I love poetry. I love reading the poetry of others, and sometimes I like creating my own. These days, with a new little person at our house, I find little time to write. So I thought I would share with you some of my favorite poems, written by others.
It’s hard to say what makes a poem stand out to me; sometimes it is the rhythm, other times it’s the words that grab me by the heart. Your favorites will be different from mine, but mine are special to me.
If you’re looking for a common theme, you’re not likely to find it. Just random poems by talented poets… all different; but I think each one is a treat in it’s own way. Enjoy!
First, two short poems that remind me to be considerate…
There’s one that I can’t seem to find my copy of; but I think, from hearing my mother recite it when I was a child, I know it well enough to share it with you, without doing Robert Frost too grave an injustice.
I’d say this poem mostly just makes me feel nostalgic, bringing back memories of childhood and the horse and buggy days. It doesn’t appeal so much to the emotions, but rather paints a word picture, that to me is vivid and beautiful. Having said all that, to the best of my ability, I give you:
“Stopping By a Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is 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, “Has there been some mistake?
The only other sound, the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
These 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.
. . . . . . . .
This one, from one of my modern day role models… Because life is real, and mommyhood is really real some days.
And now, a bit of sarcasm, because I like sarcasm. 🙂
The Modern Baby
“The hand that rocks the cradle” -but there is no such hand;
It is bad to rock the baby, they would have us understand;
So the cradle’s but a relic of the former foolish days
When mothers reared their children in unscientific ways-
When they jounced them and they bounced them, those poor dwarfs of long ago-
The Washingtons and Jeffersons and Adamses, you know.
They warn us that the baby will possess a muddled brain
If we dandle him or rock him- we must carefully refrain;
He must lie in one position, never swayed and never swung,
Or his chance to grow to greatness will be blasted while he’s young.
Ah! Think how they were ruined, by their mothers long ago-
The Franklins and the Putnams and the Hamiltons, you know.
Then we must feed the baby by the schedule that is made,
And the food that he is given must be measured out or weighed.
He may bellow to inform us that he isn’t satisfied,
But he couldn’t grow to greatness if his wants were all supplied.
Think how foolish nursing stunted those poor weaklings long ago-
The Shakespeares and the Luthers and the Bonapartes, you know.
We are given a great mission, we are here today on earth
To bring forth a race of giants, and to guard them from their birth,
To insist upon their freedom from the rocking that was bad
For our parents and their parents, scrambling all the brains they had.
Ah! If they’d been fed by schedule, would they have been stunted so?
The Websters and the Lincolns and the Roosevelts, you know.
-William Croswell Doane
And last but not least… Love always wins!
What are your favorites? I’d love to hear from you, maybe I can acquire some new favorites!
2 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite Poems”
I like your poem selections, and I once illustrated Robert Frost’s
As I came to the edge of the woods,
Thrush music — hark!
Now if it was dusk outside,
Inside it was dark.
Too dark in the woods for a bird
By sleight of wing
To better its perch for the night,
Though it still could sing.
The last of the light of the sun
That had died in the west
Still lived for one song more
In a thrush’s breast.
Far in the pillared dark
Thrush music went —
Almost like a call to come in
To the dark and lament.
But no, I was out for stars;
I would not come in.
I meant not even if asked;
And I hadn’t been.
It’s hard to say which ones are my favorites. In the past, “Jis Blue” resonated with me during down times. It’s here: https://artandtheology.org/2017/09/11/jis-blue-by-etta-baldwin-oldham/ I’m not that old yet, but I appreciate “Let Me Get Home Before Dark” as well. you can find it here: http://mcquilkinlibrary.com/tglib_sessions/homebeforedark/
For fun I like
Two Women Under A Maple
-Robert P. Tristram Coffin
I came around a corner of a day
Expecting to find more brown men making hay,
For haying time was at its highest tide
And men too busy to let the small boys ride;
The sun was up ten minutes of twelve o’clock–
It was not time for tales or love or talk.
And two wives cool as summer wives can be
Were playing checkers under a maple tree.
They had white aprons on and sleeves rolled high
As if they had just left an apple pie;
Shade and sunlight polka-dotted their faces,
They moved their checkers with no airs or graces.
There they sat refuting, square of chin,
That resting is New England’s cardinal sin.
I think my favorite one to quote is the last section of William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanitopsis” which we learned in about seventh grade.
“So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”
You might like this one too, being a farmer’s wife out in the country…
I had to laugh,
For when she said it
We were sitting by the door,
And straight down was the Fork
Twisting and turning
And gleaming in the sun.
And then your eyes carried across
To the purple bench beyond the river
With the Beartooth Mountains
Fairly screaming with light and blue and snow
And fold and turn of rimrock and prairie
As far as your eyes could see.
And she says: “Dear Laura,
Sometimes I feel so sorry for you,
Shut away from everything—
Eating out your heart with loneliness.
When I think of my own full life
I wish that I could share it.
Just pray for happier days to come, and bear it.”
She goes back to Billings
To her white stucco house,
And looks through net curtains
At another white stucco house,
And a brick house,
And a yellow frame house,
And six trimmed poplar trees,
And little squares of shaved grass.
Oh, dear, she stared at me like I was daft.
I couldn’t help it! I just laughed and laughed.
—Gwendolyn Haste, from Montana Wives
I’m not sure of the title, but I like this one by Lucy A Martin
Shake and shake the ketchup bottle
None’ll come, and then a lot’ll.
Probably there are limits to comment length. I’ll stop now. 🙂
Haha! I love it! I like all of your poems but especially Horizons and the Ketchup one 🙂 Thanks for commenting!