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Language in Literature > My Favorite Poems II, the Sequel

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message 1: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18399 comments Mod
Let's start the way the first started, with Frost!

"Neither Out Far Nor in Deep"

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be---
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15856 comments Mod
That's me.

message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18399 comments Mod
Melville was on to it. Chapter One of Moby Dick details the mysterious pull of the sea -- even on landlubbers.

message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10395 comments I am drawn to the sea also.

message 5: by S. (new)

S. (sthomaskaza) Do you like sonnets?
I wrote this years ago about the sea.... or life on the sea.....

The Mariner’s Creed

To fail the call of this mariner’s whim
When the stores are in order, the sails trim
To tack along these Easterly Winds
Would boil the blood of Poseidon

To keep to the charts they have plotted for me
To lay to the coast for the spices and tea
To never strike out for the uncharted sea
Is to tempt the Queen’s Luck we rely on

For if laughter is laughter when only intended
And drink good and merry when only befriended
Then I as a man have only pretended
And would rather lie dead in the ground

All hands to the sails! Look lively there, mate!
We’ll leave to the gales what we don’t to our fate!

message 6: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15856 comments Mod
Sea Fever


I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

message 7: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18399 comments Mod
On balance, the sonnet is a lovely form:

The Silken Tent
Robert Frost

She is as in a field of silken tent

At midday when the sunny summer breeze

Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,

So that in guys it gently sways at ease,

And its supporting central cedar pole,

That is its pinnacle to heavenward

And signifies the sureness of the soul,

Seems to owe naught to any single cord,

But strictly held by none, is loosely bound

By countless silken ties of love and thought

To every thing on earth the compass round,

And only by one’s going slightly taut

In the capriciousness of summer air

Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

message 8: by S. (new)

S. (sthomaskaza) Newengland wrote: "On balance, the sonnet is a lovely form:

The Silken Tent
Robert Frost

She is as in a field of silken tent

At midday when the sunny summer breeze

Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,

Thank you.
This is a very nice sonnet by Frost that I had not read.
The imagery is wonderful.

message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10395 comments Niiiiccce.

message 10: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15856 comments Mod
My own favorite sonnet.

by Billy Collins


All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.

message 11: by Michael (new)

Michael David | 1 comments The God Abandons Antony - C.P. Cavafy

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who proved worthy of this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

Subtle, tragic love.

message 12: by Gabi (last edited Feb 28, 2015 10:52PM) (new)

Gabi Fuller (CountryMouseMe) | 474 comments  photo 849661-33e9acac-bcaa-11e4-a901-79cc3d20af7b sunday Tele 1-3-2015_zpsmwn0bwb8.jpg

The New Yorker / September 15 / 2014 Issue

by Clive James

Your death, near now, is of an
easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no
real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel
the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:

Enhanced, in fact. When did you
ever see
So much sweet beauty as when
fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back
garden walls,
So any Amber Rooms and
mirror halls?

Ever more lavish as the dusk
This glistening illuminates the
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will
be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take
my share.

My daughter's choice, the maple
tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will
turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that. That will end
the game
For me, though life continues all
the same.

Filling the double doors to bathe
my eyes,
A final flood of colours will live
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world
that shone
So brightly at the last, and then
was gone.

(Painting by Bentley)

message 13: by Ken (last edited Mar 01, 2015 03:35AM) (new)

Ken | 18399 comments Mod
Thanks, Michael, for the Cavafy. I have a collection of his poems and read a few now and then.

Gabi -- the maple is a nice final image to take with you, I imagine. And where have I heard the name "Clive James" before? Was he famous for something else?

message 14: by Gabi (last edited Mar 01, 2015 05:00AM) (new)

Gabi Fuller (CountryMouseMe) | 474 comments Educated at the University of Sydney; Pembroke College, Cambridge and the University of Cambridge, he has written many books and novels. Quite a few were Poems; others were collections of Essays; in the 80's he was TV critic for the London newspaper "The Observer" He published several anthologies from that; the first being called "the Crystal Bucket"!

He drove me mad with the words he used. I always had to have a dictionary and/or Roget's Thesaurus to hand.

He has written a 4 part Memoir of his life, both in Australia and in London: to where he sailed at the age of 21. The first was called "Unreliable memoirs" His face is plain and his public voice is dry and rather monotone, but reading his books put the whole scene in your brain and can cause small accidents, unless you have your legs crossed!

(Conversely, an Australian actor, named William McInnes, usually seen in various TV series has written a couple of books of his own, which I have tried to read but couldnt feel the nuances. Had he read them in front of you, his dry, laconic humor got you every time! Isn't it strange how these things work?)

See if you can get those 2 books from the library - worth reading, truly! Thats if you can get to the library or you have an eReader? Keep you entertained while you are snowed in!


Clive has leukemia and his writing is all that is keeping him going, I think. Stubborn old Cuss!

message 15: by Chitranshu (last edited Jul 19, 2015 07:52AM) (new)

Chitranshu (chitranshu28) | 1 comments 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.

message 16: by Gabi (new)

Gabi Fuller (CountryMouseMe) | 474 comments Ah! I know this one. Beautiful!

message 17: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18399 comments Mod
A 6th grade teacher in my school has her students memorize "Invictus" every year, so it has its fans, yes it does!

message 18: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15856 comments Mod
Newengland wrote: "A 6th grade teacher in my school has her students memorize "Invictus" every year, so it has its fans, yes it does!"

Not here.

message 19: by Dave (new)

Dave (adh3) My favorite anti-war poem.

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

message 20: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15856 comments Mod
Mine, too. Horrific.

message 21: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18399 comments Mod
Last line says it all.

message 22: by Dave (new)

Dave (adh3) Turning to what's important in life.

The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

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