what's your favorite poem!

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by rats, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. rigel

    rigel in a line of late afternoon sun

    • Winner x 2
    • Like x 1
    • Agree x 1
  2. rats

    rats 21 Bright Forge Shatters The Void

    back to share this tasty morsel
    in retrospect it is probably a fan poem for a fandom/pairing that im not sure of but it's still good as hell

    when is a martyr not a martyr?
    he asks over afternoon tea, the evening
    i run away for the third time and return
    three hours later, crying into my
    cassette tapes and splintered knuckles.
    i still cannot meet his eyes.
    i pull my fingers over the hyacinth petals,
    the ones on his countertop from three
    weeks ago, over and over, until it feels
    more like cowardice, more like hiding.
    he grabs my hand, turns it into butterflies,
    his irises a radar of warmth and starlight,
    and he mumbles the question again.
    I hum in response, baritone meeting static
    for the first time, and he paints my arms gold, magicks my mouth into sunrise so
    i’ll give him an answer, and he replies,
    when he saves everyone but himself.
    the meaning sinks in, and he holds my
    shoulders while I tremble myself into an
    earthquake; frantic, my hair becomes snakes,
    becomes wisps of smoke, becomes moonlight.
    i shiver into a new dawn.

  3. chthonicfatigue

    chthonicfatigue Bitten by a radioactive trickster god

    Ok this one got me down deep:

    Rachel Plummer

    The secret me is a boy.

    He takes girlness off like a sealskin:
    something that never sat right on his shoulders.

    The secret me is broad-shouldered;
    the sea can’t contain him,

    the land can’t anchor his waves
    to its sand.

    The secret me swims
    with the big fish, brash, he swaggers

    like a mermaid, bares teeth
    like daggers, barks at the moon when it’s thin.

    He’s whiskered, that boy. Thick-skinned.
    Quick-finned, always turning tail.

    He wears his own skin like a sail,
    lets it carry him to where

    salt swallows mouthfuls of air.
    Let them find me there by the shore:

    the girl-seal with a secret
    boy inside. Rough-voiced. Black-eyed.

    Washed bare
    as the beach by the tide.
    • Winner x 4
  4. chthonicfatigue

    chthonicfatigue Bitten by a radioactive trickster god

    Tis the season

    The Computer's First Christmas Card - Edwin Morgan

    • Winner x 6
    • Agree x 1
  5. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    When he first brought his music into hell
    He was absurdly confident. Even over the noise of the
    shapeless fires
    And the jukebox groaning of the damned
    Some of them would hear him. In the upper world
    He had forced the stones to listen.
    It wasn’t quite the same. And the people he remembered
    Weren’t quite the same either. He began looking at faces
    Wondering if all of hell were without music.
    He tried an old song but pain
    Was screaming on the jukebox and the bright fire
    Was pelting away the faces and he heard a voice saying,
    He was at the entrance again
    And a little three-headed dog was barking at him.
    Later he would remember all those dead voices
    And call them Eurydice.
  6. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    Oh and this one too! Might be spamming this thread because I've gotten really into poetry lately. Sorry in advance. :wordswords:

    A man saw a bird and found him beautiful. The bird had a song inside him, and feathers. Sometimes the man felt like the bird and sometimes the man felt like a stone—solid, inevitable—but mostly he felt like a bird, or that there was a bird inside him, or that something inside him was like a bird fluttering. This went on for a long time.


    A man saw a bird and wanted to paint it. The problem, if there was one, was simply a problem with the question. Why paint a bird? Why do anything at all? Not how, because hows are easy—series or sequence, one foot after the other—but existentially why bother, what does it solve?

    And just because you want to paint a bird, do actually paint a bird, it doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished anything. Who gets to measure the distance between experience and its representation? Who controls the lines of inquiry? We do. Anyone can.

    Blackbird, he says. So be it, indexed and normative. But it isn’t a bird, it’s a man in a bird suit, blue shoulders instead of feathers, because he isn’t looking at a bird, real bird, as he paints, he is looking at his heart, which is impossible.

    Unless his heart is a metaphor for his heart, as everything is a metaphor for itself, so that looking at the paint is like looking at a bird that isn’t there, with a song in its throat that you don’t want to hear but you paint anyway.

    The hand is a voice that can sing what the voice will not, and the hand wants to do something useful. Sometimes, at night, in bed, before I fall asleep, I think about a poem I might write, someday, about my heart, says the heart.


    They looked at the animals. They looked at the walls of the cave. This is earlier, these are different men. They painted in torchlight: red mostly, sometimes black—mammoth, lion, horse, bear—things on a wall, in profile or superimposed, dynamic and alert.

    They weren’t animals but they looked like animals, enough like animals to make it confusing, meant something but the meaning was slippery: it wasn’t there but it remained, looked like the thing but wasn’t the thing—was a second thing, following a second set of rules—and it was too late: their power over it was no longer absolute.

    What is alive and what isn’t and what should we do about it? Theories: about the nature of the thing. And of the soul. Because people die. The fear: that nothing survives. The greater fear: that something does.

    The night sky is vast and wide.

    They huddled closer, shoulder to shoulder, painted themselves in herds, all together and apart from the rest. They looked at the sky, and at the mud, and at their hands in the mud, and their dead friends in the mud. This went on for a long time.


    To be a bird, or a flock of birds doing something together, one or many, starling or murmuration. To be a man on a hill, or all the men on all the hills, or half a man shivering in the flock of himself. These are some choices.

    The night sky is vast and wide.

    A man had two birds in his head—not in his throat, not in his chest—and the birds would sing all day never stopping. The man thought to himself, One of these birds is not my bird. The birds agreed.
    • Winner x 1
  7. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    This is the poem that got me into poetry in the first place. I never really liked reading poems (except for one which I'll put in the next post.) when I was in school. None of them ever caught my attention.
    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.
    • Like x 1
  8. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    • Agree x 1
  9. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    All houses wherein men have lived and died
    Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
    The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
    With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

    We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
    Along the passages they come and go,
    Impalpable impressions on the air,
    A sense of something moving to and fro.

    There are more guests at table than the hosts
    Invited; the illuminated hall
    Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
    As silent as the pictures on the wall.

    The stranger at my fireside cannot see
    The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
    He but perceives what is; while unto me
    All that has been is visible and clear.

    We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
    Owners and occupants of earlier dates
    From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
    And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

    The spirit-world around this world of sense
    Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
    Wafts through these earthly mists and vapoursdense
    A vital breath of more ethereal air.

    Our little lives are kept in equipoise
    By opposite attractions and desires;
    The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
    And the more noble instinct that aspires.

    These perturbations, this perpetual jar
    Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
    Come from the influence of an unseen star
    An undiscovered planet in our sky.

    And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
    Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light,
    Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
    Into the realm of mystery and night,—

    So from the world of spirits there descends
    A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
    O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
    Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
  10. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    You, Doctor Martin, walk
    from breakfast to madness. Late August,
    I speed through the antiseptic tunnel
    where the moving dead still talk
    of pushing their bones against the thrust
    of cure. And I am queen of this summer hotel
    or the laughing bee on a stalk

    of death. We stand in broken
    lines and wait while they unlock
    the doors and count us at the frozen gates
    of dinner. The shibboleth is spoken
    and we move to gravy in our smock
    of smiles. We chew in rows, our plates
    scratch and whine like chalk

    in school. There are no knives
    for cutting your throat. I make
    moccasins all morning. At first my hands
    kept empty, unraveled for the lives
    they used to work. Now I learn to take
    them back, each angry finger that demands
    I mend what another will break

    tomorrow. Of course, I love you;
    you lean above the plastic sky,
    god of our block, prince of all the foxes.
    The breaking crowns are new
    that Jack wore.
    Your third eye
    moves among us and lights the separate boxes
    where we sleep or cry.

    What large children we are
    here. All over I grow most tall
    in the best ward. Your business is people,
    you call at the madhouse, an oracular
    eye in our nest. Out in the hall
    the intercom pages you. You twist in the pull
    of the foxy children who fall

    like floods of life in frost.
    And we are magic talking to itself,
    noisy and alone. I am queen of all my sins
    forgotten. Am I still lost?
    Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself,
    counting this row and that row of moccasins
    waiting on the silent shelf.
    • Like x 1
  11. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    One last poem before I head to work.
    Look! I bear into this room a platter piled high with the rage my mother felt toward my father! Yes, it's diamonds now. It's pearls, public humiliation, an angry dime-store clerk, a man passed out at the train station, a girl at the bookstore determined to read every fucking magazine on this shelf for free. They tell us that most of the billions of worlds beyond ours are simply desolate oceanless forfeits in space. But logic tells us there must be operas, there have to be car accidents cloaked in that fog. Down here, God just spit on a rock, and it became a geologist. God punched a hole in the drywall on earth and pulled out of that darkness another god. She -

    just kept her thoughts to herself. She just -

    followed him around the house, and every time he turned a light on, she turned it off.
  12. chthonicfatigue

    chthonicfatigue Bitten by a radioactive trickster god

    real boy
    Thomas Stewart

    this is a true story:

    they said
    you’re not a real
    boy until you cut
    the wizard out of the tree,

    it’s a question
    of which tree:
    real boys might pick
    oak, birch or beech,
    and then boys
    that pick alder,
    elm or hawthorn
    are unreal,

    unreal boys hold the axe
    and whisper,
    cousin of Merlin,
    give me some magic,

    but magic
    is not a boy’s language
    here, in the boy’s
    toilets or there in the
    changing rooms it is
    the outstretched branch
    welcoming you

    to be a real boy
    unreal boys, who hide
    under their towels
    or become black dots
    on the rugby pitch

    or study the mole
    above their nipple,
    or the drooping stomach
    in the mirror

    are the quietly
    hungry trees
    in the breeze,

    if I were a tree
    I’d be a white willow
    by the bay, a salix
    alba alone and sexless,
    I would only know
    the touch of my own

    I long to be
    a real boy
    I know I am already
    a tree, made of roots,
    standing in the wind,
    in solitude, exposed,
    displaying my chest,
    made of wood,
    my bushy hair
    and eyebrows falling
    past my chipped teeth,
    across the scar on my
    chin and the leaves
    growing from
    my hands.
    • Like x 2
  13. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
    Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
    Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
    Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
    Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
    Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
    The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

    That you are here—that life exists and identity,
    That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

    Nobody heard him, the dead man,
    But still he lay moaning:
    I was much further out than you thought
    And not waving but drowning.

    Poor chap, he always loved larking
    And now he’s dead
    It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
    They said.

    Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
    (Still the dead one lay moaning)
    I was much too far out all my life
    And not waving but drowning.
    • Like x 2
  14. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    I ask them to take a poem
    and hold it up to the light
    like a color slide

    or press an ear against its hive.

    I say drop a mouse into a poem
    and watch him probe his way out,
    or walk inside the poem's room
    and feel the walls for a light switch.

    I want them to waterski
    across the surface of a poem
    waving at the author's name on the shore.

    But all they want to do
    is tie the poem to a chair with rope
    and torture a confession out of it.

    They begin beating it with a hose
    to find out what it really means.
    • Like x 1
  15. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    What we want

    is never simple.

    We move among the things

    we thought we wanted:

    a face, a room, an open book

    and these things bear our names--

    now they want us.

    But what we want appears

    in dreams, wearing disguises.

    We fall past,

    holding out our arms

    and in the morning

    our arms ache.

    We don't remember the dream,

    but the dream remembers us.

    It is there all day

    as an animal is there

    under the table,

    as the stars are there

    even in full sun.
  16. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    You will hear thunder and remember me,
    And think: she wanted storms. The rim
    Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
    And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

    That day in Moscow, it will all come true,
    when, for the last time, I take my leave,
    And hasten to the heights that I have longed for,
    Leaving my shadow still to be with you.
  17. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
    I felt the life sliding out of me,
    a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
    I was seven, I lay in the car
    watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
    My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

    “How do you know if you are going to die?”
    I begged my mother.
    We had been traveling for days.
    With strange confidence she answered,
    “When you can no longer make a fist.”

    Years later I smile to think of that journey,
    the borders we must cross separately,
    stamped with our unanswerable woes.
    I who did not die, who am still living,
    still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
    clenching and opening one small hand.
  18. rats

    rats 21 Bright Forge Shatters The Void

  19. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
    We wear the mask.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
    We wear the mask!
    • Like x 1
    • Winner x 1
  20. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    • Winner x 1
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