Gransnet forums

Culture/Arts

Have you got a favourite poem?

(108 Posts)
Yammy Fri 18-Mar-22 20:29:10

The national survey says that "If', by Rudyard Kipling",is the favourite followed by Wordsworths Daffodils. As at the moment we all have daffodils in bloom and an original copy of Wordsworth's has been returned to Dove cottage.What would yours be mine is "St.Agnes Eve" by Coolridge.

Coastpath Sat 19-Mar-22 09:58:06

What an education and a joy this thread is.

For me it's impossible to have one favourite as what I need and take from a poem changes every day and with every mood.

The Subaltern's Love Song by John Betjeman is another favourite of mine. It conjures up the atmosphere of the era so beautifully and feels so peaceful even though it was written in wartime.

Yammy Sat 19-Mar-22 10:12:58

After reading so many posts I'm beginning to think of others myself.
The reason why I chose St.Agnes Eve was we did it for O level anyone remember the old JMB examining Board?
It was in a collection of narrative poems .I had a test and found I had forgotten my book, my lovely father disappeared onto the loft and came down with an old copy of the same book"A Golden treasury of longer poems". It seemed he had studied the same book for his school certificate.
I love the longer narrative poems.
Coming from the land of Wordsworth I love Daffodils and from "Westminster bridge" ,though my favourite has to be 'The Rainbow".

Greyduster Sat 19-Mar-22 17:06:04

Madam Life’s a Piece in Bloom - by William Ernest Henley

“Madam Life’s a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She’s the tenant of the room,
He’s the ruffian on the stair.

You shall see her as a friend,
You shall bilk him once or twice;
But he’ll trap you in the end,
And he’ll stick you for her price.

With his kneebones at your chest,
And his knuckles in your throat,
You would reason — plead — protest!
Clutching at her petticoat;

But she’s heard it all before,
Well she knows you’ve had your fun,
Gingerly she gains the door,
And your little job is done.”

poshpaws Sat 19-Mar-22 17:43:13

I have many that I love but I think these are my favourites:

www.poeticous.com/philip-larkin/sad-steps

This one, by Brian Patten:

I caught a train that passed the town where you lived.
On the journey I thought of you.
One evening when the park was soaking
You hid beneath trees, and all around you dimmed itself
as if the earth were lit by gaslight.
We had faith that love would last forever.

I caught a train that passed the town where you lived.

And this one of Leonard Cohen's, which is hard to find online but was published in his book "Flowers for Hitler":

Two hours off the branch and burnt
the petals of the gardenia curl and deepen
in the yellow-brown of waste
Your body wandered close
I didn't raise my hand to reach
the distance was so familiar
Our house is happy with its old furniture
the black Venetian bed stands on gold claws
guarding the window
Don't take the window away
and leave a hole in the stark mountains
The clothesline and the grey clothespins
would make you think we're going to be together always
Last night I dreamed
you were Buddha's wife
and I was a historian watching you sleep
What vanity
A girl told me something beautiful
Very early in the morning
she saw an orange-painted wooden boat
come into port over the smooth sea
The cargo was hay
The boat rode low under the weight
She couldn't see the sailors
but on top of all the hay sat a monk
Because of the sun behind he seemed
to be sitting in a fire
like that famous photograph
I forget to tell you the story
She surprised me by telling it
and I wanted her for ten minutes
I really enjoyed the gardenia from Sophia's courtyard
You put it on my table two hours ago
and I can smell it everywhere in the house
Darling I attach nothing to it.

grannyrebel7 Sat 19-Mar-22 17:50:56

My favourite is the Highway Man by Alfred Noyes. Love the rhythm of it that goes with the horse's hooves.

gulligranny Sat 19-Mar-22 18:03:02

Home Thoughts From Abroad is my favourite - learnt it at Junior School for an inter-school contest and it still touches my heart.

Alternatives to poems for me have always been song lyrics:

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings cast aside, dance invitations
Oh how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things
Remind me of you

Now if that isn't poetry, I don't know what is.

Ladyleftfieldlover Sat 19-Mar-22 18:18:17

‘Time does not bring relief, you all have lied’ by Edna St Vincent Millay

Ladyleftfieldlover Sat 19-Mar-22 18:21:40

Here it is:

Blondiescot Sat 19-Mar-22 18:21:57

I too love poetry and have so many favourites, but my top ones are Daddy and Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by Yeats and Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns.

annodomini Sat 19-Mar-22 18:59:09

Thomas Hardy, The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

hollysteers Sat 19-Mar-22 19:46:59

Lake Isle of Innisfree, W.B.Yeats and Crossing the Bar, Tennyson.

What a lovely thread! I wish there was a like button, so many interesting poems.

Coastpath Sat 19-Mar-22 19:58:56

The Orange by Wendy Cope.

After reading all the amazing adventures other grans have had on the the thread titled 'The flipside of I have never' I was thinking what a simple, unadventurous little life I have lead compared and was reminded of this poem about how simple pleasures can bring so much joy and contentment.

gulligranny the words of that song reminded my of my Uncle bob singing it at family parties....the words seemed magical then and still do so today.

MissAdventure Sat 19-Mar-22 20:33:04

youtu.be/qviM_GnJbOM

nanna8 Sun 20-Mar-22 12:12:01

Lovely thread. For several years I belonged to a poetry group where we would read and discuss our favourite poems. I learnt so much, particularly from some of those with non English speaking backgrounds. There are some marvellous poems out there all over the world.

Elusivebutterfly Sun 20-Mar-22 12:30:01

I like Cargoes by John Masefield and the Lady of Shalott by Tennyson.

Bakingmad0203 Sun 20-Mar-22 13:27:02

I had forgotten how happy reading poetry makes me, so thank you Yammy for starting this thread and cheering me up!
I too love Home thoughts from abroad and always think of it in Spring and how lucky we are to have such a beautiful season.
I also like some of the modern poems Icarus Allsorts by one of the Liverpool poets is very clever.

Skye17 Sun 20-Mar-22 14:17:03

This is a great thread. I love many of the poems mentioned, including ‘Loveliest of trees’, ‘An Irish Airman Foresees his Death’ and ‘The Darkling Thrush’. My favourite would have to be a Shakespeare sonnet, such as number 65, ‘Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea’.

Greyduster Tue 22-Mar-22 16:17:05

He Wishes for the Cloths if Heaven by W.B. Yeats.

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Mollygo Tue 22-Mar-22 16:25:08

I remember enjoying several mentioned on here.
My favourite short poem was The Headless Gardener
by Ian Serraillier

A gardener, Tobias Baird,
Sent his head to be repaired;
He thought, as nothing much was wrong,
He wouldn’t be without it long.

Ten years he weeded path and plot,
A headless gardener, God wot,
Always hoping (hope is vain)
To see his noddle back again.

Don’t pity him for his distress –
He never sent up his address

I don’t even remember where or why I learnt it.

GagaJo Tue 22-Mar-22 16:33:46

My all time favourite, and one I would teach to every year group at school if I was allowed is Blessing, by Imtiaz Dharker.

I find it beautiful, dignified, happy/sad and also very poignant. It always brings tears to my eyes at the end, so I try to make sure I get a student to read it aloud!

Blessing
The skin cracks like a pod.
There never is enough water.

Imagine the drip of it,
the small splash, echo
in a tin mug,
the voice of a kindly god.

Sometimes, the sudden rush
of fortune. The municipal pipe bursts,
silver crashes to the ground
and the flow has found
a roar of tongues. From the huts,
a congregation: every man woman
child for streets around
butts in, with pots,
brass, copper, aluminium,
plastic buckets,
frantic hands,

and naked children
screaming in the liquid sun,
their highlights polished to perfection,
flashing light,
as the blessing sings
over their small bones.

Gracesnan Tue 22-Mar-22 17:00:30

My favourites are To Autumn by John Keats, and Cargoes by John Masefield.

biglouis Fri 20-May-22 02:09:20

One of the most powerful things I have ever read.

POLITICAL PRISONER : Terence Tiller

They set him labouring, who meant
all strength of his to faint and kneel;
but he endured, because she leant
her own smooth body to the wheel.

They stripped him naked, and they bound
with holly-branches every limb:
sure comfort against cold and wound,
her nakedness lay over him.

They held away all food and drink
but poison, tempting him towards death:
how should his resolution sink.
who lived upon her touch and breath?

They tied a rat upon his breast
for torment, having not foreseen
to whose pain he must yield at last,
her own breast offered in between.

They took her from him, and the cell
they shut him in was dark and sour:
she was: and this dissolved the wall,
and lit a candle every hour.

They quarried selfhood from his skull,
humanity from flesh and face:
still she stole back to him, to call
the ruined house her dwelling-place.

Harris27 Fri 20-May-22 04:53:01

What is this life full of care if we have no time to stand and stare. Always comes to mind.

MrsKen33 Fri 20-May-22 05:00:59

I have woken very early and just read right through all this thread. Thank you ladies.

Calendargirl Fri 20-May-22 06:55:50

‘The Glory of The Garden’ by Rudyard Kipling.