Some of My Favorite Poetry

Some of My Favorite Poetry

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight;
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
by William Blake, 1789

Boadicea: An Ode

Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command.
Regions Ceasar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway,
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.
by William Cowper (1731-1800)

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."
John Milton

The Oracles

"The King with half the East at heel is marched from lands of morning;
His fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air,
And he that stays will die for naught, and home there's no returning.
The Spartans on the sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair.
"
A.E. Housman

Upon This Age

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric.
Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Red Wheel Barrow

so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.
William Carlos Williams, 1923

[Unknown title]

He drifts in from my memories,
To come and comfort me,
I can sense his presence here,
The boy I used to be.

He looks at me so wistfully,
As if something had been lost,
I know that he just longs to be
The man I almost was.
Quoted by Dave Gentry

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow--
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me--
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee so well--
Long, long I shall rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met--
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?--
With silence and tears.
George Gordon, Lord Byron

Is It True?

Is it true O Christ in Heaven,
That the highest suffer most;
That the strongest wander furthest
And more helplessly are lost;
That the mark of rank in nature
Is capacity of pain;
And the anguish of the singer
Makes the sweetness of the strain?"

Is it true O Christ in Heaven,
That whichever way we go
Walls of darkness must surround us,
Things we would but cannot know?
That the infinite must bound us
Like a temple veil untent,
Whilst the finite ever wearies,
So that none's therein content?

Is it true, O Christ in Heaven,
That the fullness yet to come
Is so glorious and so perfect
That to know would strike us dumb?
That if ever for a moment
We could pierce beyond the sky
With these poor dim eyes of mortals
We should just see God and die?"
Sarah Williams, from "7001 Religious Verses"

To the Stonecutters

Stone cutters fighting time with marble,
you foredefeated challengers of oblivion
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down
The square-limbed Roman letters
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well
Builds his monument mockingly,
For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth die, the brave sun
Die blind and blacken to the heart:
Yet stones have stood for a thousand years,
and pained thoughts found
The honey of peace in old poems.
Robinson Jeffers, 1887-1962
"One Ring to rule them all,
one Ring to find them,
one Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them."
Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring
"Come, hearken then, ere voice of dread
with bitter tidings laden,
Shall summon to unwelcome bed
A melancholy maiden!
We are but older children, dear,
Who fret to find our bedtime near."
Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass preface about a little girl fretting at bedtime being similiar to adults' fear of death.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea,
with sea-girls wreathed in seaweed, red and brown
till human voices wake us,
and we drown."
T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

"Ozymandias"

I met a traveler 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.
Shelley (1818)

Flesh and Stone

We are creatures of flesh
in a world of stone;
We have the souls of children
in times of holocaust.
Mitch Fincher, 1993

Haiku #322

Ceaselessly we code
but requirements still fall,
like a gentle rain
Mitch Fincher, 1998

And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
William Blake

Gap

This is the gap for one butterfly to pass through
a lucky break in the senseless green
Its here my the grace of God who is,
I think, the absence of a spider
at this particular time and place
You may think He's the absence only of leaves now dead,
or more incredible yet,
the absence of the one butterfly
Leonard Nathan

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto IV

There is the moral of all human tales;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
First freedom and then Glory – when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page...
by Lord Byron, 1812–18
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