Random lines of poetry

117 posts in this topic

again steve turner

 

White with two sugars (please)

 

Coffee gives you

a legal shot of energy

when your eyelids are feeling down.

Coffee kills time

when you’re washed ashore

on the street (of the city).

(Coffee can even help

rainstorms disappear.)

Coffee is something to

dangle your lips in

when conversation is scarce.

Coffee is a good place

to take a new friend.

Coffee is an excuse

to stay half an hour longer.

Acquaintanceships end on the doorstep

but friendships begin with a coffee.

Coffee can be appreciated

by all generations.

Coffee is a multi-lingual,

multi-racial,

liquid esperanto.

Yes.

There’s something

quite religious about coffee

 

 

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Required English 'O'grade reading many moons ago. The Plough and the Stars by Sean O'Casey. Here his re-write of 'Maggie' by George Washington Johnson.

 

The violets were scenting the woods, Nora,

Displaying their charms to the bees,

When I first said I loved only you, Nora,

And you said you loved only me.

 

The chestnut blooms gleamed through the glade, Nora,

A robin sang loud from the tree,

When I first said I loved only you, Nora,

And you said you loved only me.

 

The golden-rowed daffodils shone, Nora,

They danced in the breeze on the Lee,

When I first said I loved only you, Nora,

And you said you loved only me.

 

The birds in the trees sang a song, Nora,

Of happier transports to be,

When I first said I loved only you, Nora,

And you said you loved only me.

 

Our hopes they have never come true, Nora,

Our dreams they were never to be,

Since I first said I loved only you, Nora,

And you said you loved only me.

Since I first said I loved only you, Nora,

And you said you loved only me.

 

And sung here by the late great Ronnie. Much missed.

 

 

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For me, of all the stuff I was obliged to commit to memory during my schooldays, these lines by Thomas Hood have remained stuck in my head despite the passage of time and come to mind at all sorts of odd moments when I least expect it:

 

I remember, I remember,

The house where I was born,

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn.

At this point, I always fail to recall the rest of the verse and the rest of the poem, but thanks to this thread I have (re)discovered that it continues as follows:

 

He never came a wink too soon,

Nor brought too long a day;

But now I often wish the night

Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember

The roses, red and white,

The violets, and the lily-cups, --

Those flowers made of light!

The lilacs where the robin built,

And where my brother set

The laburnum on his birthday, --

The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember

Where I was used to swing,

And thought the air must rush as fresh

To swallows on the wing;

My spirit flew in feathers then,

That is so heavy now,

And summer pools could hardly cool

The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember

The fir-trees dark and high;

I used to think their slender tops

Were close against the sky.

It was a childish ignorance,

But now 'tis little joy

To know I'm farther off from heaven

Than when I was a boy.

 

Until refreshing my memory like this today, I had quite forgotten that the poem was so dark!

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Can someone please give Lilplatinum a green as I have clicked the red button... trying to take stuff off the printer, balance on the edge of the sofa and browse TT, doesn't work.

 

We learnt quite a lot of poetry at school, I can still recite some of The Listeners by Walter de la Mare-

 

"'Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,

Knocking on the moonlit door;

And his horse in the silence champed the grasses

Of the forest's ferny floor:

And a bird flew up out of the turret,

Above the Traveller's head

And he smote upon the door again a second time;

'Is there anybody there?' he said."

 

And, in its entirety, Easter 1916 by WB Yeats, a small segment here-

 

"I have met them at close of day

Coming with vivid faces

From counter or desk among grey

Eighteenth-century houses.

I have passed with a nod of the head

Or polite meaningless words,

Or have lingered awhile and said

Polite meaningless words,

And thought before I had done

Of a mocking tale or a gibe

To please a companion

Around the fire at the club,

Being certain that they and I

But lived where motley is worn:

All changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born."

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Beneath the waters green and cool,

The mermaids keep a swimming school.

The oysters trot, the lobsters prance,

The dolphins come to join the dance.

But the jellyfish, who are rather small,

Can't seem to learn the steps at all.

 

We had to learn this off by heart in class 6 of Maelgwn Primary School.

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there was a young fellow named Lee

 

who was plumbing his girl by the sea

 

she said "stop your plumbing, there's somebody coming"

 

said the plumber, still plumbing, "It's me"

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I frequently recite the first verse of Charlotte Bronte's Life to myself, specially when it rains:

 

LIFE, believe, is not a dream

So dark as sages say;

Oft a little morning rain

Foretells a pleasant day.

Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,

But these are transient all;

If the shower will make the roses bloom,

O why lament its fall?

 

Whenever I see a sunrise I'm reminded of a line from Mental Cases by Wilfred Owen,

 

Sunlight seems a bloodsmear; night comes blood-black;

Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh

 

which is unfortunate but it just stuck with me. I do love that poem, even though the subject is pretty scary, the imagery is just amazing. Otherwise one of my favourites is Erlkönig by Goethe, just cos of the way it sounds when you speak it aloud

 

Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?

Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;

Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,

Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

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Black1, I'll see your Philip Larkin and up the darkness ante with this:

 

Aubade

 

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.

Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.

In time the curtain-edges will grow light.

Till then I see what's really always there:

Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,

Making all thought impossible but how

And where and when I shall myself die.

Arid interrogation: yet the dread

Of dying, and being dead,

Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse

- The good not done, the love not given, time

Torn off unused - nor wretchedly because

An only life can take so long to climb

Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;

But at the total emptiness for ever,

The sure extinction that we travel to

And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,

Not to be anywhere,

And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

 

This is a special way of being afraid

No trick dispels. Religion used to try,

That vast, moth-eaten musical brocade

Created to pretend we never die,

And specious stuff that says No rational being

Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing

That this is what we fear - no sight, no sound,

No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,

Nothing to love or link with,

The anasthetic from which none come round.

 

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,

A small, unfocused blur, a standing chill

That slows each impulse down to indecision.

Most things may never happen: this one will,

And realisation of it rages out

In furnace-fear when we are caught without

People or drink. Courage is no good:

It means not scaring others. Being brave

Lets no one off the grave.

Death is no different whined at than withstood.

 

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.

It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,

Have always known, know that we can't escape,

Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.

Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring

In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring

Intricate rented world begins to rouse.

The sky is white as clay, with no sun.

Work has to be done.

Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

 

Philip Larkin

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"you held onto me like I was a crucifix

as we went kneeling through the dark" (Leonard Cohen, So Long, Marianne)

 

stuck in my head

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Knowing, as the world teeters through its days

Tired, I spin on the slow spin of age

My face reflected in the cold moon’s gaze

 

Whirling and swirling on long trodden ways

Scoring the story from history’s page

Knowing, as the world teeters through its days

 

The end of the dance in this blank walled maze

And black black shadow, my cluttered heart’s cage

My face reflected in the cold moon’s gaze

 

Pressed eyes shuttered, against my will obeys

The tangled fingers of a sun-hot rage

Knowing, as the world teeters through its days

 

Knowledge my glory and in anger’s rays

I lie in stillness on life’s dull, dark stage

My face reflected in the cold moon’s gaze

 

Short is the light and briefer is life’s blaze

And wise to this folly is my final wage

Knowing, as the world teeters through its days

My face reflected in the cold moon’s gaze

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I chanced upon this one just a couple of days ago and found it quite moving.

 

The Gate. By Marie Howe

 

 

I had no idea that the gate I would step through

 

to finally enter this world

 

would be the space my brother's body made. He was

 

a little taller than me: a young man

 

but grown, himself by then,

 

done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,

 

 

rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold

 

and running water.

 

 

This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.

 

And I'd say, What?

 

 

And he'd say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.

 

And I'd say, What?

 

 

And he'd say, This, sort of looking around.

 

2B

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Black1, I'll see your Philip Larkin and up the darkness ante with this:

 

Aubade

 

Thank you. I didn't know it. God that's dark.

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Breathe there the man with soul so dead,

who never to himself has said,

this is my own, my native land.

Whose heart has ner within him burned,

as home his footsteps they have turned?

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Would just like to plug an excellent book on understanding poetry and poetry forms. An Ode Less Travelled by Steven Fry

 

Bought it ages ago, started leafing through it and found out I need to do work for it... so probably when I retire :) But looked fun.

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The Teacher's Prayer - Allan Ahlberg

 

Let the children in our care

Clean their shoes and comb their hair;

Come to school on time- and neat

Blow their noses and wipe their feet.

Let them, lord, not eat in class

Or rush into the hall en masse.

Let them show some self-cotrol;

Let them slow down; let them stroll!

 

Let the children in our charge

Not be violet or large;

Not be sick on the school-trip bus,

Not be cleverer than us;

Not be unwashed, loud or mad,

(with a six-foot mother or a seven-foot dad).

Let them, please, say 'drew' not drawed';

Let them know the answers, lord!

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other than a brief poem about a rather impressive bloke from Nantucket, no, don't remember any.

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For when the One Great Scorer comes

To write against your name,

He marks-not that you won or lost-

But how you played the game.

 

by Grantland Rice,

 

It is about golfing, but I do believe it is also very much about life! Play the game, play it hard and do what it takes, but remember what the Great Scorer really judges

 

Cheerio

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ok, guys, we are on an English website and this thread seems to be about English poetry. I have contributed thrice by now in English... and now, since you guys live in Germany, it is time for a change. I am not even trying to go down the road about Germans being the country of "Dichter und Denker", i.e. poets and philosopher. Great poetry is everywhere and just because my French sucks, or most other languages don't compute with my brain does not mean any poetry is better or worse. It all depends on the sound in a given language and the pictures the poem transport, right?

 

Now, here is another one in German, no translations or attempt thereoff... the story behind it is, that I hated it, big times, when I was introduced to it for the first time. The teacher in 12th grade played us a radio comment on it which called it one of the greatest love poems in German language and I argued long and hotely against this being about love.

Until in a private session way later the teacher told me that the poem is about a man, probably a doctor, taking his wife/partner thru his daily hell of a cancer station in 1910th medical daily life in Berlin. By sharing this hell with him, the bondage between them increases so extremely... and the fact that SHE goes thru this with him, shares this hell, that is true love. As well as him opening up to her like this.

So, yes, I think this is a great love poem, it only took me many years to discover. Hope I have never to go thru this hell, neither single or alone. But if I must, I hope I have partner like this (actually I know, but still, there are hells and hells, right).

Ok, here is the poem. It was written by a young surgeon in his "morgue" collection of poems, one greater than the other, in 1918, and has a huge power and force if you let yourself be hit by hit, lowering your defences for once.

And yes, this is about love:

 

 

Der Mann:

Hier diese Reihe sind zerfallene Schöße

und diese Reihe ist zerfallene Brust.

Bett stinkt bei Bett. Die Schwestern wechseln stündlich.

 

Komm, hebe ruhig diese Decke auf.

Sieh, dieser Klumpen Fett und faule Säfte,

das war einst irgendeinem Mann groß

und hieß auch Rausch und Heimat.

 

Komm, sieh auf diese Narbe an der Brust.

Fühlst du den Rosenkranz von weichen Knoten?

Fühl ruhig hin. Das Fleisch ist weich und schmerzt nicht.

Hier diese blutet wie aus dreißig Leibern.

Kein Mensch hat soviel Blut.

Hier dieser schnitt man

erst noch ein Kind aus dem verkrebsten Schoß.

 

Man läßt sie schlafen. Tag und Nacht. – Den Neuen

sagt man: hier schläft man sich gesund. – Nur sonntags

für den Besuch läßt man sie etwas wacher.

 

Nahrung wird wenig noch verzehrt. Die Rücken

sind wund. Du siehst die Fliegen. Manchmal

wäscht sie die Schwester. Wie man Bänke wäscht.

 

Hier schwillt der Acker schon um jedes Bett.

Fleisch ebnet sich zu Land. Glut gibt sich fort,

Saft schickt sich an zu rinnen. Erde ruft.

 

Gottfried Benn, aus: “Morgue”

 

 

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That's a very powerful poem, Starshollow. What hit me: the line comparing tumors ("Knoten" I think) to rosary beads.

 

Another poem by a doctor on the subject of his work:

 

They call me and I go.

It is a frozen road

past midnight, a dust

of snow caught

in the rigid wheeltracks.

The door opens.

I smile, enter and

shake off the cold.

Here is a great woman

on her side in the bed.

She is sick,

perhaps vomiting,

perhaps laboring

to give birth to

a tenth child. Joy! Joy!

Night is a room

darkened for lovers,

through the jalousies the sun

has sent one golden needle!

I pick the hair from her eyes

and watch her misery

with compassion.

 

- "Complaint" by William Carlos Williams

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