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  1. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    I miss the old poetry thread from the late version of TFP, so I hope you'll help me with some literary revivification. Post poems you love. Old favorites, new favorites, flavor of the week, anything that is putting wind in your sails right now.

    I'll go ahead and start with two:

    Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,
    But bid for, Patience is! Patience who asks
    Wants war, wants wounds; weary his times, his tasks;
    To do without, take tosses, and obey.
    Rare patience roots in these, and, these away,
    Nowhere. Natural heart's ivy, Patience masks
    Our ruins of wrecked past purpose. There she basks
    Purple eyes and seas of liquid leaves all day.

    We hear our hearts grate on themselves: it kills
    To bruise them dearer. Yet the rebellious wills
    Of us we do bid God bend to him even so.
    And where is he who more and more distils
    Delicious kindness? --He is patient. Patience fills
    His crisp combs, and that comes those ways we know.

    -Gerard Manley Hopkins


    Sarah writes letters
    as free of compunction as the ocean.
    For her lovely eyes
    she must pay interest
    all the days of her life.

    Beneath the canopy of her eyebrows
    there are always weddings.

    Her mouth blossoms conversation-red,
    in the woods next to my youth.

    The world is safeguarded, in crates, in her room,
    all packed up for trips.

    She likes the journey-bread of spontaneous love;
    she’s ready to go at a moment’s notice
    to the Promised Land,
    even by way of the wilderness.

    I’d like to discuss with her
    some changes to the map of my life.

    -Yehudah Amichai (translated by Levite)
  2. Zen

    Zen Very Tilted

    What a great thread!

    Is own poetry allowed?
  3. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    Why not?
  4. Zen

    Zen Very Tilted

  5. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    Anyone? Anyone?


    Song of Wandering Aengus

    I went out to the hazel wood,
    Because a fire was in my head,
    And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
    And hooked a berry to a thread;

    And when white moths were on the wing,
    And moth-like stars were flickering out,
    I dropped the berry in a stream
    And caught a little silver trout.

    When I had laid it on the floor
    I went to blow the fire a-flame,
    But something rustled on the floor,
    And some one called me by my name:
    It had become a glimmering girl
    With apple blossom in her hair
    Who called me by my name and ran
    And faded through the brightening air.

    Though I am old with wandering
    Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
    I will find out where she has gone,
    And kiss her lips and take her hands;
    And walk among long dappled grass,
    And pluck till time and times are done
    The silver apples of the moon,
    The golden apples of the sun.

    -William Butler Yeats
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Zen

    Zen Very Tilted

    Hi, Levite.

    OK. This had a big effect on me when I heard it at school:

    Dulce et Decorum
    by Wilfred Owen
    8 October 1917 - March, 1918

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!---An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,---
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    Wow. The stuff that came out of WWI was so intense.... That's an amazing piece of work.
  8. Zen

    Zen Very Tilted

    Hi Levite, A weird experience. I posted it, yet just now re-read it, but this time with adult eyes and feeling. My God.

    Alongside the language, something which got me was how he was a soldier at the same time as they were - like the Magnum war photographers, but even closer than that, because he was Part of the squad, rather than just an observer. Heck. Intense. I feel like I just read it for the first time.
  9. streak_56

    streak_56 I'm doing something, going somewhere...

    C eh N eh D eh....
    hmm.... own poetry? would such a thing be allowed, I've got some good/not so good ones I could share... by some I mean 80+.... but here's a good one

    Fire and Ice

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I've tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favour fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Robert Frost....
    • Like Like x 4
  10. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    Great poem. I recall my grandmother introducing me to it when I was young. She adored Frost, and her suggested readings made me love him also.
  11. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    I'm a devout Wordsworthian.

    Though this poem isn't among my top favourites of his (those would be, generally, among his long-form poems), it was the first of his I discovered back when I was around seventeen or eighteen. It struck me as something unlike anything I'd read. The day I read it was probably the day I learned of the true power of poetry.

    About ten years later, I would go on to study Wordsworth in detail at university, along with several of his contemporaries and influences.

    'The world is too much with us'

    The world is too much with us; late and soon,
    Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
    Little we see in Nature that is ours;
    We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
    The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
    The winds that will be howling at all hours,
    And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
    For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
    It moves us not—Great God! I'd rather be
    A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
    So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
    Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
    Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
    Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

    William Wordsworth, 1806.
  12. The Journey
    By Mary Oliver

    One day you finally knew
    What you had to do, and began,
    Though the voices around you
    Kept shouting
    Their bad advice---
    Though the whole house
    Begin to tremble
    And you felt the old tug
    At your ankles.
    “Mend my Life”
    Each voice cried.
    But you didn’t stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    Though the wind pried
    With its stiff fingers
    At the very foundations,
    Though their melancholy
    Was terrible.
    It was already late
    Enough, and a wild night,
    And the road full of fallen
    Branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    As you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do---
    determined to save
    the only life that you could save.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. psykosis

    psykosis Getting Tilted

    Great White North
    Not mine of course, but deeply meaningful to me.

    Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.

    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.

    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain or bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    As I prepare for the High Holidays, I find myself drawn back to this poem by Rilke, which I give in both German and in English. I actually banged out enough basic German from my sparse knowledge of Yiddish and my halfway decent mastery of Anglo-Saxon to get through this, just because I loved the poem so much.

    Du, Nachbar Gott, wenn ich dich manches Mal
    in langer Nacht mit hartem Klopfen störe, -
    so ists, weil ich dich selten atmen höre
    und weiß: Du bist allein im Saal.
    Und wenn du etwas brauchst, ist keiner da,
    um deinem Tasten einen Trank zu reichen:
    ich horche immer. Gib ein kleines Zeichen.
    Ich bin ganz nah.

    Nur eine schmale Wand ist zwischen uns,
    durch Zufall; denn es könnte sein:
    ein Rufen deines oder meines Munds -
    und sie bricht ein
    ganz ohne Lärm und Laut.

    Aus deinen Bildern ist sie aufgebaut.

    Und deine Bilder stehn vor dir wie Namen.
    Und wenn einmal in mir das Licht entbrennt,
    mit welchem meine Tiefe dich erkennt,
    vergeudet sichs als Glanz auf ihren Rahmen.

    Und meine Sinne, welche schnell erlahmen,
    sind ohne Heimat und von dir getrennt.


    You, neighbor god, if sometimes in the night
    I rouse you with loud knocking, I do so
    only because I seldom hear you breathe
    and know: you are alone.
    And should you need a drink, no one is there
    to reach it to you, groping in the dark.
    Always I hearken. Give but a small sign.
    I am quite near.

    Between us there is but a narrow wall,
    and by sheer chance; for it would take
    merely a call from your lips or from mine
    to break it down,
    and that without a sound.

    The wall is builded of your images.

    They stand before you hiding you like names.
    And when the light within me blazes high
    that in my inmost soul I know you by,
    the radiance is squandered on their frames.

    And then my senses, which too soon grow lame,
    exiled from you, must go their homeless ways.

    -Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Book of Hours
  15. This is a song, but I met it as a poem -

    Here are the lyrics of a song by Eric Bogle. It is about the horses of the Australian Light Horse in World War 1. The below is about the song as Eric Bogle describes.
    The story is as follows:
    The song is of course about the horses sent overseas during WW1 to serve in the various theatres of war. Of the approximately 53000 horses Australia sent overseas during WW1, only one ever returned to Australia after the war. At the end of the war the Anzacs were ordered to get rid of their horses, the authorities did not want them returning to Australia and perhaps bringing in anthrax or TB or suchlike back into the country. Most of the horses were sold or given away, but in Palestine the Light Horsemen refused to give or sell their horses to the Arab population of Palestine, and chose instead to shoot them all. I based the song on an actual Light Horseman called Elijah Conn who had a horse in Palestine called Banjo. Elijah never forgot Banjo and for the rest of his life could not talk about him without tears coming to his eyes.
    It’s as if he knows
    He’s standing close to me
    His breath warm on my sleeve
    His head hung low
    It’s as if he knows
    What the dawn will bring
    The end of everything
    For my old Banjo
    And all along the picket lines beneath the desert sky
    The Light Horsemen move amongst their mates to say one last goodbye
    And the horses stand so quietly
    Row on silent row
    It’s as if they know

    Time after time
    We rode through shot and shell
    We rode in and out of Hell
    On their strong backs
    Time after time
    They brought us safely through
    By their swift sure hooves
    And their brave hearts
    Tomorrow we will form up ranks and march down to the quay
    And sail back to our loved ones in that dear land across the sea
    While our loyal and true companions
    Who asked so little and gave so much
    Will lie dead in the dust.

    For the orders came
    No horses to return
    We were to abandon them
    To be slaves
    After all we’d shared
    And all that we’d been through
    A Nation’s gratitude
    Was a dusty grave
    For we can’t leave them to the people here, we’d rather see them dead
    So each man will take his best mate’s horse with a bullet through the head
    For the people here are like their land
    Wild and cruel and hard
    So Banjo, here’s your reward.

    It’s as if he knows, he standing close to me,
    His breath warm on my sleeve, his head hung low.
    As he if he knew.
  16. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer just won the Nobel Prize in Literature

    After a Death
    by Tomas Tranströmer
    translated by Robert Bly

    Once there was a shock
    that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
    It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
    It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.

    One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
    through brush where a few leaves hang on.
    They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
    Names swallowed by the cold.

    It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
    but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
    The samurai looks insignificant
    beside his armor of black dragon scales.

  17. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    I don't usually class rock poetry with "real" poetry, but I make exceptions for Dylan and for Leonard Cohen. The following, from the estimable Mr. Cohen, has been on my mind lately, loosely based as it is on part of the Yom Kippur liturgy....

    And who by fire?
    Who by water?
    Who in the sunshine?
    Who in the night time?
    Who by high ordeal?
    Who by common trial?
    Who in your merry merry month of May?
    Who by very slow decay?
    And who shall I say is calling?
    (Who shall I say is calling?)

    And who in her lonely slip?
    Who by barbiturate?
    Who in these realms of love?
    Who by something blunt?
    Who by avalanche?
    Who by powder?
    Who for his greed?
    Who for his hunger?
    And who shall I say is calling?
    (Who shall I say is calling?)

    And who by brave assent?
    Who by accident?
    Who in solitude?
    Who in this mirror?
    Who by his lady's command?
    Who by his own hand?
    Who in mortal chains?
    Who in power?
    And who shall I say is calling?
    (Who shall I say is calling?)

    Leonard Cohen
    • Like Like x 3
  18. clarksdale

    clarksdale Vertical

    I love this one by Mark Strand

    The Continuous Life

    What of the neighborhood homes awash
    In a silver light, of children hunched in the bushes,
    Watching the grown-ups for signs of surrender,
    Signs that the irregular pleasures of moving
    From day to day, of being adrift on the swell of duty,
    Have run their course? O parents, confess
    To your little ones the night is a long way off
    And your taste for the mundane grows; tell them
    Your worship of household chores has barely begun;
    Describe the beauty of shovels and rakes, brooms and mops;
    Say there will always be cooking and cleaning to do,
    That one thing leads to another, which leads to another;
    Explain that you live between two great darks, the first
    With an ending, the second without one, that the luckiest
    Thing is having been born, that you live in a blur
    Of hours and days, months and years, and believe
    It has meaning, despite the occasional fear
    You are slipping away with nothing completed, nothing
    To prove you existed. Tell the children to come inside,
    That your search goes on for something you lost—a name,
    A family album that fell from its own small matter
    Into another, a piece of the dark that might have been yours,
    You don't really know. Say that each of you tries
    To keep busy, learning to lean down close and hear
    The careless breathing of earth and feel its available
    Languor come over you, wave after wave, sending
    Small tremors of love through your brief,
    Undeniable selves, into your days, and beyond.
  19. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    In observance of Remembrance Day:

    "In Flanders Fields"

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote this poem on May 3, 1915, after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, 22 years old, the day before.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    This has been showing up on my radar recently.

    "The Red Wheelbarrow"
    William Carlos Williams

    so much depends

    a red wheel

    glazed with rain

    beside the white