What's your favorite free-verse poem?

Here’s mine:

“I Was Mean To You Today”

Things were difficult
and I was impatient.
You were trying to explain
why I must reorganize the files
on my computer, why
they all have to have project numbers,
why I can’t put them
where they’ve always been,
what the tax consultant said,
what you need for your report
to the Board of Directors,
and it boiled down to my files
have to be re-filed, and they
have to have titles with no more
than twelve letters to leave room
for project numbers,
and I said, Well, dammit.
And you said, Don’t talk like that.

You sounded pained
and I was mean to you.
I was bored and tired
and mad, and you were
trying hard. Later,
I went out in the rain.
I went to the mall
and bought us both really
expensive pillows. Down
pillows with 100 per cent
cotton covers, 400 thread count.
I have lusted after them for years,
ever since Mama told me
that she asked Grandma,
who was 86 and dying,
“If you could have anything
in the world, what would it be?”
and Grandma answered,
“A down pillow” and Mama
didn’t have enough money.
I bought two down pillows for us all,
to say I’m sorry.

by Pat Schneider

You Begin, by Margeret Atwood:

I’m also partial to her “you fit into me” and “This Is a Photograph of Me”

I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey’s Version Of “Three Blind Mice” by Billy Collins

Which begins

The rest can be read here.

Gotta be Howl by Allen Ginsberg

I don’t know if I have a single favorite, but this e.e. cummings poem is high on my list:



Buffalo Bill ’s
defunct
               who used to
               ride a watersmooth-silver
                                                                  stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
                                                                           Jesus

he was a handsome man 
                                                  and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death 

This is just to say” by William Carlos Williams. It’s so sweet.

That the Science of Cartography is Limited by Eavan Boland.

I don’t usually like free verse, but the form is so right for this one – you can see the slowly vanishing road to nowhere in the blurring of lines and stanzas into each other, even the way the title merges with the rest of the poem.

I’ve had a soft spot for this one since I read it in college:

Also from e.e. cummings

Count me as another e.e. cummings fan.

The one that comes to my mind most frequently is this one by the author of the Red Badge of Courage:

I could never pick a favorite as such, but this one stuck with me ever since I first read it:

Punishment by Seamus Heaney has haunted my imagination since I first read it in college. All his bog poems do, but it’s the standout.

As long as we’re quoting Crane poems, this is my favorite by him and probably evenly tied with the one I quoted above:

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on now
'Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.

(rereads thread title–oops)

My favorite and two runners up. :slight_smile:

Sitting in a Small Screenhouse on a Summer Morning, by James Wright

The Shrinking Lonesome Sestina, by Miller Williams

At The Smithville Methodist Church, by Stephen Dunn

honour corruption villainy holiness
riding in fragrance of sunlight(side by side
all in a singing wonder of blossoming yes
riding) to him who died that death should be dead
humblest and proudest eagerly wandering

(equally all alive in miraculous day)
merrily moving through sweet forgiveness of spring
(over the under the gift of the earth of the sky
knight and ploughman pardoner wife and nun
merchant frere clerk somnour miller and reve

and geoffrey and all)come up from the never of when
come into the now of forever come riding alive
down while crylessly drifting through vast most
nothing’s own nothing children go of dust

Taking a cue from koeeoaddi, I also offer three favorites:

Ex-Basketball Player by John Updike

Chicago by Carl Sandburg

At Woodward’s Gardens by Robert Frost

I don’t know very many free-verse poems, but I do like this one.

You’ve saved me the trouble of digging up one of my favorites.

There are others mentioned above that I enjoy. But I’ll always treasure this poem called “Goblin Market” by C. Rossetti (poet, artists’ model, teacher, nun-practically):

Maybe not quite free-verse…I argued about this in school, but close, given her contemporaries.

Hey, Look! Hotcakes! No tip for you, Shit-hook!

-Gatopescado, somewhere around 1988