Random lines of poetry

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`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.


...and it send the spell checker into a frenzy :)


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Here I sit


Paid a dime

And only farted


--Anon, ca. 1974, men's room stall door, Macy's San Francisco


Here I sit in stinking vapours

Took a dump and there's no papers

Boss is coming, must not linger

Look out asshole, here comes finger.


(my boss at Overwaitea Foods, ca 1977)


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...and it send the spell checker into a frenzy

You reminded me of this ode. There are a lot of versions of it and elaborations on it. I think this was the original, written by Jerry Zar.




I have a spelling checker.

It came with my PC.

It plane lee marks four my revue

Miss steaks aye can knot sea.


Eye ran this poem threw it.

Your sure reel glad two no

Its vary polished in it's weigh.

My checker tolled me sew.


A checker is a bless sing.

It freeze yew lodes of thyme.

It helps me right awl stiles two reed,

And aides me when aye rime.


Each frays come posed up on my screen

Eye trussed too bee a joule.

The checker pour o'er every word,

To cheque sum spelling rule.


Be fore a veiling checkers,

Hour spelling mite decline.

And if were lacks or have a laps,

We wood be maid to wine.


Butt now bee cause my spelling

Is checked with such grate flare,

Their are know faults with in my cite.

Of non eye am a wear.


Now spelling does knot phase me.

It does knot bring a tier.

My pay purrs awl due glad den

With wrapped words fare as hear.


To rite with care is quite a feet

Of witch won should be proud.

And wee mussed dew the best wee can,

Sew flaws are knot aloud.


Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays

Such soft ware four pea seas,

And why I brake in two averse

By righting want too pleas.


-- Jerry Zar, Dean of the Graduate School

Northwestern Illinois University


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This is To An Athlete Dying Young in a Shropshire Lad by A. E. Houseman. This version with skipped verses was done in "Out of Africa" by Karen for Finch-Hatton's funeral (who skipped verses, because he like to leave out the dull parts). Always makes me cry. Now an ode to lost generations of young men, in my mind, lost to drugs and wars and religion.


The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the marketplace

Man and boy stood cheering by,

And home we brought you shoulder-high.


Smart lad, to slip betimes away

From fields where glory does not stay,

And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose.


Now you will not swell the rout

Of lads that wore their honours out,

Runners whom renown outran

And the name died before the man.


And round that early-laurelled head

Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,

And find unwithered on its curls

The garland briefer than a girl's.


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We had a lot of WW1 poetry at school, some really bitter, searing stuff that I won't ever forget.


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.




Dulce Et Decorum Est


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.


GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.


In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.




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In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

(T S Eliot)


Very pretentious, very camp :-) Don't know why, but it conjures images of a French & Saunders sketch similar to the parody of Dangerous Liaisons / Merchant Ivory productions.


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They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.


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Too many to count, but favorites from songs:-



Kirsty MacColl's version of Billy Braggs 'New England"




"I sat beside the telephone

Waiting for someone to pull me through,

when the bastard didn't ring I knew it wasn't you"


And from Poems, I remember the terror that " Your Attention Please" by Peter Porter instilled in me as a 10 year old, in particular for some reason this line sticks with me still.



(Watch for the cuckoo in your perspex panel)

But those are both really depressing and I'm not sad today, so this one is much more fun.


From 'Sex with Ducks by Garfunkel and Oates'




Pat Robertson once said,

"It's a long downward slide

That'll lead to legalizing sex with ducks

If two men can stand side by side"


God, I hope he's right

'Cause if gay marriage becomes lawful

Gonna find myself a duck

And legally do

Something awful (awful, awful)




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Not so much a poetry person, but music speaks to me... Currently can't get that moves like Jagger song out of my head. Such a cool lyric.


Other Favs:


"You wouldn't know a good thing if it came up and slit your throat." -My Heart is the Worst Kind of Weapon by FallOut Boy


"..and if memory serves, I'm addicted to words and they're useless..." -LGFUAD by Motion City Soundtrack


"I'm heaven sent. Don't you dare forget." -Ok I Believe You but My Tommy Gun Don't by Brand New


Admit It!!! by Say Anything (The entire song, if you can call it a song, is a masterpiece in my opinion.)


"So don't teach me a lesson cause I've already learned... Oh the heart beats in it's cage." Heart in a Cage by The Strokes


Pick Me Up Collection:


"I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right..." New Shoes by Paolo Nutini


"Early in the morning... Rise into the street. Light me up that cigarette and I'll strap shoes on my feet... Love is what I got..." -What I Got by Sublime


The quotes that have stuck are:


"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise."


& the classic


"Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."


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Another line from Milton's Paradise Lost. It was an amazing thing to say at his time and just as relevant today: From memory, it goes something like this:

"The mind is its own place and in itself can make a hell of heaven and a heaven of hell.


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Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is

a mystery and today is a gift,

which is why it is called the present.

What the caterpillar perceives is the end;

to the butterfly is just the beginning.

Everything that has a beginning has an ending.

Make your peace with that and all will be well

:Buddhist Saying


The second last line sneaked into the Matrix movies


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The only two poems I can recall from memory:


I believe that God above

Created you for me to love

He picked you out of all the rest

Because he knew I'd love you best


I had a heart that was so true

But now it's gone from me to you

So care for it as I have done

For you to have and I have none



Nothing Gold Can Stay


Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.


(Now you can guess at what age I memorized these!)


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I want that written on my gravestone.


well, on second thought, only if I earn it.


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I read from Shel Silverstein's book of poems practically every evening to Jr. I'm fond of this one:


Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.


Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.


Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.



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More grave-y stuff...


I died for Beauty -- but was scarce

Adjusted in the Tomb

When One who died for Truth was lain

In an adjoining Room --


He questioned softly "Why I failed?"

"For Beauty," I replied

"And I -- for Truth -- Themself are One --

We Brethren, are," He said


And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night --

We talked between the Rooms

Until the Moss had reached our Lips --

And covered up -- our Names


- Emily Dickinson


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A small excerpt from "I Dreamed a Dream" (Les Miserables) that I read in a sleep medicine textbook one nightshift has always stuck with me for some reason:


But the tigers come at night

With their voices soft as thunder

As they tear your hope apart

And they turn your dream to shame


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Gathering her brows like gathering storm,

Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.


:Tam o' Shanter - Robert Burns


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