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Thread: Favourite Poems & Poems that moved you

  1. #241
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    The Walk

    by Seamus Heaney

    Glamoured the road, the day, and him and her
    And everywhere they took me. When we stepped out
    Cobbles were riverbed, the Sunday air
    A high stream-roof that moved in silence over
    Rhododendrons in full bloom, foxgloves
    And hemlock, robin-run-the-hedge, the hedge
    With its deckled ivy and thick shadows -
    Until the riverbed itself appeared,
    Gravelly, shallowly, summery with pools,
    And made a world rim that was not for crossing.
    Love brought me that far by the hand, without
    The slightest doubt or irony, dry-eyed
    And knowledgeable, contrary as be damned;
    Then just kept standing there, not letting go.

    So here is another longshot. Black and white.
    A negative this time, in dazzle-dark,
    Smudge and pallor where we make out you and me,
    The selves we struggled with and struggled out of,
    Two shades who have consumed each other’s fire,
    Two flames in sunlight that can sear and singe,
    But seem like wisps of enervated air,
    After-wavers, feathery ether-shifts…
    Yet apt to rekindle suddenly
    If we find along the way charred grass and sticks
    And an old fire-fragrance lingering on,
    Erotic woodsmoke, witchery, intrigue,
    Leaving us none the wiser, just better primed
    To speed the plough again and feed the flame.

  2. #242
    Nerd King Usurper Array Edgar's Avatar
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    Listen to me, baby, you got to understand, you're old enough to learn the makings of a man.

  3. #243
    LL P. Stewie Array Beorn's Avatar
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    Rudyard Kipling


    The Storm Cone
    1932

    This is the midnight-let no star
    Delude us-dawn is very far.
    This is the tempest long foretold-
    Slow to make head but sure to hold

    Stand by! The lull 'twixt blast and blast
    Signals the storm is near, not past;
    And worse than present jeopardy
    May our forlorn to-morrow be.

    If we have cleared the expectant reef,
    Let no man look for his relief.
    Only the darkness hides the shape
    Of further peril to escape.

    It is decreed that we abide
    The weight of gale against the tide
    And those huge waves the outer main
    Sends in to set us back again.

    They fall and whelm. We strain to hear
    The pulses of her labouring gear,
    Till the deep throb beneath us proves,
    After each shudder and check, she moves!

    She moves, with all save purpose lost,
    To make her offing from the coast;
    But, till she fetches open sea,
    Let no man deem that he is free!
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  4. #244
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    Full Moon and Little Frieda
    by Ted Hughes

    A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -
    And you listening.
    A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.
    A pail lifted, still and brimming - mirror
    To tempt a first star to a tremor.

    Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm
    wreaths of breath -
    A dark river of blood, many boulders,
    Balancing unspilled milk.
    'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!'

    The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
    That points at him amazed.

  5. #245

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    “The Perfect Oar”
    by R.C. Lehmann
    from The Complete Oarsman

    Once on a dim and dream-like shore
    Half seen, half recollected,
    I thought I met a human oar
    Ideally perfected.

    To me at least he seemed a man
    Like any of our neighbours,
    Formed on the self-same sort of plan
    For high aquatic labours.

    His simple raiment took my eyes:
    No fancy duds he sported,
    He had his rather lengthy thighs
    Exiguously “shorted.”

    A scarf about his neck he threw;
    A zephyr hid his torso;
    He looked as much a man as you –
    Perhaps a trifle more so.

    And yet I fancy you’ll agree,
    When his description’s ended,
    No merely mortal thing could be
    So faultlessly commended.

    I noted down with eager hand
    The points that mark his glory;
    So grant me your attention, and
    I’ll set them out before ye.

    His hands are ever light to catch;
    Their swiftness is astounding:
    No billiard ball could pass or match
    The pace of their rebounding.
    Then, joyfully released and gay,
    And graceful as Apollo’s,
    With what a fine columnar sway
    His balanced body follows!

    He keeps his sturdy legs applied
    Just where he has been taught to,
    And always moves his happy slide
    Precisely as he ought to.
    He owns a wealth of symmetry
    Which nothing can diminish,
    And strong men shout for joy to see
    His wonder working finish.

    He never rows his stroke in dabs –
    A fatal form of sinning –
    And never either catches crabs
    Or misses the beginning.
    Against his ship the storm winds blow,
    And every lipper frets her:
    He hears the cox cry, “Let her go!”
    And swings and drives and lets her.

    Besides, he has about his knees,
    His feet, his wrists, his shoulders,
    Some points which make him work with ease
    And fascinate beholders.
    He is, in short, impeccable,
    And — this perhaps is oddest
    In one who rows and looks so well –
    He is supremely modest.

    He always keeps his language cool,
    Nor stimulates its vigour
    In face of some restrictive rule
    Of dietary rigour.
    And when the other men annoy
    With trivial reproaches,
    He is the Captain’s constant joy,
    The comfort of his coaches.

    When grumblers call the rowing vile,
    Or growl about the weather,
    Our Phoenix smiles a cheerful smile
    And keeps his crew together.
    No “hump” is his — when everything
    Looks black his zeal grows stronger,
    And makes his temper, like his swing,
    Proportionately longer.

    One aim is his through weeks of stress: –
    By each stroke rowed to aid work.
    No facile sugared prettiness
    Impairs his swirling blade-work.
    And, oh, it makes the pulses go
    A thousand to the minute
    To see the man sit down and row
    A ding-dong race and win it!

    Such was, and is, the perfect oar,
    A sort of river Prince, Sirs;
    I never met the man before,
    And never saw him since, Sirs.
    Yet still, I think, he moves his blade,
    As grand in style, or grander,
    As Captain of some Happy-Shade
    Elysian Leander.

  6. #246
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    Invictus
    BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

  7. #247
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    If
    BY RUDYARD KIPLING

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

  8. #248
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    The Light of Stars
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    The night is come, but not too soon;
    And sinking silently,
    All silently, the little moon
    Drops down behind the sky.

    There is no light in earth or heaven
    But the cold light of stars;
    And the first watch of night is given
    To the red planet Mars.

    Is it the tender star of love?
    The star of love and dreams?
    O no! from that blue tent above,
    A hero's armor gleams.

    And earnest thoughts within me rise,
    When I behold afar,
    Suspended in the evening skies,
    The shield of that red star.

    O star of strength! I see thee stand
    And smile upon my pain;
    Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,
    And I am strong again.

    Within my breast there is no light
    But the cold light of stars;
    I give the first watch of the night
    To the red planet Mars.

    The star of the unconquered will,
    He rises in my breast,
    Serene, and resolute, and still,
    And calm, and self-possessed.

    And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,
    That readest this brief psalm,
    As one by one thy hopes depart,
    Be resolute and calm.

    O fear not in a world like this,
    And thou shalt know erelong,
    Know how sublime a thing it is
    To suffer and be strong.
    The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas. H.G. WELLS
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. FEYNMAN

    If this is monkey pee, you're on your own.SCULLY

  9. #249
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    Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
    BY DYLAN THOMAS


    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    The last stanza can, on certain occasions, make my lacrimal glands work.
    ____

    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.
    ____

    If—
    BY RUDYARD KIPLING


    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
    "If" and "Desiderata" are both extremely inspiring and they speak to me in ways other poems don't.

    [Thanks again Lark for introducing me to those two! ]

  10. #250

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    THE QUIET MIND By John Clare

    Though low my lot, my wish is won,
    My hopes are few and staid;
    All I thought life would do is done,
    The last request is made.
    If I have foes, no foes I fear,
    To fate I live resigned;
    I have a friend I value here,
    And that’s a quiet mind.

    I wish not it was mine to wear
    Flushed Honour’s sunny crown;
    I wish not I were Fortune’s heir—
    She frowns, and let her frown:
    I have no taste for pomp and strife,
    Which others love to find:
    I only wish the bliss of life—
    A poor and quiet mind.

    The trumpet’s taunt in battle-field,
    The great man’s pedigree,—
    What peace can all their honours yield?
    And what are they to me?
    Though praise and pomp, to eke the strife,
    Rave like a mighty wind,
    What are they to the calm of life—
    A still and quiet mind?

    .............................................

    I mourn not that my lot is low,
    I wish no higher state,
    I sigh not that Fate made me so,
    Nor teaze her to be great.
    I am content—for well I see
    What all at last shall find,
    That life’s worst lot the best may be,
    If that’s a quiet mind.

    I see the world pass heedless by,
    And pride above me tower;
    It costs me not a single sigh
    For either wealth, or power:
    They are but men, and I’m a man
    Of quite as great a kind,—
    Proud too that life gives all she can,
    A calm and quiet mind.

    I never mocked at Beauty’s shrine,
    To stain her lips with lies;
    No knighthood’s fame or luck was mine,
    To win Love’s richest prize;
    And yet I’ve found in russet weed,
    What all will wish to find,
    True love—and comfort’s prize indeed,
    A glad and quiet mind.

    And come what will of care or woe,
    As some must come to all,
    I’ll wish not that they were not so,
    Nor mourn that they befall:

    ................................................

    If tears for sorrows start at will,
    They’re comforts in their kind;
    And I am blest, if with me still
    Remains a quiet mind.

    When friends depart, as part they must,
    And love’s true joys decay,
    That leave us like the summer dust,
    Which whirlwinds puff away;
    While life’s allotted time I brave,
    Though left the last behind,
    A prop and friend I still shall have,
    If I’ve a quiet mind.

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