference in a tall tree.
    They decide which secret code to chant
    To help your mind and soul.

    Even angels fear that brand of madness
    That arrays itself against the world
    And throws sharp stones and spears into
    The innocent
    And into one’s self

    O I know the way you can get
    If you have not been drinking Love:

    You might rip apart
    Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
    Looking for hidden clauses.

    You might weigh every word on a scale
    Like a dead fish.
    You might pull out a ruler to measure
    From every angle in your darkness
    The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once trusted.

    I know the way you can get
    If you have not had a drink from Love’s Hands.

    That is why all the Great Ones speak of
    The vital need
    To keep remembering God,
    So you will come to know and see Him
    As being so Playful
    And Wanting,
    Just Wanting to help.

    That is why Hafiz says:
    Bring your cup near to me,
    For I am the Sweet Old Vagabond
    With an Infinite Leaking Barrel
    Of Light and Laughter and Truth
    That the Beloved has tied to my back.

    Dear one,
    Indeed, please bring your heart near to me.
    For all I care about
    Is quenching your thirst for freedom!

    All a sane man can ever care about
    Is giving Love!
  12. May 23, 2004 #11
    Two I like a LOT:

    Man of LaMancha (I Am I, Don Quixote)
    From Man of LaMancha
    Lyrics by Joe Darion
    The Impossible Dream (The Quest)
    From Man of LaMancha
    Lyrics by Joe Darion
  13. May 23, 2004 #12
    Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night."
  14. May 23, 2004 #13
    Yup, that's a good one. :)
  15. May 23, 2004 #14
    Nice ones!

    Whose Don Quixote?
    Last edited: May 23, 2004
  16. May 23, 2004 #15
    Don Quixote is a character from The Man Of La Mancha. The guy who attacks windmills because he thinks they're giants or something.
  17. May 23, 2004 #16
    Lol ... gotta read that somtime
  18. May 23, 2004 #17
    My very favorite poem starts out:

    Let us go then, you and I
    When the evening lies spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherized upon a table.

    Let us go through certain half deserted streets;
    The muttering retreats of restless nights
    in one-night cheap hotels
    And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells,

    Streets that follow like a tedious argument
    of insidious intent
    To lead you to some overwhelming question

    Oh do not ask "What is it?"
    Let us go, and make our visit...

    -The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock

    by T.S Eliot

    Later in the poem comes the famous line:

    I should have been
    A pair of ragged claws
    Scuttling across the floors
    Of silent seas
  19. May 24, 2004 #18
    Nice ......... :D
  20. May 24, 2004 #19
    I got this in one of those mass forward emails, but i find it simple, short, sweet, and yet so meaningful.

    Around the corner I have a friend,
    In this great city that has no end,
    Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
    And before I know it, a year is gone.

    And I never see my old friends face,
    For life is a swift and terrible race,
    He knows I like him just as well,
    As in the days when I rang his bell.

    And he rang mine but we were younger then,
    And now we are busy, tired men.
    Tired of playing a foolish game,
    Tired of trying to make a name.

    "Tomorrow" I say! "I will call on Jim
    Just to show that I'm thinking of him."
    But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
    And distance between us grows and grows.

    Around the corner, yet miles away,
    "Here's a telegram sir," "Jim died today."
    And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
    Around the corner, a vanished friend.

  21. May 24, 2004 #20
    Thats a sweet poem. I feel it ...
  22. May 24, 2004 #21


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    Well, I don't know about the greatest, but here are two favorites :) Shakespeare is the greatest poet I've ever read, but I couldn't choose the greatest of his.

    My Mind To Me A Kingdom Is

    My mind to me a kingdom is,
    Such present joys therein I find,
    That it excels all other bliss
    That world affords or grows by kind.
    Though much I want which most would have,
    Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

    No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
    No force to win the victory,
    No wily wit to salve a sore,
    No shape to feed a loving eye;
    To none of these I yield as thrall,
    For why my mind doth serve for all.

    I see how plenty suffers oft,
    And hasty climbers soon do fall;
    I see that those which are aloft
    Mishap doth threaten most of all;
    They get with toil, they keep with fear;
    Such cares my mind could never bear.

    Content I live, this is my stay,
    I seek no more than may suffice;
    I press to bear no haughty sway;
    Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
    Lo! thus I triumph like a king,
    Content with that my mind doth bring.

    Some have too much, yet still do crave;
    I little have, and seek no more.
    They are but poor, though much they have,
    And I am rich with little store.
    They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
    They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.

    I laugh not at another's loss;
    I grudge not at another's gain;
    No worldly waves my mind can toss;
    My state at one doth still remain,
    I fear no foe, I fawn no friend;
    I loathe not life, nor dread my end.

    Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
    Their wisdom by their rage of will;
    Their treasure is their only trust,
    A cloaked craft their store of skill;
    But all the pleasure that I find
    Is to maintain a quiet mind.

    My wealth is health and perfect ease,
    My conscience clear my choice defence;
    I neither seek by bribes to please,
    Nor by deceit to breed offence.
    Thus do I live; thus will I die;
    Would all did so as well as I!

    Sir Edward Dyer
    (1543 - 1607)

    Jolly Good Ale and Old

    I CANNOT eat but little meat,
    My stomach is not good;
    But sure I think that I can drink
    With him that wears a hood.
    Though I go bare, take ye no care,
    I nothing am a-cold;
    I stuff my skin so full within
    Of jolly good ale and old.
    Back and side go bare, go bare;
    Both foot and hand go cold;
    But, belly, God send thee good ale enough,
    Whether it be new or old.

    I love no roast but a nut-brown toast,
    And a crab laid in the fire;
    A little bread shall do me stead;
    Much bread I not desire.
    No frost nor snow, no wind, I trow,
    Can hurt me if I wold;
    I am so wrapp'd and thoroughly lapp'd
    Of jolly good ale and old.
    Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.

    And Tib, my wife, that as her life
    Loveth well good ale to seek,
    Full oft drinks she till ye may see
    The tears run down her cheek:
    Then doth she trowl to me the bowl
    Even as a maltworm should,
    And saith, 'Sweetheart, I took my part
    Of this jolly good ale and old.'
    Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.

    Now let them drink till they nod and wink,
    Even as good fellows should do;
    They shall not miss to have the bliss
    Good ale doth bring men to;
    And all poor souls that have scour'd bowls
    Or have them lustily troll'd,
    God save the lives of them and their wives,
    Whether they be young or old.
    Back and side go bare, go bare;
    Both foot and hand go cold;
    But, belly, God send thee good ale enough,
    Whether it be new or old.

    William Stevenson
    (1530?–1575) (He was a monk, BTW ;)

    Happy thoughts
  23. May 24, 2004 #22


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    I always liked The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  24. May 24, 2004 #23
    Sounds like these mariners had a sense of humour :D '100 slimy things' ...
    like it very much

    as for shakespeare : hes gotta be up there within the top 3 somehwere...
  25. May 24, 2004 #24
    I have to admit though honestrosewater (since you're so honest), I'm a Baconian myself ... so I tend to look upon Shakespeare as a genius in Science as well the Arts.
  26. May 24, 2004 #25


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    Meaning you think Bacon was the author of Shakespeare's works, or you adhere to the Baconian method (methodical observation of facts as a means of studying and interpreting natural phenomena)?
    Yes, I consider the best artists to be scientists as well. I also consider the best scientists to be artists ;) The only difference I see between the two is their use of ambiguity; ambiguity is the artist's food, the scientist's poison.
    As you noticed,
    Happy thoughts
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