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Quick- I need a poem!

(31 Posts)
Hakluyt Sun 25-May-14 11:51:17

Dd is revising for A level English, and she has asked me to give her a random poem to write an Unseen on. No longer than one A4 sheet.

My mind is simultaneously blank and too full of ideas. help!

FunnyFoot Sun 25-May-14 11:55:19

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw -
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air -
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square -
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

He's outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's.
And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair -
Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair -
But it's useless to investigate - Macavity's not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
'It must have been Macavity!' - but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place - MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known,
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime.

FunnyFoot Sun 25-May-14 11:56:25

Not sure if this is A4?

meditrina Sun 25-May-14 11:56:33

How about Xanadu, by Coleridge? Not too long, and plenty of commentaries about it so she can go and look at them after she's had a go.

TheCunnyFunt Sun 25-May-14 11:56:54

Who ate the cakes?
Adam had 'em.

silkknickers Sun 25-May-14 11:58:38

Blessing by Imtiaz Dharker

goshhhhhh Sun 25-May-14 12:01:08

Yeats - the cloths of heaven I think...short!

Hakluyt Sun 25-May-14 12:01:54

No good offering Practical Cats- we read them so often when she was little she knows nearly all of them by heart!

Xanadu's a good idea- and a bit of a change from what she's been working on. I might offer her that, then a Seumas Heaney later on. Thank you!

KiaOraAura Sun 25-May-14 12:04:06


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!---An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,---
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

FunnyFoot Sun 25-May-14 12:04:23

Not appropriate but it was always my nans favourite.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

FunnyFoot Sun 25-May-14 12:07:24

Apologises OP I should have know you had read her Practical Cats when she was little. Me being physic and all hmm

notnowImreading Sun 25-May-14 12:09:05

Wedding Wind - Philip Larkin
Ulysses - Tennyson
Time Does Not Bring Relief - Edna St Vincent Millay
Out, Out - Robert Frost

All full of interesting images, all accessible.

MabelStark Sun 25-May-14 12:10:24

I remember this poem from one of my a level English lit practise papers.
Emily Dickinson, There's been a death

There's been a death in the opposite house
As lately as today.
I know it by the numb look
Such houses have alway.

The neighbours rustle in and out,
The doctor drives away.
A window opens like a pod,
Abrupt, mechanically;

Somebody flings a mattress out, -
The children hurry by;
They wonder if It died on that, -
I used to when a boy.

The minister goes stiffly in
As if the house were his,
And he owned all the mourners now,
And little boys besides;

And then the milliner, and the man
Of the appalling trade,
To take the measure of the house.
There'll be that dark parade

Of tassels and of coaches soon;
It's easy as a sign, -
The intuition of the news
In just a country town.

Nocomet Sun 25-May-14 12:19:30

We did the Thought Fox, Ted Hughs for O level.
It's suitably pretentious rubbish.

Hakluyt Sun 25-May-14 12:21:26

I'm sorry, FunnyFoot- I didn't mean to upset you! Bit puzzled at how I did, to be honest- but I am really sorry that I did. sad

wafflyversatile Sun 25-May-14 12:25:49

maggie and milly and molly and may by ee cummings

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

CSIJanner Sun 25-May-14 12:27:11

Just to say - William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

FunnyFoot Sun 25-May-14 12:28:30

No good offering Practical Cats- we read them so often when she was little she knows nearly all of them by heart!

You were dismissive OP. And there was no need to be as you didn't stipulate unsuitable poems. I was just trying to help.

I hope she does well and finds a poem that works.

CSIJanner Sun 25-May-14 12:38:49

I studied this for a- level. I not know if you're DD is on the same board or if the set texts have changed...

Still I rise - Maya Angelo

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Hakluyt Sun 25-May-14 12:41:48

Well, I did not mean to be dismissive. I would have thought the exclamation mark would have suggested that I was just sharing a piece of information. But hey ho. Won't try apologising again as you didn't accept my last two........

Morgause Sun 25-May-14 12:44:18

Robert Frost

1. The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 20

KurriKurri Sun 25-May-14 13:03:11

Spring and Fall
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Or any Hopkins will give her loads to write about and analyse

KurriKurri Sun 25-May-14 13:07:21

By the way it only took me a few seconds to copy and paste that poem so I won't get a cob on if you tell me she's already read lots of Hopkins wink grin

Muskey Sun 25-May-14 13:11:18

How about the listeners or the sea by Walter De La Mare or anything by Dylan Thomas

Quangle Sun 25-May-14 13:11:54

I love Spring and Fall. I still say it to myself often, almost 30 years after A level. By contrast we did Ted Hughes for O level and I have still not recovered from the tedium.

Or this one:

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on--on--and out of sight.

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

Siegfried Sassoon

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