Poetry Swap MeetI would like for this discussion to be mostly about exchanging poems we've found meaningful, moving, or simply intriguing.  My thinking is that we simply post poems we love or...

Poetry Swap Meet

I would like for this discussion to be mostly about exchanging poems we've found meaningful, moving, or simply intriguing.  My thinking is that we simply post poems we love or appreciate.

Recently, I reviewed a lecture by former poet laureate Billy Collins.  I asked him what he thought might be the best way to get students to refrain from  "beating a confession out of a poem."  His advice was to let a poem breathe...to give students a quiet moment before and aft.

Will you please post poems here that you have found moving, and let them "breathe"?  I ask that you refrain from your own analysis, though respondents may do so.  My hope is that we can be introduced to poems and poets that we might not otherwise have heard of, appreciated, or taught, and that the subsequent insight and opinions might prove valuable.

 

 

16 Answers | Add Yours

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Whenever the "World is Too Much" with me, I like to refer back to this poem by Stephen Crane:

A Man Said to the Universe
   A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

jlcannad's profile pic

jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

"Monument Valley"

Maybe the mind works like centuries of erosion,
The runoffs and channels mostly bone-dry and then flooded
With a wall of water out of the desert, itself absorbed
Almost instantly into the cracked ground and leaving
Only a thin layer of fine sludge like a train of thought.
Over time the larger formations appear, personality
And prejudice, a manner of speaking, assuming all sorts
Of fantastic shapes, climbing into the atmosphere
And achieving a shimmering air of grandeur and intent.
Of course, much is washed away that these may remain,
And the landscape of youth is ravaged beneath us.
Whatever is extraneous, or delicate, or less than tenacious,
Has less chance than a pack rat in the progress of ages,
Less chance than our own acts and inmost reflections
Stand in a lifetime of vanishing memories.
And so we are left with monuments, resembling so much,
To soften the harsh light into shadows and their hues,
To make something like beauty out of such earth.

-- George Bradley

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

   My Teacher Loves Her iPod

 

 

 

by Bruce Lansky

   

My teacher loves her iPod.
It’s always in her ear.
She doesn’t mind it if we joke
or chat ’cause she can’t hear

If we don’t pay attention,
she doesn’t seem to care.
Whenever she has music on,
she wears a distant stare.

Our principal dropped by one day,
and she paid no attention.
He took away her iPod,
and he sent her to detention.

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

One more - Sonnet 116, Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

"The Naming of Cats," T.S. Eliot:

   The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

When my fiance called off our relationship, this song by Blackmore's NIght (Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow) got me through the ordeal. 

"Now And Then"

The past is so familiar
But that's why you couldn't stay
Too many ghosts, too many haunted dreams
Beside you were built to find your own way...
But after all these years, I thought we'd still hold on
But when I reach for you and search your eyes
I see you've already gone...

That's OK
I'll be fine
I've got myself, I'll heal in time
But when you leave just remember what we had...

There's more to life than just you
I may cry but I'll make it through
And I know that the sun will shine again
Though I may think of you now and then...

Can't do a thing with ashes
But throw them to the wind...
Though this heart may be in pieces now
You know I'll build it up again and
I'll come back stronger than I ever did before
Just don't turn around when you walk out that door...

That's OK
I'll be fine
I've got myself, I'll heal in time...but when you leave just remember what we had...

There's more to life than just you
I may cry but I'll make it through
And I know that the sun will shine again
Though I may think of you now and then...

That's OK
I'll be fine
I've got myself, I'll heal in time...

And even though our stories at the end
I still may think of you now and then...

Thanks. I won't print the words, but Amy Grant's song "Ask Me" had a healing effect for me too.

 

 

 

 

amethystrose's profile pic

Susan Woodward | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

When my fiance called off our relationship, this song by Blackmore's NIght (Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow) got me through the ordeal. 

"Now And Then"

The past is so familiar
But that's why you couldn't stay
Too many ghosts, too many haunted dreams
Beside you were built to find your own way...
But after all these years, I thought we'd still hold on
But when I reach for you and search your eyes
I see you've already gone...

That's OK
I'll be fine
I've got myself, I'll heal in time
But when you leave just remember what we had...

There's more to life than just you
I may cry but I'll make it through
And I know that the sun will shine again
Though I may think of you now and then...

Can't do a thing with ashes
But throw them to the wind...
Though this heart may be in pieces now
You know I'll build it up again and
I'll come back stronger than I ever did before
Just don't turn around when you walk out that door...

That's OK
I'll be fine
I've got myself, I'll heal in time...but when you leave just remember what we had...

There's more to life than just you
I may cry but I'll make it through
And I know that the sun will shine again
Though I may think of you now and then...

That's OK
I'll be fine
I've got myself, I'll heal in time...

And even though our stories at the end
I still may think of you now and then...

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Another poem I love:

Failing and Flying   by Jack Gilbert
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

*from www.poets.org*

I went through a long and painful divorce in early 2007 after 2 years of separation.  This poem reminds me that my ex-husband and I spent 10 years together and brought 2 beautiful boys into this world...it reminds me that our marriage wasn't a "failure."

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

My father died 5 years ago. We were very close, and my grief was deep. Last year I discovered this poem. My dad built houses, and when I think of him, I can smell sawdust. 

I WASH THE SHIRT
—Anna Swir

For the last time I wash the shirt
of my father who died.
The shirt smells of sweat. I remember
that sweat from my childhood,
so many years
I washed his shirts and underwear,
I dried them
at an iron stove in the workshop,
he would put them on unironed.

From among all bodies in the world,
animal, human,
only one exuded that sweat.
I breathe it in
for the last time.
Washing this shirt
I destroy it
forever.
Now
only paintings survive him
which smell of oils.

That's beautiful and one I did not know.  It reminds me of Billy Collin's "Death of the Hat." 

The Death of the Hat

Once every man wore a hat.

In the ashen newsreels,
the avenues of cities
are broad rivers flowing with hats.

The ballparks swelled
with thousands of strawhats,
brims and bands,
rows of men smoking
and cheering in shirtsleeves.

Hats were the law.
They went without saying.
You noticed a man without a hat in a crowd.

You bought them from Adams or Dobbs
who branded your initials in gold
on the inside band.

Trolleys crisscrossed the city.
Steamships sailed in and out of the harbor.
Men with hats gathered on the docks.

There was a person to block your hat
and a hatcheck girl to mind it

while you had a drink
or ate a steak with peas and a baked potato.
In your office stood a hat rack.

The day war was declared
everyone in the street was wearing a hat.
And they were wearing hats

when a ship loaded with men sank in the icy sea.

My father wore one to work every day
and returned home
carrying the evening paper,
the winter chill radiating from his overcoat.

But today we go bareheaded
into the winter streets,
stand hatless on frozen platforms.

Today the mailboxes on the roadside
and the spruce trees behind the house
wear cold white hats of snow.

Mice scurry from the stone walls at night
in their thin fur hats
to eat the birdseed that has spilled.

And now my father, after a life of work,
wears a hat of earth,
and on top of that,
a lighter one of cloud and sky--a hat of wind.

What a cool poem!  I love Billy Collins' "The Names," I think it is called, which is about the September 11, 2001, tragedy. I read that one every semester to my students because too many of us have pushed that horrible day aside and I never, ever want anyone to forget how horrific that day was and how we must appreciate what we have every single day.

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

One poem that has always stuck with me since I first read it about 5 years ago is "Not Waving But Drowning" by Stevie Smith:

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he's dead

It must have been too cold for him

his heart gave way, They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.

Do you know the band Not Waving But Drowning?  They are great (or at least were, it's been a while back).  I'd no idea the name was from this poem.  Cool what we can learn from one another, huh? 

No, I've not heard of this band!  I too a listen to some of their stuff on their MySpace.com website that you provided the link to, and I must say their music is very interesting. :)  Thanks for the link!

cybil's profile pic

cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Gerard Manley Hopkins' "No Worse There Is None" is a poem that captures the grief I felt when my mother died. The intensity and expression of grief almost beyond words--and even logic--describe exactly what I experienced. I found myself repeating the opening sentence often.

No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,

More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.

Comforter, where, where is your comforting?

Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?

My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief 

Woe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing—

Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-

ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief’.

O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall

Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap 

May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small

Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,

Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all

Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.

--Jo

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

My father died 5 years ago. We were very close, and my grief was deep. Last year I discovered this poem. My dad built houses, and when I think of him, I can smell sawdust. 

I WASH THE SHIRT
—Anna Swir

For the last time I wash the shirt
of my father who died.
The shirt smells of sweat. I remember
that sweat from my childhood,
so many years
I washed his shirts and underwear,
I dried them
at an iron stove in the workshop,
he would put them on unironed.

From among all bodies in the world,
animal, human,
only one exuded that sweat.
I breathe it in
for the last time.
Washing this shirt
I destroy it
forever.
Now
only paintings survive him
which smell of oils.

That's beautiful and one I did not know.  It reminds me of Billy Collin's "Death of the Hat." 

The Death of the Hat

Once every man wore a hat.

In the ashen newsreels,
the avenues of cities
are broad rivers flowing with hats.

The ballparks swelled
with thousands of strawhats,
brims and bands,
rows of men smoking
and cheering in shirtsleeves.

Hats were the law.
They went without saying.
You noticed a man without a hat in a crowd.

You bought them from Adams or Dobbs
who branded your initials in gold
on the inside band.

Trolleys crisscrossed the city.
Steamships sailed in and out of the harbor.
Men with hats gathered on the docks.

There was a person to block your hat
and a hatcheck girl to mind it

while you had a drink
or ate a steak with peas and a baked potato.
In your office stood a hat rack.

The day war was declared
everyone in the street was wearing a hat.
And they were wearing hats

when a ship loaded with men sank in the icy sea.

My father wore one to work every day
and returned home
carrying the evening paper,
the winter chill radiating from his overcoat.

But today we go bareheaded
into the winter streets,
stand hatless on frozen platforms.

Today the mailboxes on the roadside
and the spruce trees behind the house
wear cold white hats of snow.

Mice scurry from the stone walls at night
in their thin fur hats
to eat the birdseed that has spilled.

And now my father, after a life of work,
wears a hat of earth,
and on top of that,
a lighter one of cloud and sky--a hat of wind.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

One poem that has always stuck with me since I first read it about 5 years ago is "Not Waving But Drowning" by Stevie Smith:

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he's dead

It must have been too cold for him

his heart gave way, They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.

Do you know the band Not Waving But Drowning?  They are great (or at least were, it's been a while back).  I'd no idea the name was from this poem.  Cool what we can learn from one another, huh? 

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

My father died 5 years ago. We were very close, and my grief was deep. Last year I discovered this poem. My dad built houses, and when I think of him, I can smell sawdust. 

I WASH THE SHIRT
—Anna Swir

For the last time I wash the shirt
of my father who died.
The shirt smells of sweat. I remember
that sweat from my childhood,
so many years
I washed his shirts and underwear,
I dried them
at an iron stove in the workshop,
he would put them on unironed.

From among all bodies in the world,
animal, human,
only one exuded that sweat.
I breathe it in
for the last time.
Washing this shirt
I destroy it
forever.
Now
only paintings survive him
which smell of oils.

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

One poem that has always stuck with me since I first read it about 5 years ago is "Not Waving But Drowning" by Stevie Smith:

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he's dead

It must have been too cold for him

his heart gave way, They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.

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