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Poetry; The road less travelled


Jul 16, 2012
Right, well I thought to create a new thread on poetry (rather than bump and old one, give it a fresh start and all) where we can put down a poet we enjoyed, a poem or series of poems we enjoyed, or one we didn't really understand but liked, maybe put some of our own up...

  • So, suggestions of poets/poems you like for others to discover.
  • Queries for poets you may like (linked to point above).
  • Maybe some poets you don't like.
  • Your thoughts on a particular poet, what you like about them.
  • Your thoughts on a particular poem if you did/didn't understand and hopefully we can all throw our thoughts in on it, try and tease its meanings out.
  • Put some of our own poems up here for critique or just for others to enjoy.
  • Some general spurging about the awesomeness of poetry!
I was thinking any genre, style and age, heavy or light...

And I will start of by mentioning John Donne; witty, beautiful, elegant, and oh so clever, well worth a read. His poems aren't very long but they do require a little extra thinking and re-reading to get the most out of them. One of my favourites. (although his other metaphysical counterparts are just as good, I have a particular fondness for Donne)

Right, fingers crossed this works...


Couch Commander
Jan 18, 2012
Frost wrote one of the early dreams of nerd vengeance in his poem Once by the Pacific, it's short so I can post it here in its entirety.

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the light was spoken.

My favorite poem over the years is probably Wallace Stevens' Disillusionment of Ten O'clock. I think this poem gives voice to what we read sf/f for.

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather.

It brings to mind GRRM's short piece On Fantasy.



Jul 16, 2012
Oh I like that Stevens poem, Grunkins!
This is one of my favourite Donne poems, it's called The Sun Rising, I love how the sun is chastised for rising, compared to how many people over the centuries have sacrificed things for the sun to rise...it's a bit of a handful but well worth the effort...

The Sun Rising

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run ?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou think ?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, "All here in one bed lay."

She's all states, and all princes I ;
Nothing else is ;
Princes do but play us ; compared to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus ;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.

For those who like a little less work and even more humour...also by Donne:

The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead;
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two;
And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we're met,
And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
'Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;
Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Oct 5, 2011
blah - flags. So many flags.
I love Louis MacNeice. In particular Snow, and the Sunlight in the Garden. Often eclipsed by Auden, he's a very thoughtful poet. I love this one by Padraic Fiacc
Good bye to Brigid (from memory, sorry, I don't have it in front of me, and it's not on t'internet:)

Found it!

I take you by the hand. Your eyes,
Mirroring the traffic lights,
Are green and orange and red.

The Military lorries by our side
Drown out your child-heart
Thumping tired under the soot

-black thorn trees these
Exhaust-fumed greasy mornings.

My little girl, my Lamb of God,
I'd like to set you free from bitch Belfast
As we pass the armed

-to-the-back-teeth barracks and
Descend teh road into the school
Grounds of broken windows from

A spate of car-bombs, but
Don't forgive me for not.

Very evocative of a period...

he's quite a hard poet, but captures a voice, and pathos. Not that well known, sadly.


Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2012
The Flea is one of my favourite Donne poems, Kylara!

My all-time favourite poem:

Soneto de la dulce queja (Sonnet of Sweet Lament) – Federico Garcia Lorca

Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek at night.

I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.

If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,

never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.


Jul 16, 2012
Oh springs MacNeice! I haven't read him in such a long time...thank you for reminding me, one of the more modern poets I actually enjoy...I can't remember if I have read Lorca before or not, but allmywires I am putting a book with his poetry on my list of books to buy when I return to the UK in September, that one is just gorgeous, word by word, line by line, verse by verse, every reading a new meaning! Just wonderful...

I thought I'd take this post to put up a short poem I wrote a while back, and your thoughts and interpretations would be welcomed; as I intend always for multiple meanings, but I can get a little obscure...hope you like it...

piano unnamed

The gentle play of the pianists fingers,
Across the purest ivory.
Heartbeats race, as fingers strum, emotions rarely felt,
Ethereal thoughts whisper through the mind.

A soul unleashed by a musical key,
The flats and sharps that follow the curves of life.
Eerie sounds that shiver down the spine,
As we pass life by .

The delicate silence surrounds an insubstantial skill,
Ghosting through the heart.


Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2012
Very nice, Kylara. I love the feel of it, so transient and soulful. I couldn't write poetry to save my life, but now you're making me wish I could...

I'm just going to add another Lorca poem here because I found a Word document with some of his poems in that I saved. I absolutely love the last stanza of this one, perfectly heart-rending.

The Poet Tells the Truth

I want to cry my pain, and I tell you
so you will love me and will cry for me
in a dusk of nightingales
with a dagger, with kisses and with you.

I want to kill the only witness
to the assassination of my flowers
and turn my cry and my sweat
into an eternal heap of hard wheat.

Let the skein never end
of I love you you love me, ever burnt
with decrepit sun and old moon;

for whatever you don't give me and I don't ask of you
will be for death, which does not leave
even a shadow on trembling flesh.


Jul 16, 2012
Ok wow, he is definitely wonderful...that is amazing, everything I love about poetry, he does...I could read this all day :)

Thank you! Some of mine turn out better than others and some more depressing than others...surprisingly enough this is one of my most upbeat ones :wink: I'm so glad someone likes it! :D


Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2012
They read even better in Spanish! Since they're translations they have a slightly different feel than the original ones - it's so hard to translate literature.

I think poetry is probably the best medium to be depressing in :D


Jul 16, 2012
Oh definitely! I would post Mirror by Plath, that is gloriously depressing, bu perhaps a little too depressing for the moment :wink:

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
Mar 9, 2007
Two of my favourite poems are Sassoon and Blake

My favourite Sassoon poems:

The General

Good-morning; good-morning!’ the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
‘He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

. . . .
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

Base Details

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath
I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You'd see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. "Poor young chap,"
I'd say -- "I used to know his father well;
Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap."
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I'd toddle safely home and die -- in bed.

My favourite book of poems (in fact my only choice when it comes to books of poems) is that of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience. My favourite being

The Clod and the Pebble

"Love seeketh not Itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care;
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."

So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet;
But a Pebble of the brook,
Warbled out these metres meet:

"Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to Its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clod_and_the_Pebble#cite_note-0


Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2011
I've always found Maya Angelou inspirational. She, who once said: "nothing so frightens me as writing, but nothing so satisfies me.'
She can also be witty, summing up a common writer's paradox in this:

Impeccable Conception

I met a Lady Poet
who took for inspiration
colored birds, and whispered words,
a lover’s hesitation.

A falling leaf could stir her.
A wilting, dying rose
would make her write, both day and night,
the most rewarding prose.

She’d find a hidden meaning
in every pair of pants,
then hurry home to be alone
and write about romance.


Jul 16, 2012
I like that Abernovo, I always find humour a difficult thing to do well in poetry without simplifying structure too much, but that manages it very well...I'll whack another one in that style

Note on the creation

Wrestling the unruly into
Only to look again, and see they have shifted,
The pattern lost.
Stragglers - beautiful - but
Unfit, their place already taken by the generic 'good-guy',
The 'nice' of its nightmares.
Pauses, and. Sudden, stops.
Scattered throughout the art, as if, placed
By a ricochet.
The music changes and the mood disperses,
The game changes, is left and abandoned.

The unfinished masterpiece.


Active Member
Mar 25, 2011
I admit it, I have never 'gotten' poetry, at all.

My entire life, since reading it in school and rarely as an adult its never done anything for me. All I ever see is boring or nonsensical word play.

Oh Poetry why art though such a mystery!.

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
Mar 9, 2007
I admit it, I have never 'gotten' poetry, at all.

My entire life, since reading it in school and rarely as an adult its never done anything for me. All I ever see is boring or nonsensical word play.

Oh Poetry why art though such a mystery!.

As I mentioned on another thread, it's probably because you haven't read the work of the poet that's right for you. It's a chicken and egg situation though, because you won't know who the right author is until you've read more poetry! Also it does help doing an literature course that studies poetry, as this would open your eyes to some of it's mysteries.


Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2012
I like this poem,


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 allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't 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 two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at 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 talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends 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!

Rudyard Kipling


Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2007
I read poetry often but since i live in Sweden many of my favs are swedes that i often read. I cant share many those with you because of the language. The english translation is rarely good.

My fav poet before Poe,Blake, is Edith Södergran. She is a big modern classic author from 1916-1932, she died as 32 year old but she was immense poetic talent. I read her often.

I like mostly romantic era poets, late 1800s poet from Europe. I prefer colorful fantastic prose style of Poe type. Modern poetry i prefer poems that speak honestly to the inner me, to my core,soul.

The reason i really read poetry is because few lines of mundane prose that can move as much as fantastic use of words.

Poetry was natural step to me, i became a reader who choose to study on his own prose stylist,wordsmith and poetry seems to a pure form that show the power of literature. You dont have to write a big novel to move a reader, dazzle him with fine language,writing.


Jul 16, 2012
Trailblazer, If you like you can find a poem that you kinda want to figure out, post it here and I (and hopefully some others too) will help you work it out...poetry is my thing and it's only really the longer stuff (like The Divine Comedy and Beowulf, both of which I am working through at the moment) that cause me any trouble, mainly to keep the plot and the poetry working alongside, I get a little torn between the two :wink:

But I can definitely help do an analysis style thing of what it means/how they've used words and stuff (I'll leave trochees and spondees alone, I promise)...you shall join us eventually! It is inevitable :wink: