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Poetry Recommendations

Absurdity

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#1
I've had a desire recently to start reading poetry, something I have never really done before unless forced to.

As a result my knowledge of poetry and poets is hilariously limited. I've generally only read one or two of the poems of a dozen or so big names. There really is no consistent thread that I can see running through my tastes, but I'll try and list the few that I have liked and disliked:

  • T. S. Eliot's "Hollow Men" was okay. However I thought "The Waste Land" was pretentious garbage.
  • I've liked the few pieces by Pablo Neruda that I've read, but am sort of reluctant to read poems in translation. "Like kissing a woman through a veil" as Anne Michaels put it.
  • Robert Frost is great.
  • I knew a girl who was in love with Vladimir Mayakovsky, and I enjoyed the few pieces I read by him.
  • Hated Sylvia Plath.
  • Not fond of Allen Ginsberg.
  • Hated Wallace Stevens.
  • Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle" is great.
  • Shakespeare, John Donne, and anyone with an archaic way of writing is too much effort to me, at least for now.

So, who are your favorite poets? Who do you recommend for me?
 

TimeAsylums

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#3
I doubt it is the depth of which you are seeking, however, he has always been one of my favorite authors, so his collected works of poems is just great to me:


http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/260363-the-book-of-counted-sorrows
“Now take my hand and hold it tight.
I will not fail you here tonight,
For failing you, I fail myself
And place my soul upon a shelf
In Hell's library without light.
I will not fail you here tonight.”
“The sky is deep, the sky is dark. The light of the stars is o damn stark/When I look up, I fill with fear, if all we have is what lies here, this lonely world, this troubled place, then cold dead stars and empty space...Well, I see no reason to persevere, no reason to laugh or shed a tear, no reason to sleep and none to wake/ No promises to keep and none to make. And so at night I still raise my eyes tos tudy the clear but mysterious skies that arch avove us, cold as stone. Are you there God? Are we alone?”
“Whiskers of the cat,
Webbed toes on my swimming dog;
God is in the details.”


Explanation: The Book of Counted Sorrows (Dean Koontz)
 

r4ch3l

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#4
I don't tend to read much poetry myself but have a few favorites. Steve Gehrke is a recent find. Fernando Pessoa's poems and writing are unlike anything I've ever read. I also love Denis Johnson (I believe I linked you to his novel, Already Dead). I consider Jesus' Son to be poetry although it is a short story collection.
 

kantor1003

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#5
I'm interested in some suggestions as well. I've been meaning to read John Donne (not sure whether I will be turned off by the archaic writing), mainly because he is considered the first of the metaphysical poets. Recently tried reading Bukowski, but I found the thematics vulgar, common: lacking the puzzle, mystery, and the reaching towards a beyond, a transcendent, that I've come to love. In my view, that's what poetry should be about, having the transcendent as it's subject. Either by showing the transcendent in that which is (deifying love, common experience, earth etc.), or that which is not. It doesn't matter which (I don't know if there is any difference).

Not poetry per say, perhaps, but I've taken quite a liking to this particular collection of writings out of which a few follows in the spoiler. They might be familiar. If not, read before googling, or else it might be scoffed away.

(I didn't manage to format it quite as it should be, but I hope it's excusable.)


THE STAG-BEETLE

Death implies change and individuality if thou be
THAT which hath no person, which is beyond
the changing, even beyond changelessness, what
hast thou to do with death?
The bird of individuality is ecstasy; so also is its
death.
In love the individuality is slain; who loves not love?
Love death therefore, and long eagerly for it.
Die Daily.

SKIDOO

What man is at ease in his Inn?
Get out.
Wide is the world and cold.
Get out.
Thou hast become an in-itiate.
Get out.
But thou canst not get out by the way thou camest in.
The Way out is THE WAY.
Get out.
For OUT is Love and Wisdom and Power.
Get OUT.
If thou hast T already, first get UT.
Then get O.
And so at last get OUT.

THE HAWK AND THE BLINDWORM

This book would translate Beyond-Reason into the
words of Reason.
Explain thou snow to them of Andaman.
The slaves of reason call this book Abuse-of-
Language: they are right.
Language was made for men to eat and drink, make
love, do barter, die. The wealth of a language
consists in its Abstracts; the poorest tongues have
wealth of Concretes.
Therefore have Adepts praised silence; at least it does
not mislead as speech does.
Also, Speech is a symptom of Thought.
Yet, silence is but the negative side of Truth; the
positive side is beyond even silence.
Nevertheless, One True God crieth hriliu!
And the laughter of the Death-rattle is akin.

THE POLE-STAR

Love is all virtue, since the pleasure of love is but
love, and the pain of love is but love.
Love taketh no heed of that which is not and of that
which is.
Absence exalteth love, and presence exalteth love.
Love moveth ever from height to height of ecstasy
and faileth never.
The wings of love droop not with time, nor slacken
for life or for death.
Love destroyeth self, uniting self with that which is
not-self, so that Love breedeth All and None in
One.
Is it not so? . . . No? . . .
Then thou art not lost in love; speak not of love.
Love Alway Yieldeth: Love Alway Hardeneth.
. . . . . . . . . . May be: I write it but to write Her name.


JOHN-A-DREAMS

Dreams are imperfections of sleep; even so is con-
sciousness the imperfection of waking.
Dreams are impurities in the circulation of the blood;
even so is consciousness a disorder of life.
Dreams are without proportion, without good sense,
without truth; so also is consciousness.
Awake from dream, the truth is known: awake
from waking, the Truth is---The Unknown.​
 
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#6
I really like Arthur Rimbaud. He had an interesting life. He was a libertine of no small renown. He was shot but not killed by his lover. During drug and alcohol fueled stupors he wrote amazingly transcendent imagery but then stopped writing at about 21 never to write again. Afterward he became a weapons and coffee merchant in Ethiopia and for all intents and purposes disappeared. If you hate symbolist writing though you won't like him. Also, to put it mildly, his writing isn't very nice. It's raw, it's rambling, and it's fiery.

If you like his stuff then give Baudelaire a try. His prose poetry is simpler to read but no less complex emotionally and philosophically. I think TheHabitatDoctor would like both Rimbaud and Baudelaire.

I've been reading W.B. Yeats a bit recently. He seems more up Absurdity's alley. Not overly old like The Bard and thus does not present a language barrier but at the same time complex and nuanced. A lot of people think he's stuffy though. Whatever, if you are reading poetry at all you've already decided to let go of that notion.

If you like Neruda you might like Blake. Totally different backgrounds but I think they write from a similar place in themselves. They are meaty, emotional, can be dark and passionate but they aren't sloppy.

For Kantor I suggest Ezra Pound.
 

Absurdity

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#7
I really like Arthur Rimbaud. He had an interesting life. He was a libertine of no small renown. He was shot but not killed by his lover. During drug and alcohol fueled stupors he wrote amazingly transcendent imagery but then stopped writing at about 21 never to write again. Afterward he became a weapons and coffee merchant in Ethiopia and for all intents and purposes disappeared. If you hate symbolist writing though you won't like him. Also, to put it mildly, his writing isn't very nice. It's raw, it's rambling, and it's fiery.

If you like his stuff then give Baudelaire a try. His prose poetry is simpler to read but no less complex emotionally and philosophically. I think TheHabitatDoctor would like both Rimbaud and Baudelaire.
This is funny because shortly after creating this thread I went and checked out Illuminations and Paris Spleen from the library. The idea of prose poems were interesting to me, and they were quite good. I also had the name "Rimbaud" stuck in my head for whatever reason prior to looking him up. That's Ni for you. :phear:

I'll definitely check out Yeats and Blake, although I've glanced at the latter before and he seems a little eccentric.

Also @r4ch3l: I've heard of Pessoa but never read him. Will give him a shot as well.
 

Absurdity

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#8
This was good.

Digging by Seamus Heaney

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
 
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#9
Thank you for creating a poetry thread !
Personally I enjoy the classics you named in your initial post. But I am also quite fond of Neruda and since my son introduced me to Breaking Bad Walt Whitman. I don't know why but I never really read any poems of Whitman before.

Harold
 
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#10
Jonh Donne and Beckett's poetry are great for different reasons. Donne's implicit imagery is satisfying when you peel the layers of meaning back to reveal things which at first appear difficult to comprehend. As for Beckett, I find his poetry more honest and revelatory than his prose.
 

Seed-Wad

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#11
I liked Dante, but it is quite hard to follow and at times not really worth the energy put in.
Really loved Christina Rossetti, have a collection of her poems

And there ended my knowledge of poetry. I really hope to find some good new material in this thread!
 

Anktark

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#12
First, thank you TimeAsylums, for pointing out Counted Sorrows. Found some I tricked my self to accidentally memorize :P

As for recommendations, just found Robert William Service and still reading to find favourites (if possible), but so far:

A Grain Of Sand

If starry space no limit knows
And sun succeeds to sun,
There is no reason to suppose
Our earth the only one.
'Mid countless constellations cast
A million worlds may be,
With each a God to bless or blast
And steer to destiny.

Just think! A million gods or so
To guide each vital stream,
With over all to boss the show
A Deity supreme.
Such magnitudes oppress my mind;
From cosmic space it swings;
So ultimately glad to find
Relief in little things.

For look! Within my hollow hand,
While round the earth careens,
I hold a single grain of sand
And wonder what it means.
Ah! If I had the eyes to see,
And brain to understand,
I think Life's mystery might be
Solved in this grain of sand.





Amateur Poet

You see that sheaf of slender books
Upon the topmost shelf,
At which no browser ever looks,
Because they're by . . . myself;
They're neatly bound in navy blue,
But no one ever heeds;
Their print is clear and candid too,
Yet no one ever reads.

Poor wistful books! How much they cost
To me in time and gold!
I count them now as labour lost,
For none I ever sold;
No copy could I give away,
For all my friends would shrink,
And look at me as if to say:
"What waste of printer's ink!"

And as I gaze at them on high,
Although my eyes are sad,
I cannot help but breathe a sigh
To think what joy I had -
What ecstasy as I would seek
To make my rhyme come right,
And find at last the phrase unique
Flash fulgent in my sight.

Maybe that rapture was my gain
Far more than cheap success;
So I'll forget my striving vain,
And blot out bitterness.
Oh records of my radiant youth,
No broken heart I'll rue,
For all my best of love and truth
Is there, alive in you.
 
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#14
I sometimes think the world a blazing hell,
And all the people in it half insane;
That over all the earth a bloody spell--
Cast from some monstrous wizard brain--
Glooms its flaming red of hate and pain,
Blinding the eyes of men; their souls as well.
Here murder, lust, deceit and folly reign;
For love a curse, for Truth a prison-cell.
Better the dark of nothingness and death
Than all of this rack of rottenness and crime,
Than all this festering filth of thief and king.
Better the babe be choked with its first breath,
And god were strangled ere the birth of Time,
Than there should be such useless suffering..

In The Doss House
, Albert Young
 

TimeAsylums

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#15
Atwood said:

Is/Not

Love is not a profession
genteel or otherwise

sex is not dentistry
the slick filling of aches and cavities

you are not my doctor
you are not my cure,

nobody has that
power, you are merely a fellow/traveller

Give up this medical concern,
buttoned, attentive,

permit yourself anger
and permit me mine

which needs neither
your approval nor your suprise

which does not need to be made legal
which is not against a disease

but agaist you,
which does not need to be understood

or washed or cauterized,
which needs instead

to be said and said.
Permit me the present tense.
http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/atwood/themes.html
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/margaret-atwood
 
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#16
Good-by, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good-by, proud world, I'm going home,
Thou'rt not my friend, and I'm not thine;
Long through thy weary crowds I roam;
A river-ark on the ocean brine,
Long I've been tossed like the driven foam,
But now, proud world, I'm going home.

Good-by to Flattery's fawning face,
To Grandeur, with his wise grimace,
To upstart Wealth's averted eye,
To supple Office low and high,
To crowded halls, to court, and street,
To frozen hearts, and hasting feet,
To those who go, and those who come,
Good-by, proud world, I'm going home.

I'm going to my own hearth-stone
Bosomed in yon green hills, alone,
A secret nook in a pleasant land,
Whose groves the frolic fairies planned;
Where arches green the livelong day
Echo the blackbird's roundelay,
And vulgar feet have never trod
A spot that is sacred to thought and God.

Oh, when I am safe in my sylvan home,
I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome;
And when I am stretched beneath the pines
Where the evening star so holy shines,
I laugh at the lore and the pride of man,
At the sophist schools, and the learned clan;
For what are they all in their high conceit,
When man in the bush with God may meet.
 

scenefinale

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#17
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#18
"We danced our youth in a dreamed of city, Venice, paradise, proud and pretty, We lived for love and lust and beauty, Pleasure then our only duty. Floating them twixt heaven and Earth And drank on plenties blessed mirth We thought ourselves eternal then, Our glory sealed by God’s own pen. But paradise, we found is always frail, Against man’s fear will always fail. "
Veronica Franco
 

Puffy

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#19
  • T. S. Eliot's "Hollow Men" was okay. However I thought "The Waste Land" was pretentious garbage.
I dare you to read Susan Howe. I had to read Singularities & 'Articulation of Sound Forms in Time' (lol, gtfo honestly) for a class in postmodern poetry. Spent most of the lecture whispering for fuck sake under my breath. :facepalm:

Though to be fair I've never been into poetry/ as a medium it doesn't hold my attention. Would second Cav's Baudelaire recommendation though, quite liked 'Flowers of Evil'.
 

Absurdity

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#20
This caught my eye. Definitely going to have to look into this guy.

REARMAMENT

These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur of the mass
Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it seem monstrous
To admire the tragic beauty they build.
It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and kissing.
I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future … I should do foolishly. The beauty of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

Robinson Jeffers, 1935
 
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#21
Fire and Ice, Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor 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.
 
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#23
^OOOoooooOOOOH! Shiny! Thanks!

Edit: I had completely forgotten my love of Housman till I listened to three of his poems on that site.
 

Absurdity

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#24
Edit: I had completely forgotten my love of Housman till I listened to three of his poems on that site.
I had a somewhat similar experience: I started this thread by saying I never enjoyed reading John Donne in school, but I came across "The Good-Morrow" on that site and really enjoyed it, although I preferred how it sounded in my head to how the guy on the recording read it.

The Good-Morrow
By John Donne

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.
Donne also had a pretty wild life according to his bio. Funny how this stuff doesn't interest you until long after high school english lit.
 

Absurdity

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#25
A classic.

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

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.
Edit: I decided to post it because I quoted it in the Chatbox and I didn't even realize I mentioned liking it in the OP. I think I first read it in middle school and it's stuck with me ever since.

Also, looking back at the OP, I have revised my view of Eliot considerably. Waste Land is pure prophecy.
 

Direwolf

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#26
Have you been reading my signature absurdity?
 

Direwolf

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#28
I tend to do that. Its a great poem isnt it?
 

Absurdity

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#29
I tend to do that. Its a great poem isnt it?
It is very good, the buildup to the last stanza in particular is excellent. There are some things that jar me a bit or seem strange about the rhyme scheme and rhythm. As it goes along I instinctively want to read it one way, but Thomas makes it clear that it should be read another way, and I am sure this is done intentionally. Makes me wish I could ask him about it, but I also start thinking "How would I have done it differently? Would these changes add or detract to the experience?" And those thoughts are probably the best parts, because then the poem is making you do more than feel something -- it inspires you to create for yourself.
 

Direwolf

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#30
Agreed. It also is one if the few poems i have ever read that makes me feel something. Its a wweird tingly feeling up my spine. No other poems do that. I usually hate poetry (have had to do it in english classes for 4 years, against my will, so you know) but i really enjoy reading it as well as any of thomas's poems
 
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#31
Lamentations, Siegfried Sassoon

I found him in the guard-room at the Base.
From the blind darkness I had heard his crying
And blundered in. With puzzled, patient face
A sergeant watched him; it was no good trying
To stop it; for he howled and beat his chest.
And, all because his brother had gone west,
Raved at the bleeding war; his rampant grief
Moaned, shouted, sobbed, and choked, while he was kneeling
Half-naked on the floor. In my belief
Such men have lost all patriotic feeling.
 

higs

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#32
John donne is awesome, most face smacking opening sentence to a poem of all time in this one:

At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall, o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space;
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,
When we are there. Here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou’hadst seal’d my pardon with thy blood.

Otherwise I like Alexander Pope, one of the few T poets I can think of IMO. He's the one who writes "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, each prayer accepted and each wish resigned"

Bob Dylan "it's alright ma"

Emily Dickinson, extremely evocative, for vivid "qualia recall" or sensations lines like "I can still taste the red" or

"There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes."

OH oh ! William Blake' Tyger Tyger sends shivers down my spine.

Ee Cummings fucks with semantics and language and its brilliant, it's word music, genius.

"anyone lived in a pretty how town/ with up so floating many bells down.



Eeeeh I could go on forever, poetry is my all time favorite art form. The combination of music and literature.
 
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#33
Refugee Blues, W.H. Auden

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.

The consul banged the table and said,
"If you've got no passport you're officially dead":
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread":
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, "They must die":
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.
 
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#34
The Responsibility, Peter Appleton

I am the man who gives the word,
If it should come, to use the Bomb.

I am the man who spreads the word
From him to them if it should come.

I am the man who gets the word
From him who spreads the word from him.

I am the man who drops the Bomb
If ordered by the one who's heard
From him who merely spreads the word
The first one gives if it should come.

I am the man who loads the Bomb
That he must drop should orders come
From him who gets the word passed on
By one who waits to hear from him.

I am the man who makes the Bomb
That he must load for him to drop
If told by one who gets the word
From one who passes it from him.

I am the man who fills the till,
Who pays the tax, who foots the bill
That guarantees the Bomb he makes
For him to load for him to drop
If orders come from one who gets
The word passed on to him by one
Who waits to hear it from the man
Who gives the word to use the Bomb.

I am the man behind it all;
I am the one responsible.
 

Absurdity

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#35
Discovered Lord Tennyson by way of the quote from "Ulysses" that M reads in Skyfall:
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Full poem here.
 
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#36
arthur rimbaud is the best, no other poet compares imo
plus he urinated on posh poets' works and called them "shit and lies"
<3 <3
i love the raw, brutal honesty in his works...especially in a season in hell

vladimir mayakovsky and forough farrokhzad are also great

about the life of farrokhzad
she also made a short film based on a leper colony in which she narrates quotes from the old testament, quran and her own personal poetry...beautiful, stunning work
 
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#37
The way of the world, Willa Cather

O! the world was full of the summer time,
And the year was always June,
When we two played together
In the days that were done too soon.

O! every hand was an honest hand,
And every heart was true.
When you were the king of the corn-lands
And I was a queen with you.

When I could believe in the fairies still,
And our elf in the cotton-wood tree,
And the pot of gold at the rainbow's end
And you could believe in me.
 

Absurdity

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#38
Novel
Arthur Rimbaud, 1854 - 1891

I.

No one’s serious at seventeen.
--On beautiful nights when beer and lemonade
And loud, blinding cafés are the last thing you need
--You stroll beneath green lindens on the promenade.

Lindens smell fine on fine June nights!
Sometimes the air is so sweet that you close your eyes;
The wind brings sounds--the town is near--
And carries scents of vineyards and beer. . .

II.

--Over there, framed by a branch
You can see a little patch of dark blue
Stung by a sinister star that fades
With faint quiverings, so small and white. . .

June nights! Seventeen!--Drink it in.
Sap is champagne, it goes to your head. . .
The mind wanders, you feel a kiss
On your lips, quivering like a living thing. . .

III.

The wild heart Crusoes through a thousand novels
--And when a young girl walks alluringly
Through a streetlamp’s pale light, beneath the ominous shadow
Of her father’s starched collar. . .

Because as she passes by, boot heels tapping,
She turns on a dime, eyes wide,
Finding you too sweet to resist. . .
--And cavatinas die on your lips.

IV.

You’re in love. Off the market till August.
You’re in love.--Your sonnets make Her laugh.
Your friends are gone, you’re bad news.
--Then, one night, your beloved, writes. . .!

That night. . .you return to the blinding cafés;
You order beer or lemonade. . .
--No one’s serious at seventeen
When lindens line the promenade.


29 September 1870
 

Absurdity

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#39
from "The Keeper of Sheep" by Fernando Pessoa (hat tip to r4ch3l)


To not think of anything is metaphysics enough.

What do I think of the world?
Who knows what I think of it!
If I weren't well then I'd think about it.

What's my idea about matter?
What's my opinion about causes and effects?
What are my thoughts on God and the soul
And the creation of the world?
I don't know. To think about such things would be to shut my eyes
And not to think. It would be to close the curtains
Of my window (which, however, has no curtains).

The mystery of things? What mystery?
The only mystery is that some people think about mystery.
If you're in the sun and close your eyes,
You begin not to know what the sun is,
And you think about various warm things.
But open your eyes and you see the sun,
And you can no longer think about anything,
Because the light of the sun is truer than the thoughts
Of all philosophers and poets.
The light of the sun doesn't know what it does,
And so it cannot err and is common and good.

Metaphysics? What metaphysics do those trees have?
Only that of being green and lush and of having branches
Which bear fruit in their season, and we think nothing of it.
We hardly even notice them.
But what better metaphysics than theirs,
Which consists in not knowing why they live
And in not knowing that they don't know?

"The inner makeup of things..."
"The inner meaning of the Universe..."
All of this is unreal and means absolutely nothing.
It's incredible anyone can think about such things.
It's like thinking about reasons and objectives
When morning is breaking, and on the trunks of the trees
A faint glimmer of gold is dissolving the darkness.

To think about the inner meaning of things
Is superflous, like thinking about health
Or carrying a glass to a spring.
The only inner meaning of things
Is that they have no inner meaning at all.

I don't believe in God because I've never seen him.
If he wanted me to believe in him,
Then surely he'd come and speak with me.
He would enter by my door
Saying, "Here I am!"

(This may sound ridiculous to those who, Because they aren't used to looking at things, Can't understand a man who speaks of them In the way that looking at things teaches.)

But if God is the flowers and trees
And hills and sun and moon,
Then I believe in him,
I believe in him at every moment,
And my life is all a prayer and a mass
And a communion by way of my eyes and ears.

But if God is the flowers and trees
And hills and sun and moon,
Then why should I call him God?
I'll call him flowers and trees and hills and sun and moon.
Because if to my eyes he made himself
Sun and moon and flowers and trees and hills,
If he appears to me as trees and hills
And moon and sun and flowers,
Then he wants me to know him
As trees and hills and flowers and moon and sun.

And so I obey him.
(Do I know more about God than God knows about himself?)
I obey him by living spontaneously As a man who opens his eyes and sees,
And I call him moon and sun and flowers and trees and hills,
And I love him without thinking of him,
And I think him by seeing and hearing,
And I am with him at every moment.
 

onesteptwostep

Think.. Be... ..buzz buzz :)
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#40
^ sounds something like what e.e. cummings would of wrote if he was a teenager
 

Absurdity

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#42
Never give all the Heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

-- WBY
 
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#44
Good Bones, Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
 
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