Archive for the 'poetry' Category

First lines of English Poems

The concluding post of the January beginnings includes the first lines of favorite poems from the British Isles.   Again a thanks to my high school English teachers, especially the wonder that was Norma Jordan, a woman who like Eleanor Rigby, kept her face in a jar by the door.  Never have I seen someone wear such heavy makeup, but what a teacher. 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
William Wordsworth

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
William Blake

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Percy Bysshe Shelley

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England.
Rupert Brooke

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
William Shakespeare

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree
Samuel Coleridge

April is the cruellest month
T.S. Eliot

The sea is calm tonight.
Matthew Arnold

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold
Robert w. Service


First Lines of Favorite American Poems

To continue the January theme of beginnings and firsts, I thought I’d include the first lines of American poems that I remember from high school and have inserted, on occasion, into conversations.  It’s always amazing how many people either can add the next line or just stare at you with that “deer caught in headlights” look when you quote lines of poetry.   I was exposed to such amazing literature .  Of course, most of it was either British or American.  I had to wait until university to discover world literature.  Thank you teachers at Lyons Township High School for making me memorize so many poems.   These words have become old friends.

 in just spring when the world is mud-luscious
e.e. Cummings

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
Walt whitman

Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me
Emily Dickenson

I, too, sing America.
Langston Hughes

All I could see from where I stood was three long mountains and a wood
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Lift ev’ry voice and sing
James Weldon Johnson

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
Robert Frost

We real cool.
Gwendolyn Brooks

Hog Butcher for the World
Carl Sandburg
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
William Carlos Williams

Pumpkin Time

I have to count all of the pumpkins in this bin.  Let’s see, one…..


 A beautiful day at Avila Barn.  There is nothing as beautiful as October on the coast.  The sky is blue, the fog is hiding, and the apples and grapes are all being harvested.  Here’s a favorite poem by Helen Hunt Jackson:

October’s Bright Blue Weather 

O sun and skies and clouds of June
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And goldenrod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When gentians roll their fringes tight,
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks
In idle, golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunt
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers hour by hour
October’s bright blue weather.

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

My Favorite Poem about the Ocean

maggie and milly and molly and may.
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly
she couldn’t remember her troubles,
and milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:
and may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone
for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
e e cummings