No, not mine. I can’t write it in a blue fit.
But some of my readers not only read poetry but write it too, for which I applaud them.
This page is about some of the poets I have studied, enjoyed, and not enjoyed.
Maybe with a comment on each one. Unlike my other pages, I will add newer posts below because the top ones are really my very favourites.
You will get war poetry, romantic poetry, and maybe something a bit more uh? I dunno.
As I’ve only realised today, for some strange reason I don’t seem to have posted one of my very favourite poems ever.
ETA – I’ve now moved the full poems to separate pages, so this one now just contains opening verses or stanzas. Hover over the poetry page tab and the drop-down list appears for the different categories of poetry.
Dulce Et Decorum Est
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 disappointed shells that dropped behind.
This has to be the best war poem ever. It is not remotely sweet and glorious to die for your country. Just read Owen’s words. Owen, who sadly died a week before Armistice Day and has left us with such a powerful legacy of his wonderful poetry.
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN
By John Keats
Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
I liked this. I loved the timeless beauty of the idea of the grecian urn. And everything it had seen that had gone after it was cast.
Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.
Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.
I wasn’t fond of Betjeman and his ghastly rhythmic rhyming but I did quite like this one.
This Be the Verse
BY PHILIP LARKIN
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
Philip Larkin, “This Be the Verse” from Collected Poems. Used by permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Phillip Larkin.
Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)
How expressive is this? Like Owen, this one just says it all so wonderfully. For some of us anyway.
Virgil : The Aeneid Book I
BkI:1-11 Invocation to the Muse
I sing of arms and the man, he who, exiled by fate,
first came from the coast of Troy to Italy, and to
Lavinian shores – hurled about endlessly by land and sea,
by the will of the gods, by cruel Juno’s remorseless anger,
long suffering also in war, until he founded a city
and brought his gods to Latium:
Translated by A. S. Kline © 2002 All Rights Reserved
This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.
It was a bit of a hard slog doing the Aeneid at school but well worth it. Even if it was in the original Latin. The above is a translated snippet.
Beat! Beat! Drums!
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying,
Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.
The full text of this and two other poems on the American war poetry page. And some music too.
Another one by Whitman, this time about animals. (Thanks Vicky for this)
I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
And on the animal theme – Ted Hughes.
By TED HUGHES
The apes yawn and adore their fleas in the sun.
The parrots shriek as if they were on fire, or strut
Like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut/
Fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion