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The Forum's Favourite Poems

Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by Withnail, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    Waiving at Trains

    Do people who wave at trains
    Wave at the driver, or at the train itself?
    Or, do people who wave at trains
    Wave at the passengers? Those hurtling strangers,
    The unidentifiable flying faces?

    They must think we like being waved at.
    Children do perhaps, and alone
    In a compartment, the occasional passenger
    Who is himself a secret waver at trains.
    But most of us are unimpressed.

    Some even think they're daft.
    Stuck out there in a field, grinning.
    But our ignoring them, our blank faces,
    Even our pulled tongues and up you signs
    Come three miles further down the line.

    Out of harm's way by then
    They continue their walk.
    Refreshed and made pure, by the mistaken belief
    That their love has been returned,
    Because they have not seen it rejected.

    It's like God in a way. Another day
    Another universe. Always off somewhere.
    And left behind, the faithful few,
    Stuck out there. Alone in compartments.
    All innocence. Arms in the air. Waving.

    p.1982

    ROGER McGOUGH
     
  2. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    A Blade of Grass

    You ask for a poem.
    I offer you a blade of grass.
    You say it is not good enough.
    You ask for a poem.

    I say this blade of grass will do.
    It has dressed itself in frost,
    It is more immediate
    Than any image of my making.

    You say it is not a poem,
    It is a blade of grass and grass
    Is not quite good enough.
    I offer you a blade of grass.

    You are indignant.
    You say it is too easy to offer grass.
    It is absurd.
    Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

    You ask for a poem.
    And so I write you a tragedy about
    How a blade of grass
    Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

    And about how as you grow older
    A blade of grass
    Becomes more difficult to accept.

    p.1971?

    BRIAN PATTEN
     
  3. basil

    basil don't mention the blinds

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    This is well understood by old people........
     
  4. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower

    The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
    Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
    Is my destroyer.
    And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
    My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

    The force that drives the water through the rocks
    Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
    Turns mine to wax.
    And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
    How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

    The hand that whirls the water in the pool
    Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
    Hauls my shroud sail.
    And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
    How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

    The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
    Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
    Shall calm her sores.
    And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
    How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

    And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
    How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

    p.1934

    DYLAN THOMAS
     
  5. shoes

    shoes Well-Known Forumite

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    Some people like to trick the devil:
    With a game of cards or dice.
    I think he needs a tickle round his middle.
    Make him laugh – that would be nice.

    Some people like to hate the devil:
    A demon with evil in his eyes.
    I think he needs a tickle round his middle.
    Make him giggle – to break the disguise.

    Some people like to love the devil:
    Blood sacrifices, and the like.
    I think he needs a tickle round his middle.
    Not so evil – he’d prefer to smile.

    Some people don’t believe in the devil:
    Saying he wants a chuckle? Not me!
    But I do think he needs a tickle round his middle.
    Mysterious? And grinning? We’ll see!

    So, when he shows up on your doorstep –
    Saying you should be a demon like him.
    Give the devil a tickle round his middle:
    He’d rather chortle – it’s not a sin!
     
  6. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    [​IMG]


    Lines and Squares

    Whenever I walk in a London street,
    I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
    And I keep in the squares,
    And the masses of bears,
    Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
    The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
    Go back to their lairs,
    And I say to them, "Bears,
    Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

    And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,
    As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."
    And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
    That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
    And they try to pretend that nobody cares
    Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
    But only the sillies believe their talk;
    It's ever so portant how you walk.
    And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,
    Just watch me walking in all the squares!"

    p.1924

    A A MILNE

    (I can't be the only one who still occasionally avoids the lines, can i?)
     
  7. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    Ode to Autumn

    Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
    To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
    And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
    And still more, later flowers for the bees,
    Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

    Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
    Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
    Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
    Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
    Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
    Steady thy laden head across a brook;
    Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

    Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
    And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
    Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
    Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
    The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

    p.1820

    JOHN KEATS
     
  8. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    Let Me Die a Young Man's Death


    Let me die a young man’s death,
    not a clean and in between
    the sheets holywater death,
    not a famous-last-words
    peaceful out of breath death.

    When I’m 73
    and in constant good tumour
    may I be mown down at dawn
    by a bright red sports car
    on my way home
    from an allnight party.

    Or when I’m 91
    with silver hair
    and sitting in a barber’s chair,
    may rival gangsters
    with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
    and give me a short back and insides.

    Or when I’m 104
    and banned from the Cavern
    may my mistress
    catching me in bed with her daughter
    and fearing for her son
    cut me up into little pieces
    and throw away every piece but one.

    Let me die a youngman’s death,
    not a free from sin tiptoe in
    candle wax and waning death,
    not a curtains drawn by angels borne
    ‘what a nice way to go’ death

    p.1967

    ROGER McGOUGH

    Or... Not for me...
     
  9. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    Extract from ‘Last Letter’

    At what position of the hands of the watch-face
    Did your last attempt,
    Already deeply past
    My being able to hear it, shake the pillow
    Of that empty bed? A last time
    Lightly touch at my books, and my papers?
    By the time I got there my phone was asleep.
    The pillow innocent. My room slept,
    Already filled with the snowlit morning light.
    I lit my fire. I had got out my papers.
    And I had started to write when the telephone
    Jerked awake, in a jabbering alarm,
    Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.
    Then a voice like a selected weapon
    Or a measured injection,
    Coolly delivered its four words
    Deep into my ear: “Your wife is dead.”

    c. ?

    TED HUGHES

    Poem printed in full in current issue of New Statesman
     
  10. Wolfie Girl

    Wolfie Girl Well-Known Forumite

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    William Henry Davies

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.
    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
    No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.
    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
     
  11. Wolfie Girl

    Wolfie Girl Well-Known Forumite

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    Frank Herbert

    I must not fear
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass
    Over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past
    I will turn the inner eye
    To see its path.
    Where the fear has gone
    There will be nothing.
    Only I will remain....
     
  12. basil

    basil don't mention the blinds

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    Freedom

    Is

    A

    State

    Of

    Mind

    ..........
     
  13. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    My Papa’s Waltz

    The whiskey on your breath
    Could make a small boy dizzy;
    But I hung on like death:
    Such waltzing was not easy.

    We romped until the pans
    Slid from the kitchen shelf;
    My mother's countenance
    Could not unfrown itself.

    The hand that held my wrist
    Was battered on one knuckle;
    At every step you missed
    My right ear scraped a buckle.

    You beat time on my head
    With a palm caked hard by dirt,
    Then waltzed me off to bed
    Still clinging to your shirt.

    p.1948

    THEODORE ROETHKE
     
  14. basil

    basil don't mention the blinds

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    Happy days.........
     
  15. John Marwood

    John Marwood I ♥ cryptic crosswords

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    11 guests online

    At 3.59
     
  16. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    c.1915

    JOHN McCRAE
     
  17. basil

    basil don't mention the blinds

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    We pray the fickle flag of truce

    Still float deceitfully and fair,

    Our eyes must love it's sweet abuse

    This hour we will not care,

    Though just beyond tomorrow's gate

    Arrayed and strong, the battle wait........
     
  18. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    The German Ward

    When the years of strife are over and my
    recollection fades
    Of the wards wherein I worked the weeks
    away,
    I shall still see, as a visions rising 'mid the War-
    time shades,
    The ward in France where German wounded
    lay.

    I shall see the pallid faces and the half-sus-
    picious eyes,
    I shall hear the bitter groans and laboured
    breath,
    And recall the loud complaining and the weary
    tedious cries,
    And the sights and smells of blood and wounds
    and death.

    I shall see the convoy cases, blanket-covered
    on the floor,
    And watch the heavy stretcher-work begin,
    And the gleam of knives and bottles through
    the open theatre door,
    And the operation patients carried in.

    I shall see the Sister standing, with her form
    of youthful grace,
    And the humour and the wisdom of her
    smile,
    And the tale of three years' warfare on her thin
    expressive face-
    The weariness of many a toil-filled while.

    I shall think of how I worked for her with
    nerve and heart and mind,
    And marvelled at her courage and her skill,
    And how the dying enemy her tenderness
    would find
    Beneath her scornful energy of will.

    And I learnt that human mercy turns alike to
    friend or foe
    When the darkest hour of all is creeping
    nigh,
    And those who slew our dearest, when their
    lamps were burning low,
    Found help and pity ere they came to die.

    So, though much will be forgotton when the
    sound of War's alarms
    And the days of death and strife have passed
    away,
    I shall always see the vision of Love working
    amidst arms
    In the ward wherein the wounded prisoners
    lay.

    c.1917

    VERA BRITTAIN
     
  19. joshua

    joshua Well-Known Forumite

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    The spacemans prayer:

    We pray for one last landing
    On the globe that gave us birth;
    Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies
    And the cool, green hills of Earth.
     
  20. John Marwood

    John Marwood I ♥ cryptic crosswords

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    Corner Shop
    Slade
    Stevie Bull,
    Banks's
    Mild
    Its just fuching dull
     

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