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Old 08-01-2007, 03:54 PM
4,271 posts, read 14,252,144 times
Reputation: 3374


Mine is Invictus. I'm not big on poetry. Half the time, no, 90% of the time, poetry just goes over my head. However, the following poem I have read since high school (11 yrs ago) and to this day, I am still touched:

Invictus (unconquered)
by: William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods maybe
For my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Loom but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:06 PM
Location: on an island
13,387 posts, read 41,752,887 times
Reputation: 13285
Foma, I have heard "bloody but unbowed" before. Inspiring stuff.

I am not sure what the copyright situation is with Edna St Vincent Millay.
I enjoy a lot of her poetry. ee cummings, too, and William Carlos Williams.
And Emily Dickinson. Langston Hughes. There are so many.

This poem by St Vincent Millay is only four verses long, but I will post a link in case posting the entire piece is not okay.

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1922. p. 9.


Last edited by BlueWillowPlate; 08-01-2007 at 06:23 PM..
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:43 PM
Location: Bay Area, CA
29,042 posts, read 46,579,752 times
Reputation: 20505
My favorite would have to be "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg... not sure if it'll pass through the filter, but here are a few stanzas:


For Carl Solomon


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
publishing obscene odes on the windows of the
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
to the Terror through the wall,

Okay, the next lines will definitely be censored, so I'll stop there! Here's the rest if you want to read it - http://members.tripod.com/~Sprayberry/poems/howl.txt
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:52 PM
Location: Sacramento, CA
788 posts, read 3,833,631 times
Reputation: 710
I am not a big poetry person either (and I am an English major, however, I love Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

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's *****
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's 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.

The last stanza is my favorite. I think he is contemplating death, perhaps suicide here, be he goes on-duty calls. Perhaps the dark, deep woods are calling him...

Last edited by leavingcali; 08-01-2007 at 07:53 PM.. Reason: That's odd, the word "qu**r" got edited. Is that a bad word now?
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Old 08-01-2007, 09:40 PM
Location: Sunny Florida
7,136 posts, read 11,395,041 times
Reputation: 9486
The Road Not Taken
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:53 PM
930 posts, read 660,037 times
Reputation: 144
Another by Robert Frost. I also think Shel Silverstein is fun.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:53 PM
Location: Vermont / NEK
5,776 posts, read 12,640,509 times
Reputation: 7217
I know so little of poetry, but The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is such a classic. I, too, have always admired Shel Silverstein.
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:59 PM
4,271 posts, read 14,252,144 times
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Originally Posted by dawn4261 View Post
I also think Shel Silverstein is fun.
Shel is a LOT of fun! I taught inner city kids one year, 4th grade, and let me tell you, nothing got their attention. Everytime I read them something, they would always tune out ... until I started reading Shel. It's like their eyes just lit up. I would read his poems very animated and their fave hands down was the Boa Constrictor. OMG, my kids couldn't get enough!
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:24 PM
Location: Austin
2,120 posts, read 6,060,080 times
Reputation: 1415
My favorite is On the Hill Below a Lighthouse by James Dickey. I can't post it, though, because its copyright. It's one of those poems that has the perfect balance between abstract and concrete detail. It's not so simple that I "get it" the first read, but I don't have to have a dictionary and history book to figure out the meaning. In the end, he loves someone who is gone, but he says it in a way that's not trite, cheesy, and overdone. In fact, you have to dig to find it.

After that would have to be Wasteland by T.S. Eliot, especially this part:

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 20
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock, 25
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:23 AM
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
60,189 posts, read 43,730,139 times
Reputation: 32310
Thomas Gray's Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard

I think the following lines give a liitle perspective on life:

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Also, Dylan Thomas's Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

The one that starts out:

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.
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