what's your favorite poem!

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

  1. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    Someone spoke to me last night,
    told me the truth. Just a few words,
    but I recognized it.
    I knew I should make myself get up,
    write it down, but it was late,
    and I was exhausted from working
    all day in the garden, moving rocks.
    Now, I remember only the flavor —
    not like food, sweet or sharp.
    More like a fine powder, like dust.
    And I wasn’t elated or frightened,
    but simply rapt, aware.
    That’s how it is sometimes —
    God comes to your window,
    all bright light and black wings,
    and you’re just too tired to open it.
    • Winner x 1
  2. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
    So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
    Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
    With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

    Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
    Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
    A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
    A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

    The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
    They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
    Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
    More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

    Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
    Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
    Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
    • Like x 1
  3. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
    When the last fires will wave to me
    And the silence will set out
    Tireless traveler
    Like the beam of a lightless star

    Then I will no longer
    Find myself in life as in a strange garment
    Surprised at the earth
    And the love of one woman
    And the shamelessness of men
    As today writing after three days of rain
    Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
    And bowing not knowing to what
    • Like x 2
  4. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    My life closed twice before its close—
    It yet remains to see
    If Immortality unveil
    A third event to me

    So huge, so hopeless to conceive
    As these that twice befell.
    Parting is all we know of heaven,
    And all we need of hell.
  5. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    I shall die, but
    that is all that I shall do for Death.
    I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
    I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
    He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
    business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
    But I will not hold the bridle
    while he clinches the girth.
    And he may mount by himself:
    I will not give him a leg up.

    Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
    I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
    With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
    the black boy hides in the swamp.
    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
    I am not on his pay-roll.

    I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
    nor of my enemies either.
    Though he promise me much,
    I will not map him the route to any man's door.
    Am I a spy in the land of the living,
    that I should deliver men to Death?
    Brother, the password and the plans of our city
    are safe with me; never through me
    Shall you be overcome.

    • Winner x 3
  6. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    • Like x 4
    • Winner x 1
  7. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    Tell me it was for the hunger
    & nothing less. For hunger is to give
    the body what it knows

    it cannot keep. That this amber light
    whittled down by another war
    is all that pins my hand

    to your chest.

    You, drowning
    between my arms —

    You, pushing your body
    into the river
    only to be left
    with yourself —

    I’ll tell you how we’re wrong enough to be forgiven. How one night, after
    mother, then taking a chainsaw to the kitchen table, my father went to kneel
    in the bathroom until we heard his muffled cries through the walls.
    And so I learned that a man, in climax, was the closest thing
    to surrender.

    Say surrender. Say alabaster. Switchblade.
    Honeysuckle. Goldenrod. Say autumn.
    Say autumn despite the green
    in your eyes. Beauty despite
    daylight. Say you’d kill for it. Unbreakable dawn
    mounting in your throat.
    My thrashing beneath you
    like a sparrow stunned
    with falling.

    Dusk: a blade of honey between our shadows, draining.

    I wanted to disappear — so I opened the door to a stranger’s car. He was divorced. He was still alive. He was sobbing into his hands (hands that tasted like rust). The pink breast cancer ribbon on his keychain swayed in the ignition. Don’t we touch each other just to prove we are still here? I was still here once. The moon, distant & flickering, trapped itself in beads of sweat on my neck. I let the fog spill through the cracked window & cover my fangs. When I left, the Buick kept sitting there, a dumb bull in pasture, its eyes searing my shadow onto the side of suburban houses. At home, I threw myself on the bed like a torch & watched the flames gnaw through my mother’s house until the sky appeared, bloodshot & massive. How I wanted to be that sky — to hold every flying & falling at once.

    Say amen. Say amend.

    Say yes. Say yes


    In the shower, sweating under cold water, I scrubbed & scrubbed.

    In the life before this one, you could tell
    two people were in love
    because when they drove the pickup
    over the bridge, their wings
    would grow back just in time.

    Some days I am still inside the pickup.
    Some days I keep waiting.

    It’s not too late. Our heads haloed
    with gnats & summer too early
    to leave any marks.
    Your hand under my shirt as static
    intensifies on the radio.
    Your other hand pointing
    your daddy’s revolver
    to the sky. Stars falling one
    by one in the cross hairs.
    This means I won’t be
    afraid if we’re already
    here. Already more
    than skin can hold. That a body
    beside a body
    must make a field
    full of ticking. That your name
    is only the sound of clocks
    being set back another hour
    & morning
    finds our clothes
    on your mother’s front porch, shed
    like week-old lilies.
  8. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    Women reclaiming "The Female of the Species".
  9. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    • Winner x 2
  10. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    They were giving out bracelets at work for pride month, and I was looking through them when I recognized that one of the sayings was the last two lines of this poem. So now I have a stretchy pink bracelet that says I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.
    • Like x 2
    • Winner x 1
  11. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    This poem has been rolling around in my head like a marble ever since I read it this weekend.
    • Like x 1
  12. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    It’s true that I’m im-
    patient under affliction. So?
    Most of what the dead can

    do is difficult to carry. As for
    gender I can’t explain it
    any more than a poem: there

    was an instinct, I followed
    it. A song. A bell. I saw
    deer tracks in the snow. Little

    split hearts beckoned me
    across the lawn. My body
    bucked me, fond of me.

    Here is how you bear this flourish.
    Bud, I’m buckling to blossoms now.

    • Like x 1
    • Winner x 1
  13. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    • Agree x 3
    • Like x 1
  14. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

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

    It took me years to understand
    that this, too, was a gift.
    I think Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets right now.
    • Like x 1
    • Agree x 1
  15. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    A teacher asked Paul
    what he would remember
    from third grade, and he sat
    a long time before writing
    "this year somebody tutched me
    on the sholder"
    and turned his paper in.
    Later she showed it to me
    as an example of her wasted life.
    The words he wrote were large
    as houses in a landscape.
    He wanted to go inside them
    and live, he could fill in
    the windows of "o" and "d"
    and be safe while outside
    birds building nests in drainpipes
    knew nothing of the coming rain
  16. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    We were supposed to do a job in Italy
    and, full of our feeling for
    ourselves (our sense of being
    Poets from America) we went
    from Rome to Fano, met
    the mayor, mulled
    a couple matters over (what's
    a cheap date, they asked us; what's
    flat drink). Among Italian literati

    we could recognize our counterparts:
    the academic, the apologist,
    the arrogant, the amorous,
    the brazen and the glib—and there was one

    administrator (the conservative), in suit
    of regulation gray, who like a good tour guide
    with measured pace and uninflected tone narrated
    sights and histories the hired van hauled us past.
    Of all, he was the most politic and least poetic,
    so it seemed. Our last few days in Rome
    (when all but three of the New World Bards had flown)
    I found a book of poems this
    unprepossessing one had written: it was there
    in the pensione room (a room he'd recommended)
    where it must have been abandoned by
    the German visitor (was there a bus of them?)
    to whom he had inscribed and dated it a month before.
    I couldn't read Italian, either, so I put the book
    back into the wardrobe's dark. We last Americans

    were due to leave tomorrow. For our parting evening then
    our host chose something in a family restaurant, and there
    we sat and chatted, sat and chewed,
    till, sensible it was our last
    big chance to be poetic, make
    our mark, one of us asked
    "What's poetry?"
    Is it the fruits and vegetables and
    marketplace of Campo dei Fiori, or
    the statue there?" Because I was

    the glib one, I identified the answer
    instantly, I didn't have to think—"The truth
    is both, it's both," I blurted out. But that
    was easy. That was easiest to say. What followed
    taught me something about difficulty,
    for our underestimated host spoke out,
    all of a sudden, with a rising passion, and he said:

    The statue represents Giordano Bruno,
    brought to be burned in the public square
    because of his offense against
    authority, which is to say
    the Church. His crime was his belief
    the universe does not revolve around
    the human being: God is no
    fixed point or central government, but rather is
    poured in waves through all things. All things
    move. "If God is not the soul itself, He is
    the soul of the soul of the world." Such was
    his heresy. The day they brought him
    forth to die, they feared he might
    incite the crowd (the man was famous
    for his eloquence). And so his captors
    placed upon his face
    an iron mask, in which

    he could not speak. That's
    how they burned him. That is how
    he died: without a word, in front
    of everyone.
    And poetry—
    (we'd all
    put down our forks by now, to listen to
    the man in gray; he went on
    poetry is what

    he thought, but did not say.
    • Winner x 1
  17. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    Where dips the rocky highland
    Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
    There lies a leafy island
    Where flapping herons wake
    The drowsy water rats;
    There we've hid our faery vats,
    Full of berrys
    And of reddest stolen cherries.
    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wave of moonlight glosses
    The dim gray sands with light,
    Far off by furthest Rosses
    We foot it all the night,
    Weaving olden dances
    Mingling hands and mingling glances
    Till the moon has taken flight;
    To and fro we leap
    And chase the frothy bubbles,
    While the world is full of troubles
    And anxious in its sleep.
    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wandering water gushes
    From the hills above Glen-Car,
    In pools among the rushes
    That scarce could bathe a star,
    We seek for slumbering trout
    And whispering in their ears
    Give them unquiet dreams;
    Leaning softly out
    From ferns that drop their tears
    Over the young streams.
    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Away with us he's going,
    The solemn-eyed:
    He'll hear no more the lowing
    Of the calves on the warm hillside
    Or the kettle on the hob
    Sing peace into his breast,
    Or see the brown mice bob
    Round and round the oatmeal chest.
    For he comes, the human child,
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.
    • Agree x 1
    • Winner x 1
  18. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

  19. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

  20. Wormwitch

    Wormwitch I'm building a squishmallow army!

    • Winner x 1
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