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Your favourite poem?

(337 Posts)
lifechanger Wed 19-Oct-11 19:09:37

Ok, I know National Poetry Day was a few weeks ago, but how about sharing your favourite poems, happy, sad, melacholic or joyful?

This is mine:

Afternoons, by Philip Larkin

Summer is fading:
The leaves fall in ones and twos
From trees bordering
The new recreation ground.
In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children.

Behind them, at intervals,
Stand husbands in skilled trades,
An estateful of washing,
And the albums, lettered
Our Wedding, lying
Near the television:
Before them, the wind
Is ruining their courting-places

That are still courting-places
(But the lovers are all in school),
And their children, so intent on
Finding more unripe acrons,
Expect to be taken home.
Their beauty has thickened.
Something is pushing them
To the side of their own lives.

JamieComeHome Wed 19-Oct-11 20:01:03

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 the 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.

Dylan Thomas

Also, The Wreck of the Deutschland, by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It's too long to re-produce here. I studied him at A level and he's stuck with me

JodieHarsh Wed 19-Oct-11 20:01:21

I must go down to the sea again
To the lonely sea and the sky
I left my vest and pants there:
I wonder if they're dry?


minxthemanx Wed 19-Oct-11 20:04:06

Timothy Winters by Charles Causley. Can't remember it all but love it, about a poverty stricken kid with "eyes like saucers and teeth like splinters, a blitz of a boy was Timothy Winters."

Great poem.

PootlingAndDoodling Wed 19-Oct-11 20:04:11

The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passsion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long--
So why in--Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Rudyard Kipling

RIZZ0 Wed 19-Oct-11 20:04:50

Oh lots of gooduns here.

Mine is by Father and Child by W.B.Yeats.

She hears me strike the board and say
That she is under ban
Of all good men and women,
Being mentioned with a man
That has the worst of all bad names;
And thereupon replies
That his hair is beautiful,
Cold as the March wind his eyes.

PootlingAndDoodling Wed 19-Oct-11 20:05:00

Mrs Malone By Eleanor Farjeon

Mrs. Malone
Lived hard by a wood
All on her lonesome
As nobody should. With her crust on a plate
And her pot on the coal
And none but herself
To converse with, poor soul.
In a shawl and a hood She got sticks out-o’-door,
On a bit of old sacking
She slept on the floor,
And nobody, nobody
Asked how she fared Or knew how she managed,
For nobody cared.
Why make a pother
About an old crone?
What for should they bother
With Mrs. Malone?

One Monday in winter
With snow on the ground
So thick that a footstep
Fell without sound,
She heard a faint frostbitten
Peck on the pane
And went to the window
To listen again.
There sat a **-sparrow
Bedraggled and weak,
With half-open eyelid
And ice on his beak.
She threw up the sash
And she took the bird in,
And numbled and fumbled it
Under her chin.
'Ye’re all of a smother,
Ye’re fair overblown!
I’ve room fer another,'
Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Tuesday while eating
Her dry morning slice
With the sparrow a-picking
('Ain’t company nice!')
She heard on her doorpost
A curious scratch,
And there was a cat
With its claw on the latch.
It was hungry and thirsty
And thin as a lath,
It mewed and it mowed
On the slithery path.
She threw the door open
And warmed up some pap,
And huddled and cuddled it
In her old lap.
'There, there, little brother,
Ye poor skin-an’-bone,
There’s room fer another,'
Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Wednesday while all of them
Crouched on the mat
With a crumb for the sparrow,
A sip for the cat,
There was wailing and whining
Outside in the wood,
And there sat a vixen
With six of her brood.
She was haggard and ragged
And worn to shred,
And her half-dozen babies
Were only half-fed,
But Mrs. Malone, crying
'My! ain’t they sweet!'
Happed them and lapped them
And gave them to eat.
'You warm yerself, mother,
Ye’re cold as a stone!
There’s room fer another,'
Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Thursday a donkey
Stepped in off the road
With sores on his withers
From bearing a load.
Come Friday when icicles
Pierced the white air
Down from the mountainside
Lumbered a bear.
For each she had something,
If little, to give—
'Lord knows, the poor critters
Must all of ’em live.'
She gave them her sacking,
Her hood and her shawl,
Her loaf and her teapot—
She gave them her all.
'What with one thing and t’other
Me fambily’s grown,
And there’s room fer another,'
Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Saturday evening
When time was to sup
Mrs. Malone
Had forgot to sit up.
The cat said meeow,
And the sparrow said peep,
The vixen, she’s sleeping,
The bear, let her sleep.
On the back of the donkey
They bore her away,
Through trees and up mountains
Beyond night and day,
Till come Sunday morning
They brought her in state
Through the last cloudbank
As far as the Gate.
'Who is it,' asked Peter,
'You have with you there?'
And donkey and sparrow,
Cat, vixen and bear

Exclaimed, 'Do you tell us
Up here she’s unknown?
It’s our mother, God bless us!
It’s Mrs. Malone
Whose havings were few
And whose holding was small
And whose heart was so big
It had room for us all.'
Then Mrs. Malone
Of a sudden awoke,
She rubbed her two eyeballs
And anxiously spoke:
'Where am I, to goodness,
And what do I see?
My dears, let’s turn back,
This ain’t no place fer me!'
But Peter said, 'Mother
Go in to the Throne.
There’s room for another
One, Mrs. Malone.'

mankyscotslass Wed 19-Oct-11 20:05:00

I like Mending Fences by Robert Frost too.

PootlingAndDoodling Wed 19-Oct-11 20:06:04

lol at the word omission - it is cock hmm

Both of mine are sentimental but not sickly i think...

countessbabycham Wed 19-Oct-11 20:06:39

lifechanger I hope you don't mind if I leap in and take a liberty here - my late Dad used to read me a poem when I was a little girl that I loved and have never been able to find.
It contains a line about (i think)" baccy for the Parson and(something) for the spy,so watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen ride by."
It'd mean a lot if any of you know what/who it is.
Again sorry for the hijack lifechanger

WeepsInPaleDew Wed 19-Oct-11 20:10:09

Is it Kipling? A Smuggler's Song?

<not sure though>

Zorayda Wed 19-Oct-11 20:12:33

WeepsInPaleDew is right - it's Kipling's:

Five and twenty ponies trotting through the dark,
Brandy for the parson and bacchy for the clerk,
Laces for the ladies and letters for the spie,
Now watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by.

If you wake at midnight to the sound of horses' feet,
Don't go drawin' back the blinds nor lookin' in the street.
Them that asks no questions, isn't told a lie.
Now watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by.

Runnin' through the woodlands you might chance to find
Little barrels roped and tied all full of brandywine,
Well don't you shout to come and look nor use 'em for your play,
Just push the brushwood back again and they'll be gone next day.

If you see a stable door settin' open wide,
And if you see a tired horse a lying down inside ,
And if your mother mends a coat that's cut about and torn,
And if the linin's wet and warm well don't you ask no more.

Five and twenty ponies trotting through the dark,
Brandy for the parson and bacchy for the clerk,
Laces for the ladies and letters for the spy,
Now watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by.

Knocks and footsteps 'round the house, whistles after dark,
You've no call for runnin' out until the house dogs bark,
For Trusty's here and Finch is here and see how dumb they lie,
They don't fret to follow when the gentlemen go by.

If you see the king's men dressed in blue and red,
Well you be careful what you say and mindful what is said,
And if they call you pretty maid and chuck you 'neath your chin,
Well don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been.

Five and twenty ponies trotting through the dark,
Brandy for the parson and bacchy for the clerk,
Laces for the ladies and letters for the spie,
Now watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by.

If you do as you've been told, likely there's a chance
That you'll be give a dainty doll that's all the way from France,
With a cap of Alyintsin's and a velvet hood,
A present from the gentlemen along with being good.

Five and twenty ponies trotting through the dark,
Brandy for the parson and bacchy for the clerk,
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie,
And watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by.

Zorayda Wed 19-Oct-11 20:12:56

Sorry - that's rather long!

lifechanger Wed 19-Oct-11 20:14:18

I love a good poem reunion - well done that woman!

countessbabycham Wed 19-Oct-11 20:14:37

WeepsinPaleDew andZorayda thank you so much! That is the one.I'm in floods now....

lifechanger Wed 19-Oct-11 20:15:21

'Timothy Winters'
Timothy Winters comes to school
With eyes as wide as a football-pool,
Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters:
A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.

His belly is white, his neck is dark,
And his hair is an exclamation-mark.
His clothes are enough to scare a crow
And through his britches the blue winds blow.

When teacher talks he won't hear a word
And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird,
He licks the pattern off his plate
And he's not even heard of the Welfare State.

Timothy Winters has bloody feet
And he lives in a house on Suez Street,
He sleeps in a sack on the kithen floor
And they say there aren't boys like him anymore.

Old Man Winters likes his beer
And his missus ran off with a bombardier,
Grandma sits in the grate with a gin
And Timothy's dosed with an aspirin.

The welfare Worker lies awake
But the law's as tricky as a ten-foot snake,
So Timothy Winters drinks his cup
And slowly goes on growing up.

At Morning Prayers the Master helves
for children less fortunate than ourselves,
And the loudest response in the room is when
Timothy Winters roars "Amen!"

So come one angel, come on ten
Timothy Winters says "Amen
Amen amen amen amen."
Timothy Winters, Lord. Amen

Charles Causley

I use this poem to teach metaphors to 11 yr olds - another Charles Causley fan.

maxybrown Wed 19-Oct-11 20:17:05

ok a soppy one but here goes


Love is the most contemplated, articulated desired and treasured gift the world can offer.

It cannot be captured in an ocean of words
It cannot be painted with the most beautiful of colours
It cannot be comprehended by the most brilliant minds
Or bought by the wealthiest person

Its value is more precious than gold or diamonds
It spans the breadth of time
And cannot be diminished by the farthest distance
Its width, depth and height are limitless
Its strength is unquenchable
Its tenderness is indescribable
Its beauty is irresistible
It adores and cherishes, it believes and encourages
It listens and cares, it forgives and forgets

Passion is a twinkling star
That you want to reach out, catch and hold onto
It’s exciting as you catch a little each time
Then it slips from your grasp once again
Love is when you catch it
When you no longer have to reach out
But it is given into your hands
It’s the most precious gift in the world
And when it is truly given and delicately cared for
It gives itself completely and lights itself on your heart

muddyvampsters123 Wed 19-Oct-11 20:17:53


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

LottieJenkins Wed 19-Oct-11 20:18:08

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening ( Robert Frost. )

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on
So sing as well.

Joyce Grenfell

lifechanger Wed 19-Oct-11 20:19:05

I love this poem - the 19 year-old poet died 3 months after he wrote it. I especially love the last line which makes my arm hairs stand on end (and I'm not even religious).

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

WeepsInPaleDew Wed 19-Oct-11 20:20:02

Smile through your tears, pet.

<hugs countess and hands over a brew>

Jux Wed 19-Oct-11 20:20:38

Pretty well anything by Shelley, but I also love Auden.

lifechanger Wed 19-Oct-11 20:21:01

I love the repetition in the last two lines of Robest Frost's poem, Lottie

Aloha31 Wed 19-Oct-11 20:22:16

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

countessbabycham Wed 19-Oct-11 20:22:39

<drinks brew and cheers up>

Thanks Weeps - good tears!

muddyvampsters123 Wed 19-Oct-11 20:24:28

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Samuel Taulor Coleridge

IF - Rudyard Kipling

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