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Post Shorties and epigrams
What are some of your favorite small slices from poems, say no more than two lines? Let's change that to four lines to account for those stubby lines in modern poems.

......My heart in hiding stirred
For a bird: the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

from "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins



Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:25 pm
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DWill: What a terrific idea, although hard for me not to want to post a few lines from all of my favorite poems.

Here's one --

From Question by May Swenson

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen



Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:57 pm
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I wonder about that same question a lot.



Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:26 pm
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Here are two lines I love from a poet I love -- Li-Young Lee, the poem is From Blossoms.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat

It was so hard to choose which two lines from this poem.



Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:09 pm
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And two more lines from Li-Young Lee -- From the poem is "Hold":

So we're dust. In the meantime, my wife and I

make the bed. Holding opposite edges of the sheet,


I was thinking that there are many different reasons for liking any two or four lines of poetry. I like these line because of how much Lee is able to say with these few words and the the one image he creates.



Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:27 pm
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I just finished a post on John Updike's book of poetry for Children entitled A Child's Calendar, on the Seasonal Poetry thread. These lines come from the poem for April.

The blushing, girlish
World unfolds

Each flower, leaf,
And blade of turf--
Small love-notes sent
From air to earth.


To my mind calling the spring world girlish captures fully what spring is all about.



Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:45 am
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Just about any slice from T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock would do, such as:

"I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

or

"Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

or

"I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker"

or

"I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."

or my favorite

"If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
'That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.'”



Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:47 pm
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How about this bit?

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.



Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:58 pm
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And:

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

("The Waste Land")



Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:22 pm
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DWill wrote:
And:

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

("The Waste Land")


I was lucky enough to have a daughter read me sections of The Waste Land this very evening as I did the dishes.



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Saffron and DWill, those are two more beautiful shorties. :in_love:



Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:14 am
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When shall the stars be blown about the sky
Like the sparks blown out a smithy, and die?
Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows,
Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?

--W.B Yeats, "The Secret Rose"

O she had not these ways
When all the wild summer was in her gaze.

O heart! O heart! if she'd but turn her head,
You'd know the folly of being comforted.

--Yeats, "The Folly of Being Comforted"

That had she done so who can say
What would have shaken from the sieve?
I might have thrown poor words away
And been content to live.

--Yeats, "Words"

Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither away into the truth.

--Yeats, "The Coming of Wisdom with Time" (the poem in its entirety)



Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:31 am
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Leaning Into The Afternoons by Pablo Neruda


The night, gallops on its shadowy mare
Shedding blue tassels over the land.



Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:36 am
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realiz wrote:
Leaning Into The Afternoons by Pablo Neruda


The night, gallops on its shadowy mare
Shedding blue tassels over the land.


Whenever I read a Pablo Neruda poem, or any other that is a translation from another language, I wonder how it sounds in its original intended sequence of sounds. What I mean is, I love the sound of some poems in English -- it just tickles me to no end to listen again and again. I've never had this experience with a translated poem. This thought was especially at the fore of my mind, in that The Waste Land and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (both Eliot) are two of my favorites to listen to out loud.

DWill: Beautiful selections. I've never read any of the poems you posted lines from. In fact, I am not really very familiar with Yeats -- other than The Second Coming -- another of my favorite out loud poems.



Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:33 pm
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