I'm thrusting my English major-yness on you all in celebration of World Poetry Day. See below for some excerpts, but mainly links, to a smattering of some of my favorite poetry. Read it. Read it all. Feed your head. Marvel at others' brilliance and be inspired to capture some of your own.
Yeats, When You Are Old
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;...
Elizabeth Bishop, The Moose
...Goodbye to the elms,
to the farm, to the dog.
The bus starts. The light
grows richer; the fog,
shifting, salty, thin,comes closing in...
John Donne, The Cannonization
FOR God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love ;...
Sylvia Plath, April Aubade
Worship this world of watercolor mood
in glass pagodas hung with veils of green
where diamonds jangle hymns within the blood
and sap ascends the steeple of the vein.
A saintly sparrow jargons madrigals
to waken dreamers in the milky dawn,
while tulips bow like a college of cardinals
before that papal paragon, the sun...
...I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,...
A reminiscence sing...
Emerson, The Problem>
I like a church; I like a cowl;
I love a prophet of the soul;
and on my heart monastic aisles
Fall like sweet strains, or pensive smiles;
Yet not for all his faith can see
Would I that cowled churchman be.
Why should the vest on him alure,
Which I could not on me endure?...
Shakespeare, Sonnet 130 - My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (remembered vividly by My So-Called Life fans:
"And why is that? Why is he in love with her? What is it? What is it about her?"
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet V
...Behold and see
What a great heap of grief lay hid in me,
And how the red wild sparkles dimly burn
Through the ashen greyness...
Denise Levertov, Variation on a Theme by Rilke
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.
Emily Dickinson, After Great Pain
...This is the Hour of Lead--
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow--
First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--
W.H. Auden, Lullaby
...Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful...
Frank O'Hara, Meditations In An Emergency
Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious
as if I were French?
Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous
(and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable
list!), but one of these days there'll be nothing left with
which to venture forth...
Ginsberg, A Supermarket In California
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for
I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon...