Favorite poem


chemist in waiting
Dec 26, 2003
I was just wondering what everyone's favorite poem is. Please post up at least some of the verses if you can :) .
Here's Mine: She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starryskies;
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 gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less
Had half impaired 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 hints that glow,
But tell of days in goodnesss spent,
A mind at peace with all bellow
A heart whose love is innocent!

Coming in close second is Cattulus"
Let us live and let us love my Lesbia
And not give a damn about the talk of crabbed old men
Suns may set and rise again for us
and the end of our bright light
there is the sleep of one everlasting night etc.


Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2004
Interesting. That is a paraphrase (or...self interpretation) of one of the poet Catullus's poems. I read that in Latin this year. Good stuff.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
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.

- Robert Frost.

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Nov 11, 2003
Bangalore, India
I've always liked these lines from Poe's 'Dream Within A Dream':

You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

Poe tended toward the hyperbolic in his poetry (as indeed in his prose) but these lines have always stood out for me.

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
One of my faves is also a Byron: Stanzas to Augusta

(NOTE: Odd - when I search for that on Google I get an entirely different Byron poem - I had to enter the opening sentence to find this:

Stanzas to [Augusta]

Though the day of my destiny's over,
And the star of my fate hath declined,
Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults which so many could find;
Though thy soul with my grief was acquainted,
It shrunk not to share it with me,
And the love which my spirit hath painted
It never hath found but in thee.

Then when nature around me is smiling
The last smile which answers to mine,
I do not believe it beguiling
Because it reminds me of thine;
And when winds are at war with the ocean,
As the breasts I believed in with me,
If their billows excite an emotion,
It is that they bear me from thee.

Though the rock of my last hope is shiver'd,
And its fragments are sunk in the wave,
Though I feel that my soul is deliver'd
To pain — it shall not be its slave.
There is many a pang to pursue me:
They may crush, but they shall not contemn —
They may torture, but shall not subdue me —
'Tis of thee that I think — not of them.

Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake,
Though loved, thou forborest to grieve me,
Though slander'd, thou never could'st shake, —
Though trusted, thou didst not betray me,
Though parted, it was not to fly,
Though watchful, 'twas not to defame me,
Nor, mute, that the world might belie.

Yet I blame not the world, nor despise it,
Nor the war of the many with one —
If my soul was not fitted to prize it
'Twas folly not sooner to shun:
And if dearly that error hath cost me,
And more than I once could foresee,
I have found that, whatever it lost me,
It could not deprive me of thee.

From the wreck of the past, which hath perish'd,
Thus much I at least may recall,
It hath taught me that which I most cherish'd
Deserved to be dearest of all:
In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
And a bird in the solitude singing,
Which speaks to my spirit of thee.

(I have an acoustic guitar peice to go with that - would love to be able to record that properly one day.) :)

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
And, of course, this great short work by Percy Shelley:


I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.​

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Nov 11, 2003
Bangalore, India
As a little side-bar, its interesting how these lyircs by Sting were so clearly influenced by Ozymandias:

They say a city in the desert lies
The vanity of an ancient king
But the city lies in broken pieces
Where the wind howls and the vultures sing
These are the works of man
This is the sun of our ambition
And they say pop music will rot your brain!:p


Super Moderator
Jun 30, 2003
Central California
knivesout said:
As a little side-bar, its interesting how these lyircs by Sting were so clearly influenced by Ozymandias:

And they say pop music will rot your brain!:p
A lot of Sting's stuff seems to be influenced by literature. I think my favorite of his is "Moon Over Bourbon Street", on his first solo album, which he claims he wrote under the influence of Anne Rice's "Interview With the Vampire".

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Nov 11, 2003
Bangalore, India
Yes. That is a brilliant song, and IMHO the only good thing that Anne Rice is even partly responsible for.

I can't cite specific poems right now, but a few other favorite poets of mine are John Donne, DH Lawrence (although his poetry varies wildly from sheer brilliance to outright clunkers) and Charles Baudelaire. I also really enjoy Horace's Odes - total drinking ballads, they are.


Jan 8, 2004
Western Mass
The Bells, by Poe

Perfect scansion and beautiful alliteration, and a "Where have all the flowers gone" flavor.



chemist in waiting
Dec 26, 2003
edtherom said:
The Bells, by Poe

Perfect scansion and beautiful alliteration, and a "Where have all the flowers gone" flavor.

That's a good one. Only every time I hear it I am reminded of a friend of mine who recited it once. Every time she said the word bell she rang a bell. It was dreadfull.
I'm glad I started this thread. All the poems have been very inspiring. I feel like writing right now.


Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2003
Now here's a challenge for all of you, it is a poem written by Charles Baudelaire, I'll try to translate it, but it's really the best in french:Souvent, pour s'amuser, les hommes d'équipage
Often to amuse themselves, the crew
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Take some albatrosses, great birds of the seas,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
That follow, indolent, travel companions,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.
The ship gliding on the bitter abysses.

A peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
As soon as they put them down on the boards,
Que ces rois de l'azur, maladroits et honteux,
These kings of the sky-blue, clumsy and ashamed,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Let miserably their big white wings
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d'eux.
Drag like paddles on their sides.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
This winged traveller, how he's awkward and sluggish
Lui, naguère si beau, qu'il est comique et laid!
He, before so beautiful, how he's odd and ugly!
L'un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
One teases his beak with a pipe,
L'autre mime, en boitant, l'infirme qui volait!
The other mimes, limping, the cripple that flew!
Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
The poet is similar to the prince of thunder-clouds
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l'archer;
Who haunts the storm and laughs at the bowman;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Exiled on the ground in the midst of scorns,
Ses ailes de géant l'empêchent de marcher.
His wings of a giant hinder him walking.

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Nov 11, 2003
Bangalore, India
CHARLES BAUDELAIRE!!!!! I love his poems, especially the ones in Le Fleurs Du Mal, only read in translation though. :D It is so cool to find someone who has enjoyed them in the original. These international boards are the best things around, I tell you.


chemist in waiting
Dec 26, 2003
Baudelair is the BEST!
I had a class last term where we had five diffeent translations of "to the reader"
My favorite poem of his though, would have to be "Prayer for a Pagan"


Jan 18, 2004
stationed in Harrogate England
I don't think anyone has mentioned Beowulf, that is an ancient poem, is it not? It may not read like the traditional rhyming type of poems, but it is still a beautiful story told through a poem. Here's a passage from the translation from Burton Raffel:

"Grendal is no braver, no stronger
Than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall
Easy as it would be. This fiend is a bold
And famous fighter, but his claws and teeth
Scratching at my shield, his clumsy fists
Beating at my sword blade, would be helpless. I
will meet him
With my hands empty-unless his heart
Fails him, seeing a soldier waiting
Weaponless, unafraid. Let God in His wisdom
Extend His hand where He wills, reward
Whom He chooses!"

I wrote it exactly as it appears in the book, with all the strange punctuation and all. It's an epic poem, and one of the foundations of all fantasy. :D


Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2020
My first submission to the Memory of Mankind was Tolkien’s Over The Misty Mountains Cold.

Mrs A

Oct 16, 2020
My favourite poem is by Karin Boye, a Swedish poet from early 20th century. It's in Swedish though, so I doubt you'd understand much of it! I found a translation by Daving McDuff, but imo it completely mangles the original. Though, perhaps I shouldn't be so quick to judge, as I haven't tried translating it myself...


You shall thank your gods,
if they force you to go
where you have no footprints
to trust to.
You shall thank your gods,
if all shame on you they pin.
You must seek refuge
a little further in.
What the whole world condemns
sometimes manages quite well.
Outlaws were many
who gained their own soul.

He who is forced to wild wood
looks on all with new sight,
and he tastes with gratitude
life's bread and salt.
You shall thank your gods,
when your shell they break.
Reality and kernel
the sole choice you can make.

Du ska tacka
Du ska tacka dina gudar,
om de tvingar dig att gå
där du inga fotspår
har att lita på.

Du ska tacka dina gudar,
om de gör all skam till din.
Du får söka tillflykt
lite längre in.

Det som hela världen dömer
reder sig ibland rätt väl.
Fågelfri var mången,
vann sin egen själ.

Den som tvingas ut i vildskog
ser med nyfödd syn på allt,
och han smakar tacksam
livets bröd och salt.

Du ska tacka dina gudar,
när de bryter bort ditt skal.
Verklighet och kärna
blir ditt enda val.

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Dec 9, 2012
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
My favorite short poem has already been mentioned; "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

My favorite long poem is "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot.

My favorite really long poem is "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

My favorite poet, based on the entire body of work, is Emily Dickinson.


Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2011
Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas. A bit of a cliché, perhaps, but there you are.

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

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