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Favourite Poems

SFG75

Well-Known Member
Sufi poetry has always been a favorite of mine. This particular one has always resonated with me. Perhaps it was due to growing up in a "dark" Lutheran(Garrison Keillor terminology lingo for you there) home.


Come, come, whoever you are

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.
 

Gita V.Reddy

Active Member
I've read The Prophet by Khalil Gibran many times and I know I'll go back to it again and again.

My favorite from the book is On Children.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
 

canuck

Active Member
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening - Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house in in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
I've read The Prophet by Khalil Gibran many times and I know I'll go back to it again and again.

My favorite from the book is On Children.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran is a firm favourite.


Love

Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart,"
but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
 

Gita V.Reddy

Active Member
Gibran's Prophet: I find every single word and thought meaningful; there is nothing superfluous in the book.

Which marriage counsellor could have said it better?

(From On Marriage)
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

This is another favorite
(From On Giving)
You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.


I have gone and done it. I can't go back to the story I was writing. I just have to pull out my copy of The Prophet and read it AGAIN.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
(From On Giving)
You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

aah how many think like this and yet who are we to judge who is deserving and who is not?
 

Gita V.Reddy

Active Member
I want to share this poem; I came across it recently and liked it very much.

On Living

by Nazim Hikmet
translated by Mutlu Konuk and Randy Blasing
I
Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example--
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter:
you must take it seriously,
so much so and to such a degree
that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
your back to the wall,
or else in a laboratory
in your white coat and safety glasses,
you can die for people--
even for people whose faces you've never seen,
even though you know living
is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees--
and not for your children, either,
but because although you fear death you don't believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.

II
Let's say we're seriously ill, need surgery--
which is to say we might not get up
from the white table.
Even though it's impossible not to feel sad
about going a little too soon,
we'll still laugh at the jokes being told,
we'll look out the window to see if it's raining,
or still wait anxiously
for the latest newscast. . .
Let's say we're at the front--
for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
we might fall on our face, dead.
We'll know this with a curious anger,
but we'll still worry ourselves to death
about the outcome of the war, which could last years.
Let's say we're in prison
and close to fifty,
and we have eighteen more years, say,
before the iron doors will open.
We'll still live with the outside,
with its people and animals, struggle and wind--
I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
we must live as if we will never die.

III
This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet--
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space . . .
You must grieve for this right now
--you have to feel this sorrow now--
for the world must be loved this much
if you're going to say "I lived". . .
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
That was kind of depressing but I understand what he is getting at. I prefer to be far more cheerful in my appreciation of life.
 

Gita V.Reddy

Active Member
I think he means that, while we do and ought to love living, we do not sufficiently love the planet that sustains our living.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
yes :) but firstly he ends with "I lived" past tense which I find to be rather depressing. I prefer to be in the present tense "I LIVE!" Now today, in this moment, rather than living as though I was already gone.

Secondly - "You must grieve for this right now
--you have to feel this sorrow now--
for the world must be loved this much"

I agree that the world must be loved as much life itself - but again its a very negative view point. Why grieve? The end is not a forgone conclusion, that is just scientific speculation based on very limited information. Why not rather embrace all that life is, all that the vast wonderful variation of life in all its forms has to offer and enjoy it, as it is?
 

jaybe

Member
Dust If You Must
by Anonymous

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.
 

canuck

Active Member
I want to share this poem; I came across it recently and liked it very much.

On Living

by Nazim Hikmet
translated by Mutlu Konuk and Randy Blasing
I
Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example--
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter:
you must take it seriously,
so much so and to such a degree
that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
your back to the wall,
or else in a laboratory
in your white coat and safety glasses,
you can die for people--
even for people whose faces you've never seen,
even though you know living
is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees--
and not for your children, either,
but because although you fear death you don't believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.
II
Let's say we're seriously ill, need surgery--
which is to say we might not get up
from the white table.
Even though it's impossible not to feel sad
about going a little too soon,
we'll still laugh at the jokes being told,
we'll look out the window to see if it's raining,
or still wait anxiously
for the latest newscast. . .
Let's say we're at the front--
for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
we might fall on our face, dead.
We'll know this with a curious anger,
but we'll still worry ourselves to death
about the outcome of the war, which could last years.
Let's say we're in prison
and close to fifty,
and we have eighteen more years, say,
before the iron doors will open.
We'll still live with the outside,
with its people and animals, struggle and wind--
I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
we must live as if we will never die.
III
This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet--
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space . . .
You must grieve for this right now
--you have to feel this sorrow now--
for the world must be loved this much
if you're going to say "I lived". . .
 

canuck

Active Member
Thanks for sharing Gita, I found it a little bit sombre but another way of looking at life.
 

Sparhawk

Active Member
And now on a far more cheerful note...


The Abominable Snowman
I've never seen an abominable
snowman,
I'm hoping not to see one,
I'm also hoping, if I do,
That it will be a wee one.
Ogden Nash


The Dog
The truth I do not stretch or
shove
When I state that the dog is full
of love.
I've also found, by actual test,
A wet dog is the lovingest.
Ogden Nash

I really like Ogden Nash. His poems have a tone to them that I like
 

Sparhawk

Active Member
The Hunter
The hunter crouches in his blind
'Neath camouflage of every
kind
And conjures up a quacking
noise
To lend allure to his decoys
This grown-up man, with pluck
and luck
is hoping to outwit a duck
Ogden Nash

This is one of my favorites :D
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
The Hunter
The hunter crouches in his blind
'Neath camouflage of every
kind
And conjures up a quacking
noise
To lend allure to his decoys
This grown-up man, with pluck
and luck
is hoping to outwit a duck
Ogden Nash

This is one of my favorites :D


sums up the mentality of hunting pretty well I think.
 

Gita V.Reddy

Active Member
Thanks for sharing Gita, I found it a little bit sombre but another way of looking at life.

Sombre yes but makes you smile. I found a 'tongue in the cheek' quality about the poem. Did he mean to advise or was he painting our picture?

Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example--
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.

A squirrel does not appear to live seriously. it looks to be having a lot of fun. That is how we may appear, to be having fun, when we are occupied with just 'living'.

I also liked these lines. They were definitely satirical.

There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
we might fall on our face, dead.
We'll know this with a curious anger,
but we'll still worry ourselves to death
about the outcome of the war, which could last years.


I think I liked the poem more for these 'switches' between sombre and satire.
 

SeoulMan

Member
Poetry is so under-appreciated.

My favorite poems are generally ones where they're seemingly about nature, but there's a deeper meaning about humanity. (I suppose all poems are about some aspect of humanity.)

I hate poems about love and death and anything that shows the poet to be obsessed with self-love or self-absorption. I also hate the poems where the poet makes a direct message -- as if it's so g**damn important. The beauty of poetry is the indirection.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
It seems there was a thread similar to this that direstraits started a couple of years ago. I posted a poem in that one, a favorite. I'll post again. :)

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

by Ezra Pound
While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-yen, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fu-Sa.

By Rihaku

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15425#sthash.DksSA0lo.dpuf
 
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