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Since it's Poetry Day, what are your favourite lines of poetry?

edited October 2015 in Writing
Impossible choice. Wavering between Yeats, Coleridge, Eliot and Manley Hopkins. Going for the latter from Pied Beauty:

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches' wings


  • It left no mark upon the snow,
    But suddenly it snapped the chain
    Unbarred, flung wide the door
    Which will not shut again;
    And so we cannot sit here any more.

    From The Call by Charlotte Mew.

    Though very difficult to pick and on another day I would have picked something else!
  • edited October 2015
    I like the work of your poet ana s. Don't know how he achieves his unique lyricism. Here's my choice;

    The last verse of 'A Lover's Complaint'
    'Butt Love is a durable fyre
    In the mynde ever burnynge:
    Never sycke never ould never dead
    from itt selfe never turnynge.'
    Penguin Book of Verse, Ed. Hayward,J.1956, p.37

    I also like;
    ;As ...fire sweeps on in fury through the deep angles
    of a drywood mountain and sets ablaze the depth of the timber
    and the blustering wind lashes the flame along, so Achilleus
    swept everywhere with his spear like something more than mortal
    harrying them as they died, and the black earth ran blood.'
    Chicago Press, Trans. Lattimore, R. The Iliad of Homer, Book Twenty
  • I don't pretend for one moment that I have a vast repertoire of favourite poems... but: 'Do not go gentle into that good night' by Dylan Thomas always has, and always will, give me goosebumps.
  • I was just about to quote that, Claudia!

    "Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."


  • And this by Emily Dickinson, almost too painful to read.

    “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
    And Mourners to and fro
    Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
    That Sense was breaking through –

    And when they all were seated,
    A Service, like a Drum –
    Kept beating – beating – till I thought
    My Mind was going numb –

    And then I heard them lift a Box
    And creak across my Soul
    With those same Boots of Lead, again,
    Then Space – began to toll,

    As all the Heavens were a Bell,
    And Being, but an Ear,
    And I, and Silence, some strange Race
    Wrecked, solitary, here –

    And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
    And I dropped down, and down –
    And hit a World, at every plunge,
    And Finished knowing – then –”
  • edited October 2015
    Have you tried a poem entitled "Spared" by Wendy Cope ? It stopped me in my tracks as did "Little Old Men of the Sea" by Phillip Goss.

    These two very short poems amazed me and I always remember them

    I'll not quote them here as it would be contravening copyright
  • I can quote a fair number of Rupert Brooke's poems - shades of my romantic teens. In his own youth - he didn't live past it, sadly - he wrote such lines as these, which I think I am quoting faily accurately;

    "Some time before the dawn I rose
    and walked softly along the dim way to your room
    I found you sleeping in the quiet gloom
    and holiness about you as you slept.
    I knelt there till your waking fingers crept
    about my head and held it - I had rest
    unhoped this side of heaven beneath your breast.

    Child, you know how easily Love leaps out to dreams like these
    who has seen them true, and love that's wakend so
    takes all too long to lay to sleep again.

    In my 30s I discovered Rod McKuen, whose words spoke to my soul. Just three words echo in my head right now, and they're the title of one of his books' 'Listen to the Warm'
  • Larkin is one of my favourites and his poem 'Cut grass'
  • Should I worry about copyright with Rupert Brooke? If so I'll delete it.
  • Copyright only lasts for 70 years after death so you're okay with Brooke. Gorgeous lines.
  • Oops - missed National Poetry Day, but here is my all time favourite by TS Eliot's The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock

    LET us go then, you and I,
    When the evening is spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherized upon a table;
    Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
    The muttering retreats
    Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
    And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
    Streets that follow like a tedious argument
    Of insidious intent
    To lead you to an overwhelming question….
    Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
    Let us go and make our visit.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.

    Et cetera, et cetera :)

    I've kind of cheated though, because the first lines are all in Italian - think it's a quote from Dante or somebody...

  • How about this from Rudyard Kipling's Law of the Jungle?

    Now this is the Law of the Jungle–
    as old and as true as the sky;
    And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
    But the Wolf that shall break it will die.

    As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk
    The Law runneth forward and back–
    For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
    and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
  • I like ST Coleridge - The rime of the Ancient Mariner
    Many verses but the one that sticks in my mind is -

    He holds him with his skinny hand
    "There was a ship," quoth he.
    "Hold off! unhand me, grey bearded loon!"
    Eftsoons his hand drops he.

    I find the vision these words cast in my mind amusing.
  • These are my favourite lines:


    There are some poor translations of this Pablo Neruda poem, but this is the one I like.

    I will never feel like this - I've never been in love and doubt I ever will be (more than a little along the autistic spectrum) but I love this description.
  • Mmmm, yes. :x
  • Incredible, Liz.
  • U A Fanthorpe Casehistory: Alison. Very moving
  • That Pablo Neruda poem is fabulous, Liz.
    (A little startled by your final paragraph - I had no idea.)
  • There's a lot of fabulous poetry out there.
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