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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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    [​IMG]
    Musee des Beaux Arts

    About suffering they were never wrong,
    The Old Masters: how well they understood
    Its human position; how it takes place
    While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
    How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
    For the miraculous birth, there always must be
    Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
    On a pond at the edge of the wood:
    They never forgot
    That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
    Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
    Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
    Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

    In Brueghel's Icarus for instance: how everything turns away
    Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
    Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
    But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
    As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
    Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
    Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
    Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

    p. 1939

    WH AUDEN
     
  2. basil

    basil don't mention the blinds

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    Mary had a little lamb

    She also had a bear

    I've often seen her little lamb

    I've never seen her bare.........
     
  3. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

    [​IMG]

    “Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
    Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

    Once meek, and in a perilous path,
    The just man kept his course along
    The vale of death.
    Roses are planted where thorns grow,
    And on the barren heath
    Sing the honey bees.

    Then the perilous path was planted:
    And a river and a spring
    On every cliff and tomb:
    And on the bleached bones
    Red clay brought forth.

    Till the villain left the paths of ease,
    To walk in perilous paths, and drive
    The just man into barren climes.

    Now the sneaking serpent walks
    In mild humility,
    And the just man rages in the wilds
    Where lions roam.

    Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
    Hungry clouds swag on the deep.”

    c. 1790 (?)

    WILLIAM BLAKE

    Edit:the rest of it for me as much as anyone else.
     
  4. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    The Waking

    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
    I learn by going where I have to go.

    We think by feeling. What is there to know?
    I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Of those so close beside me, which are you?
    God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
    And learn by going where I have to go.

    Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
    The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Great Nature has another thing to do
    To you and me, so take the lively air,
    And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

    This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
    What falls away is always. And is near.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I learn by going where I have to go.

    p.1953

    THEODORE ROETHKE
     
  5. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on that sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    p.1951

    DYLAN THOMAS
     
  6. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    Public-House Confidence

    Well, since you're from the other side of town,
    I’ll tell you how I hold a soft job down,
    In the designing-rooms and laboratory
    I’m dressed in overalls, and so pretend
    To be on business from the factory.
    The workmen think I’m from the other end.
    The in-betweens and smart commission-men
    Believe I must have some pull with the boss.
    So, playing off the spanner against the pen
    I never let the rumour get across
    Of how I am no use at all to either
    And draw the pay of both for doing neither.

    p.1933

    NORMAN CAMERON
     
  7. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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  8. Gramaisc

    Gramaisc Forum O. G.

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  9. Hetairoi

    Hetairoi Well-Known Forumite

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    Boom Boom Boom

    Baldrick
     
  10. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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  11. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    The Map-Woman

    A woman’s skin was a map of the town
    where she’d grown from a child.
    When she went out, she covered it up
    with a dress, with a shawl, with a hat,
    with mitts or a muff, with leggings, trousers
    or jeans, with a an ankle-length cloak, hooded
    and fingertip-sleeved. But – birthmark, tattoo –
    the A-Z street-map grew, a precise second skin,
    broad if she binged, thin when she slimmed,
    a précis of where to end or go back or begin.

    Over her breast was the heart of the town,
    from the Market Square to the Picture House
    by way of St Mary’s Church, a triangle
    of alleys and streets and walks, her veins
    like shadows below the lines of the map, the river
    an artery snaking north to her neck. She knew
    if you crossed the bridge at her nipple, took a left
    and a right, you would come to the graves,
    the grey-haired teachers of English and History,
    the soldier boys, the Mayors and Councillors,

    the beloved mothers and wives, the nuns and priests,
    their bodies fading into the earth like old print
    on a page. You could sit on a wooden bench
    as a wedding pair ran, ringed, from the church,
    confetti skittering over the marble stones,
    the big bell hammering hail from the sky, and wonder
    who you would marry and how and where and when
    you would die: or find yourself in the coffee house
    nearby, waiting for time to start, your tiny face
    trapped in the window’s bottle-thick glass like a fly.

    And who might you see, short-cutting through
    the Grove to the Square – that line there, the edge
    of a fingernail pressed on her flesh – in the rain,
    leaving your empty cup, to hurry on after
    calling their name? When she showered, the map
    gleamed on her skin, blue-black ink from a nib.
    She knew you could scoot down Greengate Street,
    huddling close to the High House, the sensible shops,
    the Swan Hotel, till you came to the Picture House,
    sat in the musty dark watching the Beatles

    run for a train or Dustin Hoffman screaming
    Elaine! Elaine! Elaine! or the spacemen in 2001
    floating to Strauss. She sponged, soaped, scrubbed;
    the prison and hospital stamped on her back,
    the park neat on her belly, her navel marking the spot
    where the empty bandstand stood, the river again,
    heading south, clear as an operation scar,
    the war memorial facing the railway station
    where trains sighed on the platforms, pining
    for Glasgow, London, Liverpool. She knew

    you could stand on the railway bridge, waving
    goodbye to strangers who stared as you vanished
    into the belching steam, tasting future time
    on the tip of your tongue. She knew you could run
    the back way home – there it was on her thigh –
    taking the southern road then cutting off to the left,
    the big houses anchored behind their calm green lawns,
    the jewels of conkers falling down at your feet,
    then duck and dive down Nelson and Churchill
    and Kipling and Milton Way until you were home.

    She didn’t live there now. She lived down south,
    abroad, en route, up north, on a plane or train
    or boat, on the road, in hotels, in the back of cabs,
    on the phone; but the map was under her stockings,
    under her gloves, under the soft silk scarf at her throat,
    under her chiffon veil, a delicate braille. Her left knee
    marked the grid of her own estate. When she knelt
    she felt her father’s house pressing into the bone,
    heard in her head the looped soundtrack of then –
    a tennis ball repeatedly thumping a wall,

    an ice-cream van crying and hurrying on, a snarl
    of children’s shrieks from the overgrown land
    where the houses ran out. The motorway groaned
    just out of sight. She knew you could hitch
    from Junction 13 and knew of a girl who had not
    been seen since she did; had heard of a kid who’d run
    across all six lanes for a dare before he was tossed
    by a lorry into the air like a doll. But the motorway
    was flowing away, was a roaring river of metal
    and light, cheerio, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, ciao.

    She stared in the mirror as she got dressed,
    both arms raised over her head, the roads
    for east and west running from shoulder
    to wrist, the fuzz of woodland or countryside under
    each arm. Only her face was clear, her fingers
    smoothing in cream, her baby-blue eyes unsure
    as they looked at themselves. But her body was certain,
    an inch to the mile, knew every nook and cranny,
    cul-de-sac, stile, back road, high road, low road,
    one-way street of her past. There it all was, back

    to front in the glass. She piled on linen, satin, silk,
    leather, wool, perfume and mousse and went out.
    She got in a limousine. The map perspired
    under her clothes. She took a plane. The map seethed
    on her flesh. She spoke in a foreign tongue.
    The map translated everything back to herself.
    She turned out the light and a lover’s hands
    caressed the map in the dark from north to south,
    lost tourists wandering here and there, all fingers
    and thumbs, as their map flapped in the breeze.

    So one day, wondering where to go next,
    she went back, drove a car for a night and a day,
    till the town appeared on her left, the stale cake
    of the castle crumbled up on the hill; and she hired
    a room with a view and soaked in the bath.
    When it grew dark, she went out, thinking
    she knew the place like the back of her hand,
    but something was wrong. She got lost in arcades,
    in streets with new names, in precincts
    and walkways, and found that what was familiar

    was only façade. Back in her hotel room, she stripped
    and lay on the bed. As she slept, her skin sloughed
    like a snake’s, the skin of her legs like stockings, silvery,
    sheer, like the long gloves of the skin of her arms,
    the papery camisole from her chest a perfect match
    for the tissuey socks of the skin of her feet. Her sleep
    peeled her, lifted a honeymoon thong from her groin,
    a delicate bra of skin from her breasts, and all of it
    patterned A to Z; a small cross where her parents’ skulls
    grinned at the dark. Her new skin showed barely a mark.

    She woke and spread out the map on the floor. What
    was she looking for? Her skin was her own small ghost,
    a shroud to be dead in, a newspaper for old news
    to be read in, gift-wrapping, litter, a suicide letter.
    She left it there, dressed, checked out, got in the car.
    As she drove, the town in the morning sun glittered
    behind her. She ate up the miles. Her skin itched,
    like a rash, like a slow burn, felt stretched, as though
    it belonged to somebody else. Deep in the bone
    old streets tunneled and burrowed, hunting for home.

    p. 2002

    CAROL ANN DUFFY
     
  12. dangerousdave

    dangerousdave Well-Known Forumite

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    Haiku's are easy
    but sometimes they make no sense
    refrigerator
     
  13. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    WILLIAM SHATNER

    (is this right? Ed)
     
  14. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    The Arrival Of The Bee Box

    I ordered this, clean wood box
    Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
    I would say it was the coffin of a midget
    Or a square baby
    Were there not such a din in it.

    The box is locked, it is dangerous.
    I have to live with it overnight
    And I can't keep away from it.
    There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.
    There is only a little grid, no exit.

    I put my eye to the grid.
    It is dark, dark,
    With the swarmy feeling of African hands
    Minute and shrunk for export,
    Black on black, angrily clambering.

    How can I let them out?
    It is the noise that appalls me most of all,
    The unintelligible syllables.
    It is like a Roman mob,
    Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!

    I lay my ear to furious Latin.
    I am not a Caesar.
    I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
    They can be sent back.
    They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

    I wonder how hungry they are.
    I wonder if they would forget me
    If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
    There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
    And the petticoats of the cherry.

    They might ignore me immediately
    In my moon suit and funeral veil.
    I am no source of honey
    So why should they turn on me?
    Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.

    The box is only temporary.

    p. 1962

    SYLVIA PLATH
     
  15. Gramaisc

    Gramaisc Forum O. G.

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    Take some time and have a good think
    Are you here because of drink?
    Support is at hand so ask today

    © Staffordshire Police
     
  16. basil

    basil don't mention the blinds

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    Society sooner or later must return to its lost leader, the cultured and fascinating liar.......
     
  17. John Marwood

    John Marwood I ♥ cryptic crosswords

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    Clegg?
     
  18. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    One can think of many words to describe him, fascinating is not amongst them.
     
  19. basil

    basil don't mention the blinds

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    A Hippopotamus

    Could eat the lotofus......
     
  20. Withnail

    Withnail Well-Known Forumite

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    Spike Milligan

    silly Verse for kids
     

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