Poems That You Love

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
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Perry
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:08 am

Kitchen Incident

Only now, after decades, even after his death,
is the smoke finally clearing from that room
where I was kneeling on the brick hearth
making a fire — something, after all,
that my father had taught me how to do —
when he walked in from work, in a business suit,
to find the kitchen filling up with smoke
because I’d forgotten to open the flue.

And not until now have I bothered to consider
what might have happened at the office that day
or whether it was simply his frustration
at ceaselessly battling his acerbic teenage son
that led him to say, “You don’t know how to do
anything right,” then shoulder me out of the way
as he crouched down and reached his blue-sleeved arm
above the flames to find the damper’s latch.

At long last, I wish I hadn’t told him
to shut up, and can let go of my indignation
at the way he lunged for me, grabbed me by the arm,
and tried to spank me as if I were a child,
only managing a glancing blow as I pulled free
and made for the door, not looking back
until now to see him standing there
bewildered and alone in that smoke-clogged room.

Jeffrey Harrison

I contacted this author to tell him how good this poem is. It reminds me of Robert Hayden's Those Winter Sundays.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:34 am

Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit.

Dumb,
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown.

A poem should be wordless
as the flight of birds.

*
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees.

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves
Memory by memory the mind —

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.

*
A poem should be equal to:
Not true:

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea —

A poem should not mean
But be.

Archibald MacLeish
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Firebird » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:33 am

I like both poems Perry very much. Excellent.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:14 pm

The Expiration

So, so, break off this last lamenting kiss,
Which sucks two souls, and vapours both away,
Turn thou ghost that way, and let me turn this,
And let ourselves benight our happiest day,
We asked none leave to love; nor will we owe
Any, so cheap a death, as saying, Go;

Go; and if that word have not quite killed thee,
Ease me with death, by bidding me go too.
Oh, if it have, let my word work on me,
And a just office on a murderer do.
Except it be too late, to kill me so,
Being double dead, going, and bidding, go.

John Donne


For me, the remarkable thing about Donne is how contemporary his diction sounds. He lived 400 years ago. Also, the intricacy of the logic in this poem is very sophisticated.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:40 am

I Long to Hold the Poetry
Editor’s Penis in My Hand


and tell him personally,
I’m sorry, but I’m going
to have to pass on this.
Though your piece
held my attention through
the first few screenings,
I don’t feel it is a good fit
for me at this time.
Please know it received
my careful consideration.
I thank you for allowing
me to have a look,
and I wish you
the very best of luck
placing it elsewhere.


Francesca Bell
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Macavity » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:36 am

Kubla Khan
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
.
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:57 pm

Mac, when I was in grammar school -- I think I was in 5th grade (the grades here go up to 12) -- I was assigned Kubla Khan as the poem that I had to study and interpret (each kid, of course, got a poem). Well, I couldn't make hide nor tail of it, and when I gave my report to the class, I didn't have much to say. What I remember about that incident was that the teacher was very critical of me for being dense -- but that seemed unfair to me. I mean, what is a child to think of an exotic poem which was never finished because the poet's narcotic-induced reverie was interrupted? I still love the poem, but unfortunately it has that bad experience associated with it. It's too bad that Coleridge couldn't finish it when he was sober (although the poem stands pretty well as it is).
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:09 am

Meeting at Night

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed in the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

Robert Browning

This poem is a classic, of course. Even though it was written in the 1800's, the language sounds very modern to me. It is one of the most perfect poems I have ever read, with a lively tempo and haunting images ("fiery ringlets") that pour forth in perfect succession. And it ends so wonderfully.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:14 pm

Browning is very likeable, isn't he? I don't actually know this one - I haven't read of lot of him, to be honest - but I recognise the closing line.

And of course the whole poem is a reproof to me, with my fixation on whether poems contain whole sentences or not. There's not a whole sentence in the whole damn thing.

It's also rather naughty, isn't it, with the hint of adultery, or perhaps some other form of forbidden love (or at least love disapproved of) - one of the reasons it appeals to you, Perry?

Probably late 1800s?

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:20 pm

I'm not sure I've posted in this thread before - correct me if I'm wrong, any pedants - but let's celebrate one of our own members, albeit largely an absentee now, sadly ... it's by Seth Crook, aka Antcliff, and one of my favourite poems. I wish I'd written this poem.

The Buntings of the Isle of Mull

The Corn Bunting (extremely rare, almost extinct).
The Ortolan Bunting (extremely scarce,
one adult female seen on a campsite in 2009).
The Lapland Bunting (scarce, but not extremely scarce).

The Reed Bunting (resident breeding species, rare,
breeds in reed beds, or reads in bed, records patchy).
The Brambling (uncommon, often seen rambling without a "b"
and not really a Bunting).

Siberian Chiffchaff (really lost).
The Snow Bunting (winter visitor, tiny numbers).
The Scarce Bunting (very common).
The Absent Bunting (aways here).

The Hang Out More Bunting (appears on special occasions only).
The Extinct Bunting (numbers booming).
The Amazingly Graceful Bunting (was lost but now is found,
was blind but now can see).

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:27 pm

That poem by Seth is a hoot. I really like it, though I can think of other subspecies of buntings I might have included. It is very clever.

Frost talked about writing in whole sentences, and I took that to heart. Even so, I find myself using just phrases from time to time. The interesting thing about the Browning poem is that it just breathes rapid action, yet there are no predicates in it. Usually it is the verbs that add action to a poem -- i.e., a sense of movement. So Browning gave us a good lesson in the English language in this poem.

Because of "Meeting at Night", I recently looked up other poems by Browning; and although he is more lively than many other Victorian poets, most of his poems are pretty stiff in their language. I don't think he wrote many poems like this one. However, I haven't read everything he wrote.

But the succession of images in the poem, and the descriptive terms used, are just lovely and perfect.

It's nice to see you participating in this thread. I'm still wondering if a poem like this doesn't belong in the "Found Poetry" forum, although I'm still not sure what that is for. I posted a question about it, and no one answered.
Last edited by Perry on Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:36 pm

This poem by Alicia Stallings amply reveals why I consider her to be English's greatest living poet:

The Mistake

The mistake was light and easy in my hand,
A seed meant to be borne upon the wind.
I did not have to bury it or throw,
Just open up my hand and let it go.

The mistake was dry and small and without weight,
A breeze quickly snatched it from my sight,
And even had I wanted to prevent,
Nobody could tell me where it went.

I did not think on the mistake again,
Until the spring came, soft, and full of rain,
And in the yard such dandelions grew
That bloomed and closed, and opened up, and blew.

Alicia E. Stallings
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Thu May 02, 2019 6:49 pm

I know Stallings is highly thought of - very highly thought of - but I don't think I've read her before now. Not sure about this one. It trips along very nicely, but I'm slightly put off by what seems to me the faux simplicity of the thing. And the dumpi-dumpi-dumpiness of it.

But maybe it's true simplicity, and I'm just overthinking it.

I think you're definitely onto something with this thread, Perry. Sometimes it's good to talk about such things. Perhaps people will come.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Fri May 03, 2019 9:31 am

Well, I didn't start the thread, I just found it.

When you said, "Sometimes it's good to talk about such things", what were you referring to?

I understand what you mean about the simplicity of Stallings' poem, but I just adore it. In my view, it is one of those rare poems which achieves perfection, and I see a huge amount of creativity in those spare lines.

Here is a poem of hers which is even more clever. However, it is a humorous poem; and humor, I have learned, is not highly regarded in poetry.

Cardinal Numbers

Mrs. Cardinal is dead:
All that remains — a beak of red,
And, fanned across the pavement slab,
Feathers, drab.

Remember how we saw her mate
In the magnolia tree of late,
Glowing, in the faded hour,
A scarlet flower,

And knew, from his nagging sound,
His wife foraged on the ground,
As camouflaged, as he (to us)
Conspicuous?

One of us remarked, with laughter,
It was her safety he looked after,
On the watch, from where he sat,
For dog or cat

(For being lately married we
Thought we had the monopoly,
Nor guessed a bird so glorious
Uxorious).

Of course, the reason that birds flocked
To us: we kept the feeder stocked.
And there are cats (why mince words)
Where there are birds.

A ‘possum came when dusk was grey,
And so tidied the corpse away,
While Mr. Cardinal at dawn
Carried on,

As if to say, he doesn’t blame us,
Our hospitality is famous.
If other birds still want to visit,
Whose fault is it?

Alicia E. Stallings
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Sat May 04, 2019 11:49 am

Perry wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 9:31 am
When you said, "Sometimes it's good to talk about such things", what were you referring to?
Poems that we love! Nothing more complicated than that.

Not that fond of that Stallings either, I'm afraid. Perhaps she's a blind spot of mine.

This seems to be a colloquy of just the two of us, but at least that's an improvement on your previous monologue - I hope. So here's a favourite of mine - again, from The Rattle Bag ... but not by Sir Walter Ralegh, apparently, although that's what they used to think.

The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage

BY SIR WALTER RALEGH

[Supposed to be written by one at the point of death]

Give me my scallop shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

Blood must be my body’s balmer,
No other balm will there be given,
Whilst my soul, like a white palmer,
Travels to the land of heaven;
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains;
And there I’ll kiss
The bowl of bliss,
And drink my eternal fill
On every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before,
But after it will ne’er thirst more;

And by the happy blissful way
More peaceful pilgrims I shall see,
That have shook off their gowns of clay,
And go apparelled fresh like me.
I’ll bring them first
To slake their thirst,
And then to taste those nectar suckets,
At the clear wells
Where sweetness dwells,
Drawn up by saints in crystal buckets.

And when our bottles and all we
Are fill’d with immortality,
Then the holy paths we’ll travel,
Strew’d with rubies thick as gravel,
Ceilings of diamonds, sapphire floors,
High walls of coral, and pearl bowers.

From thence to heaven’s bribeless hall
Where no corrupted voices brawl,
No conscience molten into gold,
Nor forg’d accusers bought and sold,
No cause deferr’d, nor vain-spent journey,
For there Christ is the king’s attorney,
Who pleads for all without degrees,
And he hath angels, but no fees.

When the grand twelve million jury
Of our sins and sinful fury,
’Gainst our souls black verdicts give,
Christ pleads his death, and then we live.
Be thou my speaker, taintless pleader,
Unblotted lawyer, true proceeder,
Thou movest salvation even for alms,
Not with a bribed lawyer’s palms.

And this is my eternal plea
To him that made heaven, earth, and sea,
Seeing my flesh must die so soon,
And want a head to dine next noon,
Just at the stroke when my veins start and spread,
Set on my soul an everlasting head.
Then am I ready, like a palmer fit,
To tread those blest paths which before I writ.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by bjondon » Sun May 05, 2019 5:12 pm

Just parachuting in . . .hi Perry and David
- that Stallings Cardinal Numbers is quite extraordinary
. . . . is it Allan Ahlberg who writes 'humourous' verse with something
approaching the same deadpan razor sharp wit? Will have to dig one of his out.
I suspect Stallings goes further and deeper. Thank you so much for introducing
me to her Perry.
Yes, I'm another Rattle Bag fan (not least of the Dafydd Ap Gwilym title poem)
… like two poet-DJ's at the top of their game on some long hot long lost summer's evening.
Jules

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Sun May 05, 2019 5:20 pm

bjondon wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 5:12 pm

Yes, I'm another Rattle Bag fan (not least of the Dafydd Ap Gwilym title poem)
… like two poet-DJ's at the top of their game on some long hot long lost summer's evening.
Jules
Perfect analogy, Jules. I like it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Sun May 05, 2019 8:28 pm

Jules, Stallings is my favorite living poet. She is extraordinarily clever, but can be movingly compassionate too, and also very deep. I adore her.

David, I knew that Raleigh wrote a poem the day before his death, but I didn't remember it as being that one. It seems to me that he was "telling" a little too much in that poem -- someone should have told him not to do that, although I doubt he cared at that point. (I'm being facetious, of course.)
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Tue May 14, 2019 4:05 am

Dead Boy

The little cousin is dead, by foul subtraction,
A green bough from Virginia’s aged tree,
And none of the county kin like the transaction,
Nor some of the world of outer dark, like me.

A boy not beautiful, nor good, nor clever,
A black cloud full of storms too hot for keeping,
A sword beneath his mother’s heart — yet never
Woman bewept her babe as this is weeping.

A pig with a pasty face, so I had said,
Squealing for cookies, kinned by poor pretense
With a noble house. But the little man quite dead,
I see the forbears’ antique lineaments.

The elder men have strode by the box of death
To the wide flag porch, and muttering low send round
The bruit of the day. O friendly waste of breath!
Their hearts are hurt with a deep dynastic wound.

He was pale and little, the foolish neighbors say;
The first-fruits, saith the Preacher, the Lord hath taken;
But this was the old tree’s late branch wrenched away,
Grieving the sapless limbs, the short and shaken.

John Crowe Ransom


I adore this poem. Ransom used such creative language.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Perry » Sat May 25, 2019 10:32 am

On Being Seventy
a Franco Loi

The loves and the illusions all are gone,
Vanished the graces and dear vanities,
Old energies converted to disease
And lassitude, and simply hanging on.
You who would climb the slopes of Helicon,
Know that the nymphs and the sonorous bees
Are elemental speaking deities —
The wild cyclamens eclipse oblivion.

The senses dwindle as the air gets thin.
It is the heart that hears the angelic voices
And knows the lay of phoenix and of swan.
The music of the world’s disordered din
That loads the air with its malignant noises —
Here one clear note can blot out Babylon.

Peter Russell
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Leaf » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:56 pm

One of my favourite poems is Edward Lear's 'The Jumblies'. There's an excellent animation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_7jHCEMxZY :D

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