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Thread: The Post Your Favorite Poem(s) Thread

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    The Post Your Favorite Poem(s) Thread

    Before Summer Rain
    Rainer Maria Rilke

    Suddenly, from all the green around you,
    something--you don’t know what--has disappeared;
    you feel it creeping closer to the window,
    in total silence. From the nearby wood

    you hear the urgent whistling of a plover,
    reminding you of someone’s Saint Jerome:
    so much solitude and passion come
    from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour

    will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits, glide
    away from us, cautiously, as though
    they weren’t supposed to hear what we are saying.

    And reflected on the faded tapestries now;
    the chill, uncertain sunlight of those long
    childhood hours when you were so afraid.

    "I never lost as much but twice"
    Emily Dickinson

    I never lost as much but twice,
    And that was in the sod.
    Twice have I stood a beggar
    Before the door of God!

    Angels -- twice descending
    Reimbursed my store --
    Burglar! Banker -- Father!
    I am poor once more!
    Last edited by Frasier Crane; 06-16-2010 at 01:43 AM.

  2. #2
    I like cookies leirali's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    New Jersey
    --Avah Pevlor Johnson

    If I must be wrung through the paradox,
    -broken into wholeness,
    wring me around the moon;
    pelt me with particles from the dark side.

    Fling me into space;
    hide me in a black hole.

    Let me dance with devils on dead stars.
    Let my scars leave brilliant traces,

    for my highborn souls seek its hell-
    in high places.

  3. #3
    The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart, Jack Gilbert

    How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
    and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
    God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
    get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
    to which nation. French has no word for home,
    and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
    in northern India is dying out because their ancient
    tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
    vocabularies that might express some of what
    we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
    finally explain why the couples on their tombs
    are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
    of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
    they seemed to be business records. But what if they
    are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
    Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
    O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
    as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.
    Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
    of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
    pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
    my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
    desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
    is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has
    no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  4. #4
    bombshell by trade eurotrash's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    los angeles
    Just the first few lines from mine:

    The Break
    --Anne Sexton
    It was also my violent heart that broke,
    falling down the front hall stairs.
    It was also a message I never spoke,
    calling, riser after riser, who cares

    about you, who cares,
    splintering up
    the hip that was merely made of crystal,
    the post of it and also the cup.
    I exploded in the hallway like a pistol.

    "It was also my violent heart that broke" has to be one of my favorite opening lines of anything, ever. I don't even know why, but it just gets me every time.

  5. #5
    fluid, affectionate, chaste, mature Mackerel's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    I Felt a Funeral in My Brain

    Emily Dickinson

    I felt a funeral in my brain,
    And mourners, to and fro,
    Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
    That sense was breaking through.
    And when they all were seated,
    A service like a drum
    Kept beating, beating, till I thought
    My mind was going numb.

    And then I heard them lift a box,
    And creak across my soul
    With those same boots of lead,
    Then space began to toll

    As all the heavens were a bell,
    And Being but an ear,
    And I and silence some strange race,
    Wrecked, solitary, here.

    And then a plank in reason, broke,
    And I dropped down and down--
    And hit a world at every plunge,
    And finished knowing--then--

  6. #6
    fluid, affectionate, chaste, mature Mackerel's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    excerpt from Thrush, by George Seferis

    Sensual Elpenor

    I saw him yesterday standing by the door
    below my window; it was about
    seven o’clock; there was a woman with him.
    He had the look of Elpenor just before he fell
    and smashed himself, yet he wasn’t drunk.
    He was speaking fast, and she
    was gazing absently towards the gramophones;
    now and then she cut him short to say a word
    and then would glance impatiently
    towards where they were frying fish: like a cat.
    He muttered with a dead cigarette-butt between his lips:

    — ‘Listen. There’s this too. In the moonlight
    the statues sometimes bend like reeds
    in the midst of ripe fruit — the statues;
    and the flame becomes a cool oleander,
    the flame that burns one, I mean.’

    — ‘It's just the light. . . shadows of the night.’

    — ‘Maybe the night that split open, a blue pomegranate,
    a dark breast, and filled you with stars,
    cleaving time.
    And yet the statues
    bend sometimes, dividing desire in two,
    like a peach; and the flame
    becomes a kiss on the limbs, then a sob,
    then a cool leaf carried off by the wind;
    they bend; they become light with a human weight.
    You don’t forget it.’

  7. #7
    I don't read much poetry, but when I do it's usually these two by Sylvia Plath:

    Lady Lazarus

    I have done it again.
    One year in every ten
    I manage it----

    A sort of walking miracle, my skin
    Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
    My right foot

    A paperweight,
    My face a featureless, fine
    Jew linen.

    Peel off the napkin
    O my enemy.
    Do I terrify?----

    The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
    The sour breath
    Will vanish in a day.

    Soon, soon the flesh
    The grave cave ate will be
    At home on me

    And I a smiling woman.
    I am only thirty.
    And like the cat I have nine times to die.

    This is Number Three.
    What a trash
    To annihilate each decade.

    What a million filaments.
    The peanut-crunching crowd
    Shoves in to see

    Them unwrap me hand and foot
    The big strip tease.
    Gentlemen, ladies

    These are my hands
    My knees.
    I may be skin and bone,

    Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
    The first time it happened I was ten.
    It was an accident.

    The second time I meant
    To last it out and not come back at all.
    I rocked shut

    As a seashell.
    They had to call and call
    And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

    Is an art, like everything else,
    I do it exceptionally well.

    I do it so it feels like hell.
    I do it so it feels real.
    I guess you could say I've a call.

    It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
    It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
    It's the theatrical

    Comeback in broad day
    To the same place, the same face, the same brute
    Amused shout:

    'A miracle!'
    That knocks me out.
    There is a charge

    For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
    For the hearing of my heart----
    It really goes.

    And there is a charge, a very large charge
    For a word or a touch
    Or a bit of blood

    Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
    So, so, Herr Doktor.
    So, Herr Enemy.

    I am your opus,
    I am your valuable,
    The pure gold baby

    That melts to a shriek.
    I turn and burn.
    Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

    Ash, ash ---
    You poke and stir.
    Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----

    A cake of soap,
    A wedding ring,
    A gold filling.

    Herr God, Herr Lucifer

    Out of the ash
    I rise with my red hair
    And I eat men like air.


    You do not do, you do not do
    Any more, black shoe
    In which I have lived like a foot
    For thirty years, poor and white,
    Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

    Daddy, I have had to kill you.
    You died before I had time--
    Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
    Ghastly statue with one gray toe
    Big as a Frisco seal

    And a head in the freakish Atlantic
    Where it pours bean green over blue
    In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
    I used to pray to recover you.
    Ach, du.

    In the German tongue, in the Polish town
    Scraped flat by the roller
    Of wars, wars, wars.
    But the name of the town is common.
    My Polack friend

    Says there are a dozen or two.
    So I never could tell where you
    Put your foot, your root,
    I never could talk to you.
    The tongue stuck in my jaw.

    It stuck in a barb wire snare.
    Ich, ich, ich, ich,
    I could hardly speak.
    I thought every German was you.
    And the language obscene

    An engine, an engine
    Chuffing me off like a Jew.
    A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
    I began to talk like a Jew.
    I think I may well be a Jew.

    The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
    Are not very pure or true.
    With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
    And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
    I may be a bit of a Jew.

    I have always been scared of you,
    With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
    And your neat mustache
    And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
    Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--

    Not God but a swastika
    So black no sky could squeak through.
    Every woman adores a Fascist,
    The boot in the face, the brute
    Brute heart of a brute like you.

    You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
    In the picture I have of you,
    A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
    But no less a devil for that, no not
    Any less the black man who

    Bit my pretty red heart in two.
    I was ten when they buried you.
    At twenty I tried to die
    And get back, back, back to you.
    I thought even the bones would do.

    But they pulled me out of the sack,
    And they stuck me together with glue.
    And then I knew what to do.
    I made a model of you,
    A man in black with a Meinkampf look

    And a love of the rack and the screw.
    And I said I do, I do.
    So daddy, I'm finally through.
    The black telephone's off at the root,
    The voices just can't worm through.

    If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
    The vampire who said he was you
    And drank my blood for a year,
    Seven years, if you want to know.
    Daddy, you can lie back now.

    There's a stake in your fat black heart
    And the villagers never liked you.
    They are dancing and stamping on you.
    They always knew it was you.
    Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

  8. #8
    Senior Member HumptyDumpty's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Boston, MA
    My favorite Excerpt from The Fortress, by Anne Sexton:

    Your feet thump-thump against my back
    and you whisper to yourself. Child,
    what are you wishing? What pact
    are you making?
    What mouse runs between your eyes? What ark
    can I fill for you when the world goes wild?
    The woods are underwater, their weeds are shaking
    in the tide; birches like zebra fish
    flash by in a pack.
    Child, I cannot promise that you will get your wish.

    I cannot promise very much.
    I give you the images I know.
    Lie still with me and watch.
    A pheasant moves
    by like a seal, pulled through the mulch
    by his thick white collar. He's on show

    like a clown. He drags a beige feather that he removed,
    one time, from an old lady's hate.
    we laugh and we touch.
    I promise you love. Time will not take away that.

  9. #9
    the right amount of dirty Mr. Fox's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    ^ @ the Plath poems: I liked those when I was like thirteen. ANYWAYS!

    Rhapsody on a Windy Night
    T. S. Eliot

    And I have the hots for Kim Addonizio:
    First Kiss

  10. #10
    Last edited by Scott; 07-01-2010 at 05:48 AM. Reason: I'll be the grown-up.

  11. #11
    it's late where you live.
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    New Jersey
    The Spell
    by Marie Howe

    (in memory of Elise Asher)

    Our four year-old neighbor Pablo has lost his wand
    and so he tries to cast spells with his finger
    which doesn't seem to work as well.

    Then he brings handfuls of dimes and nickels to the couch
    where I'm sitting, and when I say, Give me some money,
    he says, No, laughing.

    Give me some money, I say,
    and he says, No.

    Then he draws, on a piece of paper, a circle with a 10 inside
    the word No, an unhappy mouth and eyes,
    and gives that to me.

    Why not ask the wand to find itself?
    No, he says, shaking his head slowly.
    Why not make a spell that will find it?
    No, he says, that won't work.
    What about this stick? his mother says, holding up a chopstick.
    No, says Pablo, who knows the difference between what is secular and
    what is sacred.

    Every day when I pick up my four year-old daughter from preschool
    she climbs into her back booster seat and says, Mom—tell me your story.
    And almost every day I tell her: I dropped you off, I taught my class
    I ate a tuna fish sandwich, wrote e-mails, returned phone calls, talked with students,
    and then I came to pick you up.
    And almost every day I think, My God, is that what I did?

    Yesterday, she climbed into the backseat and said, Mom
    tell me your story, and I did what I always did:
    I said I dropped you off
    taught my class, had lunch, returned e-mails, talked with students. . . .
    And she said, No Mom, tell me the whole thing.

    And I said, ok. I feel a little sad.
    And she said, Tell me the whole thing Mom.
    And I said, ok Elise died.

    Elise is dead and the world feels weary and brokenhearted.
    And she said, Tell me the whole thing Mom.
    And I said, in the dream last night I felt my life building up around me and
    when I stepped forward and away from it and turned around I saw a high
    and frozen crested wave.

    And she said, the whole thing Mom.
    Then I thought of the other dream, I said, when a goose landed heavily on my head—
    But when I'd untangled it from my hair I saw it wasn't a goose but a winged serpent
    writhing up into the sky like a disappearing bee.

    And she said, Tell me the whole story.
    And I said, Elise is dead, and all the frozen tears are mine of course
    and if that wave broke it might wash my life clear,
    and I might begin again from now and from here.

    And I looked into the rearview mirror—
    She was looking sideways, out the window, to the right
    —where they say the unlived life is.

    Ok? I said.
    And she said, Ok, still looking in that direction.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Fox View Post
    ^ @ the Plath poems: I liked those when I was like thirteen.
    Who the fuck are you?

  13. #13
    it wouldn't even matter other pete's Avatar
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    shatter shattered
    Like most of its era's verse this stampedes through the modern rules of twee-avoidance - it even rhymes "life" with "strife" - but I cannot read it without getting a lump in my throat.

    On The Death of Ann Bront, by Charlotte Bront

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2010
    This poem has been a great comfort for me these last couple months. I've even memorized it!

    More Dickinson

  15. #15
    Yay for all of the Dickinson.

    Guillaume Apollinaire - "Annie"

    Allen Ginsberg - "Wild Orphan"

    and innumerable others...

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