Poems: Got a favorite?

Goose on the Cannon River 
I took this photo yesterday morning of a lone goose slowly paddling up river past the Harvest sculpture. And it reminded me of one of my favorite poems.

The Wild Geese

Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer’s end.  In time’s maze
over the fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves.  We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed’s marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes.  Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here.  And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear.  What we need is here.

Wendell Berry (Collected Poems 1957-1982)

What’s a favorite poem of yours?

9 thoughts on “Poems: Got a favorite?”

  1. Ozymandias
    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    I met a traveller 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!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away

  2. It’s a grim poem, but one that’s always moved me. And the author’s fate just makes it that much more poignant…

    Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    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.

  3. I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life. It makes the peas taste funny, but it keeps them on my knife!

  4. My candle burns at both ends;
    It will not last the night;
    But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
    It gives a lovely light.

    Edna St. Vincent Millay

  5. A poem about the Cannon River

    Every Ounce Counts

    It’s not too syrupy,
    We cannot bounce on it.
    It changes a lot when
    the geese all pounce on it.

    It’s kinda like a skirt
    when you look from the sky,
    Oh, like the land has
    a lacey flounce around it.

    Though It’s really just a stream,
    And there’s often lots of steam,
    It’s purely water to keep clean
    And we’d all like to announce ’bout it.

    by Bright Spencer

    The poem should be read like a
    river first flowing slowly and then
    more rapidly as spring rains
    fill the river full.

  6. My favorite is ‘Cremation of Sam McGee’ by Robert W. Service. It starts out
    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.
    .-= (Ray Cox is a blogger. See a recent post titled Foundation Wall) =-.

  7. I write original poetry from time to time. Don’t know if this is a passion I should be pursuing as it burns a lot of brian cells. I welcome your feedback…the good, bad and ugly. Here are two:

    Blue Baby
    You arrived
    that grey spring day.
    A lingering moment
    between
    nothingness and eternity.
    A sorrowful joy
    for-ever etched
    on our souls
    Mommy and me

    One last, subtle movement and then
    I baptize you
    In the name of
    the father, the son
    and the holy spirit.

    A precious gift
    What it means to be.
    With each breath,
    closer to the day
    When we will hold you again
    My Beautiful Blue Baby.

    —————————

    Losing Time
    The days roll on.
    By and bye
    At first, slowly melodically
    We listen to the sweet song
    What is yet to be

    The turning quickens
    Starting to grind
    The sound of self- awareness
    Fore shadowing
    What is yet left

    Then pounding
    Tripping over one another
    Overheating
    The shocking knowledge
    What is yet to come

    Grinding and grinding
    No rhythm remains
    Discordant notes cry
    The startling wisdom
    Finally arriving

    and wishing for sweet rhythm, melody and ignorant bliss.

  8. Poem for Rich

    Transforming souls; in a blink or painfully slow;
    happens in the shadows; words unto light.
    You took these steps with such dignity and grace
    From you, the kind and gentle teacher,
    we’ve learned yet more eternal truths.

    A holy diaspora leaving a void
    echoing with your life’s spirit.
    With saddened hearts, we listen.
    Hoping we’ve learned well the lessons
    of your sojourn and gifts given.

    Now, from brilliant sands,
    you surf waves of silver purple and gold.
    Across the eternal divide to god’s peaceful shore;
    There, sweet Helen, your daughter, with Milton
    and St. Vincent Millay side by side.

    And finally that touch of infinite love, perfect wisdom.
    So richly earned; so richly deserved.

    All is silent…so many Fridays
    We make the slow descent down Mount Golgotha.
    Yes, we will be cleansed in the River Jordan and
    find peace knowing we will meet again soon
    in that timeless, boundless space.

    Wait for us. We love and will miss you, Rich.

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