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The Poetry Thread


saemo

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First stanza of "Pale Fire", Vladimir Nabokov:

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain

By the false azure in the windowpane

I was the smudge of ashen fluff--and I

Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky,

And from the inside, too, I'd duplicate

Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate:

Uncurtaining the night, I'd let dark glass

Hang all the furniture above the grass,

And how delightful when a fall of snow

Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so

As to make chair and bed exactly stand

Upon that snow, out in that crystal land!

We had Cedar Waxwings in our trees a few days ago, which brought to mind Nabokov's "waxwing slain by the false azure".

Please, add your favorite poems! Remember copyright restrictions, which allow only snippets of copyrighted material.

Edited by saemo
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One that fits the theme of the board:

 

All of these straw men
Together must constitute

A huge fire hazard.

 
And for my new neighbors moving in:
 
Lord, please bless that home
and all the crazy people
who are moving in.
 
And my deep cynicism:
 
I have heard it said
that love makes the world go 'round.
The days seem longer.
Edited by The Nehor
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One that fits the theme of the board:

 

All of these straw men

Together must constitute

A huge fire hazard.

 

And for my new neighbors moving in:

 

Lord, please bless that home

and all the crazy people

who are moving in.

 

And my deep cynicism:

 

I have heard it said

that love makes the world go 'round.

The days seem longer.

:)

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First stanza of "Pale Fire", Vladimir Nabokov:

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain

By the false azure in the windowpane

I was the smudge of ashen fluff--and I

Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky,

And from the inside, too, I'd duplicate

Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate:

Uncurtaining the night, I'd let dark glass

Hang all the furniture above the grass,

And how delightful when a fall of snow

Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so

As to make chair and bed exactly stand

Upon that snow, out in that crystal land!

We had Cedar Waxwings in our trees a few days ago, which brought to mind Nabokov's "waxwing slain by the false azure".

Please, add your favorite poems! Remember copyright restrictions, which allow only snippets of copyrighted material.

 

I could post a Nabokov poem in Russian... Muahahaha.

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I could post a Nabokov poem in Russian... Muahahaha.

That is one of the amazing things about "Pale Fire". Nabokov uses the English language, not his native, in ways that 99% of native speakers could never hope to match. I can't imagine his works in Russian.

Edited by saemo
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Two of my favorite poems:

 

Ozymandias

 

     I MET a Traveler from an antique land,
    Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings."
    Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!
    No thing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away. 

 

 

Daffodils

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 
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That is one of the amazing things about "Pale Fire". Nabokov uses the English language, not his native, in ways that 99% of native speakers could never hope to match. I can't imagine his works in Russian.

 

His father was an Anglophile, so Nabokov was taught English from a very early age, had English tutors, and after the Revolution, studied in England. He had an amazing education, but of course that doesn't take away from his genius one whit. I find it more incredible that his command of Russian was as good as it was.

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Journey of a Blind Grandmother, Ending

MARILYN MCMEEN MILLER BROWN

Growing old, I hear bees

(Or is it light?)—

I hear buzzing bees.

Outside of my hands there is light,

I remember—purple dragonflies

Turning a thousand pointed mirrors,

Golden buttercups refracted by rain,

My mother’s shadowy hands on my brow.

Shadows like those hands cover my eyes, A dark rippling silk

Drawing inner circles of sun

Where the buttercups wake

Along the smooth crevas

Of my mind behind

A smoky lens that breaks light,

Makes geometry of the sun.

Suddenly a shadowy angel

Draws circles, draws me in

Where I may sleep

And wake

And, for the first time,

See.

Edited by Okrahomer
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Auguries of Innocence, by William Blake (ending)

Every Night & every Morn

Some to Misery are Born

Every Morn and every Night

Some are Born to sweet delight

Some are Born to sweet delight

Some are Born to Endless Night

We are led to Believe a Lie

When we see not Thro the Eye

Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night

When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light

God Appears & God is Light

To those poor Souls who dwell in Night

But does a Human Form Display

To those who Dwell in Realms of day

Edited by saemo
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I wrote this in 1968, while I was in High School:

 

If I were a toad

And sat in a road

I'd probably get

run over.

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Someone in this forum posted this poem by Max Ehrmann...

I really liked it and hope they will forgive me for not giving them their due..

 

 

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
 
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
 
©1927 Max Ehrmann (renewed) Bell & Son publishing, LLC
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You can click on "My Poetry Blog" in my signature line and find a lot of good ones...just ignore those by William Lee, the guys a hack. I have some by John Doone...great poet. Edwin Markham is my favorite poet.

I like your poetry blog. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Someone in this forum posted this poem by Max Ehrmann...

I really liked it and hope they will forgive me for not giving them their due..

 

 

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 

©1927 Max Ehrmann (renewed) Bell & Son publishing, LLC

Ha, that was me. The title of this poem is Desiderata. I actually came across it in my atheist years and found it inspiring. I still like it but am more inspired by Christian poetry, particularly those of Catholic mystics.

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"The Dark Night", by St. John of the Cross, from "Ascent of Mount Carmel"

A song of the soul's happiness in having passed through the dark night of

faith, in nakedness and purgation, to union with its Beloved.

One dark night,

fired with love's urgent longings

- ah, the sheer grace! -

I went out unseen,

my house being now all stilled.

In darkness, and secure,

by the secret ladder, disguised,

- ah, the sheer grace! -

in darkness and concealment,

my house being now all stilled.

On that glad night

in secret, for no one saw me,

nor did I look at anything

with no other light or guide

than the One that burned in my heart.

This guided me

more surely than the light of noon

to where he was awaiting me

- him I knew so well -

there in a place where no one appeared.

O guiding night!

O night more lovely than the dawn!

O night that has united

the Lover with his beloved,

transforming the Beloved into his Lover.

Upon my flowering breast,

which I kept wholly for him alone,

there he lay sleeping,

and I caressing him

there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

When the breeze blew from the turret,

as I parted his hair,

it wounded my neck

with its gentle hand,

suspending all my senses.

I abandoned and forgot myself,

laying my face on my Beloved;

all things ceased; I went out from myself,

leaving my cares

forgotten among the lilies.

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Saemo was kind enough to remind me that he had indeed posted the poem I quoted earlier!  Thanks!!  I knew it resonated, and had indeed seen it before myself but forgotten....wonderful!

 

 

Desiderata

 

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 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 and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your 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 critical 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 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 careful. Strive to be happy.

 

© Max Ehrmann 1927

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Saemo was kind enough to remind me that he had indeed posted the poem I quoted earlier!  Thanks!!  I knew it resonated, and had indeed seen it before myself but forgotten....wonderful!

 

 

Desiderata

 

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 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 and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your 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 critical 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 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 careful. Strive to be happy.

 

© Max Ehrmann 1927

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His father was an Anglophile, so Nabokov was taught English from a very early age, had English tutors, and after the Revolution, studied in England. He had an amazing education, but of course that doesn't take away from his genius one whit. I find it more incredible that his command of Russian was as good as it was.

Whatever the origin of his genius regarding his absolute command of the English language, I have no doubts that Nabokov could write a short story about navel lint and make it seem the most beautiful thing ever encountered....that man was pure genius.

 

From the greatest book of poetry ever written, Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, the opening stanzas of Song of Myself:

 

1

I celebrate myself;

And what I assume you shall assume;

For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my Soul;

I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes—the shelves are crowded with perfumes;

I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it;

The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it is odorless;

It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it;

I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked;

I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

2

The smoke of my own breath;

Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine;

My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs;

The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore, and dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn;

The sound of the belch’d words of my voice, words loos’d to the eddies of the wind;

A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms;

The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag;

The delight alone, or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides;

The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?

Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?

Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me, and you shall possess the origin of all poems;

You shall possess the good of the earth and sun—(there are millions of suns left;)

You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books;

You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me:

You shall listen to all sides, and filter them from yourself.

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Sounds of Silence

by Simon and Garfunkle

 

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the

sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence
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Sounds of Silence

by Simon and Garfunkle

 

Hello darkness, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone

'Neath the halo of a street lamp

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light

That split the night

And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more

People talking without speaking

People hearing without listening

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools", said I, "You do not know

Silence like a cancer grows

Hear my words that I might teach you

Take my arms that I might reach you"

But my words, like silent raindrops fell

And echoed

In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon god they made

And the

sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

And tenement halls"

And whispered in the sounds of silence

One of the greatest songs of "All" time! Another great one is in my sig line by Joni Mitchell. Then "I Am, I Said"...by Neal Diamond.
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