Gransnet forums


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.

biglouis Fri 20-May-22 10:23:42

Mirage, by Christina Rosetti

The hope I dreamed of was a dream,
Was but a dream; and now I wake,
Exceeding comfortless, and worn, and old,
For a dream's sake.

I hang my harp upon a tree,
A weeping willow in a lake;
I hang my silent harp there, wrung and snapt
For a dream's sake.

Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;
My silent heart, lie still and break:
Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed
For a dream's sake.

PW41 Fri 20-May-22 12:20:19

Lake Isle of Innisfree by W B Yeats

Daddima Fri 20-May-22 12:34:48

The Donkey. G.K.Chesterton

The Lion and Albert. Marriott Edgar

Old Sam Stanley Holloway ( maybe)

The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God. J. Milton Hayes

And many more!

Jane71 Fri 20-May-22 16:17:05

I read poems to suit my mood, so can't say that I have a favourite poem.
Do all the people who took part in the national survey actually read poetry, or are they just saying the ones that they've heard of?

Mine Fri 20-May-22 16:43:03

Ae fond kiss Rabbie Burns
Beautiful words

silverlining48 Fri 20-May-22 16:52:22

I recognise many of these poems from school, but some are new to me. My mum always loved poetry and thinking of her now makes me want to read more for myself. Thanks everyone.

Roswell Fri 20-May-22 17:01:07

Ode to Autumn and St Agnes Eve, Keats.
Cargoes, John Masefield, wonderful read by Joanna Lumley on You Tube.

volver Fri 20-May-22 17:08:05

One for nanna8. I love a sunburnt country by Dorothea MacKellar.

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze ...

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Doodledog Fri 20-May-22 17:16:21

Cousin Coat, by Sean O'Brien

You are my secret coat. You’re never dry.
You wear the weight and stink of black canals.
Malodorous companion, we know why
It’s taken me so long to see we’re pals,
To learn why my acquaintance never sniff
Or send me notes to say I stink of stiff.

But you don’t talk, historical bespoke.
You must be worn, be intimate as skin,
And though I never lived what you invoke,
At birth I was already buttoned in.
Your clammy itch became my atmosphere,
An air made half of anger, half of fear.

And what you are is what I tried to shed
In libraries with Donne and Henry James.
You’re here to bear a message from the dead
Whose history’s dishonoured with their names.
You mean the North, the poor, and troopers sent
To shoot down those who showed their discontent.

No comfort there for comfy meliorists
Grown weepy over Jarrow photographs.
No comfort when the poor the state enlists
Parade before their fathers’ cenotaphs.
No comfort when the strikers all go back
To see which twenty thousand get the sack.

Be with me when they cauterize the facts.
Be with me to the bottom of the page,
Insisting on what history exacts.
Be memory, be conscience, will and rage,
And keep me cold and honest, cousin coat,
So if I lie, I’ll know you’re at my throat.

Doodledog Fri 20-May-22 17:19:35

Girl to Snake by Abigail Parry

We’re not supposed to parley, Ropey Joe.
I’m meant to close my eyes and shut the door.
But you’re a slender fellow, Ropey Joe,
thin enough
to slip beneath the door and spill your wicked do-si-do
in curlicues and hoops across the floor.
I’ll be here. And I’m all ears —
there are things I want to know.

Oh tell me tell me tell me
about absinthe and yahtzee,
and sugarskulls and ginger, and dynamite and hearsay,
and all the girls and boys who lost their way
and the places in the woods we’re not to go
and all the games we’re not allowed to play —
there are so many things to know.

My mother’s got the supper on the go.
My father will be sagging in his chair.
But you’re a speedy fellow, Ropey Joe,
quick enough
to slide behind his back, a wicked line of dominoes
zipping through the hall and up the stairs.
Come on, pal. I’m ready now —
there are things I want to know.

Oh tell me tell me tell me
about lightning and furies
and ligatures and diamonds, and zipwires and gooseberries
and all the girls and boys who went astray
and all the ones who never got to go
and all the words we’re not supposed to say —
there are so many things to know.

They told me you were trouble, Ropey Joe.
You’ve always got to tip the applecart.
But you’re a subtle fellow, Ropey Joe,
suave enough
to worm your way inside and pin your wicked mistletoe
above the crooked lintel to my heart.
Come on then, shimmy in —
there are things I want to know.

Oh tell me tell me tell me
about hellhounds and rubies
and pretty boys and bad girls, and runaways and lost boys
and all the things that made my mother cry
and all the things he said to make her stay
and all the things we’re not allowed to say -
there are things I want to know.

Doodledog Fri 20-May-22 17:21:57

Bobby Sands by Alden Nowlan

I did not cry for Bobby Sands, but I almost did,
thinking of my grandmother whom I loved, and who
loved me,
and of how her voice would break when she told me again
how her grandmother died in a field in County Wexford
with green stains on her lips, her hands filled with grass,
and of how in that same year the English wagons
escorted by English troops carried Irish grain
down to English vessels for shipment to England.
yes, that was a long, long time ago; but somebody should
remember Mary Foley, somebody should weep for her,
even if it is only a drunken listener
to lying ballads. Being human, we
each of us can bear no more than a particle
of pain that is not our own; the rest is rhetoric.
Better to shed a tear for Mary Foley
than to rant or babble about suffering
that is beyond our capacity to comprehend.
And what of Bobby Sands? We talk too much,
all of us. In common decency, don’t speak
of him unless you have gone at least a day
without food, and be sure you understand
that he loved being alive, the same as you.
Then say what you like. Call him a fool.
Call him a criminal. You’ll get no argument
from me. I’ll agree with everything
you say in dispraise of gunmen. Oh, but Mary Foley’s
ghost was left in my keeping.
I know in my heart that if he had come to me
for a place to hide I could never have shut him out.

Calendargirl Fri 20-May-22 18:26:53

Volver ‘I love a sunburnt country’.

My DD, who lives in Australia, gave me a lovely book of this poem, with stunning photographs illustrating the words.

It makes me weep every time I look at the pictures and words, missing her.

volver Fri 20-May-22 19:36:44

Oh its a lovely poem, isn't it Calendargirl. It made me a bit weepy just reading it after I posted it.

LilyRosie Fri 08-Jul-22 07:25:53

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk guidelines.

Redhead56 Fri 08-Jul-22 08:45:51

I first read this when I lost my dad and then my best friend It made me feel they had never left. I miss them every day but I think of this poem and it lifts my spirit.

Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there I did not die.

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Floradora9 Fri 08-Jul-22 21:34:04

Blue Remembered Hills

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

A.E. Housman

NotTooOld Fri 08-Jul-22 22:48:54

I've always liked this little poem by Carl Sandberg.


The fog comes on little cat feet
It sits looking o'er harbour and city
On silent haunches
And then moves on

Sweetpeasue Sat 09-Jul-22 06:44:07


My favorite poem“Desiderata" -- by Max Ehrmann. This is a long poem. It's my favorite poem because it teaches us how to live a better life. It motivates me whenever I feel low.
Read it I promise you will surely learn something. Read till last.
Every line has deep meaning. Read and feel.

Thankyou LilyRosie I thought I 'knew' this poem. I've read the words again in the early hours and found them beautiful and comforting.
Words about troubles arising from fatigue and loneliness, and being gentle with yourself---so much in this poem for everyone, I feel.

MsIceni Wed 03-Aug-22 20:37:31

Yes Adelstrop by Edward Thomas ?
I don’t really know why, it just soothes me ?

Grandma70s Wed 03-Aug-22 21:00:10

Oh yes, I agree about Adlestrop. Wonderful poem. I sometimes say it to myself as a form of comfort.

GagaJo Wed 03-Aug-22 21:12:19

Love Adlestrop!

But my favourite, that I come back to for pleasure and for teaching is Blessing by Imtiaz Dharker. The last three lines give me a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, every time.

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.

ronib Sat 04-Feb-23 08:11:03

WB Yeats … nearly all his poems but When you are old especially memorable.

Anniebach Sat 04-Feb-23 08:24:26

Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!

Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss’d me.

Leigh Hunt

Witzend Sat 04-Feb-23 08:50:28

Thanks for this lovely thread - it’s inspired me to find favourites in my Oxford Book of English Verse. I don’t browse it nearly often enough.

One we ‘did’ for English Lit O level has always stayed with me - so evocative of a long-gone era of rural England in summer.

‘Yes, I remember Adelstrop,
The name, because one afternoon of heat
The express train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No-one left and no-one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adelstrop - only the name.

And willows, willow-herb and grass,
And meadowsweet and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.’

I did Russian A level and although I’ve forgotten most of my Russian I still remember word for word the first verse of a Cossack Lullaby - to my shame I can’t even remember the poet but I’ve still got the book - must look it up…

Greyduster Sat 04-Feb-23 09:15:12

Geography Lesson
by Brian Patten

Our teacher told us one day he would leave
And sail across a warm blue sea
To places he had only known from maps,
And all his life had longed to be.

The house he lived in was narrow and grey
But in his mind's eye he could see
Sweet-scented jasmine clinging to the walls,
And green leaves burning on an orange tree.

He spoke of the lands he longed to visit,
Where it was never drab or cold.
I couldn't understand why he never left,
And shook off the school's stranglehold.

Then halfway through his final term
He took ill and never returned.
He never got to that place on the map
Where the green leaves of the orange trees burned.

The maps were redrawn on the classroom wall;
His name forgotten, he faded away.
But a lesson he never knew he taught
Is with me to this day.

I travel to where the green leaves burn,
To where the ocean's glass-clear and blue,
To places our teacher taught me to love -
And which he never knew.