Random lines of poetry

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Immer wenn ich traurig bin,

trink ich einen Korn.


Wenn ich dann noch traurig bin,

trink ich noch 'n Korn.


Wenn ich dann noch traurig bin,

trink ich noch 'n Korn.


Und wenn ich dann noch traurig bin,

fang ich an von vorn.


-- Heinz Erhardt


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Two lines from different poems from Robert Frost which have stuck..


The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep.


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"Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me." Emily Dickenson was a breath of fresh air when studying for the Leaving Cert in Ireland. We all loved her.


"Romantic Ireland's dead and gone. It's with O'Leary in the grave." W.B. Yeats and September 1913. Oft quoted today!


"I grow old... I grow old... I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled." and from the same poem, "I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas." and


"The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes

Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,

Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,

And seeing that it was a soft October night,

Curled once about the house, and fell asleep."


The lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - great poem.


And this is a childhood favourite, because I have always loved people who are kind to animals, people like Mrs Malone, the heroine of this poem by Eleanor Farjeon.


"There sat a cock-sparrow

Bedraggled and weak,

With half-open eyelid

And ice on his beak.

She threw up the sash

And she took the bird in,

And numbled and fumbled it

Under her chin.

‘Ye’re all of a smother,

Ye’re fair overblown!

I’ve room fer another,’

Said Mrs. Malone."


Always brings a tear to me eye :D


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Ah, excellent. Clearly I'm going to be forced to nerd out here. Excerpts:


The master (and a tattoo candidate for me right now): Mephisto on Faust

"Ihm hat das Schicksal einen Geist gegeben

der ungebaendigt immer vorwaerts dringt

und dessen uebereiltes Streben

der Erde Freuden ueberspringt"


Rilke, "Wenn ich gewachsen waere irgendwo"

If I had grown up in a land where days

were free from care and hours were delicate,

then I would have contrived a splendid fête

for you, and not have held you in the way

I sometimes do, tightly in fearful hands.


Pope, The Rape of the Lock:

What dire offence from am’rous causes springs,

What mighty contests rise from trivial things.


Borges, To the German Language:

Some have been handed down to me by blood–

voices of Shakespeare, language of the Scriptures–

others by chance, which has been generous;

but you, gentle language of Germany,

I chose you, and I sought you out alone.


Eichendorff, "In der Fremde":

Wie bald, ach wie bald kommt die stille Zeit,

Da ruhe ich auch, und über mir

Rauscht die schöne Waldeinsamkeit,

Und keiner kennt mich mehr hier.


Hoelderlin, "Haelfte des Lebens"

Weh mir, wo nehm’ ich, wenn

Es Winter ist, die Blumen, und wo

Den Sonnenschein,

Und Schatten der Erde?


Ginsberg, America:

America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I'm not sorry.

I smoke marijuana every chance I get.

I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.

When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.

My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.

You should have seen me reading Marx.

My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right.

I won't say the Lord's Prayer.

I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.


Yeats, Adam's Curse:

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;

We saw the last embers of daylight die,

And in the trembling blue-green of the sky

A moon, worn as if it had been a shell

Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell

About the stars and broke in days and years.

I had a thought for no one's but your ears:

That you were beautiful, and that I strove

To love you in the old high way of love;

That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown

As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.


ee cummings, if i believe ( i am a sucker for enjambment):

darkness and beauty of stars

was on my mouth petals danced

against my eyes

and down


And since lilplatinum started with Jay-Z, from "U Don't Know"

"Put me anywhere on God's green earth / I'll triple my worth/.../I sell ice in the winter / I sell fire in hell / I am a hustler baby / I sell water to a well."


Also, I have been taken lately with Drake - he reminds me of Jay-Z's style of endearing arrogance sometimes. From Dreams Money Can Buy:

I got car money / fresh start money / I want Saudi money / I want art money / I want women to cry and pour out their heart for me / and tell me how much they hate it when they apart from me / and lately I do bitches the meanest / tell 'em I love 'em and don't ever mean it


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The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost. One of my favorite poems. The last stanza sticks.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth.


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same.


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


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Aw sh*t, you guys can all remember all this flouffly college type stuff and the only two ditties I can remember are the following -


Here I sit my ass cheeks a' hurtin'

just gave birth to one big Albertan.




Here I sit my butt cheeks a' flexin'

just gave birth to one big Texan.


I actually don't mind poetry surprisingly enough. Such a shame I can only remember the two 'poems' from above. I think I read them on the wall of an Esso gas station somewhere between Saskatoon and Calgary when I was about 10 years old. You've inspired me to dig out my Norton Anthologies...


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This one is for my mammy...she used to love it :)


Good afternoon, Sir Smasham Uppe!

We're having tea: do take a cup!

Sugar and milk? Now let me see---

Two lumps, I think?...Good gracious me!

The silly thing slipped off your knee!

Pray don't apologise, old chap:

A very trivial mishap!


Emile Victor Rieu


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Weird old Scots poem/song my Mum used to sing.


"Paddy on the railway, Picking up stones;

Along came an engine And broke Paddy's bones."

"O, said Paddy, That's not fair.

O, said the engineman, You shouldna have been there."


That's all of it, short and weird. I assume it was meant as a way to warn children to stay off the train tracks *shrug*


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For the occasional melancholics or anyone getting near a mid life crisis out there.


In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost.




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@black 1 - it's the first time I've seen the English translation of this verse, I knew the original verse in Italian:


Nel bel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, che la diritta via era smarrita.


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Living is a Fire


Living is a cross

That any one of the rock-faces



We are drawn

To many seas.


We drown wholesomely

In the failures of confrontation.


The rain


Our doorsteps

Has nothing to do

With the simplest desires

And lacerations

We bring

To the smallest acts

Of living.


The child

On the broken catwalk

Hearing the sounds of our hunger

Without understanding

Throws echoes back

To the earliest abandonments

Of love.


Minor devastations preceding


Resonate the ineffable.


The mothers that wake

At the slightest sound

And the fathers that

Smoke all night

And the rest of us who are

Vigilantes from the demons

Of oppressed sleep

Find at dawn the clearest

Images of bewilderment.


Even the best things

Collapse beneath the weight

Of ignorance.


Living is a fire

That any one of the wave-lashes



Ben Okri


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I attended Manchester Grammar School where we 'learned' Latin parrot-fashion. The teacher was Dr. Singleton: he'd stand behind you while you ran off your lines, holding a tennis racket. Had you done your homework, he moved on; a minor slip and it was a light tap with the strings; a major one and a wallop on the back of the head with the wood. Ah, the good old days!

Anyway, one classmate (can't remember which, so I'll give it to 'Anon') penned this little ditty:


"Siglibus sitibus on the deskolorum

deskolorum colapsibus

Sigli's on the florum"


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there is one piece of poetry, which is actually part of a prayer, that always had a profound impact on me. The poem/prayer was written by Dittrich Bonhoefer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer) , a very socially and politically active priest who was incarcarated because of connections to the opposition against Hitler and eventually taken to KZ Flossenbürg and hanged only days before the AMerican troops came to liberatey it. While suffering like everyone else from the daily cruelty and tortures in prison and KZ he wrote this poem/prayer. The last lines are the ones which are most famous because they show such a strong believe and hope and I think they can give strength to anyone in bad times, may he be a believer or not:



Von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen,

erwarten wir getrost, was kommen mag.

Gott ist bei uns am Abend und am Morgen

und ganz gewiss an jedem neuen Tag.

Here is my rather inadequate attempt for a translation:

Wonderfully protected by benevolent powers


We calmly wait for what is yet to come


The Lord is with us every evening, every morning


And certainly at every new day’s dawn


To be able to write these lines and - from the reports we have when he went to his death very relaxed and calm it would appear - believing them by heart under such circumstances shows true courage and I have always bowed my head towards this. I never yet had to face death but like everyone else I had some tough times during which this always kept me going.






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Niemoller is also good for some powerful lines.


First they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out because I was not a communist


Then they came for the Socialists

and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist


Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist


Then they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew


Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me


Unlike Bonhoeffer though he was an anti-communist and initially a supporter of Hitler until Hitler started messing around with religion, the state and the church so his motivation is somewhat different to Bonhoeffer and that's something to bear in mind.


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No other posts here for a couple of days so I'm going to give in and post some Larkin. It's good stuff even though I find the last bit too dark and he leaves me behind there.


This Be The Verse


They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.


But they were fucked up in their turn

By fools in old-style hats and coats,

Who half the time were soppy-stern

And half at one another's throats.


Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

And don't have any kids yourself.


Philip Larkin


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Of one poem, the only thing I can remember of it is the title: Five Ways to Kill A Man


There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.

You can make him carry a plank of wood

to the top of a hill and nail him to it.

To do this properly you require a crowd of people

wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak

to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one

man to hammer the nails home.


Or you can take a length of steel,

shaped and chased in a traditional way,

and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.

But for this you need white horses,

English trees, men with bows and arrows,

at least two flags, a prince, and a

castle to hold your banquet in.


Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind

allows, blow gas at him. But then you need

a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,

not to mention black boots, bomb craters,

more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs

and some round hats made of steel.


In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly

miles above your victim and dispose of him by

pressing one small switch. All you then

require is an ocean to separate you, two

systems of government, a nation's scientists,

several factories, a psychopath and

land that no-one needs for several years.


These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man.

Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see

that he is living somewhere in the middle

of the twentieth century, and leave him there.


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One by Steve Turner went something like this

Someone stole

my love away


It was the only word I had to match the way I feel


It used to make the word go around


Now they’ve made it do the same for turnstiles


It used to be forever


Now it’s until orgasm do us part



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