Share your favorite poems

FYI, it’s not kosher hereabouts to post copyrigted material. Better ask a mod to truncate it, and then you can link to it.

By the way, lavenderlemon, One Art is one of all-time favourites.

It’s odd, but all three favorite poems of mine are sonnets.

Two are from Shakespeare, #116"Let me not to the marriage of true minds" and #26"Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage"

The other is that sonnet about the joy of flight “Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth”

Speaking of Shel Silverstein (RIP), how about “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout”? I can’t find complete lyrics on the web. I expect the copyright is still in force. It has some great rhymes. Among others:

Brown bananas and rotten peas
Chunks of sour cottage cheese

Bacon rinds and chicken bones
Drippy ends of ice cream cones

Prune pits, peach pits, orange peels,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal

Cold french fries and rancid meat
Yellow lumps of cream of wheat

I saw the Elizabeth Bishop poem on a blog, remembered how much I adored that one and was inspired to start this thread.

I had no idea what copyright laws were involved. Sorry 'bout that.

The poems I like best here are the ones from e.e. cummings, Mark Strand, T.S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath.

Doesn’t everyone miss formal literature classes so badly sometimes . . . ?

The Moderator speaketh:
“Share your favorite poems” SHOULD mean “provide links or references.” It should NOT mean, quote the whole poem.

Fair usage would allow you to copy a few lines to give the flavor of the poem, but copying the whole work is a no-no.

I have therefore split off all the posts that quoted a whole poem – there were about 20 such, including lavenderlemon’s initial post. I’m not about to edit the posts to cut down each of those poems to the two or three lines you think are most exemplary.

If you tell me (via email) that you really only quoted a small portion, or that the copyright has run out (like Shakespeare), I’ll restore your post to this thread. Or if you tell me which two or three lines you’d like kept from your post, I’ll edit it down and restore it.

But, please, gang, remember that we do not permit quoting an entire work, nor even a major portion of an entire work.

Sorry, folks. If I had taken a few moment to reflect I would’ve realized that I’d posted too much of the Hughes and Milosz poems. I’ll try again with much shorter excerpts.

from Czeslaw Milosz’s Ars Poetica

… What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons,
who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues …

from Ted Hughes’
Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days

… They keep taking each other to the sun, they find they can easily
To test each new thing at each new step …

from Pablo Neruda’s XX (part of Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)

I can write the saddest lines tonight.

Write for example: ‘The night is fractured
and they shiver, blue, those stars, in the distance’ …

My two favorites are “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T.S. Eliot and "Song of Myself"by Walt Whitman.

Here is a chart that outlines when a piece of writing has passed into the public domain. The work I posted in total was not copyrighted, as it was published in 1917.

My favorite poem is from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Here it is. I hope that counts as a site. I can’t really quote a bit from the poem, because it doesn’t really make sense without the rest.

Would you, could you, in a boat?
Would you, could you, with a goat?

Man, that Theodore Geissel was one perverse motherfucker.

One of the poems I’ve read of late was Anne Sexton’s Wanting to die.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.

(end stanza)
leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love, whatever it was, an infection.
And then Gwendolyn Brooks’ We Real Cool (too short to give you a taste)
and, the ever popular/hated, so much depends by William Carlos Williams (also to short to give a taste).

and so many more…


If someone told me he/she only had time to read five poems, I’d recommend this quintet:

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

Robert Browning, My Last Duchess

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Wystan Hugh Auden, The Unknown Citizen

Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Of course, I’d be very disappointed if that selection failed to whet my interlocutor’s appetite for more…

Wallace Stevens generally, but especially The Emperor of Ice-Cream and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Not only am I a sap, I’m an unoriginal sap.

This one.

One of Tom Leonard’s Unrelated Incidents, short & sweet and best read with a thick Glasgow accent, (like mine).

“this is thi
six a clock
news thi
man said…”

And even shorter, but quite brutal, posted in the War Poems thread a month or so ago: The Death of the Ball-Turret Gunner

“From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”

Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen. Possibly the most haunting piece of war poetry ever.

Not that I’m very educated on poetry, but one that strikes me in particular is “Are You the New person, drawn towards me?” by Walt Whitman.

I’ve got a book of poetry called Cruelty/Killing Floor by someone named Ai. A bit disturbing, but good.

Wallace McRae’s cowboy poetry classic Reincarnation. Great for a funeral.