alwaysamy: (very free)
It's National Poetry Month, and [livejournal.com profile] zmayhem posted two of her favorite poems (and linked to two more), so I am following her lead.

Let me say up front I am not widely read in poetry. I have quite a few favorite poets (such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath) and a lot of poems I love, but none of them are terribly obscure or surprising.

Which doesn't matter, if you ask me. Reaction to poetry is intensely personal, I think -- I respond to poetry I like the same way I respond to music I like. It's a gut thing, a lyricism combined with meaning.

Here are a couple poems I love.

D.H. Lawrence, "Terra Incognito"

There are vast realms of consciousness still undreamed of
vast ranges of experience, like the humming of unseen harps,
we know nothing of, within us.

Oh when man has escaped from the barbed-wire entanglement
of his own ideas and his own mechanical devices
there is a marvellous rich world of contact and sheer fluid beauty
and fearless face-to-face awareness of now-naked life
and me, and you, and other men and women
and grapes, and ghouls, and ghosts and green moonlight
and ruddy-orange limbs stirring the limbo
of the unknown air, and eyes so soft
softer than the space between the stars.
And all things, and nothing, and being and not-being
alternately palpitate,
when at last we escape the barbed-wire enclosure
of Know-Thyself, knowing we can never know,
we can but touch, and wonder, and ponder, and make our effort
and dangle in a last fastidious fine delight
as the fuchsia does, dangling her reckless drop
of purple after so much putting forth
and slow mounting marvel of a little tree.

(It's overwrought and a bit purple, but I love the breathless stream-of-consciousness of it.)

W.H. Auden, "Funeral Blues"

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

(This is such a raw, perfect, painful expression of grief, I love it.)

William Carlos Williams, "This Is Just to Say"

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

(I love this because it proves that poetry can take on so many forms, that poetry doesn't have to be "difficult" or obscure or pretentious.)

Do you have favorite poems? Post them!
alwaysamy: (real)
Edge

The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

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