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Poem of the Day 
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I was at a music festival last weekend and I hear Tennyson's Crossing the Bar but to music twice during the weekend - gave me goosebumps each time!

Crossing the Bar


Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.


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Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:09 am
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
A lovely poem; it brings back memories, specifically two:
When I was in high school, our English teacher required us to memorize poems, usually one every six weeks (Does this bring back memories for anyone else?) One six weeks I memorized "Crossing the Bar." She would also pick students at random and we would have to recite our chosen poem in class. She picked me, and when I finished, she was in tears.

Years later, a musical verison of "Crossing" was sung at my uncle's funeral.


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Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:12 pm
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Here is a YouTube of the poem sung by Linda and Robin Williams.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjWTUCDuxFY


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
On first looking into Chapman’s Homer
by John Keats (1816)

MUCH have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Keats wrote this sonnet after reading Elizabethan playwright George Chapman's new translation of Homer. Until this time, the only translations of Homer available were by John Dryden and Alexander Pope. Obviously Keats was inspired by the new translation. According to Wikipedia, this poem is often cited to "demonstrate the emotional power of a great work of art, and the ability of great art to create an epiphany in its beholder."

"demesne" in line six means domain and is pronounced the same.

John Ciardi discusses the three metaphors used by Keats here: the traveling in "realms of gold", of an astronomer discovering a new planet ("Watcher of the skies"), and the explorer's discovery of the Pacific Ocean.

I love that turn of phrase "Watcher of the skies" by the way, which itself inspired a song by the band Genesis.


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I'm sure I mentioned this pedantic detail when the poem came up in "The Top 500 Poems": It was Balboa who held the distinction of first European to view the Pacific from the Americas. If I were Keats I'd probably write "Cortez" even if I knew who the right guy was. Well, the sound and meter require it.

I once read a great biography of Keats by Jackson Bate. This poem is more effective for me as a result, because I'm sure the emotion in the poem is no exaggeration. Keats identified so readily with great literature. His love of literature led him to propose that of anything we can experience, literature is the most real.



Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:59 pm
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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Thanks, DWill, I was wondering if that's what Ciardi meant with one of his comments. I looked in the poem for a reference to Balboa and then wondered if Keats got his explorers mixed up since I don't honestly remember much about either of them, only that Cortez gets rather harsh treatment in a Neil Young song.

I got this poem right away, knew what Keats meant when he says "MUCH have I travell’d in the realms of gold". And over the course of the day I read the poem several times, each time appreciating it more and more. I love connecting with the mind of a poet, especially someone who lived in the 1800s and, at the same time, reconnecting with Homer. Because I, too, experienced something of an epiphany when I read Homer a few years back (the Fagles translation).

Sorry to repeat a poem that was already mentioned in the Top 500. Reading through Ciardi's HOW DOES A POEM MEAN, I come across a poem every once in a while that really speaks to me.


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I respectfully submit the following; it is one of my favorites:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

By Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Post Wild Geese
I noticed this thread had faded...

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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Post Re: Poem of the Day
This a favorite poem of mine. Thanks for posting it.


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In love we are made visible
As in a magic bath
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--May Swenson


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
I've always found this one to be very motivational and inspiring.

If—
By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

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

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



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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Life Goes On...
by Victoria Norvaisa

Restless, moody afternoon…
A brisk walk by the water;
Whitecaps race each other towards the shore,
Only to disappear and die on the sand.
White-tipped clouds against the blue sky
Challenging the sun to break through;
Seagulls straining against the wind,
Only to give up and go backwards.
An ever-changing light and shadow
Design on the path, made by the canopy
Of lush, green tree branches swaying in the wind.
A young man races past on a bicycle;
His shirtless body, rippling with muscles,
Brings a brief memory of somebody she knew
A long time ago…a slight longing crosses her heart;
A chipmunk runs across the path,
She turns her face to the wind and smiles…
Life goes on…



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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Quite the graffiti artist...

All kidding aside, I like this one a lot. It will be echoing around in my head for a few days while I digest it some more.


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
That was great. I liked the first one very much, the second one was fun.

The only thing about the first one...I never found such sadness in the sea. I grew up near the ocean and I loved it every time we went. I guess I am simply not the melancholy type

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
Whispers of Immortality

Webster was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Donne, I suppose, was such another
Who found no substitute for sense,
To seize and clutch and penetrate;
Expert beyond experience,

He knew the anguish of the marrow
The ague of the skeleton;
No contact possible to flesh
Allayed the fever of the bone.

. . . . .
Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye
Is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonnette;

The sleek Brazilian jaguar
Does not in its arboreal gloom
Distil so rank a feline smell
As Grishkin in a drawing-room.

And even the Abstract Entities
Circumambulate her charm;
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.

T S Eliot


I don't know why, but I am always surprised when I stumble across a new T S Eliot poem, it's not like I actually think I have seen them all, but I guess subconsciously, I know so many of them I must think exactly that.


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Post Re: Poem of the Day
September 1913

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS



What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone;
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet they were of a different kind,
The names that stilled your childish play,
They have gone about the world like wind,
But little time had they to pray
For whom the hangman’s rope was spun,
And what, God help us, could they save?
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave?
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet could we turn the years again,
And call those exiles as they were
In all their loneliness and pain,
You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair
Has maddened every mother’s son’:
They weighed so lightly what they gave.
But let them be, they’re dead and gone,
They’re with O’Leary in the grave.


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