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What's your favourite poem?

(117 Posts)
PruniStuffing Wed 07-Dec-05 07:37:53

Or poet, in general?

I think I'm getting Shakespeare's Sonnets for christmas.

SpaGlorytoBlog Wed 07-Dec-05 07:42:35

I don't know who it is by, a war poet I think...
Dont stand by my grave and weep, I am not here, I do not sleep...

Makes me blah like a baby!

SpaGlorytoBlog Wed 07-Dec-05 07:43:44

Oops, not a war poet, here it is

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!
Mary Frye (1932)

PruniStuffing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:14:16

<wipes a tear away> Do like that one.

Bumping up for the evening lot.

Titles will do; I'm just nosey and looking for inspiration too - haven't done any culcher for a while.

ISawFrannyandZooeyKissingSanta Wed 07-Dec-05 20:17:49

I love this, by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

A book of hers is on my Christmas list, she's marvellous.

ISawFrannyandZooeyKissingSanta Wed 07-Dec-05 20:20:48

Also love e.e. cummings:

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

harpsiheraldangelssing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:23:03

please may I bring the tone down with a seasonal offering (it's poignant, in a very offensive way_

F off Christmas!

Now I love Christmas just as much
As any other atheist
To celebrate our saviour's birth
With stuffing balls and getting p*ssed

And when it's time to deck the halls
With holly, or to follow stars
Along the road to Bethlehem
Falalala, falalala

Then every time I'm first in line
And clutching Delia's holy book
But now as far as I'm concerned
The whole shebang can go to F

I say bugger off to Christmas
And bo*cks to New Year
You know exactly where to stick
Your festive bloody cheer

The tinsel and the fairy lights
Can't chase away the dark
And even Baileys cannot ease
The pain when we're apart

So though the fields are snowy white
My heart will sing the blues
This Christmas can just F right off
If I can't be with you.

harpsiheraldangelssing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:27:28

do you know carol ann duffy pruni? i would love her career

JingEllBells Wed 07-Dec-05 20:33:12

This is my current favourite. (I have a dd who is 3... only our stairs are not steep and she doesn't feel the need to hold my hand to come down any more )

(Adrian Mitchell)

At the top of the stairs
I ask for her hand. O.K.
She gives it to me.
How her fist fits my palm,
A bunch of consolation.
We take our time
Down the steep carpetway
As I wish silently
That the stairs were endless.

KBearthePolarBear Wed 07-Dec-05 20:39:58


I bought myself a Wonderbra
For fourteen ninety nine,
It looked so good on the model girl's chest,
And I hoped it would on mine,
I took it from the packaging
And when I tried it on,
The Wonderbra restored to me
All I believed had gone

Let's all salute the Wonderbra,
The Wonderbra, the Wonderbra,
Let's all salute the Wonderbra,
For fourteen ninety-nine.

It gave me such a figure,
I can't believe it's mine,
I showed it to my husband
And it made his eyeballs shine,
And when I served the breakfast,
The kids cried out, 'Hooray!
Here comes our darling mother,
with her bosom on a tray!'

I didn't really need one,
my present bra, it's true,
Had only been in constant use
Since nineteen eighty-two,
But the silhouette I dreamed about,
Is mine, is mine at last,
And builders on the scaffolding,
Drop off as I walk past

PruniStuffing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:41:16

These are all fab!
(EllBell yours made me cry... )

harpsiheraldangelssing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:42:08

ellbell's made me cry too

PruniStuffing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:43:15

I have The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy but haven't read it for years...

JingEllBells Wed 07-Dec-05 20:44:26

This is beautiful too, on the subject of daughters, though I know I won't be able to do it justice in my translation...

(Umberto Saba)

La mia bambina con la palla in mano,
con gli occhi grandi colore del cielo
e dell’estiva vesticciola: «Babbo
— mi disse — voglio uscire oggi con te».
Ed io pensavo: Di tante parvenze
che s’ammirano al mondo, io ben so a quali
posso la mia bambina assomigliare.
Certo alla schiuma, alla marina schiuma
che sull’onde biancheggia, a quella scia
ch’esce azzurra dai tetti e il vento sperde;
anche alle nubi, insensibili nubi
che si fanno e si disfanno in chiaro cielo;
e ad altre cose leggere e vaganti.


My daughter with a ball in her hand,
with her big eyes the colour of the sky,
and in her little summer dress: "Daddy"
she said, "I want to come out with your today".
And I thought: Of all the things
in the world which people admire, I know well
to which I would compare my daughter.
To the foam, certainly, the foam on the sea,
which whitens the waves, and to that blue trail
which emerges from the rooftops and is lost in
the wind;
to the clouds too, the unfeeling clouds,
which form and disperse in the clear sky;
and to other light and wandering things.

harpsiheraldangelssing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:45:18

look at you all being deep and moving and I just posted a lot of swear words

yoyo Wed 07-Dec-05 20:48:06

Christina Rossetti's "Song" (When I am dead, my dearest,/Sing no sad songs for me;/Plant though no roses at my head./Nor shady cypress tree:/Be the green grass above me/With showers and dewdrops wet;/And if thou wilt, remember,/And if thou wilt, forget.)

Also W.B. Yeats "When You Are Old" because DH raed it to me when we first started going out together.

William Blake's "The Garden of Love"is another.

Not forgetting the truly wonderful "A Dedication to my Wife" by T.S. Eliot.

And then there is Philip Larkin but only on days where the harsh realities of life and death can be considered but not dwelt on.

I've just read a collection of poetry by Helen Farish entitled "Intimates".It is not brilliant but good to read someone new and improves with each reading.

Mincepiedermama Wed 07-Dec-05 20:50:25

It changes all the time but this one seems particularly relevant to me at the moment.

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.

Philip Larkin.

PruniStuffing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:50:35

FOr some reason my first reaction to this one is to weep a bit, though I've never studied it in any detail.

Sylvia Plath - You're

Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
Thumbs-down on the dodo's mode.
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
Trawling your dark, as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
Of July to All Fools' Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.

Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
A creel of eels, all ripples.
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
Right, like a well-done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.

PruniStuffing Wed 07-Dec-05 20:51:02

Can we have some less eye-pricking poems please!

Blandmum Wed 07-Dec-05 20:51:15

LOOOOVEEEE this one by Maya Angelou.....such a sassy, classy woman!

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou

yoyo Wed 07-Dec-05 20:54:13

Martianbishop - not read that before but am going to print it out. Thanks.

Blandmum Wed 07-Dec-05 20:55:29

When I read it, I can hear her saying the words. She reads it so well, you get the feeling she is tasting the words as she says them! Amazing woman

JingEllBells Wed 07-Dec-05 20:56:11

My dh got me a book called 'Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times' for my birthday. That's where the 'Beattie' comes from. Definitely recommend the book.

yoyo Wed 07-Dec-05 20:57:24

Oh to have such confidence and to articulate it so well.

tamum Wed 07-Dec-05 20:58:09

This is one of my favourites, by Louis MacNeice

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

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