Favorite Poem

So do you have a favorite poem. I do, and I keep a copy of it at my cubicle at work and a framed copy at home.

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowances for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, not deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a strap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build’em up with wornout tools;

if you can make one heap of all your wiinings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again from your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold On”;

If you can walk with crowds and keep yor virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch
If neither foe nor loving friend can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run -
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it
And - which is more - you’ll be a man my son!

Gunga Din. I’m not going to type the whole thing here, it’s too long. If you want to read it, it’s in the same book Tretiak’s using.

I used a qoute from it as my sig here for a while:
“But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of 'im that’s got it”

do you guys know about the Favorite Poem Project? http://www.favoritepoem.org/ There’s a collection out right now, I believe it is called ‘America’s Favorite Poems’ and edited by Robert Pinsky, who IIRC is Poet Laureate. Anway in the book they brought together people’s favorite poems, along with short essays or descriptions from regular Americans explaining why the poem had special meaning to them. It is very interesting and touching at times.

“Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” --Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower,
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Noting Gold Can Stay.

By Robert Frost

I have two:

My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun (Shakespeare, of course)

And this one - but I don’t know who wrote it, nor if there is a title!

You fit into me
like a hook fits into an eye.

A fish hook.
An open eye.

My Favorite poem?
Oh tough call. I do like “A cloud in trousers” by Mayakovsky


I’ve always liked Frost’s “Design”. My favorite lines:

What had the flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?

What but design of darkness to appall?-
If design govern in a thing so small.
Oh, and I also really like Sandburg’s “Fog”.

Not the most obscure poem on Earth, but it has long been my favorite.

 She walks in beauty, like the night
     Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
 And all that's best of dark and bright
     Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
 Thus mellow'd to that tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

 One shade the more, one ray the less,
     Had half impair'd the nameless grace
 Which waves in every raven tress,
   Or softly lightens o'er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
-Lord Byron

In fact, it seems like time for a sig change

I’ve always been a big fan of “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carrol, just because it’s entirely in gibberish but is completly comprehensibleit reads as follows

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought–
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

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.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
In fact, i liked it so much, i memorized it and can now recite it in my sleep

Please do not post the whole poem here, just favorite lines.
A link to the whole poem on the Net is permitted, of course.

Thank you. :slight_smile:

Slythe, I was wondering about that before I posted. I decided a 200 year old poem should be past all copyright problems, but wasn’t sure.(I also wanted to post the whole thing becuase it is seldom seen, (past the part I stole for my sig of course :))) Not that I’m trying to push it or anything, but what is the policy as far as songs by current artists vs. old time poems.

My policy is to try to fair to everybody whenever possible. Would it be far to let you post, and not let others just because their favorite isn’t in the public domain? This way, everyone is given an equal chance, and the SDMB saves on bandwidth space! :wink:

I don’t know why but I am completely addicted to Sylvia Plath’s work. I can’t pick just
one poem but here is my fave line from a poem titled ‘Three Women’:

I am one in five, something like that.
I am not hopeless.
I am beautiful as a statistic. Here is my lipstick.

Most of her stuff is depressing/disturbing, but always very interesting.

dogsbody - I believe the poem you’re thinking of is called “You Fit Into Me” by Margaret Atwood.

“Stopping By Woods” and “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

and (all favorite) Sonnet 116 or, Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds by Shakespeare.

Love’s not time’s fool, thugh rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come
Love alters not with brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out e’en to the edge of doom.

Tennyson’s Tithonus


I ask’d thee, “Give me immortality.”
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant work’d their wills,
And beat me down and marr’d and wasted me,
And tho’ they could not end me, left me maim’d
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was in ashes.

I get all teary.

Anything by Ogden Nash

My favorite poems change often, depending on my mood. But today, my poet is Vergil.

En Priamus - Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi
Sunt lacrimae rerum - et mentem mortalia tangunt.
Solve metus; feret haec aliquam tibi fama salutem.
Aeneid I, 460-2.

There stands Priam! Even here are the prizes of virtue. Here are the tears of the world – the sorrows touch every mortal mind. Have no fear! Our story bears some relief to you.

There is nothing in the world like Vergil. My pathetic translation captures these three lines poorly.


I have that in an anthology at home. I’ll try to remember to look it up for you.

My favorites are
“Ash Wednesday”
by T.S. Eliot.

I have lots of poems that I really like, but those are two that I periodically have a need to read.

My favorite poem is “For Strong Women” by Margaret Atwood. I think it first appeared in The Moon is Always Female.

I’m at work so I don’t have it with me, but it ends:

“Until we are all strong together
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.”

This is the only poem I can recall memorizing; IIRC it’s called “The Hat”…

Teddy said it was a hat,
so I put it on.
Now dad’s saying,
“Where the heck’s the toilet plunger gone?”

  • Shel Silverstein