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What is your favourite poem. Mine is Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

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Showing 51-75 of 217 posts in this discussion
Posted on 24 Apr 2010 11:07:54 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I Readalot, Emily Dickinson is great, although her poems can be really short there is always a lot to take in when you think about them afterwards.

Posted on 24 Apr 2010 22:19:21 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I have something here that although isn't a poem I always find poignant. It was originally in Greek and is an inscription for the famous '300' at Thermopylae:-

Go, stranger, and to Lacedaemon tell
That here, obeying her behests, we fell.

This could really encapsulate all those who have died in foreign lands fighting for their country.

Posted on 25 Apr 2010 12:11:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Apr 2010 12:12:28 BDT
WolfGirl says:
"The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. You've got to read it aloud though to appreciate the way it feels and sounds :

I caught this morning morning's minion
Kingdom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! Then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, - the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! And the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold vermilion.

Posted on 25 Apr 2010 13:11:37 BDT
Scooterboy says:
e.e. cummings

it may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another's, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another's face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as i know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be --
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that i may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

Posted on 25 Apr 2010 16:05:16 BDT
Strawberries by Edwin Morgan

Posted on 25 Apr 2010 17:01:04 BDT
Grindon says:
michael rosen

chocolate cake

I love chocolate cake.
And when I was a boy
I loved it even more.

Sometimes we used to have it for tea
and Mum used to say,
'If there's any left over
you can have it to take to school
tomorrow to have at playtime.'
And the next day I would take it to school
wrapped up in tin foil
open it up at playtime
and sit in the corner of the playground
eating it,
you know how the icing on top
is all shiny and it cracks as you
bite into it,
and there's that other kind of icing in
the middle
and it sticks to your hands and you
can lick your fingers
and lick your lips
oh it's lovely.

once we had this chocolate cake for tea
and later I went to bed
but while I was in bed
I found myself waking up
licking my lips
and smiling.
I woke up proper.
'The chocolate cake.'
It was the first thing
1 thought of.

I could almost see it
so I thought,
what if I go downstairs
and have a little nibble, yeah?

It was all dark
everyone was in bed
so it must have been really late
but I got out of bed,
crept out of the door

there's always a creaky floorboard, isn't there?

Past Mum and Dad's room,
careful not to tread on bits of broken toys
or bits of Lego
you know what it's like treading on Lego
with your bare feet,


into the kitchen
open the cupboard
and there it is
all shining.

So I take it out of the cupboard
put it on the table
and I see that
there's a few crumbs lying about on the plate,
so I lick my finger and run my finger all over the crumbs
scooping them up
and put them into my mouth.



I look again
and on one side where it's been cut,
it's all crumbly.

So I take a knife
I think I'll just tidy that up a bit,
cut off the crumbly bits
scoop them all up
and into the mouth

oooooommm mmmm

Look at the cake again.

That looks a bit funny now,
one side doesn't match the other
I'll just even it up a bit, eh?

Take the knife
and slice.
This time the knife makes a little cracky noise
as it goes through that hard icing on top.

A whole slice this time,

into the mouth.

Oh the icing on top
and the icing in the middle
ohhhhhh oooo mmmmmm.

But now
I can't stop myself
Knife -
1 just take any old slice at it
and I've got this great big chunk
and I'm cramming it in
what a greedy pig
but it's so nice,

and there's another
and another and I'm squealing and I'm smacking my lips
and I'm stuffing myself with it
before I know
I've eaten the lot.
The whole lot.

I look at the plate.
It's all gone.

Oh no
they're bound to notice, aren't they,
a whole chocolate cake doesn't just disappear
does it?

What shall 1 do?

I know. I'll wash the plate up,
and the knife

and put them away and maybe no one
will notice, eh?

So I do that
and creep creep creep
back to bed
into bed
doze off
licking my lips
with a lovely feeling in my belly.

In the morning I get up,
have breakfast,
Mum's saying,
'Have you got your dinner money?'
and I say,
'And don't forget to take some chocolate cake with you.'
I stopped breathing.

'What's the matter,' she says,
'you normally jump at chocolate cake?'

I'm still not breathing,
and she's looking at me very closely now.

She's looking at me just below my mouth.
'What's that?' she says.
'What's what?' I say.

'What's that there?'
'There,' she says, pointing at my chin.
'I don't know,' I say.
'It looks like chocolate,' she says.
'It's not chocolate is it?'
No answer.
'Is it?'
'I don't know.'
She goes to the cupboard
looks in, up, top, middle, bottom,
turns back to me.
'It's gone.
It's gone.
You haven't eaten it, have you?'
'I don't know.'
'You don't know. You don't know if you've eaten a whole
chocolate cake or not?
When? When did you eat it?'

So I told her,

and she said
well what could she say?
'That's the last time I give you any cake to take
to school.
Now go. Get out
no wait
not before you've washed your dirty sticky face.'
I went upstairs
looked in the mirror
and there it was,
just below my mouth,
a chocolate smudge.
The give-away.
Maybe she'll forget about it by next week.

Posted on 25 Apr 2010 19:52:27 BDT
FrancesH says:
Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice - moves me every time I read these verses. Makes me think of what it must have been like at the start of WW2.

Posted on 26 Apr 2010 10:54:12 BDT
Jean Paul says:
"As I walked out one evening" - W H Auden. Beautiful, profound and full of meaning for me.

Posted on 26 Apr 2010 11:38:10 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I love Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven', and always have a chuckle if I see any of the old Addams Family episodes. The raven instead of a cuckoo in the clock is great, coming out and saying 'Nevermore'. What surprised me was the amount of people who didn't 'get' this.

Posted on 26 Apr 2010 15:58:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2010 15:58:23 BDT
WolfGirl says:
Oh yes, got to love Edgar Poe. Yes, I did leave out "Allen" deliberately - if you're also into fiction try "The Poe Shadow" by Matthew Pearl. It's really worth reading!

Posted on 26 Apr 2010 19:10:09 BDT
M. Dowden says:
Thanks WolfGirl, I will have to give it a try sometime.

Posted on 26 Apr 2010 20:52:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2010 22:15:12 BDT
I find that my favourite poems change with my age. As a schoolgirl very fond of animals, it was Blake's the Tyger, and G K Chesterton's Donkey, especially the last verse:

Fools! for I also had my hour,
one far fierce hour and sweet,
there was a shout about my ears,
and palms before my feet.

I think it was the inhumanity to animals depicted in this that influenced me give support to sanctuaries.
Later when I fell in and out of love it was the sonnets, and I wrote terrible, turgid doggerel about willows weeping over my grave.
During the Falklands war and again Afghanistan I read the WW1 poets about the waste of young lives, and now I alternate between those and my new favourite by Jenny Joseph -' Warning! when I am an old woman I shall wear purple.' It is definitely something to look forward to......

Posted on 1 May 2010 10:35:44 BDT
M. Dowden says:
Mrs L. M. Jones, it is funny that you mention Blake's Tyger. I have Songs of Innocence and of Experience next to my bed. It is probably my most read poetry book, I don't know how many editions I have had over the years.

Posted on 1 May 2010 16:29:31 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
Can we allow poetry collections here? If so, although some now find him old-fashioned, Houseman's "A Shropshire Lad" is still a volume I return to regularly. Terence Houseman could be a bit on the miserable side at times, but there is also some dark humour and a great deal of beauty in the poems. One of the poems, "To An Athlete Dying Young" (not a barrel of laughs, I admit, but still a poignant and thought-provoking poem) featured - if I remember correctly - in the film "Out Of Africa", read out when the character played by Robert Redford is buried.

Posted on 13 Oct 2010 19:50:25 BDT
Ethereal says:
I really enjoyed this thread so thought I'd bring it up again.
I already contribued a fair bit to it so maybe others would like to?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2010 20:21:16 BDT
VCBF (Val) says:
Thanks for waking this up, how many pages did you have to go back to find it?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2010 20:22:55 BDT
Ethereal says:
Search box, easy!

Posted on 13 Oct 2010 20:37:33 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Oct 2010 20:38:05 BDT
My book 'The Poison of a Smile' was published recently. I took the title from a combination of two René Magritte paintings (entitled 'Poison' and 'The Smile' respectively), as I really like the enigmatic titles the artist gave to his work. Imagine my surprise when, after publication, I found these lines in William Blake's 'The Book of Thel':

'Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction?
Or the glistening eye to the poison of a smile?'

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2010 20:48:09 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Oct 2010 20:58:31 BDT
Marand says:
I haven't seen this thread before.

How to choose? It all depends on the mood I'm in. However perennnial favourites include Gray's 'Elegy written in a Country Churchyard", John McCrae's 'In Flanders Fields' and one that may be less familiar by Lord Rochester called 'Love and Life":

All my past life is mine no more;
The flying hours are gone,
like transitory dreams given o'er
Whose images are kept in store
By memory alone.

Whatever is to come is not:
How can it then be mine?
The present moment's all my lot,
And that, as fast as it is got,
Phyllis, is wholly thine.

Then talk not of inconstancy,
False hearts, broken vows;
If I, by miracle, can be
This livelong minute true to thee,
'Tis all that heaven allows.

I am also very keen on Douglas Dunn's poetry, particularly the volume entitled 'Elegies' which was written in the aftermath of his wife's early death from cancer. I know it sounds a bit mawkish and miserable but it is a beautifully written volume. The poem from it that sticks in my mind most is entitled 'Arrangements' and recounts going to register the death and bumping into a wedding party. It is a bit too long to reproduce here but perhaps this excerpt will give you the flavour of it:

"Is this the door?" This must be it. No, no.
We come across crowds and confetti, weddings with well-wishers, relatives, whimsical bridesmaids.
Some have happened. Others are waiting their turn.
One is taking place before the Registrar.
A young groom is unsteady in his new shoes.
His bride is nervous on the edge of the future.
I walk through them with the father of my dead wife.
I redefine the meaning of "strangers".
Death, too, must have looked in on our wedding.
The building stinks of municipal function.
"Go through with it. You have to. It's the law."
So I say to a clerk, "I have come about a death."
"In there," she says. "You came in by the wrong door"

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2010 20:52:53 BDT
Marand says:
Unless I am much mistaken, this thread is devoted to poetry. I read the blurb and your post appears to relate to a novel.

There are enough places in the fiction form to plug your book and this thread isn't the appropriate place.

Posted on 13 Oct 2010 20:53:07 BDT
Thanks for resurrecting this thread Mrs J Braysher, it has been a joy to read, a nice distraction. My favourite poem is Remember by Christina Rossetti

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2010 20:59:39 BDT
Marand says:
Yes - that is a lovely poem.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2010 21:02:14 BDT
Honestly, it wasn't a plug; if anything, my post was indicative of my surprise at the coincidence I mentioned. :) Anyway, back to the business of the thread...


My favourite is 'He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven' by W.B. Yeats. A very romantic poem, no doubt, but heartfelt nonetheless, as one can tell from the awkward, vaguely repetitive last three lines; they lack the earlier lines' eloquence because they are sincere.

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2010 21:04:37 BDT
Ethereal says:
Play nice Marand, I thought it was a nice story to finding a title - and there was no link!

Posted on 13 Oct 2010 21:21:34 BDT
donegalgirl says:
What a nice thread.

It is hard to name one favourite and some of mine have already been named. I thought I'd suggest something more obscure. Its by May Wedderburn Canaan and I believe it was written after the death of her fiance in the first world war.

When the Vision dies in the dust of the market place,
When the Light is dim,
When you lift up your eyes and cannot behold his face,
When your heart is far from him.

Know this your War; in this loneliest hour you ride
Down the roads he knew;
Though he comes no more at night he will kneel at your side
For comfort to dream with you.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  89
Total posts:  217
Initial post:  19 Apr 2010
Latest post:  2 Jul 2012

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