Have you ever had a poem stuck in your head?

For the past couple of weeks, Langston Hughes’ poem A Dream Deferred has been running around in my head. Its driving me nuts!

If you’ve had a lingering poem, what was it?

Robert Frost, every time I see Telefon :slight_smile:

I hate poetry, as a rule. I like some Poe, and some Blake, but every so often, I have the first two lines of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 running over and over in my head. Annoying.


Mary Coleridge, the last two lines of “The weapon that you fought with was a word”. I read it in high school and those lines stuck, but I could never remember who wrote it or what the poem’s title was.

Recently I looked again using Google, and there it was. The last two lines:

Gregory Corso, “Sidewalk Orgy.”

I think it’s because a friend told me about seeing a trumpeter swan recently.

Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar: “And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars, and they pulse again with a keener sting --”

And, of course, this month I always hear part of “The Wasteland” by T.S. Eliot: “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” It’s funny: I started out hating The Wasteland in college, but every time I read it, I find something new in it, and it’s become one of my favorite poems.

Billy Collins’ Questions About Angels I just can’t get the image of the tired band and the lone angel dancing on the tiny dance floor out of my head. And swinging on hinges saying they’re names backwards and forwards. I guess it’s just the whimsey of it. Makes me smile whenever it pops into my brain.

For years I’ve had a recurring mindworm that is a scrap of Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill:
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Heheh…I love the Sonnets because roughly 90% of the people who fawn over and borrow the “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day etc. etc.” have no idea that that was written by a man and directed at another man.

The poem that has haunted me the most, if you will, is The Lady of Shallott. It’s just so beautiful and tragic, I found it hard to get out of my head the first time I heard it.

I get the first line of Plath’s “Daddy” stuck in my head all the time: “You do not do, you do not do”. It lodges in my brain like a rap hook.

Gee thanks. Now I have it stuck in my head!

Ach, du

Better than “Prufrock,” I suppose. The thing about “Prufrock” is that I have the damn thing memorized so when I get one line stuck in my head I end up running through the entire poem.

This is the poem stuck in my head. ALL THE TIME!!!

It’s credited to Hughes Mearns, but I have the feeling I picked it up through Stephen King. It gives me the shivers.

from The Havamel

All day long. I think it’s a way of telling myself “you gotta quit smoking dude”.

An Emerson poem that goes through my head fairly frequently is

A subtle chain of countless rings
The next unto the farthest brings;
The eye reads omens where it goes,
And speaks all languages the rose;
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of

And a poem that it took me forever to learn when I was in a production of Night of the Iguana is now lodged there perfectly (“How calmly does the orange branch/observe the sky begin to blanch…”- you can google the rest- I can’t stand that poem.)

As it’s spring, Housman’s ‘Loveliest of trees the cherry now’ is a constant background music in my brain.

For a month or so last winter I had Pippa’s Song stuck in my head, just showing up all the time and repeating. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what set it off, until I realized I was reading David McCullough’s bio of Teddy Roosevelt, Mornings on Horseback. Apparently the rhythm got it going.
Morning’s at seven
The hillside’s dew-pearled
God’s in His heaven
All’s right with the world

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

*While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
A high-explosive shell came down
And mutton rained around. *
-Hector Munro

*If I had a shiny gun,
I could have a world of fun,
Speeding bullets through the brains
Of the folks who give me pains.

Or had I some poisonous gas,
I could make the moments pass
Bumping off a number of
People whom I do not love.

But I have no lethal weapon.
Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
So they still are quick and well,
Who should be, by rights, in hell.*

This one usually pops up while I’m at work. Get out of my head, Dorothy Parker!

I have two, which permanently implanted themselves in my brain the moment I read them:

You Fit Into Me” by Margaret Atwood.

Also the last lines of “Trauma,” by Brad Leithauser:

The past never passes.
It simply amasses.

‘Don John of Austria is going to the war’

(Lepanto by GK Chesterton)

I once played a 6 hour game of chess with this stuck in my mind… :eek: