Follow along with this meme over at The Broke and the Bookish
I don’t really stick within any one genre of books, but I do love poetry, which is why today I’ll give you a list of my top ten favorite poets (as usual, in no particular order).
1. Emily Dickinson
Through the Dark Sod — as Education —
The Lily passes sure —
Feels her white foot — no trepidation —
Her faith — no fear —
Afterward — in the Meadow —
Swinging her Beryl Bell —
The Mold-life — all forgotten — now —
In Ecstasy — and Dell —
2. John Keats
24. On first looking into Chapman’s Homer
MUCH have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Birdsong brings relief
to my longing
I’m just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!
Please universal soul, practice
some song or something through me!
Come out here with me
I’ve been swung from delirious expectation
to the only certain expectation
so I’ve put on this suit,
What’s the occasion?
It is celebration and it is farewell,
But I have no words I stand still enough
for a moth to come and smell my tie
(here I recognize that in the lowest low
everything comes revered and holy).
Watch me before I go,
notice the shape of my eyes
and name the old watered color behind me,
stare a while, grip my thoughts
by a concerned look
clench them and feel their shape.
Shake my hand before I go,
please smile because
we have shared so much good
and brush the dirt off my arms
and maybe blow a strand of hair from my shoulder,
then come out here with me
down just a few steps out the door
so you can watch the street
and hear leaves of grass shake with the weight of the dew.
Wave, a simply fine gesture.
And I’ve been swung to and fro.
5. T.S. Eliot
excerpt from The Waste Land
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Öd’ und leer das Meer.
6. William Blake
Ah! sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves and aspire;
Where my sunflower wishes to go.
7. Jane Hirshfield
This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.
It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.
Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.
Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.
IT spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.
The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.
Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.
8. “epistolary ships”
Our bodies may not be meant for Wild Hunts and blood
carnivals. We may never be able to hold poison under our
tongues, gorge ourselves on pomegranate seeds with impunity, or
tattoo our skin with spells and curses.
We may be swallowed by nuclear winters that will splinter our
bones, radiations spreading in our veins as cold as ice.
What will become of our flesh, love, when it changes and
transmutes? What shall become of us, glass-like and glowing
green in the night, I do not know.
But there is clarity in only one thing:
Winter is savage, but so are we.
Send my regards to the Erl King,
9. John Donne
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“The breath goes now,” and some say, “No,”
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers’ love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do;
And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
10. “the dust dances too”
a storm, passing
P.S. – something is up with my polyvore clipper. It won’t clip anything. So unfortunately, there will be no image to top this one off.