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What are the three best poems ever written and why?

 
 
jjorge
 
  3  
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 10:53 pm
Well, maybe I should share the poems themselves:

'One Art'

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
The art of losing's not too hard to master
Though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
(Elizabeth Bishop)

This lovely poem is written in a dificult form -the Villanelle.(see link below)
Bishop begins with what seems to be, in effect, a 'handbook' on dealing with progressively greater losses. Initially the poem seems to be humorous, even as the losses become greater and greater.
In the last stanza however, the cover of humor and exaggeration are dropped just enough to give us a glimpse of the speaker's true anguish, and the poem is revealed to be a love poem.

Here's the link re: villanelles
http://www.uni.edu/english/craft/villanelle.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

In Memory of W. B. Yeats
W. H. Auden


I
He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

II

You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.




III

Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Robert Frost (1874"1963). North of Boston. 1915.

The Death of the Hired Man


MARY sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
To meet him in the doorway with the news
And put him on his guard. “Silas is back.” 5
She pushed him outward with her through the door
And shut it after her. “Be kind,” she said.
She took the market things from Warren’s arms
And set them on the porch, then drew him down
To sit beside her on the wooden steps. 10

“When was I ever anything but kind to him?
But I’ll not have the fellow back,” he said.
“I told him so last haying, didn’t I?
‘If he left then,’ I said, ‘that ended it.’
What good is he? Who else will harbour him 15
At his age for the little he can do?
What help he is there’s no depending on.
Off he goes always when I need him most.
‘He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
Enough at least to buy tobacco with, 20
So he won’t have to beg and be beholden.’
‘All right,’ I say, ‘I can’t afford to pay
Any fixed wages, though I wish I could.’
‘Someone else can.’ ‘Then someone else will have to.’
I shouldn’t mind his bettering himself 25
If that was what it was. You can be certain,
When he begins like that, there’s someone at him
Trying to coax him off with pocket-money,"
In haying time, when any help is scarce.
In winter he comes back to us. I’m done.” 30

“Sh! not so loud: he’ll hear you,” Mary said.

“I want him to: he’ll have to soon or late.”

“He’s worn out. He’s asleep beside the stove.
When I came up from Rowe’s I found him here,
Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep, 35
A miserable sight, and frightening, too"
You needn’t smile"I didn’t recognise him"
I wasn’t looking for him"and he’s changed.
Wait till you see.”

“Where did you say he’d been?” 40

“He didn’t say. I dragged him to the house,
And gave him tea and tried to make him smoke.
I tried to make him talk about his travels.
Nothing would do: he just kept nodding off.”

“What did he say? Did he say anything?” 45

“But little.”

“Anything? Mary, confess
He said he’d come to ditch the meadow for me.”

“Warren!”

“But did he? I just want to know.” 50

“Of course he did. What would you have him say?
Surely you wouldn’t grudge the poor old man
Some humble way to save his self-respect.
He added, if you really care to know,
He meant to clear the upper pasture, too. 55
That sounds like something you have heard before?
Warren, I wish you could have heard the way
He jumbled everything. I stopped to look
Two or three times"he made me feel so queer"
To see if he was talking in his sleep. 60
He ran on Harold Wilson"you remember"
The boy you had in haying four years since.
He’s finished school, and teaching in his college.
Silas declares you’ll have to get him back.
He says they two will make a team for work: 65
Between them they will lay this farm as smooth!
The way he mixed that in with other things.
He thinks young Wilson a likely lad, though daft
On education"you know how they fought
All through July under the blazing sun, 70
Silas up on the cart to build the load,
Harold along beside to pitch it on.”

“Yes, I took care to keep well out of earshot.”

“Well, those days trouble Silas like a dream.
You wouldn’t think they would. How some things linger! 75
Harold’s young college boy’s assurance piqued him.
After so many years he still keeps finding
Good arguments he sees he might have used.
I sympathise. I know just how it feels
To think of the right thing to say too late. 80
Harold’s associated in his mind with Latin.
He asked me what I thought of Harold’s saying
He studied Latin like the violin
Because he liked it"that an argument!
He said he couldn’t make the boy believe 85
He could find water with a hazel prong"
Which showed how much good school had ever done him.
He wanted to go over that. But most of all
He thinks if he could have another chance
To teach him how to build a load of hay""” 90

“I know, that’s Silas’ one accomplishment.
He bundles every forkful in its place,
And tags and numbers it for future reference,
So he can find and easily dislodge it
In the unloading. Silas does that well. 95
He takes it out in bunches like big birds’ nests.
You never see him standing on the hay
He’s trying to lift, straining to lift himself.”

“He thinks if he could teach him that, he’d be
Some good perhaps to someone in the world. 100
He hates to see a boy the fool of books.
Poor Silas, so concerned for other folk,
And nothing to look backward to with pride,
And nothing to look forward to with hope,
So now and never any different.” 105

Part of a moon was falling down the west,
Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw
And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
Among the harp-like morning-glory strings, 110
Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves,
As if she played unheard the tenderness
That wrought on him beside her in the night.
“Warren,” she said, “he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.” 115

“Home,” he mocked gently.

“Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
Than was the hound that came a stranger to us 120
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”

“I should have called it
Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.” 125

Warren leaned out and took a step or two,
Picked up a little stick, and brought it back
And broke it in his hand and tossed it by.
“Silas has better claim on us you think
Than on his brother? Thirteen little miles 130
As the road winds would bring him to his door.
Silas has walked that far no doubt to-day.
Why didn’t he go there? His brother’s rich,
A somebody"director in the bank.”

“He never told us that.” 135

“We know it though.”

“I think his brother ought to help, of course.
I’ll see to that if there is need. He ought of right
To take him in, and might be willing to"
He may be better than appearances. 140
But have some pity on Silas. Do you think
If he’d had any pride in claiming kin
Or anything he looked for from his brother,
He’d keep so still about him all this time?”

“I wonder what’s between them.” 145

“I can tell you.
Silas is what he is"we wouldn’t mind him"
But just the kind that kinsfolk can’t abide.
He never did a thing so very bad.
He don’t know why he isn’t quite as good 150
As anyone. He won’t be made ashamed
To please his brother, worthless though he is.”

“I can’t think Si ever hurt anyone.”

“No, but he hurt my heart the way he lay
And rolled his old head on that sharp-edged chair-back. 155
He wouldn’t let me put him on the lounge.
You must go in and see what you can do.
I made the bed up for him there to-night.
You’ll be surprised at him"how much he’s broken.
His working days are done; I’m sure of it.” 160

“I’d not be in a hurry to say that.”

“I haven’t been. Go, look, see for yourself.
But, Warren, please remember how it is:
He’s come to help you ditch the meadow.
He has a plan. You mustn’t laugh at him. 165
He may not speak of it, and then he may.
I’ll sit and see if that small sailing cloud
Will hit or miss the moon.”

It hit the moon.
Then there were three there, making a dim row, 170
The moon, the little silver cloud, and she.

Warren returned"too soon, it seemed to her,
Slipped to her side, caught up her hand and waited.

“Warren,” she questioned.

“Dead,” was all he answered.
0 Replies
 
qwertyportne
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 02:46 pm
Gosh, that's a tough question to answer -- there are so many ways to define what "best" means. But here are three I use quite often to "sell" poetry to people who ask me why I like poetry. Very few poems fall neatly into just one of my categories, of course, because it's one of the mysteries, at least to me, of how the elements of a "good" poem all come together to make its readers laugh, smile, cry, nod their heads in agreement or experience a sudden ephiphany because the poem has shown them something familiar in a fresh new way...

1 => the Music of Poetry -- poems that make us smile:

Merry Old England by Mother Goose (whoever "she" was)

Hi diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
the cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such craft,
and the cup ran away with the spoon!


2 => the Meaning of Poetry -- poems that make us think:

Artichoke by Joe Hutchinson

Oh great heart
weighed down
by so many wings.


3 => the Moods of Poetry -- poems that make us feel

Holding Pattern by Don Knott

In the middle of the inland waterway
is the bird sanctuary,
where hundreds of buzzards roost at night,
their heads tucked,
dreaming of days when their scales
had not turned to feathers.

They circle now,
like magnetic iron filings
around this residential tower,
where old people like my mother,
who was once herself a single-engine pilot,
sit and watch birds.

A while ago she left me.
She sat all night in her favorite chair
by the big open window.
And in the middle of the night,
the birds came and took her away
forever.

She said there were once tall palm trees here
when I was a child,
before this teeming tower was built.
And the buzzards reconnoitered over them then,
swirling in a studded centrifugal ritual
like the rings of saturn.

And now the eggs from their eggs
return to hover over this spot
where I sit without breaking,
imagining home...


--Bill
0 Replies
 
IISANOTHER
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 12:06 pm
Byron

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.


Rimbaud

Then you'll feel your cheek scratched...
A little kiss, like a crazy spider,
Will run round your neck...
And you'll say to me : "Find it !" bending your head
- And we'll take a long time to find that creature
- Which travels a lot...


Wilde

And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Wilde

And one day myself ...... be with you shortly.








0 Replies
 
Pamela Rosa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Nov, 2010 03:46 am
1. Tamerlane by Edgar Allan Poe
http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/eapoe/bl-eapoe-tamer.htm


0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 10:46 pm
I saw someone else on the first page also loved my first choice. Eliot approaches the ultimate questions - we've all read and seen artists' renditions of wrestling with mortality, life, and what to do in the interim... He does this beautifully, thoughtfully using Dante to put himself in the view of One Who Knows.. I like what he says and hows he says it. His allusions, imagery, wordsmithing...

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised 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 an overwhelming question...
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate,
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute win reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in
upon a platter,
I am no prophet-and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.


And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: "That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along
the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a
screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
"That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all."

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.

The second one: I love the days on the farm. He creates such a strong mood for me with his whimsical, self-made words - his tempo - and that last line... He sold me on singing in my chains. Reading this makes me happy and sad at the same time.

FERN HILL
Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

I adore Sam Coleridge, and felt like I had to mention him here - although as stand alone poems - neither the Ancient Mariner nor Kubla Khan made my favorites list (but they are well safe on my Top Ten List!!) What I loved most about Sam was the bit he wrote about revolutionizing poetry: Biografia Literaria. I happened to feel the same way - and thought he was brilliant and soulful. So, nod to Sam.

I was turned on to Frank at UGA. If you're looking for a cool read, try his "The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You" or his chick CD Wright's "Deepstep Come Shining."


Freedom, Revolt, and Love
by Frank Stanford

They caught them.
They were sitting at a table in the kitchen.
It was early.
They had on bathrobes.
They were drinking coffee and smiling.
She had one of his cigarillos in her fingers.
She had her legs tucked up under her in the chair.
They saw them through the window.
She thought of them stepping out of a bath
And him wrapping cloth around her.
He thought of her walking up in a small white building,
He thought of stones settling into the ground.
Then they were gone.
Then they came in through the back.
Her cat ran out.
The house was near the road.
She didn't like the cat going out.
They stayed at the table.
The others were out of breath.
The man and the woman reached across the table.
They were afraid, they smiled.
The other poured themselves the last of the coffee.
Burning their tongues.
The man and the woman looked at them.
They didn't say anything.
The man and the woman moved closer to each other,
The round table between them.
The stove was still on and burned the empty pot.
She started to get up.
One of them shot her.
She leaned over the table like a schoolgirl doing her lessons.
She thought about being beside him, being asleep.
They took her long gray socks
Put them over the barrel of a rifle
And shot him.
He went back in his chair, holding himself.
She told him hers didn't hurt much,
Like in the fall when everything you touch
Makes a spark.
He thought about her getting up in the dark
Wrapping a quilt around herself.
And standing in the doorway.
She asked the men if they shot them again
Not to hurt their faces.
One of them lit him one of his cigarettes.
He thought what it would be like
Being children together.
He was dead before he finished it.
She asked them could she take it out of his mouth.
So it wouldn't burn his lips.
She reached over and touched his hair.
She thought about him walking through the dark singing.
She died on the table like that,
Smoke coming out of his mouth.













0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 10:48 pm
..."time let me play and be"
Smile
0 Replies
 
indianmaharaj
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 07:13 am
@iamsam82,
Paradise Lost is the Longest poem in English. However, the Longest and the most famous poem in the world ever written is Mahabharat written by Shree Ved Vyasji. Apart from being the longest in their own rights, they are also considered to be the best along with the Longest Greek poem Iliad by Homar. This makes the three you have requested. I could go on wherein an Italian and German poems comes in the top five best, longest, picturesque and intimately sophisticated poems ever written.
Gargamel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 08:55 am
@indianmaharaj,
Hard to argue with Paradise Lost, the Iliad, and Inferno.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jun, 2011 03:22 pm
Here's one I like:

As I was coming down Conroy's Gap,
I heard a maiden cry:
"There goes Bill the Bullocky,
He's bound for Gundagai.
A better poor old bugger
Never earnt an honest crust,
A better poor old bugger
Never drug a whip through dust.

"His team got bogged at Nine Mile Creek,
Bill lashed and swore and cried:
"If Nobby don't get me out of this,
I'll tattoo his flaming hide."
But Nobby strained and broke the yoke,
And poked out the leader's eye;
Then the dog shat in the tuckerbox
Nine miles from Gundagai.

'Twas gettin' dark, the team got bogged,
The axle snapped in two
I lost me matches and me pipe,
Now what was I to do?
The rains come down, 'twas bitter cold,
And hungry too was I
And the dog shat in the tuckerbox
Nine miles from Gundagai ...

Some blokes I know has all the luck no matter how they fall
But there was I, Lord love a duck, no flamin' luck at all
I couldn't make a pot of tea nor keep me trousers dry
And the dog shat in the tucker-box nine miles from Gundagai

I could forgive the blinkin' tea, I could forgive the rain
I could forgive the dark and cold, and go through it again
I could forgive me rotten luck, but hang me till I die
I won't forgive that bloody dog
Nine miles from Gundagai

iamsam82
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 06:40 am
@McTag,
Gray's 'Elegy' is also brilliant. Not read much now, but soooooooo good on all levels. On my way to work everyday I pass a really old man walking along the country road on his way to get his morning paper. Every time I see him I am reminded of the section beginning...

Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;

BEAUTIFUL poem - sad and hopeful.

http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Poetry/Elegy.htm
iamsam82
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 07:04 am
@iamsam82,
I wrote this after reading it. Mine's a pile of pretentious pants, but Gray's original moved me to write nevertheless.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/on-reading-gray-s-elegy/
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Sep, 2011 12:15 am
TOBACCO KIOSK
Fernando Pessoa

I am nothing
I shall always be nothing
I cannot wish to be anything.
Aside from that, I have within me all the dreams of the world.

Windows of my room,
The room of one of the world's millions nobody knows about
(And if they knew about me, what would they know?)
Open onto the mystery of a street continually crossed by people,
To a street inaccessible to any thought,
Real, impossibly real, certain, unknowingly certain,
With the mystery of things beneath the stones and beings,
With death making the walls damp and men's hair white,
With the Destiny driving the wagon of everything down the road of nothing.

Today I am defeated, as if I knew the truth.
Today I am clear-minded, as if I were about to die
And had no more kinship with things
Than a goodbye, this building and this side of the street becoming
A long row of train carriages, and a whistle departing
From inside my head,
And a jolt of my nerves and a creak of bones as we go.

Today I am bewildered, as one who wondered and discovered and forgot.
Today I am divided between the loyalty I owe
To the outward reality of the Tobacco Kiosk of the other side of the street
And to the inward real feeling that everything is but a dream.
I have missed everything.
And since I had no aims, maybe everything was indeed nothing.

What I was taught,
I go down from the window at the back of the house.
I went to the countryside with grand plans,
But all I found in it was grass and trees,
And when there were people, they were just like other people
I step back from the window and sit in a chair. What should I think about now?

(…)
I have dreamed more than Napoleon did.
I have held against the hypothetical heart more humanities than Christ.
I have secretly created philosophies no Kant has ever written.
But I am, and perhaps always should be, the one from the attic
Although I don't live in it;
I shall always be someone not born for this;
I shall always be the one who just had qualities;
I shall always be the one who has waited for a gate to open next a wall without a door
And sang the song of the infinite in a poultry-yard,
And heard God's voice in a blocked-up well.
Believe in myself? No, not in me and not in nothing.
May Nature be dissolved on my feverish head
Her sun, her rain, the wind that ruffles my hair,
And the rest, let it come if it must, it doesn't matter.
Hearts in thrall to the stars,
We have conquered the whole world before leaving our beds.
But we were awakened and it was opaque,
We rose and he was strange to us
We left the house and it was the whole world,
And also the Solar System, the Milky Way and the Indefinite...

(Eat your chocolates, little one!
Eat chocolates!
Know there are no metaphysics in the world but chocolates.
Know that all the faiths don't teach more than confectionery.
Eat, dirty one, eat!
If only I could eat chocolates with the same veracity you do!
But I think, and when I lift the silver paper of a leaf of tin-foil
I let everything fall to the ground, as I have done to my life.)

(…)
Musical essence of my useless verses,
If only I could face you as something I had created
Instead of always facing the Tobacco Kiosk across the street,
Forcing underfoot the consciousness of existing,
Like a carpet a drunkard stumbles on
Or a straw mat stolen by gypsies and worth nothing.

But the Tobacco Kiosk owner has come to the door and is standing there.
I look at him with the discomfort of an half-turned head
And the discomfort of an half-grasping soul.
He shall die and I shall die.
He shall leave his signboard and I shall leave my poems.
His sign will die, and so will my poems.
And soon the street where the sign is, will die too,
And so will the language in which my poems are written.
And so will the whirling planet where all of this happened.
On other satellites of other systems something like people
Will go on making something like poems and living under things like signboards,
Always one thing facing the other,
Always one thing as useless as the other,
Always the impossible as stupid as reality,
Always the mystery of the bottom as powerful as the mysterious dream of the top.
Always this or always some other thing, or neither one nor the other.

But a man has entered the Tobacco Shop (to buy tobacco?),
And plausible reality suddenly hits me.
I half rouse myself, energetic, convinced, human,
And I will try to write these verses in which I say the opposite.

I light a cigarette as I think about writing them,
And in that cigarette I savour liberation from all thoughts.
I follow the smoke as if it were my personal itinerary
And enjoy, in a sensitive and capable moment
The liberation of all the speculations
With the conscience that metaphysics is a consequence of not feeling well.

Afterwards I throw myself on the chair
And continue smoking.
As long as Destiny allows, I will keep smoking.

(If I married my washwoman's daughter
Maybe I should be happy.)
Upon that, I rise. And I go to the window.

The man has come out of the Tobacco Kiosk (putting change in his trousers?).
Ah, I know him: he is Esteves without metaphysics.
(The Tobacco Kiosk owner has come to the door.)
As if by a divine instinct, Esteves turned around and saw me.
He waved hello, I greet him "Hello there, Esteves!", and the universe
Reconstructed itself for me, without ideal or hope, and the owner of the Tobacco Kiosk smiled.

Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet, 1888-1935

(I dislike the site but the translation is not so bad)
http://www.meaningsoflife.com/Poems/Poems-Pessoa.htm

0 Replies
 
alcemena12
 
  0  
Reply Sat 5 Nov, 2011 10:24 pm
@iamsam82,
Robert Frost: (Hard to choose!) The Road Not Taken
Walt Whitman: (Again hard to choose, but I love his ones on death. I'll go for my husband's favorite) On the Beach At Night Alone
Drew Dellinger: Hieroglyphic Stairway [email protected]
0 Replies
 
lah-di-dahhh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 11:20 pm
@iamsam82,
Best 3 poems ever written:
When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver
Sonnet XVII, by Pablo Neruda
First Writing Since, by Suheir Hammad
Why?
Read and find out...
0 Replies
 
lah-di-dahhh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 11:23 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'm glad SOMEONE likes Neruda.
0 Replies
 
cliffwill88
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Apr, 2012 12:54 am
@Walter Hinteler,
i love alfred lord Tennyson (charge of the light brigade) and william shakespear's my mistress's eyes.. it was wonderful..
0 Replies
 
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Jun, 2013 10:50 am
Tis a great pity that a thread such as this, with seemingly endless scope, is allowed to languish in the dusty halls of the Dead Posts Office. There are far too many great poems left untouched.

For instance, there is Keats' On First Looking into Chapman's Homer an excellent example of the Petarchan (or Italian) Sonnet.

Much have I traveled in the realms of gold
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet never did I breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout *Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

*Oft has it been remarked that Keats confused Cortez with Balboa as being the first to glimpse the Pacific from Panama. But I think not; Keats realized that Balboa carried too much ballast to squeeze into the meter. Whereas Cortez was stout in the sense of brave and bold and fit.


Then there's this from that old sot Khayyam:

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.


And this from the reclusive Emily Dickinson

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him, -did you not?
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun,
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.


Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.


0 Replies
 
cchindiastore
 
  0  
Reply Mon 24 Jun, 2013 05:04 am
@iamsam82,
Anything by John Keats and Rabindranath Tagore...I like all their poems...
0 Replies
 
Sweetreading
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jun, 2013 01:48 pm
@iamsam82,
Emily Dickinson - Because I could not stop for death- It makes one not fear death but welcome it.
T.S Eliot -"Dulce et Decorum Est- For its imagery
Christina Rossetti - The Goblin Market- For its many hiding meanings
0 Replies
 
lillyandrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jul, 2013 10:45 pm
@iamsam82,
1.Phenomenal Woman
2.The Road Not Taken
3.If You Forget Me
 

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