Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   Cafe Society (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=13)
-   -   Your Favorite Passage of Poetry (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=813132)

Theodore Striker 12-07-2016 10:10 AM

Your Favorite Passage of Poetry
 
I know there are some poets on the board... and some posters that don't care for poetry at all. That being said, most people seem to have at least one small passage of poetry that they enjoy, so I'd like to hear yours. I'll start with two of my favorites:

I know a search that's useless,
I know a code I don't hunt for,
I know a face that's gone


From Sandburg's You and a Sickle Moon

and

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

From Jarrell's The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

IvoryTowerDenizen 12-07-2016 10:13 AM

I stood upon that silent hill
And stared into the sky until
My eyes were blind with stars, and still
I stared into the sky


From: The Song of Honour by Ralph Hodgson, the last four lines.



The world is too much with us, late and soon

From: The world is too much with us, William Wordsworth, opening line

Inner Stickler 12-07-2016 10:25 AM

Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.


God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay, last half of the second stanza



Well: while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything

Prepared a sinister mate
For her — so gaily great —
A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.

And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.


The Convergence of the Twain by Thomas Hardy, stanzas 6-8

Sattua 12-07-2016 10:26 AM

The final lines of The Tollund Man by Seamus Heaney:

Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.

Totenfeier 12-07-2016 10:40 AM

The entirety of Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, but especially:

VI


Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

And:

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Inner Stickler 12-07-2016 10:47 AM

Speaking of Wallace Stevens, I have no idea what any of it means but I love reciting the first stanza of The Emperor of Ice Cream. The words roll out after each other so nicely and it all sounds so grand!

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

QuickSilver 12-07-2016 11:09 AM

So many.... but I find this one both whimsical and dark.

“The Grizzly Bear is huge and wild;
He has devoured the infant child.
The infant child is not aware
It has been eaten by a bear."

-A.E. Housman

scabpicker 12-07-2016 11:25 AM

Resumé by Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you
Rivers are damp
Acids stain you
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful
Nooses give
Gas smells awful
You might as well live.

Qadgop the Mercotan 12-07-2016 11:40 AM

T. S. Eliot:
Quote:

“And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you
I will show you fear in a handful of dust”
Edgar Allen Poe:
Quote:

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
J.R.R. Tolkien
Quote:

"Eärendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arvernien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in;
her sails he wove of silver fair,
of silver were her lanterns made,
her prow was fashioned like a swan,
and light upon her banners laid.

John Mace 12-07-2016 11:55 AM

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

<snip>

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!



--Robert Front, New England's Poet.

74westy 12-07-2016 12:45 PM

I hacked him in pieces sma,
I hacked him in pieces sma,

Musicat 12-07-2016 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mace (Post 19836132)
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

<snip>

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!



--Robert Front, New England's Poet.

Robert Frost might be offended by your attribution. After all, good fences make good neighbors.

Son of a Rich 12-07-2016 01:05 PM

If she thinks not well of me,
What care I how fair she be.

WordMan 12-07-2016 01:06 PM

A Man Said to the Universe by Stephen Crane

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

Musicat 12-07-2016 01:06 PM

The fog comes on little cat feet
It sits looking over harbor and city
On silent haunches
And then moves on.

-- Carl Sandburg

I have a 75 watt, glare-free, long-life,
Harmony House light bulb in my toilet.
I have been living in the same apartment
for over two years now
and that bulb just keeps burning away.
I believe it is fond of me.

-- Richard Brautigan

My Mom's favorite was an excerpt:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-- Robert Frost

Theodore Striker 12-07-2016 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sattua (Post 19835835)
The final lines of The Tollund Man by Seamus Heaney:

Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.

Thanks for posting this, I just read the full poem, and there is a real beauty in it. The last stanza is quite poignant, i can see why you selected it.

Karen Lingel 12-07-2016 01:13 PM

Since golden October declined into somber November
And the apples were gathered and stored
And the land became brown, sharp points of death in a waste of water and mud.
The new year waits, breathes, waits, whispers in the darkness.
And the poor shall wait for yet another decaying October.


T.S. Eliot, from Murder in the Cathedral.

From memory, so it might not be quoted perfectly. I can never remember if the points are brown sharp or sharp brown...

Prof. Pepperwinkle 12-07-2016 01:15 PM

The Solitary Huntsman, by Ogden Nash.

Last stanza:

For all the fox’s doubling
They track him to his den.
The chase may fill a morning,
Or threescore years and ten.
The huntsman never sated
Screaks to his saddlebow,
“I’ll catch another fox
And put him in a box
And never let him go.”

Sattua 12-07-2016 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Theodore Striker (Post 19836362)
Thanks for posting this, I just read the full poem, and there is a real beauty in it. The last stanza is quite poignant, i can see why you selected it.

He wrote several bog poems. Punishment, The Grauballe Man, Bogland, and Bog Queen also come to mind. They're my favorite poetry.

Infovore 12-07-2016 01:29 PM

There have been no dragons in my life.
Only small spiders, and stepping in gum.
I could have coped with dragons.
--author unknown (I've seen it attributed to several)

My favorite poem is "The Children's Hour" by Alan Moore, but no particular passage sticks out and I don't think I'm allowed to quote the whole thing.

SpoilerVirgin 12-07-2016 01:56 PM

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


-- W.B. Yeats

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.


-- Edna St. Vincent Millay

naita 12-07-2016 02:12 PM

From Norwegian Rolf Jacobsen's 1935 poem "Myrstrå vipper" - Marsh reeds teeter, where he contrasts human society with the constancy of nature. My translation:

-Fifty years and others live in the houses,
the street cars have new signs and new
leather on the seats.
-A hundred years and the cars have stopped
in long rows, side by side they stand in never
ending caravans, piled up in large heaps,
lie with their wheels up like dead insects.
- A thousand years and the iron girder
is a red line in the sand.

Marsh reeds teeter,
bend to the east, to the west
and whisper.

Infovore 12-07-2016 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin (Post 19836475)
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


-- W.B. Yeats

That's a pretty good description of 2016, actually. :eek:

kayT 12-07-2016 02:21 PM

What, no Shakespeare? I'm going to put Sonnet 29 in here because it's short, and public domain, and it's beautiful.

SONNET 29
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

MonkeyMensch 12-07-2016 02:24 PM

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible--
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so I wait--bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.


Gregory Corso, Marriage

That explains me.

pinkfreud 12-07-2016 03:03 PM

From Dover Beach, by Matthew Arnold:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

cwthree 12-07-2016 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sattua (Post 19835835)
The final lines of The Tollund Man by Seamus Heaney:

Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.

The whole poem is in the style of Anglo-Saxon poetry, but the verse that jumps out at me is this one:
Trove of the turfcutters'
Honeycombed workings.
Now his stained face
Reposes at Aarhus.
perhaps because it has the meter, the alliteration, and the internal rhyme down perfectly.

Trinopus 12-07-2016 03:54 PM

Bertolt Brecht:

"Slave, who is it that shall free you?
Those in deepest darkness lying.
Comrade, only these can see you
Only they can hear you crying.
Comrade, only slaves can free you.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.
One alone his lot can’t better.
Either gun or fetter.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none."

Mean Mr. Mustard 12-07-2016 03:55 PM

Easy answer, for me.

Somewhere I Have Never Traveled, by ee cummings.

(first and last stanzas)

Quote:

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near



(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands

Chefguy 12-07-2016 04:10 PM

My wife gave me this one, changing the words slightly from the original:

You are my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I will love you forever, at least that long.



And the original:

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.


-W.H. Auden

Alessan 12-07-2016 04:11 PM

It's a huge cliche, especially in geek circles, but it still imight be my favorite:

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Alfred, Lord Tennyson

cwthree 12-07-2016 04:15 PM

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz...

--Allen Ginsburg
Howl, Part I

Fenris 12-07-2016 04:52 PM

All of Poe's THE BELLS, but especially the first part.

HEAR the sledges with the bells --
Silver bells !
What a world of merriment their melody foretells !
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night !
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight ;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells --
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
also...and yes, I understand that this is not only politically correct, but outright racist--and even by the standards of the time, it's pretty...um....backwards....but.:

FAT black bucks in a wine-barrel room,
Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable,
Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table,
Pounded on the table,
Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
Hard as they were able,
Boom, boom, BOOM,
With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
THEN I had religion, THEN I had a vision.
I could not turn from their revel in derision.
THEN I SAW THE CONGO, CREEPING THROUGH THE BLACK,
CUTTING THROUGH THE JUNGLE WITH A GOLDEN TRACK.
Then along that riverbank
A thousand miles
Tattooed cannibals danced in files;
Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song
And a thigh-bone beating on a tin-pan gong.
And "BLOOD" screamed the whistles and the fifes of the warriors,
"BLOOD" screamed the skull-faced, lean witch-doctors,
"Whirl ye the deadly voo-doo rattle,
Harry the uplands,
Steal all the cattle,
Rattle-rattle, rattle-rattle,
Bing!
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM,"
A roaring, epic, rag-time tune
From the mouth of the Congo
To the Mountains of the Moon.
Death is an Elephant,
Torch-eyed and horrible,
Foam-flanked and terrible.
BOOM, steal the pygmies,
BOOM, kill the Arabs,
BOOM, kill the white men,
Like the wind in the chimney.
HOO, HOO, HOO.
Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghost
Burning in Hell for his hand-maimed host.
Hear how the demons chuckle and yell
Cutting his hands off, down in Hell.
Listen to the creepy proclamation,
Blown through the lairs of the forest-nation,
Blown past the white-ants' hill of clay,
Blown past the marsh where the butterflies play:—
"Be careful what you do,
Or Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo,
And all of the other
Gods of the Congo,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you."

Vachel Lindesy THE CONGO (part one)

Both poems are ok on paper but awesome as hell in their meter/rhythm and language when read aloud.

jtur88 12-07-2016 04:54 PM

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

--"Rime of the Ancient Mariner", Samuel Coleridge

Also:

I will teach you my townspeople
how to perform a funeral

--"Tract", William Carlos Williams

P-man 12-07-2016 05:03 PM

I got a craving need for blazing speed
I got a souped up Mustang Ford
Climb into my wagon, throw your panties overboard.
I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind
I'm no pig without a wig; you better treat me kind.

P-man 12-07-2016 05:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by P-man (Post 19837005)
I got a craving need for blazing speed
I got a souped up Mustang Ford
Climb into my wagon, throw your panties overboard.
I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind
I'm no pig without a wig; you better treat me kind.

Bob Dylan, "High Water (For Charlie Patton)"

Translucent Daydream 12-07-2016 05:08 PM

Quote:

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
Shel Silverstein from "Where the sidewalk ends"

The Stainless Steel Rat 12-07-2016 05:19 PM

Dylan Thomas:

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Rudyard Kipling:

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!


Robert Service:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

kayT 12-07-2016 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonkeyMensch (Post 19836566)
Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible--
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so I wait--bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.


Gregory Corso, Marriage

That explains me.

Oh yes, II love this one.

RikWriter 12-07-2016 05:28 PM

Lord Byron:

So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

RobDog 12-07-2016 06:45 PM

People mention murder, the moment you arrive.
I’d consider killing you if I thought you were alive.
You’ve got this slippery quality,
it makes me think of phlegm,
and a dual personality
I hate both of them


John Cooper Clarke, Twat.

To convey one’s mood
in seventeen syllables
is very diffic


John Cooper Clarke, Haiku

teela brown 12-07-2016 06:54 PM

From Kubla Khan, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

SpoilerVirgin 12-07-2016 07:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infovore (Post 19836542)
That's a pretty good description of 2016, actually. :eek:

Yes, I thought about including a comment to that effect, but wanted to leave out the politics. Besides, I love those lines because they can be applied so many ways. They were originally written about World War I, but they became my touchstone after 9/11, when they perfectly described my feelings. And now they've come around again...

Lucas Jackson 12-07-2016 07:20 PM

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


And


Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away

N9IWP 12-07-2016 08:03 PM

Sea Fever (1st stanza)
By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.


Brian

N9IWP 12-07-2016 08:10 PM

Only those elements which time cannot wear were created before me
and beyond eternity I stand
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here

Dante's Inferno

Musicat 12-07-2016 08:39 PM

On the shores of Lake Michigan
I bit into a Whitefishigan.

-- Ogden Nash, on a postcard

Baker 12-07-2016 08:57 PM

From Binyon's For the Fallen

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Xema 12-07-2016 09:20 PM

The second verse:

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

rowrrbazzle 12-07-2016 09:36 PM

William Blake:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.


T. S. Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.