Blissful

Post Your Favourite Poems

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The Good Life

By Tracy K. Smith

When some people talk about money

They speak as if it were a mysterious lover

Who went out to buy milk and never

Came back, and it makes me nostalgic

For the years I lived on coffee and bread,

Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday

Like a woman journeying for water

From a village without a well, then living

One or two nights like everyone else

On roast chicken and red wine.

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This poem is a heart-wrenching beauty without equal, in memory of the poet's murdered mother.

 

Aspen Tree. . .by Paul Celan

 

Aspen tree, your leaves glance white into the dark.
My mother's hair was never white.

 

Dandelion, so green is the Ukraine.
My yellow-haired mother did not come home.

 

Rain cloud, above the well do you hover?
My quiet mother weeps for everyone.

 

Round star, you wind the golden loop.
My mother's heart was ripped by lead.

 

Oaken door, who lifted you off your hinges?
My gentle mother cannot return.

 

 

__translated from the German.

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Almost Out of the Sky - Pablo Neruda

 

Almost out of the sky, half of the moon
anchors between two mountains.
Turning, wandering night, the digger of eyes.
Let's see how many stars are smashed in the pool.

 

It makes a cross of mourning between my eyes,
and runs away.
Forge of blue metals, nights of still combats,
my heart revolves like a crazy wheel.
Girl who have come from so far, been brought from so far,
sometimes your glance flashes out under the sky.
Rumbling, storm, cyclone of fury,
you cross above my heart without stopping.
Wind from the tombs carries off, wrecks, scatters your
sleepy root.

 

The big trees on the other side of her, uprooted.
But you, cloudless girl, question of smoke, corn tassel.
You were what the wind was making with illuminated leaves.
Behind the nocturnal mountains, white lily of conflagration,
ah, I can say nothing! You were made of everything.

 

Longing that sliced my breast into pieces,
it is time to take another road, on which she does not smile.

 

Storm that buried the bells, muddy swirl of torments,
why touch her now, why make her sad.

 

Oh to follow the road that leads away from everything,
without anguish, death, winter waiting along it
with their eyes open through the dew.

 

 

_translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin....oh the italics.

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Beautiful poem, proper poetry. . .

 

Below - Paul Celan

 

Led home into oblivion
the sociable talk of
our slow eyes.

 

Led home, syllable after syllable, shared
out among the dayblind dice, for which
the playing hand reaches out, large,
awakening.

 

And the too much of my speaking:
heaped up round the little
crystal dressed in the style of your silence

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From an old anthology of poems:

 

Men of England - Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

Men of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?

 

Wherefore feed and clothe and save
From the cradle to the grave
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat—nay, drink your blood?

Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?
 
Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love’s gentle balm?
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?

 

The seed ye sow, another reaps;

The wealth ye find, another keeps;

The robes ye weave, another wears;

The arms ye forge, another bears.

 

Sow seed—but let no tyrant reap:
Find wealth—let no imposter heap:
Weave robes—let not the idle wear:
Forge arms—in your defence to bear.

Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells—
In hall ye deck another dwells.
Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
The steel ye tempered glance on ye.

With plough and spade and hoe and loom
Trace your grave and build your tomb
And weave your winding-sheet—till fair
England be your Sepulchre.

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Tupac
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete? 
Proving nature's law is wrong it 
learned to walk with out having feet. 
Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams, 
it learned to breathe fresh air. 
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared. 

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From an old anthology of poems:

 

Men of England - Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

I like the last two paragraphs but the rest reads like sloganeering with little poetry in it.

 

Here's another of Paul Celan's best poems. A fantastic improvisation. It's called Fugue of Death. Before you read it, you must understand what fugue means.

 

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfall

we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night

drink it and drink it

we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there

A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes

he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden

hair Margarete

he writes it and walks from the house the stars glitter

he whistles his dogs up

he whistles his Jews out and orders a grave to be dug in

the earth

he commands us strike up for the dance

 

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night

we drink in the mornings at noon we drink you at

nightfall

drink you and drink you

A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes

he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden

hair Margarete

Your ashen hair Shulamith we are digging a grave in the

sky it is ample to lie there

 

He shouts stab deeper in earth you there and you others

you sing and you play

he grabs at the iron in his belt and swings it and blue

are his eyes

stab deeper your spades you there and you others play

on for the dancing

 

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at nightfall

we drink you at noon in the mornings we drink you at

nightfall

drink you and drink you

a man in the house your golden hair Margarete

your ashen hair Shulamith he plays with the serpents

 

He shouts play sweeter death’s music death comes as a

master from Germany

he shouts stroke darker the strings and as smoke you

shall climb to the sky

then you’ll have a grave in the clouds it is ample to lie

there

 

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night

we drink you at noon death comes as a master from

Germany

we drink you at nightfall and morning we drink you

and drink you

a master from Germany death comes with eyes that are

blue

with a bullet of lead he will hit in the mark he will hit

you

a man in the house your golden hair Margarete

he hunts us down with his dogs in the sky he gives us a

grave

he plays with the serpents and dreams death comes as a

master from Germany

 

your golden hair Margarete

your ashen hair Shulamith.

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Ah! cruel maid, how hast thou changed 

The temper of my mind! 

My heart, by thee from all estranged, 

Becomes like thee unkind.

 

By Fortune favoured, clear in fame, 

I once ambitious was; 

And friends I had that fanned the flame, 

And gave my youth applause.

But now my weakness all abuse, 

Yet vain their taunts on me; 

Friends, fortune, fame itself I'd lose, 

To gain one smile from thee! 

 

Yet only thou shoud'st not despise 

My folly or my woe; 

If I am mad in others' eyes, 

'Tis thou hast made me so! 

 

But days like these, with doubting cursed, 

I will not long endure; 

Am I despised?I know the worst, 

And also know my cure. 

 

If false her vows, she dare renounce 

She instant ends my pain: 

For, oh! that heart must break at once 

Which cannot hate again!

 

— R.B. Sheridan

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I like the last two paragraphs but the rest reads like sloganeering with little poetry in it.

 

Here's another of Paul Celan's best poems. A fantastic improvisation. It's called Fugue of Death. Before you read it, you must understand what fugue means.

 

This is quite different. It appears to be about WW2 and Germany's role in it, as a "master", so I'm guessing it's about inevitable death for those in occupied territories (France?).

 

I'm just beginning to dig into poetry, and only four-lined stanzas make sense to me right now :squeez:.

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This is quite different. It appears to be about WW2 and Germany's role in it, as a "master", so I'm guessing it's about inevitable death for those in occupied territories (France?).

 

I'm just beginning to dig into poetry, and only four-lined stanzas make sense to me right now :squeez:.

 

Yep, the content of this poem deals with the death and destruction wrought by the war of the 'Master from Germany' - Hitler.

 

Traditional metered and rhymed poetry is a good place to start. Actually I can't stress the important of canonical poetry before a reader delves deeper into its modern manifestation like free verse and other unrhymed forms. P. B. Shelly isn't my cup of tea but I like T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, John Keats, Ezra Pound, Walt Whitman etc.

 

As a rule of thumb, to judge the quality of a poem look at its imagistic content and its metaphor. A poem which is poor in its imagery but has cool rhymes is a bad poem. Moreover, language and the placement of words which, besides creating internal rhythm, release ideas into our consciousness without the poet having to deliberately spell them out, is much more important than the content of the poem: A well-written poem about nothing is much better than a badly written poem about the greatest problems of our times and of times gone by.

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As a rule of thumb, to judge the quality of a poem look at its imagistic content and its metaphor. A poem which is poor in its imagery but has cool rhymes is a bad poem. Moreover, language and the placement of words which, besides creating internal rhythm, release ideas into our consciousness without the poet having to deliberately spell them out, is much more important than the content of the poem: A well-written poem about nothing is much better than a badly written poem about the greatest problems of our times and of times gone by.

 

:dry:

 

It feels like that was aimed at my Sheridan poem. Which I notice you didn't like either  the evidence mounts!

 

You know the best rule and most certain to judge a poem by? Whether or not it matches up with and says how or what you yourself feel at the time in your life you're reading it. Then — and only then  is a poem more than words. And judging on that basis, Sheridan's poem is a masterpiece to me.

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:dry:

 

It feels like that was aimed at my Sheridan poem. Which I notice you didn't like either  the evidence mounts!

 

You know the best rule and most certain to judge a poem by? Whether or not it matches up with and says how or what you yourself feel at the time in your life you're reading it. Then — and only then  is a poem more than words. And judging on that basis, Sheridan's poem is a masterpiece to me.

Hmm, I disagree. Rhyming poetry is so difficult because you as the poet have two things to do: write lines that rhyme and have proper meter, and write lines that have depth, meaning. That's why many of today's young poets have such terribly written rhyming poems. They have either no substance, or no structure. It seems as though everyone is under the assumption that poetry can be written however they please, but that is definitely not the case. There is a method to it, and very few can master it.

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:dry:

 

It feels like that was aimed at my Sheridan poem. Which I notice you didn't like either  the evidence mounts!

 

You know the best rule and most certain to judge a poem by? Whether or not it matches up with and says how or what you yourself feel at the time in your life you're reading it. Then — and only then  is a poem more than words. And judging on that basis, Sheridan's poem is a masterpiece to me.

 

This is a very famous theme in poetry, loads have been written about it and I'm sure countless of us can relate to the cruelty of the beloved for making a joke of our love.

 

I liked the poem; I just didn't 'like' it, an oversight! But it's a finely crafted piece and, for the one in the fangs of unrequited love, a masterpiece :D

 

Hmm, I disagree. Rhyming poetry is so difficult because you as the poet have two things to do: write lines that rhyme and have proper meter, and write lines that have depth, meaning. That's why many of today's young poets have such terribly written rhyming poems. They have either no substance, or no structure. It seems as though everyone is under the assumption that poetry can be written however they please, but that is definitely not the case. There is a method to it, and very few can master it.

 

True. It's essential for a young poet to know about rhyme and meter even if s/he doesn't write their poems in the old fashion. The problem is, some people think they can write good poetry without needing to learn the art of poetry and so the lacunae in their knowledge show in what they write; they have stilted expression and no flow. What they don't realise is that the poets who created modern unrhymed forms were grounded in the tradition and knew their art well. And for this reason even their free verse poems have internal rhythm and a flow which a poet who is not trained in meter cannot accomplish. Young poets today may not want to rhyme the lines and create stanzas in the old fashion but how can they avoid basic rules about metrical feet, stressed and unstressed syllables, the breaking of lines at proper intervals? A poet who doesn't even know these things, and whose poems look like a jumble of arbitrary words with lines broken at random is not a poet but a..a..a....[you fill in the blank] lol

 

On the other side of the argument, I don't agree with those staunch traditionalists who dismiss unrhymed verse as a caricature of poetry. There are excellent free verse poets who have contributed to poetry no less immensely than those old masters I mentioned above. Free verse is so well established universally that even making this argument has become out-of-date. So those who only focus on rhyme and meter but fail at imagination and imagery, we have a word for them: Rhymesters.

 

Truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle.

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This is a very famous theme in poetry, loads have been written about it and I'm sure countless of us can relate to the cruelty of the beloved for making a joke of our love.

 

See, it is not so simple here. That is why the poem struck me so strongly. Listen to him:

 

If I am mad in others' eyes,

'Tis thou hast made me so!

 

Surely not by existing? Or even by not showing any interest in him. That sends no one mad. Anyone can take not having a chance.

 

But days like these, with doubting cursed,

I will not long endure;

Am I despised?—I know the worst,

And also know my cure.

 

Why doubting? Doubting what? He had a chance. A chance and more.

 

If false her vows, she dare renounce—

She instant ends my pain:

For, oh! that heart must break at once

Which cannot hate again!

 

False vows. You see! She reciprocated, she felt something for him too. But now she has pushed him away. And he doesn't know what to do.

 

Что делать. Что делать...

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See, it is not so simple here. That is why the poem struck me so strongly. Listen to him:

 

If I am mad in others' eyes,

'Tis thou hast made me so!

 

 

Oh yes, perennial complaint. Take a look at this couplet, from Urdu, which I have tried to translate.

 

The day you maddened me in your love, dame

Every hand has since stones at my head aimed

 

[Don't miss the play on 'madness', between maddening the poet and peoples' eagerness to mete out the punishment reserved for dangerous madness in Eastern poetical tropes]

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@ Servidor, this poem is for you, dedicated to the unrequited love :no:

 

 

Unforeseen Events by Karl Krolow

 

Always something unexpected happens.

He who takes off one shirt

Has to take off three more

And a walk between two elms

Ends in the jungle.

He who looks at a woman

Is lost

For the moment comes

When she calls his glances

To account.

Even metaphysics

Begins by inconspicuously

Exciting hearts.

 

Astonishment paves the way

For the incomprehensible.

Unforeseen events

Redeem the minutes

Before death.

Even a hempen rope

Permits various decisions.

Edited by Marbles
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Thank you for the poem Marbles.

 

"Even a hempen rope

Permits various decisions."

 

You know I thought about it? I was on a bus. But then I thought, it would be hard. First where would you get a rope strong enough and long enough? I don't know anything about ropes. Are they expensive? Probably. Then where would you find a roof able to hold your whole weight suspended? And high enough to keep you off the ground? I would decide to do it and fail and get so frustrated that I give up. And so here we are.

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Thank you for the poem Marbles.

 

"Even a hempen rope

Permits various decisions."

 

You know I thought about it? I was on a bus. But then I thought, it would be hard. First where would you get a rope strong enough and long enough? I don't know anything about ropes. Are they expensive? Probably. Then where would you find a roof able to hold your whole weight suspended? And high enough to keep you off the ground? I would decide to do it and fail and get so frustrated that I give up. And so here we are.

 

A hempen rope 'permits various decisions'. You know, you could use that to hang someone else too :D

 

In any case I'm glad the hempen rope are expensive and the roofs weak!

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Марина Цветаева  Вёрсты № 2 Marina Tsvetaeva Milestones  2

 

I planted an apple tree:

For the youngto play happily,

For the old man'slost boyhood,

For the gardener'senjoyment.

 

To my parlor I furtively

Lured a white turtledove:

To the robber'svexation,

To the housewife'selation.

 

I gave birth to a daughter

Eyes blue as the waters,

A voice that isdovelike,

And hair-like the sunlight.

For the woe of young girls,

For the woe of young boys.

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There is no one who can marry nature's telluric metaphor with longing, praise, personal transformation, and the adoration of the beloved with a twinge of melancholic sensuality in such a way as the maestro does. Here's one of the most admired love poems of Pablo Nerdua. The unwavering, unrelenting, and eternal beauty of the italics [emphasis mine]

 

Every Day You Play

 

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

 

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

 

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

 

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

 

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

 

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

 

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

 

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

 

 

 

 

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Пушкин — Признание Puskin Confession

 

I love you, though I rage at it,

Though it is shame and toil misguided,
And to my stupidity self-derided
Here at your feet I will admit!
It doesn't suit my years, my station,
Good sense has long been overdue!
And yet, by every indication
Love's plague has stricken me anew:
You're out of sight - I'm bored, I'm yawning;
You're here - I suffer and feel blue,
And barely keep myself from owning,
My angel, how much I care for you!
Why, when your girlish chatter
Drifts from next door your light tread,
Your rustling dress, my senses scatter
And I completely lose my head.
You smile - I flush with exultation;
You turn away - I'm plunged in gloom,
Your pale hand is compensation
For a whole day of imagined doom.
When to the frame with artless motion
You bend to cross-stitch, all devotion,
Your eyes and curls down-beguiled,
My heart goes out in mute emotion,
Rejoicing in you like a child!
Dare I confess to you my sighing,
How jealously I chafe and balk
When you set forth, defying
Bad weather, on a lengthy walk?
And then your solitary crying,
Those two whispers out of sight,
Your carriage to Opochka plying,
And the piano late at night...
Aline! I ask but to be pitied,
I do not dare to plead for love;
Love, for the sins I have committed,
I am perhaps unworthy of.
But make believe! Your gaze, my angel,
Is fit to conjure with, believe me!
Ah, it is easy to deceive me!...
I want to be deceived myself!

 

1828

Edited by Servidor
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Пушкин — Признание Puskin Confession

 

I love you, though I rage at it,

Though it is shame and toil misguided,

And to my stupidity self-derided

Here at your feet I will admit!

It doesn't suit my years, my station,

Good sense has long been overdue!

And yet, by every indication

Love's plague has stricken me anew:

You're out of sight - I'm bored, I'm yawning;

You're here - I suffer and feel blue,

And barely keep myself from owning,

My angel, how much I care for you!

Why, when your girlish chatter

Drifts from next door your light tread,

Your rustling dress, my senses scatter

And I completely lose my head.

You smile - I flush with exultation;

You turn away - I'm plunged in gloom,

Your pale hand is compensation

For a whole day of imagined doom.

When to the frame with artless motion

You bend to cross-stitch, all devotion,

Your eyes and curls down-beguiled,

My heart goes out in mute emotion,

Rejoicing in you like a child!

Dare I confess to you my sighing,

How jealously I chafe and balk

When you set forth, defying

Bad weather, on a lengthy walk?

And then your solitary crying,

Those two whispers out of sight,

Your carriage to Opochka plying,

And the piano late at night...

Aline! I ask but to be pitied,

I do not dare to plead for love;

Love, for the sins I have committed,

I am perhaps unworthy of.

But make believe! Your gaze, my angel,

Is fit to conjure with, believe me!

Ah, it is easy to deceive me!...

I want to be deceived myself!

 

1828

 

Wah wah. Mukarrar!

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It's spoken word poetry, several syllable rhymes:

 

Well this newcomer's known, to move with the seasons
Couple winter lodges, few summer homes
I'm there for every "ooh", "um", and moan
And make sure when the new Hummer roams, the shoes come in chrome
I ain't new at buying white, yellow, and cucumber stones
That send chills through a woman bones, but life gets gruesome alone
Even though I got the kinda bread that won't matter if a few crumbs are blown

Flights, I done flew some alone
Now I wanna wake up everyday with you in a new number zone

Mama mia, it's you I'mma phone
Just to erase all the negative views from your dome

And I promise this fellas G, it's so gangsta it'll calm all that jealousy
And drama you tellin me, so mama come yell at me
So I can put the top down, and we can cruise like Tom and Penelope

My charm is a felony

-John David Jackson

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René-François Sully-Prudhomme Les Berceaux (The Cradles)

 

Le long du Quai, les grands vaisseaux,
Que la houle incline en silence,
Ne prennent pas garde aux berceaux,
Que la main des femmes balance.

 

Along the quay, the grand ships,

which the waves tilt silently,

take no notice of the cradles,

which the hands of women rock.

Mais viendra le jour des adieux,
Car il faut que les femmes pleurent,
Et que les hommes curieux
Tentent les horizons qui leurrent!

 

But there will come the day of goodbyes,

because women must weep,

and the men who are curious 

attempt the horizons that lure them!

Et ce jour-là les grands vaisseaux,
Fuyant le port qui diminue,
Sentent leur masse retenue
Par l'âme des lointains berceaux.

 

And on that day the grand ships,

leaving the port that fades away,

feel their hulls held back

by the soul of the distant cradles.

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W. B. Yeats1865 - 1939
The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earth’s old and weary cry.

And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the world’s tears,
And all the sorrows of her labouring ships,
And all the burden of her myriad years.

And now the sparrows warring in the eaves,
The curd-pale moon, the white stars in the sky,
And the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves
Are shaken with earth’s old and weary cry.
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