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Ser Bryon

Favorite Poems/Poets

408 posts in this topic

Everything [b]Saint-Exupery [/b]wrote is poetry, especially if it's prose.

[b][i][center]"Où sont les hommes?" reprit enfin le petit prince. "On est un peu seul dans le désert... "
"On est seul aussi chez les hommes", dit le serpent.

I love Longfellow, like Coleridge, Herbert, Herrick, Burns, Macauley.... it's a long list.

[quote name='Donne']Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to'another due,
Labor to'admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly'I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.[/quote]

[quote name='Auden']Here war is simple like a monument:
A telephone is speaking to a man;
Flags on a map assert that troops were sent;
A boy brings milk in bowls. There is a plan

For living men in terror of their lives,
Who thirst at nine who were to thirst at noon,
And can be lost and are, and miss their wives,
And, unlike an idea, can die too soon.

But ideas can be true although men die,
And we can watch a thousand faces
Made active by one lie:

And maps can really point to places
Where life is evil now:
Nanking; Dachau.[/quote]

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I posted this elsewhere on the board recently, I read it a few days ago and it still seems powerful in its simplicity.

"The Uses of Sorrow"
Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

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[quote name='Fenny' post='1644131' date='Jan 10 2009, 21.00']Jumping on the Donne bandwagon. Since his love poems have had a turn in the sun, here's one of his Holy Sonnets:
ETA: Okay, my humble apologies, just one more - this post is longer than I planned. From Auden's [i]As I Walked Out One Evening[/i]:[/quote]
So I go back and read the thread and someone else has quoted the same Donne and another Auden in one post! :cheers:

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Reklame (Ingeborg Bachmann, 1956)

Wohin aber gehen wir
wenn es dunkel und wenn es kalt wird
was sollen wir tun
und denken
angesichts eines Endes
und wohin tragen wir
unsere Fragen und den Schauer aller Jahre
was aber geschieht
wenn Todesstille

translation (by me)

[b]Advertisement [/b]

But wherever shall we go
when it's growing dark and cold
whatever shall we do
and think
facing an End
and wherever shall we carry
our questions and the shivers of all our years
but whatever will happen
when the Stillness of Death

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Something TP said in General Chatter made me think of this:

"...We are insensate molecules,

assembled from the accidental

code engraved upon our genes.

Mud that sat up.

Chemicals mingle in our

sediment and in their

interactions and combustions

we suppose we feel

suppose we love.

We reproduce, mathematically

predictable as spores within

a petri dish.

We function briefly then

subside once more to the

unknowing silt.

We are a blind contingency,

an unimportant restlessness

of dirt and yet Rossetti

paints his dead Elizabeth,

head tilted back on her

impossibly slim throat, eyes

closed against the golden light surrounding her.

Clay looks on clay and

understands that it is


Through us, the cosmos gazes

on itself, adores itself,

breaks its own heart.

Through us, matter stares

slack-jawed at its own

star-dusted countenance

and knows, incredulously,

that it knows.

And knows that it is


- Alan Moore

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Julia de Burgos is my favorite poet, and this is probably my single favorite poem ever. English translation below...

Ay, ay, ay de la grifa negra

Ay, ay, ay, that am kinky-haired and pure black

kinks in my hair, Kafir in my lips;

and my flat nose Mozambiques.

Black of pure tint, I cry and laugh

the vibration of being a black statue;

a chunk of night, in which my white

teeth are lightning;

and to be a black vine

which entwines in the black

and curves the black nest

in which the raven lies.

Black chunk of black in which I sculpt myself,

ay, ay, ay, my statue is all black.

They tell me that my grandfather was the slave

for whom the master paid thirty coins.

Ay, ay, ay, that the slave was my grandfather

is my sadness, is my sadness.

If he had been the master

it would be my shame:

that in men, as in nations,

if being the slave is having no rights

being the master is having no conscience.

Ay, ay, ay wash the sins of the white King

in forgiveness black Queen.

Ay, ay, ay, the race escapes me

and buzzes and flies toward the white race,

to sink in its clear water;

or perhaps the white will be shadowed in the black.

Ay, ay, ay my black race flees

and with the white runs to become bronzed;

to be one for the future,

fraternity of America!

Her most famous poem is To Julia de Burgos and I quite like that one as well (it is quoted in my signature line). But I have a special love for this one, nonetheless.

And... I totally did not notice how old this thread is! Thread necromancy FTW. ;)

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Great poem. I stumbled across this thread, and it seemed off on topic as opposed to where I saw TP's post in Love, Universe, Everything.

ETA: making sense.

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Scot, I am stunned by how good your friend's poetry is. Count me in as a fan!

I'm also on the John Donne bandwagon.

My favorite poet is eec, and my favorite poem of his (I have many) is somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond. eec at his romantic finest. Here is eec reading it:

I don't love all of Sylvia Plath's work, but this one poem of hers struck me hard with its bitterness and desolation.


Viciousness in the kitchen!

The potatoes hiss.

It is all Hollywood, windowless,

The fluorescent light wincing on and off like a terrible migraine,

Coy paper strips for doors

Stage curtains, a widow's frizz.

And I, love, am a pathological liar,

And my child look at her, face down on the floor,

Little unstrung puppet, kicking to disappear

Why she is schizophrenic,

Her face is red and white, a panic,

You have stuck her kittens outside your window

In a sort of cement well

Where they crap and puke and cry and she can't hear.

You say you can't stand her,

The bastard's a girl.

You who have blown your tubes like a bad radio

Clear of voices and history, the staticky

Noise of the new.

You say I should drown the kittens. Their smell!

You say I should drown my girl.

She'll cut her throat at ten if she's mad at two.

The baby smiles, fat snail,

From the polished lozenges of orange linoleum.

You could eat him. He's a boy.

You say your husband is just no good to you.

His Jew-Mama guards his sweet sex like a pearl.

You have one baby, I have two.

I should sit on a rock off Cornwall and comb my hair.

I should wear tiger pants, I should have an affair.

We should meet in another life, we should meet in air,

Me and you.

Meanwhile there's a stink of fat and baby crap.

I'm doped and thick from my last sleeping pill.

The smog of cooking, the smog of hell

Floats our heads, two venemous opposites,

Our bones, our hair.

I call you Orphan, orphan. You are ill.

The sun gives you ulcers, the wind gives you T.B.

Once you were beautiful.

In New York, in Hollywood, the men said: "Through?

Gee baby, you are rare."

You acted, acted for the thrill.

The impotent husband slumps out for a coffee.

I try to keep him in,

An old pole for the lightning,

The acid baths, the skyfuls off of you.

He lumps it down the plastic cobbled hill,

Flogged trolley. The sparks are blue.

The blue sparks spill,

Splitting like quartz into a million bits.

O jewel! O valuable!

That night the moon

Dragged its blood bag, sick


Up over the harbor lights.

And then grew normal,

Hard and apart and white.

The scale-sheen on the sand scared me to death.

We kept picking up handfuls, loving it,

Working it like dough, a mulatto body,

The silk grits.

A dog picked up your doggy husband. He went on.

Now I am silent, hate

Up to my neck,

Thick, thick.

I do not speak.

I am packing the hard potatoes like good clothes,

I am packing the babies,

I am packing the sick cats.

O vase of acid,

It is love you are full of. You know who you hate.

He is hugging his ball and chain down by the gate

That opens to the sea

Where it drives in, white and black,

Then spews it back.

Every day you fill him with soul-stuff, like a pitcher.

You are so exhausted.

Your voice my ear-ring,

Flapping and sucking, blood-loving bat.

That is that. That is that.

You peer from the door,

Sad hag. "Every woman's a whore.

I can't communicate."

I see your cute decor

Close on you like the fist of a baby

Or an anemone, that sea

Sweetheart, that kleptomaniac.

I am still raw.

I say I may be back.

You know what lies are for.

Even in your Zen heaven we shan't meet.

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Book of Isaiah

By Anne Carson


Isaiah awoke angry.

Lapping at Isaiah’s ears black birdsong no it was anger.

God had filled Isaiah’s ears with stingers.

Once God and Isaiah were friends.

God and Isaiah used to converse nightly, Isaiah would rush into the garden.

They conversed under the Branch, night streamed down.

From the sole of the foot to the head God would make Isaiah ring.

Isaiah had loved God and now his love was turned to pain.

Isaiah wanted a name for the pain, he called it sin.

Now Isaiah was a man who believed he was a nation.

Isaiah called the nation Judah and the sin Judah’s condition.

Inside Isaiah God saw the worldsheet burning.

Isaiah and God saw things differently, I can only tell you their actions.

Isaiah addressed the nation.

Man’s brittleness! cried Isaiah.

The nation stirred in its husk and slept again.

Two slabs of bloody meat lay folded on its eyes like wings.

Like a hard glossy painting the nation slept.

Who can invent a new fear?

Yet I have invented sin, thought Isaiah, running his hand over the knobs.

And then, because of a great attraction between them—

which Isaiah fought (for and against) for the rest of his life—

God shattered Isaiah’s indifference.

God washed Isaiah’s hair in fire.

God took the stay.

From beneath its meat wings the nation listened.

You, said Isaiah.

No answer.

I cannot hear you, Isaiah spoke again under the Branch.

Light bleached open the night camera.

God arrived.

God smashed Isaiah like glass through every socket of his nation.

Liar! said God.

Isaiah put his hands on his coat, he put his hand on his face.

Isaiah is a small man, said Isaiah, but no liar.

God paused.

And so that was their contract.

Brittle on both sides, no lying.

Isaiah’s wife came to the doorway, the doorposts had moved.

What’s that sound? said Isaiah’s wife.

The fear of the Lord, said Isaiah.

He grinned in the dark, she went back inside.


There is a kind of pressure in humans to take whatever is most beloved by them

and smash it.

Religion calls the pressure piety and the smashed thing a sacrifice to God.

Prophets question these names.

What is an idol?

An idol is a useless sacrifice, said Isaiah.

But how do you know which ones are useless? asked the nation in its genius.

Isaiah pondered the various ways he could answer this.

Immense chunks of natural reality fell out of a blue sky

and showers of light upon his mind.

Isaiah chose the way of metaphor.

Our life is a camera obscura, said Isaiah, do you know what that is?

Never heard of it, said the nation.

Imagine yourself in a darkened room, Isaiah instructed.

Okay, said the nation.

The doors are closed, there is a pinhole in the back wall.

A pinhole, the nation repeated.

Light shoots through the pinhole and strikes the opposite wall.

The nation was watching Isaiah, bored and fascinated at once.

You can hold up anything you like in front of that pinhole, said Isaiah,

and worship it on the opposite wall.

Why worship an image? asked the nation.

Exactly, said Isaiah.

The nation chewed on that for a moment.

Then its genius spoke up.

So what about Isaiah’s pinhole?

Ah, said Isaiah.

A memory fell through him as clear heat falls on herbs.

Isaiah remembered the old days, conversing with God under the Branch

and like an old butler waking in an abandoned house the day the revolution began,

Isaiah bent his head.

A burden was upon Isaiah.

Isaiah opened his mouth.

A sigh came from Isaiah’s mouth, the sigh grew into a howl.

The howl ran along the brooks to the mouth of the brooks

and tore the nets of the fishers who cast angle into the brooks

and confounded the workers in fine flax who weave networks

and broke their purpose.

The howl rolled like a rolling thing past slain men and harvests and spoils

and stopped in a ditch between two walls.

Then Isaiah unclamped his mouth from the howl.

Isaiah let his mouth go from the teat.

Isaiah turned, Isaiah walked away.

Isaiah walked for three years naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered

to the shame of the nation.

All night you could see the Branch roaming against the sky like a soul.


Isaiah walked for three years in the valley of vision.

In his jacket of glass he crossed deserts and black winter mornings.

The icy sun lowered its eyelids against the glare of him.

God stayed back.

Now Isaiah had a hole in the place where his howl had broken off.

All the while Isaiah walked, Isaiah’s heart was pouring out the hole.

One day Isaiah stopped.

Isaiah put his hand on the amputated place.

Isaiah’s heart is small but in a way sacred, said Isaiah, I will save it.

Isaiah plugged the hole with millet and dung.

God watched Isaiah’s saving action.

God was shaking like an olive tree.

Now or never, whispered God.

God reached down and drew a line on the floor of the desert in front of Isaiah’s feet.

Silence began.

Silence roared down the canals of Isaiah’s ears into his brain.

Isaiah was listening to the silence.

Deep under it was another sound Isaiah could hear miles down.

A sort of ringing.

Wake up Isaiah! said God from behind Isaiah’s back.

Isaiah jumped and spun around.

Wake up and praise God! said God smiling palely.

Isaiah spat.

God thought fast.

The nation is burning! God cried pointing across the desert.

Isaiah looked.

All the windows of the world stood open and blowing.

In each window Isaiah saw a motion like flames.

Behind the flames he saw a steel fence lock down.

Caught between the flames and the fence was a deer.

Isaiah saw the deer of the nation burning all along its back.

In its amazement the deer turned and turned and turned

until its own shadow lay tangled around its feet like melted wings.

Isaiah reached out both his hands, they flared in the dawn.

Poor flesh! said Isaiah.

Your nation needs you Isaiah, said God.

Flesh breaks, Isaiah answered. Everyone’s will break, There is nothing we can do.

I tell you Isaiah you can save the nation.

The wind was rising, God was shouting.

You can strip it down, start over at the wires, use lions! use thunder! use what you see—

Isaiah was watching sweat and tears run down God’s face.

Okay, said Isaiah, so I save the nation. What do you do?

God exhaled roughly.

I save the fire, said God.

Thus their contract continued.


When Isaiah came back in from the desert centuries had passed.

There was nothing left of Isaiah but a big forehead.

The forehead went rolling around the nation and spoke to people who leapt to their feet

and fled.

If the nation had taken Isaiah to court he could have proven his righteousness.

But they met in secret and voted to cut him off.

Shepherds! Chosen ones! Skinny dogs! Blood of a dog! Watchmen all! said Isaiah.

Isaiah withdrew to the Branch.

It was a blue winter evening, the cold bit like a wire.

Isaiah laid his forehead on the ground.

God arrived.

Why do the righteous suffer? said Isaiah.

Bellings of cold washed down the Branch.

Notice whenever God addresses Isaiah in a feminine singular verb something dazzling is

about to happen.

Isaiah what do you know about women? asked God.

Down Isaiah’s nostrils bounced woman words:

Blush. Stink. Wife. Fig. Sorceress—

God nodded.

Isaiah go home and get some sleep, said God.

Isaiah went home, slept, woke again.

Isaiah felt sensation below the neck, it was a silk and bitter sensation.

Isaiah looked down.

It was milk forcing the nipples open.

Isaiah was more than whole.

I am not with you I am in you, said the muffled white voice of God.

Isaiah sank to a kneeling position.

New pain! said Isaiah.

New contract! said God.

Isaiah lifted his arms, milk poured out his breasts.

Isaiah watched the milk pour like strings.

It poured up the Branch and across history and down into people’s lives and time.

The milk made Isaiah forget about righteousness.

As he fed the milk to small birds and animals Isaiah thought only about their little lips.

God meanwhile continued to think about male and female.

After all there are two words for righteousness, Isaiah could not be expected to untie this

hard knot himself.

First the masculine word TSDQ, a bolt of justice that splits the oak in two.

Then in the empty muscle of the wood, mushrooms and maggots and monkeys set up a


here is (the feminine word) TSDQH.

God grave the two words on Isaiah’s palms.

God left it at that.

And although it is true Isaiah’s prophecies continued to feature eunuch cylinders and

clickfoot woman shame.

And although it is true Isaiah himself knew several wives and begot a bastard son.

Still some nights through his dreams slipped a river of milk.

A river of silver, a river of pity.

He slept, the asters in the garden unloaded their red thunder into the dark.

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I found this poem by Frank O'Hara at this blog, which also links to


Having a Coke with You

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne

or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona

partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian

partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt

partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches

partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary

it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still

as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it

in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth

between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint

you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look

at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world

except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick

which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time

and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism

just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or

at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me

and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them

when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank

or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully

as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience

which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

Frank O’Hara

One of the things I like about O'Hara's own reading is that he doesn't use what a friend calls "poetry voice", that wispy, dreamy, indeterminate tone that poets often employ when reading their work aloud.

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Disilluionment of Ten O'clock by Wallace Stevens

The houses are haunted

By white night-gowns.

None are green,

Or purple with green rings,

Or green with yellow rings,

Or yellow with blue rings.

None of them are strange,

With socks of lace

And beaded ceintures.

People are not going

To dream of baboons and periwinkles.

Only, here and there, an old sailor,

Drunk and asleep in his boots,

Catches Tigers

In red weather.

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For the bitter and lovelorn, and for the people who have these lines playing in their head on repeat, because Shakespeare can get stuck there almost as well as Crazy Frog, and for the people who don't want this thread to leave the front page for long:

To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,

All in the morning betime,

And I a maid at your window,

To be your Valentine:

Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,

And dupp'd the chamber door;

Let in the maid, that out a maid

Never departed more.

By Gis and by Saint Charity,

Alack, and fie for shame!

Young men will do't, if they come to't;

By Cock, they are to blame.

Quoth she, before you tumbled me,

You promis'd me to wed:

So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,

An thou hadst not come to my bed.

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Cavafy: Long Ago

I’d like to speak of this memory...

but it’s so faded now... as though nothing is left—

because it was so long ago, in my early adolescent years.

A skin as though of jasmine...

that August evening—was it August?—

I can still just recall the eyes: blue, I think they were...

Ah yes, blue: a sapphire blue.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

József Attila: With a pure heart

Without father without mother

without God or homeland either

withour crib or coffin-cover

without kisses or a lover

for the third day - without fussing

I have eaten next to nothing.

My store of power ere my years

I sell all my twenty years.

Perhaps, if no one else will

the buyer will be the devil.

With a pure heart - that’s a job:

I may kill and I shall rob.

They’ll catch me, hang me high

in blessed earth I shall lie,

and poisonous grass will start

to grow on my beautiful heart.

Source of the quotation 1976, Hundred Hungarian Poems, Albion Editions, Manchester

Nemes Nagy Ágnes: Lazarus

As slowly he sat up the ache suffused

his whole left shoulder where his life lay bruised,

tearing his death away like gauze, section by section

since that is all there is to resurrection.

Szirtes, George


Pilinszky János: On the Wall of a KZ Lager

Where you’ve fallen, you will stay.

In the whole universe this one

and only place is the sole place

which you have made your very own.

The country runs away from you.

House, mill, poplar – every thing

is struggling with you here, as if

in nothingness mutating.

But now it’s you who won’t give up.

Did we fleece you? You’ve grown rich.

Did we blind you? You watch us still.

You bear witness without speech.

English version by Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri

Radnóti Miklós:The Terrifying Angel

The terrifying angel is invisible and silent

inside me, he doesn't scream today.

But then I hear a slight noise,

no louder than a grasshopper's jump.

I look around and don't find anything.

It's him. But he's cautious now. He's getting ready.

Save me, Oh you who love me, love me bravely.

He hides when you're here. But as soon as you leave

he's back. He rises from the bottom of the soul,

screaming. And screaming he accuses me.

This insanity works inside me like poison.

He doesn't sleep much, lives both in and outside of me,

and when the moon is out, and in the white darkness,

he runs through the meadow in whistling sandals.

He searches my mother's grave and wakes her up.

"Was it worth it?" "Was it worth it?"

He whispers to her about rebellion, about giving in.

"You gave birth to him and he dies of it!"

Looking at me, sometimes he tears off

the pages of the calendar too soon.

"How long" and "where to"

depend on him forever now. Last night

his words fell into my heart

the way stones fall into water,

forming rings, wobbling, and spinning.

I was just going to bed, you were already asleep.

I stood there naked when he came in

and started to argue with me quietly.

There was a weird smell, his

breath chilled my ear. "Go ahead!"

He urged. "Skin shouldn't cover you.

You're raw meat and bare nerves.

Tear it off! After all, bragging about skin

is like bragging about prison, it's crazy.

That thing all over you is only an illusion.

Here, here's the knife.

It doesn't hurt. It only takes a second, there's only a hiss!"

And the knife woke up on the table and flashed.

Translated by Steven Polgar, S. Berg and S.J. Marks

Kosztolányi Dezső: I dream of coloured inks. Of every kind.

The yellow is the finest. Reams and reams

of letters could I write in yellow ink

to her, the little schoolgirl of my dreams.

I'd scrawl something that looks like Japanese,

then try a bird, most intricately scrolled.

And I want other colours, many more,

like bronze and silver, emerald and gold,

and then I want a hundred more, a thousand,

or rather, I will have a million:

dumb-charcoal, funny-lilac, drunken-ruby,

enamoured, chaste or brash vermilion.

I ought to have some mournful violet,

a palish blue, a brick-red-like maroon,

like shadows seeping through a stained glass window

against a black vault, in August, at noon.

In reds I want a blazing, burning one,

and blood-red, like the blood-stained setting sun

and then I'd go on writing: with a blue

to my young sister, mother will get gold,

I'd write a prayer in gold ink to my mother,

a golden dawn with golden words re-told.

I'd go on writing, in an ancient tower.

My colour set, so fine and exquisite,

would make me happy, oh my God, so happy.

I want to colour in my life with it.

Zollman, Peter

Radnóti Miklós: How others see…

How others see this region, I cannot understand:

to me, this little country is menaced motherland

engulfed by flames, the world of my childhood swaying far,

and I am grown from this land as tender branches are

from trees. And may my body sink into this soil in the end.

When plants reach out towards me, I greet them as a friend

and know their names and flowers. I am at home here, knowing

the people on the road and why and where they are going --

and how I know the meaning when, by a summer lane,

the sunset paints the walls with a liquid flame of pain!

The pilot cannot help seeing a war map from the sky,

he can’t tell below the home of Vörösmarty Mihály;

what can he identify there? grim barracks and factories,

but I see steeples, oxen, farms, grasshoppers and bees;

his lens spies out the vital production plants, the fields,

but I can see the worker, afraid below, who shields

his labour, a singing orchard, a vineyard and a wood,

among the graves a granny mourning her widowhood;

and what may seem a plant or a rail line that must be wrecked

is just a signal-house with the keeper standing erect

and waving his red flag, lots of children around the guard;

and a shepherd dog might roll in the dust in a factory yard;

and there’s the park with the footprints of past loves and the

flavour of childhood kisses -- the honey, the cranberry I still savour,

and on my way to school, by the kerbside, to postpone

a spot-test one certain morning, I stepped upon a stone:

look! There’s the stone whose magic the pilot cannot see

for no instrument would merge it in his topography.

True, guilty are we all here, our people as the rest,

we know our faults, we know how and when we have transgressed,

but there are blameless lives too of toil and poetry and passion,

and infants also, with infinite capacity for compassion --

they will protect its glow while in gloomy shelters until

once more our land is marked out by the finger of peace, then they will

respond to our muffled words with new voices fresh and bright.

Spread your vast wings above us, protective cloud of night.

Illyés Gyula: A sentence on tyranny

Where seek out tyranny?

There seek out tyranny,

Not just in barrels of guns,

Not just in prisons,

Not in the cell alone

Where third degree goes on,

Hot in the night without

Challenged by sentry-shout,

Not where in deathbright smoke

Prosecutors’ words provoke,

Not just in the emphasis

Of wall-tapped morse messages,

Not in confession told,

Not in the judge’s cold

Death-sentence: ‘Guilty!’

Not in the military

‘Halt!’ and the snapped-out ‘Aim!’

‘Fire!’ and the drums of shame

Scattering the squad as it

Drags the corpse to the pit,

Not in the furtively

Guarded, and fearfully

Breathed words the message bore

Passed through half-open door,

Not in the ‘Ssh!’ revealed

On mouth by finger sealed,

Nor confine tyranny yet

To rigid features set,

Peering through bars that still

Show, through that iron grille,

Cries that dumb throats retract

Stopped in the cataract

Or inarticulate tears

Deepening the silent fears

In pupils griefs dilate

Darkened by looming fate,

Not only in ‘Viva!’ cries

Track down all tyrannies,

Surging on tiptoe, strong,

In the acclaiming song.

Where seek out tyranny?

There seek out tyranny,

Not just in mustered bands,

Tirelessly clapping hands,

Fanfares, and opera-stalls;

Just as crude, just as false,

Monuments, art-galleries,

Though cast in stone, speak lies;

Yes, each framed lie can crush.

Even in the painter’s brush,

Or in the car with slight

Noise gliding through the night,

Where it draws up and waits

Throbbing in front of gates,

There omnipresently,

More than your ancient God,

There seek out tyranny,

In school, in nursery,

In father’s counselling rule

And in the mother’s smile,

In, where a stranger puts

Questions that touch the roots,

Answering the stranger’s gaze,

What the child always says;

Not just where barbed wire twines,

Not just between book-lines,

More than in barbed wire, in

Slogans that stun you:

There, more discreet, it is

In a wife’s parting kiss,

Near you and at your back:

‘When, dear, will you be back?’

In words that folk repeat,

‘How d’you do’s in the street,

In the then suddenly softer

Handshake a moment after

Making your lover’s face

Found in the meeting-place

Freeze on the instant

Because it is present,

Not only in the interrogation

But, too, in love’s confession,

In the words’ sweet wine

Like a fly in the wine,

For even in your dreams

You are preceded:

In the bridal bed

And in the desire it bred;

Nothing you think fair

But it has already claimed;

Your bed it did share

Even when love was named;

It is in the plate, the glass,

In the nose and the mouth,

It is in the cold and the dark,

In the outer air and in your house;

As if through an open window

Came the reek of carrion

Or somewhere in the house

There was a leak of gas.

Talk to yourself and hear

Tyranny your inquisitor;

You have no isolation,

Not even in imagination.

The Milky Way through it becomes

A frontier terrain, scoured by beams,

A minefield, and the star

A spy-hole in a war;

The swarming canopy of the sky

Is a monstrous labour-camp:

The Orator Tyranny

Speaks from bells on the ramp;

From the priest to whom you confess,

From his sermon no less,

Church, Parliament, these

And the rack, are but stage properties:

Open and close your eyes;

Still its scrutiny lies

Upon you like a sickness,

Following you with memory’s quickness.

Harks at the wheels of the train;

This is their refrain:

‘You are taken prisoner, prisoner’;

On the hill, by the sea, you inhale the same reminder.

In the lightning flash it is seen

In every unforeseen

Little noise; its dart

Lights up your astonished heart.

Where you rest, there it is

In boredom’s manacles,

In showers that forge nearby

Bars that reach up the sky,

In the snow, whose fall

Sheer as a cell wail

Hides you while it looks

Through the eyes of your dog,

For it is in all you intend,

In Your to-morrow it is at hand,

Before your thoughts it is aware,

In your every movement it is there;

As water cleaves the river-bed

You follow and form it; but instead

Of peering from that circle anew,

Out of the glass it looks at you,

In vain you try to escape its wrath:

Prisoner and jailer, you are both;

It works its own corrosive way

Into the taste of your tobacco,

Into the very clothes you wear –

It penetrates you to the marrow;

You detach your sense from it, only to find

No other thought will come to your mind.

You look about, but what prompts your gazing?

You use your eyes, but what do they catch?

Already a forest fire is blazing

Fanned into flame by the stick of a match

Where carelessly you threw it down

As you walked, and forgot to tread it in,

And now it guards you in the town,

In field and home and the factories’ din;

No longer you feel what it is to live;

Bread and meat, you do not know them;

You cannot have desire, nor love;

To stretch out your arms is now denied you.

Thus does the slave forge with care

The fetters he himself must wear;

You nourish tyranny when you eat;

You beget your child for it.

Where seek tyranny? Think again:

Everyone is a link in the chain;

Of tyranny’s stench you are not free:

You yourself are tyranny.

Like a mole on a sunny day

Walking in his blind, dark way,

We walk and fidget in our rooms

Making a Sahara of our homes;

Because, where tyranny is,

Everything is in vain,

Every creation, even this

Poem I sing turns vain,

Because it is standing

From the first at your grave,

Your own biography branding,

And even your ashes are its slave.

Watkins, Vernon

Source of the quotation 1976, Hundred Hungarian Poems, Albion Editions, Manchester

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Ady Endre: I guard your eyes

With my old man's wrinkled hand,

with my old man's squinting eyes,

let me hold your lovely hand,

let me guard your lovely eyes.

Worlds have tumbled, through their fall

like a wild beast chased by fright

I came, and I on you did call

scared, I wait with you inside.

With my old man's wrinkled hand,

with my old man's squinting eyes,

let me hold your lovely hand,

let me guard your lovely eyes.

I do not know why, how long

can I thus remain for you -

but I hold your lovely hand

and I guard your lovely eyes.

Makkai, Adam

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"Loving humans


Writing poems & songs

Novels & plays, slogans, chants

& protest signs

Our critics


To stone

Us for


We think of


As people

Under different


We might

Be able

To help.

There is


A Buddha


Every one

Of us

Loving humans

With all

Our clear &



To evolve

Makes this hard

For most humans

To see.

But not you."

-Alice Walker

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Smooth.. heh.. yep..

Heheheh.. remix..

Just waking up in the mornin gotta thank God

I don't know but today seems kinda odd

No barkin from the dogs, no smog

And momma cooked a breakfast with no hog

I got my grub on, but didn't pig out

Finally got a call from a girl I wanna dig out

Hooked it up for later as I hit the do'

Thinkin will I live, another twenty-fo'

I gotta go cause I got me a drop top

And if I hit the switch, I can make the ass drop

Had to stop, at a red light

Lookin in my mirror and not a jacker in sight

And everything is alright

I got a beep from Kim, and she can fuck all night

Called up the homies and I'm askin y'all

Which park, are y'all playin basketball?

Get me on the court and I'm trouble

Last week fucked around and got a triple double

Freakin niggas everyway like M.J.

I can't believe, today was a good day

That's right..

Creep to the pad and hit the showers

Didn't even get no static from the cowards

Cause just yesterday them fools tried to blast me

Saw the police and they rolled right past me

No flexin, didn't even look in a brother's direction

as I ran the intersection

Went to $hort Dog's house, they was watchin Yo! MTV Raps

What's the haps on the craps?

Shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em

Roll 'em in a circle of homies and watch me break 'em

with the seven, seven-eleven, seven-eleven

Seven even back do' Lil' Joe

Picked up the cash flow

Then we played bones, and I'm yellin domino

Plus nobody I know got killed in South Central L.A.

Today was a good day


Left my homie's house paid

Picked up a girl been tryin to do since the twelve grade

It's ironic, I had the brew she had the chronic

The Lakers beat the Supersonics

Felt on the big fat fanny

Pulled out the jammy, and killed the punanny

And my jimmy runs deep, so deep

So deep put her butt to sleep

Woke her up around one

She didn't hesitate, to call Ice Cube the top gun

Drove her to the pad and I'm coastin

Took another sip of the potion hit the three-wheel motion

I was glad everything had worked out

Dropped her butt off and then chirped out

Today was like one of those fly dreams

Didn't even see a berry flashin those high beams

No helicopter lookin for the murder

Two in the mornin got the Fatburger

Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp

And it read, "Ice Cube's a pimp"

Drunk as hell but no throwin up

Half way home and my pager still blowin up

Today I didn't even have to use my A.K.

I gotta say it was a good day

The Warrior-Poet Ice Cube.

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The Warrior-Poet Ice Cube.



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 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.

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Smells of opium smoke

and musk and dried flowers

The ancient moon shedding it's skin of light

becoming young again

A red curtain parts, beaded with sweat

I'm tasting her precious waters and liqueurs

Time is all wrong

I'm afraid of Her

Cannibal Queen of extinction

I love Her

She's the Destroyer

The Spider-Dancer on the Funeral Pyre of Time and Space...I...

God Help Me

She's like an ocean

A Virgin rising from the menstrual foam

Corpse-Goddess stinking of Death and Lust and -

The Thunderbolt Strikes The Bell

Fire snake ripping through the spinal channels

Detonations ascending the royal road

Unfolding into a thousand petalled lotus

The Universal Engine

The Light of a Million Moons

In Her

In Me


-Grant Morrison

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I can't believe there is no Yeats love, or at least I didn't find it!


by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

HEAR the Shadowy Horses, their long manes a-shake,

Their hoofs heavy with tumult, their eyes glimmering white;

The North unfolds above them clinging, creeping night,

The East her hidden joy before the morning break,

The West weeps in pale dew and sighs passing away,

The South is pouring down roses of crimson fire:

O vanity of Sleep, Hope, Dream, endless Desire,

The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay:

Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat

Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,

Drowning love's lonely hour in deep twilight of rest,

And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet.

Then of course, the great ee cummings:

she being Brand

she being Brand

-new;and you

know consequently a

little stiff I was

careful of her and (having

thoroughly oiled the universal

joint tested my gas felt of

her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the

clutch (and then somehow got into reverse she

kicked what

the hell) next

minute i was back in neutral tried and

again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my

lev-er Right-

oh and her gears being in

A 1 shape passed

from low through

second-in-to-high like

greasedlightning) just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice,good


was the first ride and believe I we was

happy to see how nice and acted right up to

the last minute coming back down by the Public

Gardens I slammed on





breaks Bothatonce and

brought allofher tremB


to a:dead.



WH Auden...did I miss him in this list? Oh, how i love Auden, though I've not read him in years.

As I Walked Out One Evening

As I walked out one evening,

Walking down Bristol Street,

The crowds upon the pavement

Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river

I heard a lover sing

Under an arch of the railway:

‘Love has no ending.

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you

Till China and Africa meet,

And the river jumps over the mountain

And the salmon sing in the street,

‘I’ll love you till the ocean

Is folded and hung up to dry

And the seven stars go squawking

Like geese about the sky.

‘The years shall run like rabbits,

For in my arms I hold

The Flower of the Ages,

And the first love of the world.’

But all the clocks in the city

Began to whirr and chime:

‘O let not Time deceive you,

You cannot conquer Time.

‘In the burrows of the Nightmare

Where Justice naked is,

Time watches from the shadow

And coughs when you would kiss.

‘In headaches and in worry

Vaguely life leaks away,

And Time will have his fancy

To-morrow or to-day.

‘Into many a green valley

Drifts the appalling snow;

Time breaks the threaded dances

And the diver’s brilliant bow.

‘O plunge your hands in water,

Plunge them in up to the wrist;

Stare, stare in the basin

And wonder what you’ve missed.

‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,

The desert sighs in the bed,

And the crack in the tea-cup opens

A lane to the land of the dead.

‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes

And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,

And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,

And Jill goes down on her back.

‘O look, look in the mirror?

O look in your distress:

Life remains a blessing

Although you cannot bless.

‘O stand, stand at the window

As the tears scald and start;

You shall love your crooked neighbour

With your crooked heart.’

It was late, late in the evening,

The lovers they were gone;

The clocks had ceased their chiming,

And the deep river ran on.

By W.H. Auden

And Leonard Cohen:

"Dance Me To The End Of Love"

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone

Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon

Show me slowly what I only know the limits of

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born

Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn

Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in

Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love

They're lyrics, really, so there is some repetition but the parts that are poetry are...poetry. Love.

Sorry, i don't know how to do the cool quotey thing!

There is some great stuff on here!

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