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A Favorite Poem 
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Post Re: A Favorite Poem
Not posting a favorite poem, but a favorite Poet. Today is the birthday of Mary Oliver. To me, her poems are like a mash-up of a call to action and a prayer. For a good part of my adult life, I have had the poem, Wild Geese, pinned up in my workspace. In the last stanza of her poem, The Summer Day, she challenges and reminds the reader to live fully.


Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

https://poets.org/poet/mary-oliver?fbcl ... Cg-cw0V9Ms



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Post Re: A Favorite Poem
This little Dickinson poem is a delight

There is no Frigate like a Book (1286)
BY EMILY DICKINSON

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –



Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:39 am
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Post Re: A Favorite Poem
And A woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's
longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls.
For they should dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you,
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
--Kahil Gibran



Last edited by dawnr on Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:28 pm
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Post Re: A Favorite Poem
The Bridge Of Sighs
By
Thomas Hood
1844

One more Unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,(pleading)
Gone to her death!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly
Young, and so fair!

Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements;(A burial garment)
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing;
Take her up instantly,
Loving, not loathing.

Touch her not scornfully;
Think of her mournfully,
Gently and humanly;
Not of the stains of her,
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful:
Past all dishonour,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.

Still, for all slips of hers,
One of Eve's family—
Wipe those poor lips of hers
Oozing so clammily.

Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb,
Her fair auburn tresses;
Whilst wonderment guesses
Where was her home?

Who was her father?
Who was her mother?
Had she a sister?
Had she a brother?
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other?

Alas! for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun!
O, it was pitiful!
Near a whole city full,
Home she had none.

Sisterly, brotherly,
Fatherly, motherly
Feelings had changed:
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God's providence
Seeming estranged.

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,(a window frame that is hinged on one side)
From attic to basement,
She stood, with amazement,
Houseless by night.

The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river:
Mad from life's history,
Glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd—
Anywhere, anywhere
Out of the world!

In she plunged boldly—
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran—
Over the brink of it,
Picture it—think of it,
Degenerate Man!
Bathe in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!

Before her limbs frigidly
Stiffen too rigidly,
Decently, kindly,
Smooth and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly!

Dreadfully staring
Thro' muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fix'd on futurity.

Perishing gloomily,
Spurr'd by contumely,(a humiliating insult)
Cold inhumanity,
Burning insanity,
Into her rest.—
Cross her hands humbly
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast!

Owning her weakness,
Her evil behaviour,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour!

I stumbled on this thread while looking for simple examples of Iambic pentameter.
Is Fe fi Fo fum, I smell the blood, of an En-glishman Iambic pentameter?


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Post Re: A Favorite Poem
I hope the book talk community continues to contribute to this thread. I had zero interest in poetry until I saw the movie Genius, about the life of Thomas Wolfe, and read the poetry he quotes in the three books he had published before his death. Now I think it's the highest art. If there's a poem or poems you consider favorites, I'd like to see them.

Song Of The Shirt
By
Thomas Hood

1843

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of mournful pitch
She sang the "Song of the Shirt."

"Work! work! work!
While the cock is crowing aloof!
And work—work—work,
Till the stars shine through the roof!
It's O! to be a slave
Along with the barbarous Turk,
Where woman has never a soul to save,
If this is Christian work!

"Work—work—work,
Till the brain begins to swim;
Work—work—work,
Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
And sew them on in a dream!

"O, men, with sisters dear!
O, men, with mothers and wives!
It is not linen you're wearing out,
But human creatures' lives!
Stitch—stitch—stitch,
In poverty, hunger and dirt,
Sewing at once, with a double thread,
A Shroud as well as a Shirt.

"But why do I talk of death?
That phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,
It seems so like my own—
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep;
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear.
And flesh and blood so cheap!

"Work—work—work!
My labour never flags;
And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
A crust of bread—and rags.
That shattered roof—this naked floor—
A table—a broken chair—
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
For sometimes falling there!

"Work—work—work!
From weary chime to chime,
Work—work—work,
As prisoners work for crime!
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed,
As well as the weary hand.

"Work—work—work,
In the dull December light,
And work—work—work,
When the weather is warm and bright—
While underneath the eaves
The brooding swallows cling
As if to show me their sunny backs
And twit me with the spring.

"O! but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet—
With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet;
For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want
And the walk that costs a meal!

"O! but for one short hour!
A respite however brief!
No blessed leisure for Love or hope,
But only time for grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart,
But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop
Hinders needle and thread!"

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of mournful pitch,—
Would that its tone could reach the Rich!—
She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"


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Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:09 am
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Post Re: A Favorite Poem
Another English poem in the social protest vein that I first read in high school is Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village. " It's 400 lines, so sometimes the whole poem isn't printed. It's a little melodramatic but still a powerful condemnation of the English Enclosure Acts that brought so much harm to rural life.
Maybe the most famous passage is this one:

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:

Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;

A breath can make them, as a breath has made;

But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,

When once destroyed can never be supplied.



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Post Re: The Deserted Village
You have more patience than I sir. It's funny, if I had to read that in high school it would have seemed like torture. I can't get to the end of it even now. What are ''really'' your favorite poems? The simple beauty of Hoods words hook me from the first line and hold me till the end. He must have given great inspiration to the Women's movements of the time too, I'd imagine.


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Tue Aug 24, 2021 1:13 am
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