Favorite Poems

Discussion in 'Reading & Writing' started by Sheldon Scott, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    I've posted this on other forums and wanted to share it here. It's one of my favorites.

    Big Ed's a comin"
    Now my tale is of the early years, when the century was new
    And the rankest critters in the Basin were cows and buckaroos.

    Picture a saloon in Prineville, where the liquor's flowing free,
    Where gamblers deal up faro and the girls smile easily.

    It's early on a weekend - maybe three in the afternoon,
    The pianer's playin somthin 'bout love and a silver moon.

    When suddenly the doors burst open and boys, it's a terrible sight...
    A cowboy staggers forward his eyes rolled back to white.

    His hands they fairly tremble and his face is chalky pale
    " I come to warn you, Big Ed's comin'... I seen him on the trail!"

    There's a moment of deepest silence, but before another breath is drawn,
    The bar empties out like a winter cup when the last of the coffee's gone.

    The barkeep, fresh from Ireland, stands frozen to the spot,
    Mindful of his immigration and having second thoughts.

    Now the windows start to rattle and the chairs begin to dance
    And the danger hanging in the air holds the barkeep in a trance.

    There's a sound of heavy galloping comin' down the street
    And ahead of it an odor like week old vulture meat.

    Crashing through the swinging doors and tearing out the wall
    Comes a grizzly being ridden by a man near eight feet tall.

    He's got a rattler for a bullwhip and he cracks it overhead.
    And the grizzly's got a logging chain between his teeth instead

    Of a snaffle bit and rein, and the rider draws 'em tight
    As he screeches to a halt and slides off to the... right.

    Two strides he's to the railin', and he growls to make his point,
    " Barkeep give me whiskey, the best that's in the joint.

    Now the Darbyman's been hidin' behind the tavern sink,
    But he hastens with a shotglass and pours the man a drink.

    With a look of raw impatience the stranger knocks it to the floor,
    Bites the neck off of the bottle and spits it out the door.

    He tosses back the contents and downs it with a swallow
    And the look he gives the Irishman is cold and grim and hollow.

    The barkeep says his rosary, he's thinkin' of his mother
    But trembling courage prompts his lips "Would you care to have another?"

    The stranger turns away in silence, he offers not a word,
    Then says "There ain't no time, son, I'm surprised you haven't heard.

    If I was you I'd close this joint and set my mount a'runnin',
    I'm just a step ahead of death... Ain't you heard?...Big Ed's a comin'!"
     
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  2. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    Written by Shel Silverstein | | [​IMG]
    Bear In There



    There's a Polar Bear
    In our Frigidaire--
    He likes it 'cause it's cold in there.
    With his seat in the meat
    And his face in the fish
    And his big hairy paws
    In the buttery dish,
    He's nibbling the noodles,
    He's munching the rice,
    He's slurping the soda,
    He's licking the ice.
    And he lets out a roar
    If you open the door.
    And it gives me a scare
    To know he's in there--
    That Polary Bear
    In our Fridgitydaire.
     
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  3. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Here's another favorite:

    The Calf-Path
    One day, through the primeval wood,
    A calf walked home, as good calves should;
    But made a trail all bent askew,
    A crooked trail, as all calves do.
    Since then three hundred years have fled,
    And, I infer, the calf is dead.
    But still he left behind his trail,
    And thereby hangs my moral tale.
    The trail was taken up next day
    By a lone dog that passed that way;
    And then a wise bellwether sheep
    Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
    And drew the flock behind him, too,
    As good bellwethers always do.
    And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
    Through those old woods a path was made,
    And many men wound in and out,
    And dodged and turned and bent about,
    And uttered words of righteous wrath
    Because ’twas such a crooked path;
    But still they followed — do not laugh —
    The first migrations of that calf,
    And through this winding wood-way stalked
    Because he wobbled when he walked.
    This forest path became a lane,
    That bent, and turned, and turned again.
    This crooked lane became a road,
    Where many a poor horse with his load
    Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
    And traveled some three miles in one.
    And thus a century and a half
    They trod the footsteps of that calf.
    The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
    The road became a village street,
    And this, before men were aware,
    A city’s crowded thoroughfare,
    And soon the central street was this
    Of a renowned metropolis;
    And men two centuries and a half
    Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
    Each day a hundred thousand rout
    Followed that zigzag calf about,
    And o’er his crooked journey went
    The traffic of a continent.
    A hundred thousand men were led
    By one calf near three centuries dead.
    They follow still his crooked way,
    And lose one hundred years a day,
    For thus such reverence is lent
    To well-established precedent.
    A moral lesson this might teach
    Were I ordained and called to preach;
    For men are prone to go it blind
    Along the calf-paths of the mind,
    And work away from sun to sun
    To do what other men have done.
    They follow in the beaten track,
    And out and in, and forth and back,
    And still their devious course pursue,
    To keep the path that others do.
    They keep the path a sacred groove,
    Along which all their lives they move;
    But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
    Who saw the first primeval calf!
    Ah, many things this tale might teach —
    But I am not ordained to preach
     
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  4. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    This is really catchy. It just flows. I like it though. thanks for the post
     
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  5. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm glad you like it Jennifer. I first saw it in a cattle magazine 15 or 20 years ago and it stuck with me. And it's so true how we follow established paths in our lives, even when we can see they could be better, rather than making changes
     
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  6. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    My first thought was "politics". People will choose their party based on one little aspect of that party's philosophy. And too many times I've seen people regurgitate their party line, even though it went against their best interest. But, thats what I party does.
    I'm a liberal who believes gun control is unconstitutional. If they look at the number of gun deaths each year, caused by LEGAL firearms, their statistics are telling you something very different. I also believe that if my confederate flag offends someone, I am more than happy to give them the opportunity to pucker up.
    But most people use the party to dictate a lot of their opinions, when it should be the other way around
     
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  7. John Falcon

    John Falcon New Member
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    MY favorite:

    Mary had a little lamb,
    His fleece was black as soot.

    And upon Mary's clean white bedspread
    his sooty foot he put.
     
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  8. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    That's intense John :D
     
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  9. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    I love it! It needs to be followed up by one about a man from Nantucket, maybe? :D
     
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  10. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I really liked There's A Bear In There, Jennifer! I felt cooled off, just reading it.;)
     
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  11. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    When my daughter was a toddler, she loved that one and "There was an old woman who swallowed a fly." Everynight we had to sit down and read those two.
     
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  12. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Oh, yeah, Jennifer. Burl Ives sung that song,
     
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  13. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    Really nice poems here! I want to share some of my favorites, but I can't recall them by mind, and these are not online.

    Of course, I have the book where they are written, one of the few books I keep in their original paper form, but if you could see the kind of mess around me, you would easily discover that I have not cleaned up the house for several days and you will absolutely right.

    I was confronting the potential risk to lose my actual home and not much time to find the book, but now that the risk has been conjured, I'm going to devote some time to find it out and transcribe two of my favorite poems ;)
     
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  14. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    There are some words...you just can't find a rhyme for!

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    Its been a very long time since I had the opportunity to read it out loud (without looking silly for reading it by myself). But it wouldn't surprise me if, with a little bit of effort, I couldn't recall the entire poem. I just tried, and without cheating, I can't remember what she swallowed to catch the spider that wiggled and jiggled and squiggled inside her. But if I skip it and go straight to the cat, I can remember it.
     
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  16. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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  17. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    yeah?
     
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  18. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    "orange"…never realized that Joe but you're right, there's nothing to rhyme with it..nothing. A poet would have to resort to near-rhyme for that word for which there are only three…torrent, abhorrent, or warrant.

    Those 3 near-rhymes are barely close and they don't have anything to do with orange….Roses are red, Sunsets are orange, Sugar is sweet, And you're abhorrent...just isn't working :p
     
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  19. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    The first verse of Louis MacNeice's Dublin:

    Grey brick upon brick,
    Declamatory bronze
    On sombre pedestals -
    O'Connell, Grattan, Moore -
    And the brewery tugs and the swans
    On the balustraded stream
    And the bare bones of a fanlight
    Over a hungry door
    And the air soft on the cheek
    And porter running from the taps
    With a head of yellow cream
    And Nelson on his pillar
    Watching his world collapse.

    As The Dubliners observed, poet and prophet.

    nelson.jpg
     
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  20. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    What about "sponge"?
     
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  21. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina Isobe Very Well-Known Member
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    Here is an original poem by yours truly.
    Found Love
    Unconditional love
    always spoken about
    Unconditional
    is beautiful when got
    Unconditional love
    is wonderful with knot
    Unconditional love
    abundant in life start.

    I hope you like it.
     
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  22. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    I liked it Krissttina! @Tom Locke , Louis MacNiece's poem reminds me of a poem I wrote a year or so ago and posted in an online-literature forum…although his is far more profound. It even uses the word "balustrade" which is a bit uncommon. (my name I used in online-literature was Melanie because no one used their real name there but my profile pic matches me)

    My poem inspired by Henri-Cartier Bresson's photo
    "Aquila Degli Abruzzi" by Lara M.

    Take my hand and come with me
    Through rhythmic patterns and pauses
    Down pebbled streets, between stone walls
    Around spiral stairway balustrades.

    In contrast to complexities
    Of shapes and textures, and history
    Live pure and humble humankind
    In modest commonality.

    Come taste their bread. We'll feed their birds.
    Their simple lives of tranquility
    Centered in prayer, "Oro Pro Nobis"
    In Aquila Degli Abruzzi.

    unnamed.jpg
     
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  23. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Re the MacNeice poem. I'm a fan of both poet and poem, but there was also a facetious element that I probably ought to explain. Nelson's Pillar stood in Dublin's O'Connell Street from 1809 until it was blown up by Irish republicans in 1966. The Dubliners, an Irish folk band, sang a song about it (Nelson's Farewell), hence the "poet and prophet" line I added at the end.

    Apologies to anyone cognisant of these facts, but I thought I should explain!
     
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  24. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Nelson is still a head!;)
    [​IMG]
    Nelson’s head, now in the Dublin Civic Museum. (Mark Fiennes)
     
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  25. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Brian Patten

    [​IMG]


    website here


    Has written a lot of books for children and is one of the Liverpool Three as they were often known (Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten).
    I have always loved Patten's poetry as have all my family, his poetry helped with the pain of my marriage break up and a couple of other painful relationships. The three poems below I particularly like.


    And Nothing is Ever as Perfect as You Want It to Be

    You lose your love for her and then
    It is her who is lost,
    And then it is both who are lost,
    And nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.

    In a very ordinary world
    A most extraordinary pain mingles with the small routines,
    The loss seems huge and yet
    Nothing can be pinned down or fully explained.

    You are afraid. If you found the perfect love
    It would scald your hands,
    Rip the skin from your nerves,
    Cause havoc with a computed heart.

    Everything you touched became a wound.
    You tried to mend what cannot be mended,
    You tried, neither foolish nor clumsy,
    To rescue what cannot be rescued.

    You failed, a
    And now she is elsewhere,
    And her night and your night
    Are both utterly drained.

    How easy it would be
    If love could be brought home like a lost kitten
    Or gathered in like strawberries,
    How lovely it would be;
    But nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.


    Simple Lyric

    When I think of her sparkling face
    And of her body that rocked this way and that,
    When I think of her laughter,
    Her jubilance that filled me,
    It’s a wonder I’m not gone mad.

    She is away and I cannot do what I want.
    Other faces pale when I get close.
    She is away and I cannot breathe her in.

    The space her leaving has created
    I have attempted to fill
    With bodies that numbed upon touching,
    Among them I expected her opposite,
    And found only forgeries.

    Her wholeness I know to be a fiction of my making,
    Still I cannot dismiss the longing for her;
    It is a craving for sensation new flesh
    Cannot wholly calm or cancel,
    It is perhaps for more than her.

    At night above the parks the stars are swarming.
    The streets are thick with nostalgia;
    I move through senseless routine and insensitive chatter
    As if her going did not matter.
    She is away and I cannot breathe her in.
    I am ill simply through wanting her.


    When You Wake Tomorrow

    I will give you a poem when you wake tomorrow.
    It will be a peaceful poem.
    It won’t make you sad.
    It won’t make you miserable.
    It will simply be a poem to give you
    When you wake tomorrow.

    It was not written by myself alone.
    I cannot lay claim to it.
    I found it in your body.
    In your smile I found it.
    Will you recognise it?

    You will find it under your pillow.
    When you open the cupboard it will be there.
    You will blink in astonishment,
    Shout out, ‘How it trembles!
    Its nakedness is startling! How fresh it tastes!’

    We will have it for breakfast;
    On a table lit by loving,
    At a place reserved for wonder.
    We will give the world a kissing open
    When we wake tomorrow.

    We will offer it to the sad landlord out on the balcony.
    To the dreamers at the window.
    To the hand waving for no particular reason
    We will offer it.
    An amazing and most remarkable thing,
    We will offer it to the whole human race
    Which walks in us
    When we wake tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

     
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