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Favorite Poems/Poets


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#41 superkick

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:01 AM

Artur Rimbaud -A season in Hell (excerpt..too long to post entire poem)..translated from french...

Once, if my memory serves me well, my life was a banquet where every heart revealed itself, where every wine flowed.

One evening I took Beauty in my arms - and I thought her bitter - and I insulted her.

I steeled myself against justice.

I fled. O witches, O misery, O hate, my treasure was left in your care!

I have withered within me all human hope. With the silent leap of a sullen beast, I have downed and strangled every joy.

I have called for executioners; I want to perish chewing on their gun butts. I have called for plagues, to suffocate in sand and blood. Unhappiness has been my god. I have lain down in the mud, and dried myself off in the crime-infested air. I have played the fool to the point of madness.

And springtime brought me the frightful laugh of an idiot.

Now recently, when I found myself ready to croak! I thought to seek the key to the banquet of old, where I might find an appetite again.

That key is Charity. - This idea proves I was dreaming!

"You will stay a hyena, etc...," shouts the demon who once crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Seek death with all your desires, and all selfishness, and all the Seven Deadly Sins."

Ah! I've taken too much of that: - still, dear Satan, don't look so annoyed, I beg you! And while waiting for a few belated cowardices, since you value in a writer all lack of descriptive or didactic flair, I pass you these few foul pages from the diary of a Damned Soul.

#42 mashiara

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 01:15 AM

Some amazing poetry in here, thank you all. I'll join in with some Neruda love

“Sonnet XVII: Love”
Pablo Neruda

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.


and this one

"If You Forget Me"
Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.


I have so many poems I love, it's so hard to pick any of them. Here's another one that affected me greatly.

“Wanting to Die”
Anne Sexton

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then the almost unnameable lust returns.

Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.

Twice I have so simply declared myself,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.

In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.

Still-born, they don't always die,
but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.

To thrust all that life under your tongue!--
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death's a sad Bone; bruised, you'd say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love, whatever it was, an infection.


I'll stop here, maybe I'll dig up some other favorites later.

#43 Larry.

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 01:21 AM

I have quite a few favorites spanning several styles. I do love me some chansons de gestes, as well as Italian epic poetry. Some English poetry as well, but the ones I'll quote are American and Spanish:

Rima XXX

Asomaba a sus ojos una lágrima
y a mis labios una frase de perdón...
habló el orgullo y se enjugó su llanto,
y la frase en mis labios expiró.

Yo voy por un camino, ella por otro;
pero al pensar en nuestro mutuo amor,
yo digo aún: "¿Por que callé aquél día?"
y ella dirá. "¿Por qué no lloré yo?"

- Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer


The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

- Theodore Roethke



#44 Dirk Llama

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 02:01 PM

I've never read much poetry, not because I have anything against it, just that when I get a chance to read... It's usually novels. But, what I've read of Roberto Bolaño's poetry is awesome:

'I dreamt that a man looked back, over the anamorphic landscape of dreams, and that his glance was hard as steel but still fragmented itself in multiple glances each time more innocent, each time more destitute.

I dreamt that a storm of ghostly numbers was the only thing left behind by mankind three billion years after the earth had ceased to exist.'

David Berman's stuff (his lyrics, his poems) are unique and interesting. Totally a reflection of the dude himself.

'On the moon, an old caretaker in faded clothes is holed up in his pressurized cabin. The fireplace is crackling, casting sparks onto the instrument panel. His eyes are flickering over the earth,

looking for Illinois,

looking for his hometown, Gnarled Heritage,
until his sight is caught in its chimneys and frosted aerials.

He thinks back on the jeweler's son who skated the pond behind his house, and the local supermarket with aisles that curved off like country roads.

Yesterday the robot had been asking him about snowmen.
He asked if they had minds.
No, the caretaker said, but he'd seen one
that had a raccoon burrowed up inside the head.

"Most had a carrot nose, some coal, buttons, and twigs for arms,
but others were more complex.
Once they started to melt, things would rise up
from inside the body. Maybe a gourd, which was an organ,
or a long knobbed stick, which was the spine of the snowman."

The robot shifted uncomfortably in his chair.'

#45 Valkyrja

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 06:28 PM

I think Beowulf has already had a mention - here's another Old English poem, the beginning of a fragmentary elegy known as The Ruin. Just read it aloud in the original! :) Forgive the lack of ashes and thorns - the board ate 'em. It's not fertile soil for runic letters.



Good choice, I LOVE The Ruin. And I enjoy speaking it out loud in Old English more than is probably considered healthy. ;)

#46 add-on

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 10:30 PM

Ah, The Flea. Possibly the cheekiest chat-up line ever. "This flea, see, it's bitten both of us, so we might as well have sex!"

Strange how it's never worked for me. :huh:

I'll stop here, maybe I'll dig up some other favorites later.

Please do. Those were all great.

Good choice, I LOVE The Ruin. And I enjoy speaking it out loud in Old English more than is probably considered healthy. ;)

The old epics and such aren't my favorite poems, but I always loved listening to my prof read them out loud in the Old English. I've got mad respect for you fanatics. :P


My contributions for the day:

Czeslaw Milosz

If There Is No God

If there is no God,
Not everything is permitted to man.
He is still his brother's keeper
And he is not permitted to sadden his brother,
By saying there is no God.



Stephen Dunn

At the Smithville Methodist Church

It was supposed to be Arts & Crafts for a week,
but when she came home
with the "Jesus Saves" button, we knew what art
was up, what ancient craft.

She liked her little friends. She liked the songs
they sang when they weren't
twisting and folding paper into dolls.
What could be so bad?

Jesus had been a good man, and putting faith
in good men was what
we had to do to stay this side of cynicism,
that other sadness.

OK, we said, One week. But when she came home
singing "Jesus loves me,
the Bible tells me so," it was time to talk.
Could we say Jesus

doesn't love you? Could I tell her the Bible
is a great book certain people use
to make you feel bad? We sent her back
without a word.

It had been so long since we believed, so long
since we needed Jesus
as our nemesis and friend, that we thought he was
sufficiently dead,

that our children would think of him like Lincoln
or Thomas Jefferson.
Soon it became clear to us: you can't teach disbelief
to a child,

only wonderful stories, and we hadn't a story
nearly as good.
On parents' night there were the Arts & Crafts
all spread out

like appetizers. Then we took our seats
in the church
and the children sang a song about the Ark,
and Hallelujah

and one in which they had to jump up and down
for Jesus.
I can't remember ever feeling so uncertain
about what's comic, what's serious.

Evolution is magical but devoid of heroes.
You can't say to your child
"Evolution loves you." The story stinks
of extinction and nothing

exciting happens for centuries. I didn't have
a wonderful story for my child
and she was beaming. All the way home in the car
she sang the songs,

occasionally standing up for Jesus.
There was nothing to do
but drive, ride it out, sing along
in silence.



#47 add-on

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:03 PM

Read this for the first time this morning, and it's stuck with me all day. Not sure about the ending but the rest knocks me out.


Dean Young:

Commencement Address

I love you for shattering.
Someone has to. Just as someone
has to announce inadvertently
the end of grief or spring's
splurge even as the bureaucracy's
spittoon overflows. Someone has to come out
the other end of the labyrinth
saying, What's the big deal?
Someone has to spend all day staring
at the data from outer space
or separating the receipts
or changing sheets in sour room after room.
I like it when the end of the toilet paper
is folded into a point.
I like napkins folded into swans
because I like wiping my mouth on swans.
Matriculates, come back from the dance floor
to sip at the lacrimal glands of chaos,
a god could be forgiven
for eating you, you've been such angels
just not very good ones.
You've put your tongue
into the peanut canister
of your best friend's girlfriend's mom.
You've taken a brown bag lunch
on which was writ another's name.
All night it snows a blue snow
like the crystallized confessions
you've wrung from phantoms
even though it is you wearing the filched necklace,
your rages splitting the concrete like dandelions.
All that destruction from a ball of fluff!
There's nothing left but hope.



And for the hell of it, a Tony Hoagland poem about Dean Young:

When Dean Young Talks About Wine

The worm thrashes when it enters the tequila.
The grape cries out in the wine vat crusher.

But when Dean Young talks about wine, his voice is strangely calm.
Yet it seems that wine is rarely mentioned.

He says, Great first chapter but no plot.
He says, Long runway, short flight.
He says, This one never had a secret.
He says, You can't wear stripes with that.

He squints as if recalling his childhood in France.
He purses his lips and shakes his head at the glass.

Eight-four was a naughty year, he says,
and for a second I worry that California has turned him
into a sushi-eater in a cravat.

Then he says,
...............This one makes clear the difference
between a thoughtless remark
and an unwarranted intrusion.

Then he says, In this one the pacific last light of afternoon
stains the wings of the seagull pink
...............at the very edge of the postcard.

But where is the Cabernet of rent checks and asthma medication?
Where is the Burgundy of orthopedic shoes?
Where is the Chablis of skinned knees and jelly sandwiches?
with the aftertaste of cruel Little League coaches?
and the undertone of rusty stationwagon?

His mouth is purple as if from his own ventricle
he had drunk.
He sways like a fishing rod.

When a beast is hurt it roars in incomprehension.
When a bird is hurt it huddles in its nest.

But when a man is hurt,
...............he makes himself an expert.
Then he stands there with a glass in his hand
staring into nothing
................as if he were forming an opinion.



#48 The Scarecrow

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:08 PM

Czeslaw Milosz

If There Is No God

If there is no God,
Not everything is permitted to man.
He is still his brother's keeper
And he is not permitted to sadden his brother,
By saying there is no God.


It's better in original ;)

Besides, you know, that poetry shit is like, girl stuff.

Edited by TheOneOfTheNight, 17 February 2009 - 07:08 PM.


#49 Bolton Bastard

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:16 PM

other than the classic epics, which are more stories than poetry

Hollow Men by TS Eliot

This is the way the world ends and all, loved it when first I heard it

#50 add-on

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:20 PM

It's better in original ;)

Haha, too true, I'm sure. Sadly, I can't read any Polish :P

Besides, you know, that poetry shit is like, girl stuff.

*shakes fist and menaces*

#51 Zap Rowsdower

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 05:29 PM

The Bird Parliament, as translated by Edward FitzGerald. The entire poem is too long to post in its entirety so here is brief taste:

Once on a time from all the Circles seven
Between the stedfast Earth and rolling Heaven
THE BIRDS, of all Note, Plumage, and Degree,
That float in Air, and roost upon the Tree;
And they that from the Waters snatch their Meat,
And they that scour the Desert with long Feet;
Birds of all Natures, known or not to Man,
Flock'd from all Quarters into full Divan,
On no less solemn business than to find
Or choose, a Sultan Khalif of their kind,
For whom, if never theirs, or lost, they pined.
The Snake had his, 'twas said; and so the Beast
His Lion-lord: and Man had his, at least:
And that the Birds, who nearest were the Skies,
And went apparell'd in its Angel Dyes.
Should be without—under no better Law
Than that which lost all other in the Maw—
Disperst without a Bond of Union—nay,
Or meeting to make each the other's Prey—
This was the Grievance—this the solemn Thing
On which the scatter'd Commonwealth of Wing,
From all the four Winds, flying like to Cloud
That met and blacken'd Heav'n, and Thunder-loud
With Sound of whirring Wings and Beaks that clash'd
Down like a Torrent on the Desert dash'd:
Till by Degrees, the Hubbub and Pell-mell
Into some Order and Precedence fell,
And, Proclamation made of Silence, each
In special Accent, but in general Speech
That all should understand, as seem'd him best,
The Congregation of all Wings addrest.


Rizpah by Tennyson:

WAILING, wailing, wailing, the wind over land and sea—
And Willy’s voice in the wind, “O mother, come out to me.”
Why should he call me to-night, when he knows that I cannot go?
For the downs are as bright as day, and the full moon stares at the snow.

We should be seen, my dear; they would spy us out of the town. 5
The loud black nights for us, and the storm rushing over the down,
When I cannot see my own hand, but am led by the creak of the chain,
And grovel and grope for my son till I find myself drench’d with the rain.

Anything fallen again? nay—what was there left to fall?
I have taken them home, I have number’d the bones, I have hidden them all. 10
What am I saying? and what are you? do you come as a spy?
Falls? what falls? who knows? As the tree falls so must it lie.

Who let her in? how long has she been? you—what have you heard?
Why did you sit so quiet? you never have spoken a word.
O—to pray with me—yes—a lady—none of their spies— 15
But the night has crept into my heart, and begun to darken my eyes.

Ah—you, that have liv’d so soft, what should you know of the night,
The blast and the burning shame and the bitter frost and the fright?
I have done it, while you were asleep—you were only made for the day.
I have gather’d my baby together—and now you may go your way. 20

Nay—for it ’s kind of you, Madam, to sit by an old dying wife.
But say nothing hard of my boy, I have only an hour of life.
I kiss’d my boy in the prison, before he went out to die.
“They dar’d me to do it,” he said, and he never has told me a lie.
I whipp’d him for robbing an orchard once when he was but a child— 25
“The farmer dar’d me to do it,” he said; he was always so wild—
And idle—and could n’t be idle—my Willy—he never could rest.
The King should have made him a soldier; he would have been one of his best.

But he liv’d with a lot of wild mates, and they never would let him be good;
They swore that he dare not rob the mail, and he swore that he would; 30
And he took no life, but he took one purse, and when all was done
He flung it among his fellows—I ’ll none of it, said my son.

I came into court to the Judge and the lawyers. I told them my tale,
God’s own truth—but they kill’d him, they kill’d him for robbing the mail.
They hang’d him in chains for a show—he had always borne a good name— 35
To be hang’d for a thief—and then put away—is n ’t that enough shame?
Dust to dust—low down—let us hide! but they set him so high
That all the ships of the world could stare at him, passing by.
God ’ill pardon the hell-black raven and horrible fowls of the air,
But not the black heart of the lawyer who kill’d him and hang’d him there. 40

And the jailer forced me away. I had bid him my last goodbye;
They had fasten’d the door of his cell, “O mother!” I heard him cry.
I could n’t get back tho’ I tried, he had something further to say,
And now I never shall know it. The jailer forced me away.

Then since I could n’t but hear that cry of my boy that was dead, 45
They seiz’d me and shut me up: they fasten’d me down on my bed.
“Mother, O mother!”—he call’d in the dark to me year after year—
They beat me for that, they beat me—you know that I could n’t but hear;
And then at the last they found I had grown so stupid and still
They let me abroad again—but the creatures had work’d their will. 50

Flesh of my flesh was gone, but bone of my bone was left—
I stole them all from the lawyers—and you, will you call it a theft?—
My baby, the bones that had suck’d me, the bones that had laugh’d and had cried—
Theirs? O no! they are mine—not theirs—they had mov’d in my side.

Do you think I was scar’d by the bones? I kiss’d ’em, I buried ’em all— 55
I can’t dig deep, I am old—in the night by the churchyard wall.
My Willy ’ill rise up whole when the trumpet of judgment ’ill sound,
But I charge you never to say that I laid him in holy ground.

They would scratch him up—they would hang him again on the cursed tree.
Sin? O yes—we are sinners, I know—let all that be, 60
And read me a Bible verse of the Lord’s good will toward men—
“Full of compassion and mercy, the Lord”—let me hear it again;
“Full of compassion and mercy—long-suffering.” Yes, O yes!
For the lawyer is born but to murder—the Saviour lives but to bless.
He ’ll never put on the black cap except for the worst of the worst, 65
And the first may be last—I have heard it in church—and the last may be first.
Suffering—O long-suffering—yes, as the Lord must know,
Year after year in the mist and the wind and the shower and the snow.

Heard, have you? what? they have told you he never repented his sin.
How do they know it? are they his mother? are you of his kin? 70
Heard! have you ever heard, when the storm on the downs began,
The wind that ’ill wail like a child and the sea that ’ill moan like a man?
Election, Election and Reprobation—it’s all very well.
But I go to-night to my boy, and I shall not find him in Hell.
For I car’d so much for my boy that the Lord has look’d into my care, 75
And He means me, I ’m sure, to be happy with Willy, I know not where.

And if he be lost—but to save my soul, that is all your desire:
Do you think that I care for my soul if my boy be gone to the fire?
I have been with God in the dark—go, go, you may leave me alone—
You never have borne a child—you are just as hard as a stone. 80

Madam, I beg your pardon! I think that you mean to be kind,
But I cannot hear what you say for my Willy’s voice in the wind—
The snow and the sky so bright—he us’d but to call in the dark,
And he calls to me now from the church and not from the gibbet—for hark!
Nay—you can hear it yourself—it is coming—shaking the walls— 85
Willy—the moon’s in a cloud—Good-night. I am going. He calls.


I've also always been a fan of Eugene Field, the man who wrote "Wynken Blynken and Nod." Since that poem/lullaby is rather well known, I offer "Krinken"

Krinken was a little child,--
It was summer when he smiled.
Oft the hoary sea and grim
Stretched its white arms out to him,
Calling, "Sun-child, come to me;
Let me warm my heart with thee!"
But the child heard not the sea,
Calling, yearning evermore
For the summer on the shore.

Krinken on the beach one day
Saw a maiden Nis at play;
On the pebbly beach she played
In the summer Krinken made.
Fair, and very fair, was she,
Just a little child was he.
"Krinken," said the maiden Nis,
"Let me have a little kiss,
Just a kiss, and go with me
To the summer-lands that be
Down within the silver sea."

Krinken was a little child--
By the maiden Nis beguiled,
Hand in hand with her went he,
And 'twas summer in the sea.
And the hoary sea and grim
To its bosom folded him--
Clasped and kissed the little form,
And the ocean's heart was warm.

Now the sea calls out no more;
It is winter on the shore,--
Winter where that little child
Made sweet summer when he smiled;
Though 'tis summer on the sea
Where with maiden Nis went he,--
Summer, summer evermore,--
It is winter on the shore,
Winter, winter evermore.
Of the summer on the deep
Come sweet visions in my sleep:
His fair face lifts from the sea,
His dear voice calls out to me,--
These my dreams of summer be.

Krinken was a little child,
By the maiden Nis beguiled;
Oft the hoary sea and grim
Reached its longing arms to him,
Crying, "Sun-child, come to me;
Let me warm my heart with thee!"
But the sea calls out no more;
It is winter on the shore,--
Winter, cold and dark and wild;
Krinken was a little child,--
It was summer when he smiled;
Down he went into the sea,
And the winter bides with me.
Just a little child was he.


And I'll close with a shoutout to William Topaz McGonagall, the greatest Scottish poet to ever live:

Glasgow

Beautiful city of Glasgow, with your streets so neat and clean,
Your stateley mansions, and beautiful Green!
Likewise your beautiful bridges across the River Clyde,
And on your bonnie banks I would like to reside.

Chorus --
Then away to the west -- to the beautiful west!
To the fair city of Glasgow that I like the best,
Where the River Clyde rolls on to the sea,
And the lark and the blackbird whistle with glee.

'Tis beautiful to see the ships passing to and fro,
Laden with goods for the high and the low;
So let the beautiful city of Glasgow flourish,
And may the inhabitants always find food their bodies to nourish.

Chorus

The statue of the Prince of Orange is very grand,
Looking terror to the foe, with a truncheon in his hand,
And well mounted on a noble steed, which stands in the Trongate,
And holding up its foreleg, I'm sure it looks first-rate.

Chorus

Then there's the Duke of Wellington's statue in Royal Exchange Square --
It is a beautiful statue I without fear declare,
Besides inspiring and most magnificent to view,
Because he made the French fly at the battle of Waterloo.

Chorus

And as for the statue of Sir Walter Scott that stands in George Square,
It is a handsome statue -- few with it can compare,
And most elegant to be seen,
And close beside it stands the statue of Her Majesty the Queen.

Chorus

And then there's the statue of Robert Burns in George Square,
And the treatment he received when living was very unfair;
Now, when he's dead, Scotland's sons for him do mourn,
But, alas! unto them he can never return.

Chorus

Then as for Kelvin Grove, it is most lovely to be seen
With its beautiful flowers and trees so green,
And a magnificent water-fountain spouting up very high,
Where the people can quench their thirst when they feel dry.

Chorus

Beautiful city of Glasgow, I now conclude my muse,
And to write in praise of thee my pen does not refuse;
And, without fear of contradiction, I will venture to say
You are the second grandest city in Scotland at the present day!

Chorus



#52 seastarr

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 06:11 PM

Wendell Berry

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Manifesto: The Mad Farmer's Liberation Front

#53 Greg

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 10:07 PM

Wallace Stevens:

excerpt from The Man With the Blue Guitar:

XIX

That I may reduce the monster to
Myself, and then may be myself

In face of the monster, be more than part
Of it, more than the monstrous player of

One of its monstrous lutes, not be
Alone, but reduce the monster and be,

Two things, the two together as one,
And play of the monster and of myself,

Or better not of myself at all,
But of that as its intelligence,

Being the lion in the lute
Before the lion locked in stone.



Kipling:
The Deep-Sea Cables

The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from afar --
Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where the blind white sea-snakes are.
There is no sound, no echo of sound, in the deserts of the deep,
Or the great gray level plains of ooze where the shell-burred cables creep.

Here in the womb of the world -- here on the tie-ribs of earth
Words, and the words of men, flicker and flutter and beat --
Warning, sorrow and gain, salutation and mirth --
For a Power troubles the Still that has neither voice nor feet.

They have wakened the timeless Things; they have killed their father Time;
Joining hands in the gloom, a league from the last of the sun.
Hush! Men talk to-day o'er the waste of the ultimate slime,
And a new Word runs between: whispering, "Let us be one!"


Raymond Carver:

Grief

Woke up early this morning and from my bed
looked far across the Strait to see
a small boat moving through the choppy water,
a single running light on. Remembered
my friend who used to shout
his dead wife's name from hilltops
around Perugia. Who set a plate
for her at his simple table long after
she was gone. And opened the windows
so she could have fresh air. Such display
I found embarassing. So did his other
friends. I couldn't see it.
Not until this morning.


"The Old Days"

...I'm here in this
little town on the other side
of the country. Most everyone
has cleared out of our lives now.
You wanted to call me up and say hello.
To say you were thinking
about me, and the old days.
To say you were missing me.

It was then I remembered
back to those days and how
telephones used to jump when they rang.
And the people who would come
in those early-morning hours
to pound on the door in alarm.
Never mind the alarm felt inside.
I remembered that, and gravy dinners.
Knives lying around, waiting
for trouble. Going to bed
and hoping I wouldn't wake up.

I love you, Bro, you said.
And then a sob passed
between us. I took hold
of the receiver as if
it were my buddy's arm.
And I wished for us both
I could put my arms
around you, old friend.
I love you, too, Bro.
I said that, and then we hung up."

#54 Lyanna Stark

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:31 AM

I read lots of poetry, all of it in Swedish (with the one exception of the old Eddas and the like, which work better with Swedish side by side with Old Norse since it is often I can see the meaning and the rythm of text better that way).

I've tried reading poetry in English and mostly it just leaves me cold. Too wordy with too little rythm and no melody to speak of. It's like being hit by a wall of words and there is no silence that speaks. Or maybe it is just the way I am used to reading poetry.

My favourite swedish poets are Gustaf Fröding, Gunnar Ekelöf, Karin Boye, Edith Södergran and Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, but other poets like Kristina Lugn, Olof Lagercrantz and Thomas Tranströmer have also produced some excellent work. (I suppose that you can debate whether Södergran is actually Finnish, but she writes in Swedish, which is what counts for me.)

Which is my absolute favourite definitely depends on my mood, but today it is Södergran.


Kärlek
Min själ var en ljusblå dräkt av himlens färg;
jag lämnade den på en klippa vid havet
och naken kom jag till dig och liknade en kvinna.
Och som en kvinna satt jag vid ditt bord
och drack en skål med vin och andades in doften av några rosor.
Du fann att jag var vacker och liknade något du sett i drömmen,
jag glömde allt, jag glömde min barndom och mitt hemland,
jag visste endast att dina smekningar höllo mig fången.
Och du tog leende en spegel och bad mig se mig själv.
Jag såg att mina skuldror voro gjorda av stoft och smulade sig sönder,
jag såg att min skönhet var sjuk och hade ingen vilja än - försvinna.
O, håll mig sluten i dina armar så fast att jag ingenting behöver.

Edited by Lyanna Stark, 10 March 2009 - 11:42 AM.


#55 El-ahrairah

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:44 AM

"The Tyger" - William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night :
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears :
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger, Tyger burning bright
In the forests of the night :
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

"Bingen on the Rhine" - Caroline E. Norton

A SOLDIER of the Legion lay dying in Algiers,
There was a lack of woman's nursing, there was dearth of woman's tears;
But a comrade stood beside him, while his lifeblood ebbed away,
And bent with pitying glances, to hear what he might say.
The dying soldier faltered, and he took that comrade's hand,
And he said, "I nevermore shall see my own, my native land:
Take a message, and a token, to some distant friends of mine,
For I was born at Bingen, -- at Bingen on the Rhine.

"Tell my brothers and companions, when they meet and crowd around,
To hear my mournful story, in the pleasant vineyard ground,
That we fought the battle bravely, and when the day was done,
Full many a corpse lay ghastly pale beneath the setting sun;
And, mid the dead and dying, were some grown old in wars, --
The death-wound on their gallant breasts, the last of many scars;
And some were young, and suddenly beheld life's morn decline, --
And one had come from Bingen, -- fair Bingen on the Rhine.

"Tell my mother that her other son shall comfort her old age;
For I was still a truant bird, that thought his home a cage.
For my father was a soldier, and even as a child
My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of struggles fierce and wild;
And when he died, and left us to divide his scanty hoard,
I let them take whate'er they would, -- but kept my father's sword;
And with boyish love I hung it where the bright light used to shine
On the cottage wall at Bingen, -- calm Bingen on the Rhine.

"Tell my sister not to weep for me, and sob with drooping head,
When the troops come marching home again with glad and gallant tread,
But to look upon them proudly, with a calm and steadfast eye,
For her brother was a soldier too, and not afraid to die;
And if a comrade seek her love, I ask her in my name
To listen to him kindly, without regret or shame,
And to hang the old sword in its place (my father's sword and mine)
For the honor of old Bingen, -- dear Bingen on the Rhine.

"There's another, -- not a sister: in the happy days gone by
You'd have known her by the merriment that sparkled in her eye;
Too innocent for coquetry, -- too fond for idle scorning, --
O friend! I fear the lightest heart makes sometimes heaviest mourning!
Tell her the last night of my life (for, ere the moon be risen,
My body will be out of pain, my soul be out of prison), --
I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow sunlight shine
On the vine-clad hills of Bingen, -- fair Bingen on the Rhine.

"I saw the blue Rhine sweep along, -- I heard, or seemed to hear,
The German songs we used to sing, in chorus sweet and clear;
And down the pleasant river, and up the slanting hill,
The echoing chorus sounded, through the evening calm and still;
And her glad blue eyes were on me, as we passed, with friendly talk,
Down many a path beloved of yore, and well-remembered walk!
And her little hand lay lightly, confidingly, in mine, --
But we'll meet no more at Bingen, -- loved Bingen on the Rhine."

His trembling voice grew faint and hoarse, -- his grasp was childish weak, --
His eyes put on a dying look, -- he sighed, and ceased to speak;
His comrade bent to lift him, but the spark of life had fled, --
The soldier of the Legion in a foreign land is dead;
And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly she looked down
On the red sand of the battle-field, with bloody corses strown;
Yet calmly on that dreadful scene her pale light seemed to shine,
As it shone on distant Bingen, -- fair Bingen on the Rhine.


#56 Vrana

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:59 AM

I read lots of poetry, all of it in Swedish (with the one exception of the old Eddas and the like, which work better with Swedish side by side with Old Norse since it is often I can see the meaning and the rythm of text better that way).

I've tried reading poetry in English and mostly it just leaves me cold. Too wordy with too little rythm and no melody to speak of. It's like being hit by a wall of words and there is no silence that speaks. Or maybe it is just the way I am used to reading poetry.

My favourite swedish poets are Gustaf Fröding, Gunnar Ekelöf, Karin Boye, Edith Södergran and Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, but other poets like Kristina Lugn, Olof Lagercrantz and Thomas Tranströmer have also produced some excellent work. (I suppose that you can debate whether Södergran is actually Finnish, but she writes in Swedish, which is what counts for me.)

Which is my absolute favourite definitely depends on my mood, but today it is Södergran.


Kärlek
Min själ var en ljusblå dräkt av himlens färg;
jag lämnade den på en klippa vid havet
och naken kom jag till dig och liknade en kvinna.
Och som en kvinna satt jag vid ditt bord
och drack en skål med vin och andades in doften av några rosor.
Du fann att jag var vacker och liknade något du sett i drömmen,
jag glömde allt, jag glömde min barndom och mitt hemland,
jag visste endast att dina smekningar höllo mig fången.
Och du tog leende en spegel och bad mig se mig själv.
Jag såg att mina skuldror voro gjorda av stoft och smulade sig sönder,
jag såg att min skönhet var sjuk och hade ingen vilja än - försvinna.
O, håll mig sluten i dina armar så fast att jag ingenting behöver.


I've always felt the opposite when reading swedish poetry and always found that english somehow flowed better to me. But Bruno Öijer's Svart som Silver nudged my interest somewhat. You mention a lot of names here, and I'm a bit ashamed to never have heard of a single one of them. I'll be sure to check with the library if they might have any of those mentioned above.

(OT, never really liked Kent much but Socker is probably one of my top favourite swedish songs ever.)

#57 Lyanna Stark

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 12:25 PM

Well, it depends of course. :) There are a lot of wordy poets who have written in Swedish as well (Karlfeldt, Runeberg, Tegner and maybe the worst of all: Stiernhelm with his horrible "Herkules" in hexameter) but the ones I really tend to love are not so wordy. Interestingly apart from Stagnelius I really hate all of the ones who wrote in hexameter. :lol: It just sounds forced.

It depends what sort of stuff you like, but if you just want a sort of sample then surprisingly "Min nya skattkammare - Poesiboken" which is aimed at children is an excellent start. I think to this day, it contains my favourite Kristina Lugn poem about an abandonded child and a single mother. It presents you with a large sample of swedish poets and gives you an overview and some ideas what you may be more interested in.

Unfortunately I don't think they have anything by Gunnar Ekelöf as he is perhaps a bit more "grown up". I just got his collected works during one of the many Bokrea events I attended. :)

To be honest, I haven't tried Bruno Öijer. I will have to add him to my list of stuff to get when in Sweden. :)

To conclude, why not another favourite of mine, this time Gustaf Fröding:

LELLE KARL-JOHAN
"Lelle Karl-Johan
han skall ni tro, han
brås allt på mej och är from som ett lamm,
klok är han även,
snyter sig i näven
redan som far sin, Karl-Johan, kom fram!

Se, hur han bockar sig,
se, hur det lockar sig
vänt över skulten på lelle Karl-Johan,
jojo, må tro, han
vet allt att vara med folk minsann,
bibliskan kan han
mest som en annan
prost eller präst eller klockare kan.

Säj mej, Karl-Johan, vad lovade Mosen
- tork dej om nosen -
Israels barn, som han förde ur Gosen,
om en vill hedra sin far och mor?

Nu skall ni höra, att lelle Karl-Johan
allt blir en präst, när Karl-Johan blir stor,"
- sade och smekte sin lelle Karl-Johan
mor till Karl-Johan,
men tänk, vill ni tro, han
svor
sturigt och lett: "Jag gir jäkel i mor!"


#58 Trinuviel

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 02:14 PM

I have an enduring fondness for Halfdan Rasmussen's wonderfully silly ABC rhymes for children.

#59 Morcant

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:59 PM

Frost's 'A Line Storm Song':

THE line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,
The road is forlorn all day,
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,
And the hoof-prints vanish away.
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
Expend their bloom in vain.
Come over the hills and far with me,
And be my love in the rain.

The birds have less to say for themselves
In the wood-world's torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,
Although they are no less there:
All song of the woods is crushed like some
Wild, easily shattered rose.
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
Where the boughs rain when it blows.

There is the gale to urge behind
And bruit our singing down,
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
From which to gather your gown.
What matter if we go clear to the west,
And come not through dry-shod?
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast
The rain-fresh goldenrod.

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea's return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when after doubt
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.



#60 Anatole Kuragin

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:07 PM

The mansion is warm at the top of the hill.
Rich are the rooms and the comforts there.
Red are the arms of luxuriant chairs.
And you won't know a thing till you get inside.

-Jim Morrison, from "Not to Touch the Earth"