View Full Version : Your favorite poetry image(s)

07-20-2005, 11:41 AM
Without quoting the entire poem, and with just enough words included to capture it, can you share the image from a poem that affects you the most as nearly perfect words to express something profound.

Two that have worked for me since I first read them are:

From Ozymandias:

"Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

From The Listeners:

"Aye, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone."

An Arky
07-20-2005, 12:09 PM
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose


from The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell.

N. Sane
07-20-2005, 12:26 PM
"Nothing gold can stay."

I love the whole poem (and I'm sorry I can't recall the title or poet), but the essence for me is captured in the last four words.

"I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be.
An attendant lord, one that will do, perhaps to swell a scene or two."

I probably haven't quoted it precisely, but that's from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. I think it's a tremendous pity for Prufrock not to be Prince Hamlet in his own life. Of course, I could pull any number of liens from that poem that also capture it perfectly . . . I have measured out my life in coffee spoons. Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? And, referring to the mermaids, I do not think they will sing for me.

07-20-2005, 02:58 PM
From memory:
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door.
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming
And the lamplight o'er him gleaming casts his shadow on the floor
And my soul from 'neath that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted---nevermore!
The image of the eyes of a dreaming demon is very striking to me.

Bippy the Beardless
07-20-2005, 03:16 PM
Tiger, tiger, burning bright.

07-20-2005, 03:25 PM
from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

07-20-2005, 03:27 PM
(I'm not sure if these are exact.)

I hate most poetry, but I've always liked

"The woods are long, dark, and deep
And I have miles to go before I sleep."

Also Invictus has a lot of personal meaning.

Does Shakespeare count? 'Cause I've always been partial to

"What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have?"

07-20-2005, 03:34 PM
"Nothing gold can stay."

I love the whole poem (and I'm sorry I can't recall the title or poet), but the essence for me is captured in the last four words.

I did a search on those four words to find that that's the title, and it's by Robert Frost.

Manda JO
07-20-2005, 03:54 PM
A violet by a mossy stone, half hidden from the eye
--Fair as a star when only one is shining in the sky.

Wordsworth, "She dwelt among untrodden ways"

Sunshine and Smiles
07-20-2005, 04:03 PM
Next door
There's an old man
Who lived to his nineties
And one day
Passed away
In his sleep
And his wife, she stayed
For a couple of days
And passed away
I'm sorry, I know that's a
Strange way to tell you
That I know we belong

Well, it's from the Ben Folds song "The Luckiest," but damn if that isn't some beautiful poetry to me. Really just sums up something much great for me.

07-20-2005, 04:04 PM
The whole poem is lovely, but from e. e. cummings' "It may not always be so":

if this should be,i say if this should be-
you of my heart,send me a little word;
that i may go unto him,and take his hands,
saying,Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face,and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

Johnny Angel
07-20-2005, 04:13 PM
I love the tower from A.E. Housman's The Recruit. First it's:

Leave your home behind, lad,
And reach your friends your hand,
And go, and luck go with you
While Ludlow tower shall stand.

Later, the state of the tower is less certain:

Come you home a hero,
Or come not home at all,
The lads you leave will mind you
Till Ludlow tower shall fall.

And in the final reassurance to the soldier, the tower appears to be doomed:

Leave your home behind you,
Your friends by field and town:
Oh, town and field will mind you
Till Ludlow tower is down.

07-20-2005, 04:21 PM
I too, like "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost, but I am also
fond of "The Skater of Ghost Lake (http://www.alishya.com/literary/skater/)" by William Rose Benet

Dance of the dim moon, a rhythmical reel,
A swaying, a swift tune -- skurr of the steel;
Moon for a candle, maid for a mate,
Jeremy Randall skates, skates late.

Black as is* lacquered the wide lake lies;
Breath is a frost-fume, eyes seek eyes;
Souls are a sword-edge tasting the cold.
Ghost Lake's a deep lake, a dark lake and old!

*The website had a typo, the word is "if" not "is".

07-20-2005, 04:51 PM
I should not cry aloud—I could not cry
Aloud, or wring my hands in such a place—
I should but watch the station lights rush by
With a more careful interest on my face

and the weather reeks
of God’s great flood, the world to drown,
and the stray cat lapping the baptismal font,
so Thomas held him down.

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.

your ears had swiveled to greet the dawn squeak
and scurry of tiny shadow creatures, scrabbling in the dust
just beyond the barn door.

I love these, but I think they really lose something being disconnected from the larger poems. I'm having trouble reading them as standalone images.

07-20-2005, 04:56 PM
I love these, but I think they really lose something being disconnected from the larger poems. I'm having trouble reading them as standalone images.

I do understand that sentiment. It's the mark of a good poem that the image(s) can't really stand alone. However, the ones that we seem to remember do carry some extra power due to word choice and the underlying idea or feeling. Now and then some piece of dialog in an otherwise prosaic movie will have the same effect. Sometimes, words just say way more than what they say.

07-20-2005, 05:06 PM
A beginning and end of "God’s Grandeur " by Gerard Manley Hopkins evoke images that have always stuck in my head:The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

07-20-2005, 05:07 PM
"A" = "The"

07-20-2005, 05:13 PM
I have lots of favorite 'bits' of poetry for various reasons, but I'm giving this post to my dad, because I love his reason for his favorite bit. He loves the refrain from "Mandalay" by Rudyard Kipling. You know, "

07-20-2005, 05:13 PM
Oooh, ooh. Let me play! (warning: English major and poetry geek ahead)

All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
-- William Butler Yeats, 'Easter 1916'

as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
-- e.e. cummings, 'somewhere i have never travelled'

Wild men, who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
-- Dylan Thomas, 'Do Not Go Gentle'

World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.
-- Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy, 'Ode'

A dream that a lion had dreamed
Till the wilderness cried aloud,
A secret between you two,
Between the proud and the proud.
Yet she, singing upon her road,
Half lion, half child, is at peace.
-- William Butler Yeats, 'Against Unworthy Praise'

07-20-2005, 05:16 PM
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!"

If you ask him why he loves that, he says, "Because I've seen the sun rise off the coast of China and the dawn really does come up like thunder." I've alwasy thought that was cool as hell -- although, when he first told me this (when I was just a wee one), I was mostly interested in whether or not he'd seen flying fishes (he had) and whether or not they really flew (sort of, it's more like really long jumping).

07-20-2005, 05:17 PM
Hey! My post got split in the middle and lizardling snuck in there! What happened?

07-20-2005, 05:49 PM
More Prufrock:I should have been a pair of ragged claws, Scuttling across the floors of silent seas
More Coleridge: And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail
Stevens:Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
Shelley:--Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies--
Robert Browning:--All the day
Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.
andAs for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud
Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood.
and much of the rest of "Childe Roland," actually.
Atwood:You fit into me
like a hook into an eye
A fish hook
An open eye
Wordsworth:The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
07-20-2005, 07:06 PM
The poem is so short that the "image" is more than half of it:

The invisible worm
That flies in the night
In the howling storm

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy

Queen Bruin
07-20-2005, 07:42 PM
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose


from The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell.
I came in to mention that one as well. A restored B17 Flying Fortress paid a visit to my local airfield; that poem was screaming in my head when I saw it.
Also (can't do the spacing right, so sorry):

who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver

Another ee cummings, Buffalo Bill's Defunct. I always liked that imagery.

07-20-2005, 10:02 PM
This is just to say
I have eaten the plums
You had left in the icebox
And were probably saving for breakfast.
Forgive me.
They were delicious.
So sweet and so cool.The most amazing poem I've ever read. It says so much while seemingly saying nothing, and the image it gives is vivid and touching.

I'm also fond of this, especially when I learned about the pun:

"And your quaint honor turn to dust."

[spoiler]"quaint" was a pun, pronounced like a four-letter word for a bit of female anatomy.[/quote]

07-20-2005, 10:04 PM
andros, your Atwood quotation reminded me of Merwin's Separation (http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1107.html):

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

My favorite is probably Meredith's The Illiterate (http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/Illiterate.html). The whole poem is great, with the image that it evokes of a person afraid, ashamed, confused, and hopeful all at once.

Touching your goodness, I am like a man
Who turns a letter over in his hand
And you might think that this was because the hand
Was unfamiliar but, truth is, the man
Has never had a letter from anyone;
And now he is both afraid of what it means
And ashamed because he has no other means
To find out what it says than to ask someone.

07-20-2005, 11:45 PM
Tiger, tiger, burning bright.

That's the first one I thought of when I read the thread title!

I'm also very fond of this, courtesy of Lord Byron:

She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies

Oh, and this one has always haunted me, thank you Mr. Stephen Crane:

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter—bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

07-21-2005, 01:10 PM
My first thought was Ozymandias, but there are lots more, many mentioned above.

... Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. ...

Even better:
And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Best of all:
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

Humble Servant
07-21-2005, 01:42 PM
Love it! Keep 'em coming:

Here are some old friends:

Eugene Field:

We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!


My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams
And still my body drank.


Westron wind, when wilt thou blow
That small rain down can rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!


The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

And to keep things fresh, here's one I've never posted before:


Sometimes I see alone
coffins under sail,
embarking with the pale dead, with women that have dead hair,
with bakers who are as white as angels,
and pensive young girls married to notary publics,
caskets sailing up the vertical river of the dead,
the river of dark purple,
moving upstream with sails filled out by the sound of death,
filled by the sound of death which is silence.

07-21-2005, 02:50 PM
I love these lines from "Ode to a Nightingale," by John Keats:

The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

07-21-2005, 02:55 PM
Wordsworth again:

When oft upon my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood.


Hung Mung
07-21-2005, 03:11 PM
(I'm not sure if these are exact.)

I hate most poetry, but I've always liked

"The woods are long, dark, and deep
And I have miles to go before I sleep."
I agree with "...Snowy Evening." The exact lines are thus:
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
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.

From Aubade, by Philip Larkin:
Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape,
Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

From Why Did I Dream of You Last Night?, by Larkin:
So many things I had thought forgotten
Return to my mind with stranger pain:
--Like letters that arrive addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago.

From i sing of Olaf glad and big, by e.e. cummings
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments-
Olaf (being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds, without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your fucking flag"
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skillfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat-
Olaf (upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

07-21-2005, 03:24 PM
Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands
Oh where hae you been?
They hae slay the Earl of Murray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

I know, I know. But it is a lovely image.

07-21-2005, 04:06 PM
My favorite poem is A Dream Deferred (http://www.cswnet.com/~menamc/langston.htm) by Langston Hughes, because every image in there has so much impact.

I like
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
because it's so unexpected. Not rage or frustration or resentment, but the perfect sense of disappointment and despair, something perfect turned rotten.

07-21-2005, 04:08 PM
From The Garden of Proserpine by Swinburne:

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be:
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

07-21-2005, 07:19 PM
I just discovered ee cummings' the boys i mean are not refined (http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/eecummings/11887) (warning: profanity).

That last line kills me:

they shake the mountains when they dance

07-21-2005, 07:33 PM
Looks like e e cummings is getting a lot of play:

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stopped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was


Scots what hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victorie!


Still, thou art blessed compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Finally, just about anything by Stephen Crane -
To the maiden
The sea was blue meadow
Alive with little froth-people

To the sailor, wrecked,
The sea was dead grey walls
Superlative in vacancy
Upon which nevertheless at fateful time
Was written
The grim hatred of nature

07-21-2005, 07:40 PM
Poe's been with me all day:

And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm

Hung Mung
07-21-2005, 08:54 PM
From Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas
"Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lighting they
Do not go gentle into that good night."

Can't believe I forgot Dylan Thomas. Can't believe I'm only the second person to bring him up.

07-21-2005, 09:22 PM
Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Ulysses

Rembering the Trojan War:

"And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy."

I can hear the steel (well, bronze) weapons striking.

An old warrior compared to a sword hanging on the wall:

"How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!"

07-21-2005, 09:27 PM
Also on the subject of recalling the Trojan War: the second part of Menelaus and Helen by Rupert Brooke:

So far the poet. How should he behold
That journey home, the long connubial years?
He does not tell you how white Helen bears
Child on legitimate child, becomes a scold,
Haggard with virtue. Menelaus bold
Waxed garrulous, and sacked a hundred Troys
'Twixt noon and supper. And her golden voice
Got shrill as he grew deafer. And both were old.

Often he wonders why on earth he went
Troyward, or why poor Paris ever came.
Oft she weeps, gummy-eyed and impotent;
Her dry shanks twitch at Paris' mumbled name.
So Menelaus nagged; and Helen cried;
And Paris slept on by Scamander side.

07-21-2005, 09:33 PM
The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

07-21-2005, 10:04 PM
A couple more:

Naming of Parts (http://www.solearabiantree.net/namingofparts/namingofparts.html) by Henry Reed. The contrast between the gun and the tree, given in a cold, analytical tone, always gets me. A snippet:

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

And The Death of the Hired Man (http://www.bartleby.com/118/3.html) by Robert Frost, how much of a dreamer she is, compared to her husband's practicality:

Part of a moon was falling down the west,
Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw
And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
Among the harp-like morning-glory strings,
Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves,
As if she played unheard the tenderness
That wrought on him beside her in the night.
“Warren,” she said, “he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.”

07-21-2005, 10:36 PM
You can't beat the last stanza of Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"
Especially the last three lines for imagery.

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.

don't ask
07-21-2005, 10:49 PM
James Dickey

And I to my motorcycle
Parked like the soul of the junkyard
Restored, a bicycle fleshed
With power, and tore off
Up Highway 106 continually
Drunk on the wind in my mouth
Wringing the handlebar for speed
Wild to be wreckage forever

07-21-2005, 10:49 PM
Campion, Henry Reed is great. Do you also like "Judging Distances"?

I'd like to add two little Eliot snippets:

Death shall come to you as a mild surprise
A momentary shudder in a vacant room.

Here I am
An old man in a dry month
Being read to by a boy
Waiting for rain

07-21-2005, 11:36 PM
I love all the horse imagery in Sitting in a Small Screenhouse on a Summer Morning, by James Wright. Especially this bit from the last verse:

It is so still now, I hear the horse
Clear his nostrils.
He has crept out of the green places behind me ...

Last night I paused at the edge of darkness,
And slept with green dew, alone.
I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow
To the shadow of a horse.

07-21-2005, 11:38 PM
So many have posted great ones! I'll skip the repetion of Cummings and Eliot. Here are a couple of my faves:

The Unquiet Bed - Dorothy Livesay

The woman I am
Is not what you see
I'm not just bones
And crockery.

A Note on the Public Transportation System - Alden Nowlan

You can stop talking
but you can't forget
the broken wires
dangling there between you.

As I Walked Out One Evening - W.H. Auden

'O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.
'O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'

07-21-2005, 11:50 PM
Campion, Henry Reed is great. Do you also like "Judging Distances"?
I had forgotten that one; but I do like it, for the same reason. You get the impression that he's so torn about doing his job. The line about the distance between him and the couple making love under the tree is almost painful.

There may be dead ground in between; and I may not have got
The knack of judging a distance; I will only venture
A guess that perhaps between me and the apparent lovers,
(Who, incidentally, appear by now to have finished,)
At seven o'clock from the houses, is roughly a distance
Of about one year and a half.

Tracy Lord
07-22-2005, 12:01 AM
The Second Coming, WB Yeats

"The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds."

The Sea of Sunset, Emily Dickinson

"Night after night her purple traffic
Strews the landing with opal bales;
Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
Dip, and vanish with fairy sails."

The Lake Isle of Innisfree, W.B. Yeats

"There midnight's all a glimmer,
And noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now,
For always night and day
I hear lake water lapping
With low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway
Or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core."

Dulce Et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen

"But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning."

07-22-2005, 12:47 AM
I'm doing this from memory, forgive inaccuracies:

Prufrock (again!?! but this bit makes me cry)
I grow old, I grow old,
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?
Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall where white trousers and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing,
each to each.

I do not think they will sing to me.

e.e. cummings (sets the scene so beautifully)

anyone lived in a pretty how town
with up so floating many bells down

Ferlinghetti (anything from Coney Island of the Mind is fab )

The dog trots freely in the streets
and the things he sees are bigger than himself

07-22-2005, 12:48 AM
Oops. That should be "wear" rather than "where" in Prufrock. Ok, I'm tired. So sue me!

07-22-2005, 10:08 AM
Yup, more e. e. cummings, but you have to hand it to the man for sheer imagery. I find this entire poem incredibly touching, but I'll try to pare it down:

if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses

my father will be(deep like a rose
tall like a rose)

which whisper
This is my beloved my

(suddenly in sunlight

he will bow,

& the whole garden will bow)

Only Mostly Dead
07-22-2005, 11:22 AM
I need to read more poetry, I bring up the same few poems any time one of these threads creeps around.

My absolute favorite image is the most gorgeous picture of anticipation that I have ever read (granted, translated into English), Pablo Neruda "Alliance (Sonata)"Between lips and lips there are cities
of great ash and moist crest,
drops of when and how, indefinite
between lips and lips, as if along a coast
of sand and glass, the wind passes
And I could very well just quote my favorite poem in entirety, since it is only 55 words (for reference, the quote above is 36), most monosyllabic. It is an exercise in simplicity, one or two images making up the entire poem: Mark Strand "Keeping Things Whole (http://judithpordon.tripod.com/poetry/id75.html)" (note: as short as it is, I am not directly quoting since it is an entire work and I do not wish to run afoul of the mods or copyright)

07-22-2005, 11:49 AM
<snip> It is an exercise in simplicity, one or two images making up the entire poem: Mark Strand "Keeping Things Whole (http://judithpordon.tripod.com/poetry/id75.html)"

Thanks for this link. I really do like that poem; both it and the poet are new to me.

That's the kind of image I had in mind when I posted the OP.

In an earlier post koeeoaddi had:

"I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow
To the shadow of a horse."

Somehow, those images involving shadows, echoes, emptiness, and the absence of stimuli in general appeal to something in me that I find it hard to define.

Another example that really needs the entire poem for the image to make sense (at least for me) is Louise Bogan's Medusa (http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/2001/bogan0102.html). Perhaps it took the awareness of who/what Medusa was all about for the chill to run through my bones on those last two lines, but the effect is there still.

Can you think of other such things, or is my description still too vague?

07-22-2005, 11:56 AM
The lament of Marcellus, from Aeneid VI. Dryden's translation. It is not a short selection, but the poem itself is immense and freely available (http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_vergil_aeneid_vi.htm).

He paus'd; and, while with wond'ring eyes they view'd
The passing spirits, thus his speech renew'd:
"See great Marcellus! how, untir'd in toils,
He moves with manly grace, how rich with regal spoils!
He, when his country, threaten'd with alarms,
Requires his courage and his conqu'ring arms,
Shall more than once the Punic bands affright;
Shall kill the Gaulish king in single fight;
Then to the Capitol in triumph move,
And the third spoils shall grace Feretrian Jove."
AEneas here beheld, of form divine,
A godlike youth in glitt'ring armor shine,
With great Marcellus keeping equal pace;
But gloomy were his eyes, dejected was his face.
He saw, and, wond'ring, ask'd his airy guide,
What and of whence was he, who press'd the hero's side:
"His son, or one of his illustrious name?
How like the former, and almost the same!
Observe the crowds that compass him around;
All gaze, and all admire, and raise a shouting sound:
But hov'ring mists around his brows are spread,
And night, with sable shades, involves his head."
"Seek not to know," the ghost replied with tears,
"The sorrows of thy sons in future years.
This youth (the blissful vision of a day)
Shall just be shown on earth, and snatch'd away.
The gods too high had rais'd the Roman state,
Were but their gifts as permanent as great.
What groans of men shall fill the Martian field!
How fierce a blaze his flaming pile shall yield!
What fun'ral pomp shall floating Tiber see,
When, rising from his bed, he views the sad solemnity!
No youth shall equal hopes of glory give,
No youth afford so great a cause to grieve;
The Trojan honor, and the Roman boast,
Admir'd when living, and ador'd when lost!
Mirror of ancient faith in early youth!
Undaunted worth, inviolable truth!
No foe, unpunish'd, in the fighting field
Shall dare thee, foot to foot, with sword and shield;
Much less in arms oppose thy matchless force,
When thy sharp spurs shall urge thy foaming horse.
Ah! couldst thou break thro' fate's severe decree,
A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!
Full canisters of fragrant lilies bring,
Mix'd with the purple roses of the spring;
Let me with fun'ral flow'rs his body strow;
This gift which parents to their children owe,
This unavailing gift, at least, I may bestow!"
Thus having said, he led the hero round
The confines of the blest Elysian ground;
Which when Anchises to his son had shown,
And fir'd his mind to mount the promis'd throne,
He tells the future wars, ordain'd by fate;
The strength and customs of the Latian state;
The prince, and people; and forearms his care
With rules, to push his fortune, or to bear.

07-22-2005, 11:58 AM
Ok, in retrospect, that was probably way too long. Please feel free to truncate at will and with no hard feelings. The entire lament is really worth reading if epic is your thing.

07-22-2005, 01:09 PM
Some John Keats that stirred my insides:

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm'd - see here it is -
I hold it towards you.

07-31-2005, 07:44 AM
Ruth Comfort Mitchell

The Vinegar Man is a long time dead; he died when he tore his valentine.

John Ciardi

Whenever Silence sits down with boys,
He looks over his shoulder and here comes NOISE!

Harold Monro

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me. Give them me.


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