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Author Topic: Poetry
Member # 48854

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I know we have a haiku thread on here, but what about other types of poetry?

So here's a thread for original poems, or poems you found that you really like, or anything!

For me, I've got a few original ones and some that I just really like that I'll share.

I should title this one "Algebra"...since that's where I wrote it. I did pass the class, though.

Draw me.
Not in charcoals.
Not in pastels or pencils or paints.
Draw me in blue ink
delve into my mind
lay it bare on the page.
Show me as I am
or seem to be.
Drawn brown hair, grown long painstakingly.
Draw a jacket, light blue,
and a cartoon character on it.
Draw blue jeans, washed loose,
and excess length walked away.
Draw pale skin, grey and purple
with cold.
Draw my imperfections.
Draw the scars on my foot
and my knees and my forehead.
Draw the little scratch on my arm
where I fell into a shower.
And draw my memories.
Draw my broken toe
my bruise that I couldn't explain.
The arm I broke and
didn't realize-
the arm I sprained on Valentine's.
Draw my dreams and my fears
and my love of life.
Draw me in words.

Me in Ten Years

I passed the stupid young adult phase.
My hair looks awful blonde
since my skin is so pale
and I hate it red.
Black looks good though.
I chickened out of the tattoo she drew me
five times before I went through with it.
Now a beautiful permanent proof of temporary insanity
on the inside of my left wrist.
Where on earth will I put all those temporary tattoos now?
A cat sleeps on my chest
I shove her off, good-naturedly,
a scratch behind the ears softening the rejection.
The little apartment is just big enough for one-
I haven't found anyone yet,
I'm sure if I actually went out to places
I'd have better luck.
My best friend is still the
sexiest woman in the world
even as a married lady.
They live in Chicago.
Good thing DADT was repealed.
I'm due at work in half an hour
today we meet reptiles.
I'm glad I got over snake paranoia
years ago.
My health insurance covers pain meds
I stopped freaking out about swallowing pills
long ago.
Now I have at least three
just to function.
My FelisFire account is a low ID number
funny to see newbies try to buy it.
User number 50,000 joined yesterday.
Neopets just had Advent Calendar year 21
you won't believe it, but Team Faerieland won
in Year 17.
That was the year Faerie Paint Brushes sold for
25 million each
and the all-stars wanted faerie pets.

(FelisFire and Neopets are both virtual pet sites, FelisFire currently just hit five thousand users, and Neopets has a yearly competition...the team from "Faerieland" is famous for placing last or nearly last for the entire time the competition has been going. On the site, pets can be turned various colors through the use of paint brushes, and the winning land often has the paintbrush associated with it released as a prize at the end. The all-stars are a group of players who tend to do very well, and nearly every year, the team they all join wins. If a certain paint brush is expensive and they want their pet to be a certain color, they could make sure that team won and get the associated brush for cheap).

I don't like to be rude, but...
Oh, who am I kidding?
I don't like to be rude.
Full stop.
I hate conflict
however you say it.
I'm quiet and timid
wince when someone yells
cry when it's directed at me.
I'm changing a little.
My skin is still thin
but covered in scrapes
evidence of disord.
Maybe if I look the part
I'll become it?

Through a Glass Eye, Lightly by Carolyn Kizer

In the laboratory waiting room
one television actor with a teary face
trying a contact lens;
two muscular victims of industrial accidents;
several vain women—I was one of them—
came Deborah, four, to pick up her glass eye.

It was a long day:
Deborah waiting for the blood vessels
on her iris to dry.
Her mother said that, holding Deborah
when she was born,
“First I inspected her, from toes to navel,
then stopped at her head ...”
We wondered why
the inspection hadn’t gone the other way.
“Looking into her eye
was like looking into a volcano:

“Her vacant pupil
went whirling down, down to the foundation
of the world ...
When she was three months old they took it out.
She giggled when she went under
the anaesthetic.
Forty-five minutes later she came back
happy! ...
The gas wore off, she found the hole in her face
(you know, it never bled?),
stayed happy, even when I went to pieces.
She’s five, in June.

“Deborah, you get right down
from there, or I’ll have to slap!”
Laughing, Deborah climbed into the lap
of one vain lady, who
had been discontented with her own beauty.
Now she held on to Deborah, looked her steadily
in the empty eye.

And, because this is a fun poem-
One Perfect Rose, by Dorothy Parker

A single flower he sent me since we met
All tenderly his messenger he chose
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret
"My tender leaves", it said, "His heart enclose"
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah, no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

[ 09-10-2011, 12:22 AM: Message edited by: Kawani3792 ]

Posts: 183 | From: USA | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bump on a log
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Really enjoyed all of these. Well done for writing yours; I like them all, particularly the second. You have a good feeling for the rhythm of a poem, I think, though what do I know as I never could write any. And thanks for introducing me to Carolyn Kizer, of whom I'd never heard.

Kingsley Amis:

Years ago, at a private school
Run on traditional lines,
One fellow used to perform
Prodigious feats in the dorm;
His quite undevious designs
Found many a willing tool.

On the rugger-field, in the gym,
Buck marked down at his leisure
The likeliest bits of stuff;
The notion, common enough,
Of 'using someone for pleasure'
Seemed handy and harmless to him.

But another chap was above
The diversions of such a lout;
Seven years in the place
And he never got to first base
With the kid he followed about:
What interested Ralph was love.

He did the whole thing in style:
Sonnet-sequences, Sunday walks,
Letters three times a week;
Then, during one of their talks,
The youngster caressed his cheek,
And that made it all worth while.

These days, for a quid pro quo,
Ralph's chum does what, and with which;
Buck's playmates, family men,
Eye a Boy Scout now and then.
Sex is a momentary itch,
Love never lets you go.

And here are several by a favourite poet of mine, Charlotte Mew.

'An Ending'

You know that road beside the sea,
Walled by the wavin' wheat
Which winds down to the little town
Wind-blown and grey and up the crooked street?
We'd used to meet
Just at the top, and when the grass was trodden down
'Twas by our feet.
We'd used to stand
And watch the clouds like a great fleet
Sail over the sea and over the land,
And the gulls dart
Above our heads; and by the gate
At the road's end, when et was late
And all the ships was showing lights on quiet nights,
We'd used to part.

So, Sir, you think I've missed my way,
There's nothing but the Judgement Seat -
But ef I pray perhaps I may - what's that you say -
A golden street?
Give me the yellow wheat!
Et edn't there we'm going to meet!
No, I'm not mazed, I make no doubt
That ef we don't my soul goes out
'Most like a candle in the everlasting dark.
And what's the odds? 'Twas just a spark
Alight for her.
I tell you, Sir,
That God He made et brave and plain,
Sin' he knows better than yon Book
What's in a look
You'd go to Hell to get again.

Another hour? An hour to wait - !
I sim I'll meet her at the gate -
You know that road beside the sea -
The crooked street - the wavin' wheat - ?
(What's that? A lamp! Et made me start - )
That's where our feet - we'd used to meet - on quiet nights -
My God! the ships es showing lights! -
We'd used - to part.


Down the long quay the slow boats glide,
While here and there a house looms white
Against the gloom of the waterside,
And some high window throws a light
As they sail out into the night.

At dawn they will bring in again
To women knitting on the quay
Who wait for him, their man of men;
I stand with them, and watch the sea
Which may have taken mine from me.

Just so the long days come and go.
The nights, ma Doué! the nights are cold!
Our Lady's heart is as frozen snow,
Since this one sin I have not told;
And I shall die or perhaps grow old

Before he comes. The foreign ships
Bring many a one of face and name
As strange as his, to buy your lips,
A gold piece for a scarlet shame
Like mine. But mine was not the same.

One night was ours, one short grey day
Of sudden sin, unshrived, untold.
He found me, and I lost the way
To Paradise for him. I sold
My soul for love and not for gold.

He bought my soul, but even so,
My face is all that he has seen,
His is the only face I know,
And in the dark church, like a screen.
It shuts God out; it comes between;

While in some narrow foreign street
Or loitering on the crowded quay,
Who knows what others he may meet
To turn his eyes away from me?
Many are fair to such as he!

There is but one for such as I
To love, to hate, to hunger for;
I shall, perhaps, grow old and die,
With one short day to spend and store,
One night, in all my life, no more.

Just so the long days come and go,
Yet this one sin I will not tell
Though Mary's heart is as frozen snow
And all nights are cold for one warmed too well.
But, oh! ma Doué! the nights of Hell!

'The Changeling'

Toll no bell for me, dear Father, dear Mother,
Waste no sighs;
There are my sisters, there is my little brother
Who plays in the place called Paradise,
Your children all, your children for ever;
But I, so wild,
Your disgrace, with the queer brown face, was never,
Never, I know, but half your child!

In the garden at play, all day, last summer,
Far and away I heard
The sweet "tweet-tweet" of a strange new-comer,
The dearest, clearest call of a bird.
It lived down there in the deep green hollow,
My own old home, and the fairies say
The word of a bird is a thing to follow,
So I was away a night and a day.

One evening, too, by the nursery fire,
We snuggled close and sat round so still,
When suddenly as the wind blew higher,
Something scratched on the window-sill,
A pinched brown face peered in - I shivered;
No one listened or seemed to see;
The arms of it waved and the wings of it quivered,
Whoo - I knew it had come for me!
Some are as bad as bad can be!
All night long they danced in the rain,
Round and round in a dripping chain,
Threw their caps at the window-pane,
Tried to make me scream and shout
And fling the bedclothes all about:
I meant to stay in bed that night,
And if only you had left a light
They would never have got me out!

Sometimes I wouldn't speak, you see,
Or answer when you spoke to me,
Because in the long, still dusks of Spring
You can hear the whole world whispering;
The shy green grasses making love,
The feathers grow on the dear grey dove,
The tiny heart of the redstart beat,
The patter of the squirrel's feet,
The pebbles pushing in the silver streams,
The rushes talking in their dreams,
The swish-swish of the bat's black wings,
The wild-wood bluebell's sweet ting-tings,
Humming and hammering at your ear,
Everything there is to hear
In the heart of hidden things.
But not in the midst of the nursery riot,
That's why I wanted to be quiet,
Couldn't do my sums, or sing,
Or settle down to anything.
And when, for that, I was sent upstairs
I did kneel down to say my prayers;
But the King who sits on your high church steeple
Has nothing to do with us fairy people!

'Times I pleased you, dear Father, dear Mother,
Learned all my lessons and liked to play,
And dearly I loved the little pale brother
Whom some other bird must have called away.
Why did they bring me here to make me
Not quite bad and not quite good,
Why, unless They're wicked, do They want, in spite, to take me
Back to Their wet, wild wood?
Now, every night I shall see the windows shining,
The gold lamp's glow, and the fire's red gleam,
While the best of us are twining twigs and the rest of us are whining
In the hollow by the stream.
Black and chill are Their nights on the wold;
And They live so long and They feel no pain:
I shall grow up, but never grow old,
I shall always, always be very cold,
I shall never come back again!

'On the Road to the Sea'

We passed each other, turned and stopped for half an hour, then went our way,
I who make others smile did not make you -
But no man can move mountains in a day.
So this hard thing is yet to do.

But first I want your life: - before I die I want to see
The world that lies behind the strangeness of your eyes,
There is nothing gay or green there for my gathering, it may be,
Yet on brown fields there lies
A haunting purple bloom: is there not something in grey skies
And in grey sea?
I want what world there is behind your eyes,
I want your life because you will not give it me.

Now, if I look, I see you walking down the years,
Young, and through August fields - a Face, a Thought, a swinging Dream perched on a stile -;
I would have liked (how vile we are!) to have taught you tears
But most to have made you smile.
To-day is not enough or yesterday: God sees it all -
Your length on sunny lawns, the wakeful rainy nights -; tell me? -; how hideous to ask, but it is not a question - just a call -;
Show me then, only your notched inches climbing up the garden wall,
I like you best when you were small.

Is this a stupid thing to say
Not having spent with you one day?
No matter; I shall never touch your hair
Or hear the little tick behind your breast,
Still it is there,
And as a flying bird
Brushes the branches where it may not rest
I have brushed your hand and heard
The child in you: I like that best.
So small, so dark, so sweet; and were you also then too grave and wise?
Always I think. Then put your far off little hand in mine; - Oh! let it rest;
I will not stare into the early world beyond the opening eyes,
Or vex or scare what I love best.
But I want your life before mine bleeds away -
Here - not in heavenly hereafters - soon, -
I want your smile this very afternoon,
The last of all my vices, pleasant people used to say,
I wanted and I sometimes got - the Moon!

You know, at dusk, the last bird's cry,
And round the house the flap of the bat's low flight,
Trees that go black against the sky
And then - how soon the night!

No shadow of you on any bright road again,
And at the darkening end of this - what voice? whose kiss? As if you'd say!
It is not I who have walked with you, it will not be I who take away
Peace, peace, my little handful of the gleaner's grain
From your reaped fields at the shut of day.

Peace! Would you not rather die
Reeling, - with all the cannons at your ear?
So, at least, would I,
And I may not be here
To-night, to-morrow morning or next year.
Still I will let you keep your life a little while,
See dear? I have made you smile.


The town is old and very steep,
A place of bells and cloisters and grey towers,
And black-clad people walking in their sleep -
A nun, a priest, a woman taking flowers
To her new grave; and watched from end to end
By the great Church above, through the still hours:
But in the morning and the early dark
The children wake to dart from doors and call
Down the wide, crooked street, where, at the bend,
Before it climbs up to the park,
Ken's is the gabled house facing the Castle wall.

When first I came upon him there
Suddenly, on the half-lit stair,
I think I hardly found a trace
Of likeness to a human face
In his. And I said then
If in His image God made men,
Some other must have made poor Ken -
But for his eyes which looked at you
As two red, wounded stars might do.
He scarcely spoke, you scarcely heard,
His voice broke off in little jars
To tears sometimes. An uncouth bird
He seemed as he ploughed up the street,
Groping, with knarred, high-lifted feet
And arms thrust out as if to beat
Always against a threat of bars.

And oftener than not there'd be
A child just higher than his knee
Trotting beside him. Through his dim
Long twilight this, at least, shone clear,
That all the children and the deer,
Whom every day he went to see
Out in the park, belonged to him.

"God help the folk that next him sits
He fidgets so, with his poor wits."
The neighbours said on Sunday nights
When he would go to Church to "see the lights!"
Although for these he used to fix
His eyes upon a crucifix
In a dark corner, staring on
Till everybody else had gone.
And sometimes, in his evil fits,
You could not move him from his chair -
You did not look at him as he sat there,
Biting his rosary to bits.
While pointing to the Christ he tried to say
"Take it away."

Nothing was dead:
He said "a bird" if he picked up a broken wing,
A perished leaf or any such thing
Was just "a rose"; and once when I had said
He must not stand and knock there any more,
He left a twig on the mat outside my door.

Not long ago
The last thrush stiffened in the snow,
While black against a sullen sky
The sighing pines stood by.
But now the wind has left our rattled pane
To flutter the hedge-sparrow's wing,
The birches in the wood are red again
And only yesterday
The larks went up a little way to sing
What lovers say
Who loiter in the lanes to-day;
The buds begin to talk of May
With learned rooks on city trees,
And if God please
With all of these
We too, shall see another Spring.

But in that red brick barn upon the hill
I wonder - can one own the deer,
And does one walk with children still
As one did here -
Do roses grow
Beneath those twenty windows in a row -
And if some night
When you have not seen any light
They cannot move you from your chair
What happens there?

I do not know.
So, when they took
Ken to that place, I did not look
After he called and turned on me
His eyes.
These I shall see -

'The Farmer's Bride'

Three Summers since I chose a maid,
Too young maybe - but more's to do
At harvest-time than bide and woo.
When us was wed she turned afraid
Of love and me and all things human;
Like the shut of a winter's day.
Her smile went out, and 'twasn't a woman--
More like a little, frightened fay.
One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

"Out 'mong the sheep, her be," they said,
'Should properly have been abed;
But sure enough she wasn't there
Lying awake with her wide brown stare.
So over seven-acre field and up-along across the down
We chased her, flying like a hare
Before our lanterns. To Church-Town
All in a shiver and a scare
We caught her, fetched her home at last
And turned the key upon her, fast.

She does the work about the house
As well as most, but like a mouse:
Happy enough to chat and play
With birds and rabbits and such as they,
So long as men-folk stay away.
"Not near, not near!" her eyes beseech
When one of us comes within reach.
The women say that beasts in stall
Look round like children at her call.
I've hardly heard her speak at all.

Shy as a leveret, swift as he,
Straight and slight as a young larch tree,
Sweet as the first wild violets, she,
To her wild self. But what to me?

The short days shorten and the oaks are brown,
The blue smoke rises to the low gray sky,
One leaf in the still air falls slowly down,
A magpie's spotted feathers lie
On the black earth spread white with rime,
The berries redden up to Christmas-time.
What's Christmas-time without there be
Some other in the house than we!

She sleeps up in the attic there
Alone, poor maid. 'Tis but a stair
Betwixt us. Oh, my God! - the down,
The soft young down of her; the brown,
The brown of her - her eyes, her hair, her hair!

[ 09-10-2011, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: bump on a log ]

Posts: 170 | From: UK | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 48854

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Thank you! I have always had an interest in writing, but I was lucky enough to attend a camp for aspiring young writers-a week long sleepaway camp in the woods of Harriman State Park of Idaho. It's beautiful and we had professional authors as our teachers. I consider myself insanely lucky to have gone.

I found the Carolyn Kizer poem (actually, both of those poems that aren't by me) through a program called Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation competition. At this point, though I might flub a few words, I can recite the entirety of that poem. So when I was thinking of good poems I wanted to share, that one occurred to me.

Thank you for showing me some new writers as well, those are all really great!

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bump on a log
Member # 60751

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Here is a lighthearted poem in French -- we're bound to have some Francophones among us, aren't we? Prévert does not translate well but I can make a stab at a translation if anyone's interested.


Un vieillard en or avec une montre en deuil
Une reine de peine avec un homme d'Angleterre
Et des travailleurs de la paix avec des gardiens de la mer
Un hussard de la farce avec un dindon de la mort
Un serpent à café avec un moulin à lunettes
Un chasseur de corde avec un danseur de têtes
Un maréchal d'écume avec une pipe en retraite
Un canard à Sainte-Hélène avec un Napoléon à l'orange
Un conservateur de Samothrace avec une victoire de cimetière
Un remorqueur de famille nombreuse avec un père de haute mer
Un contrôleur à la croix de bois avec un petit chanteur d'autobus
Un chirurgien terrible avec un enfant dentiste
Et le général des huîtres avec un ouvreur de Jésuites.

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Super poème Bump on a Log! Je l'ai vraiment aimé [Smile]

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bump on a log
Member # 60751

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Ça me fait rire. Je suis content que tu l'aies aimé aussi. [Smile]

Since Tomas Tranströmer has just won the Nobel Prize, let's have one of his poems.

Here it is in Swedish (any Scandinavians around?):


Här var jag nära att omkomma en kväll i februari.
Bilen gled sidledes på halkan, ut
på fel sida av vägen. De mötande bilarna –
deras lyktor – kom nära.

Mitt namn, mina flickor, mitt jobb
lösgjorde sig och blev kvar tyst bakom,
allt längre bort. Jag var anonym
som en pojke på en skolgård omgiven av fiender.

Mötande trafik hade väldiga ljus.
De lyste på mig medan jag styrde och styrde
i en genomskinlig skräck som flöt som äggvita.
Sekunderna växte – man fick rum där –
de blev stora som sjukhusbyggnader.

Man kunde nästan stanna upp
och andas ut en stund
innan man krossades.

Då uppstod ett fäste: ett hjälpande sandkorn
eller en underbar vindstöt. Bilen kom loss
och krälade snabbt tvärs över vägen.
En stolpe sköt upp och knäcktes – en skarp klang – den flög bort i mörkret.

Tills det blev stilla. Jag satt kvar i selen
och såg hur någon kom genom snöyran
för att se vad det blev av mig.


Jag har gått omkring länge
på de frusna östgötska fälten.
Ingen människa har varit i sikte.
I andra delar av världen
finns de som föds, lever, dör
i en ständig folkträngsel.

Att alltid vara synlig – leva
i en svärm av ögon –
måste ge ett särskilt ansiktsuttryck.
Ansikte överdraget med lera.

Mumlandet stiger och sjunker
medan de delar upp mellan sig
himlen, skuggorna, sandkornen.

Jag måste vara ensam
tio minuter på morgonen
och tio minuter på kvällen.
– Utan program.

Alla står i kö hos alla.



And in English, translated by Robin Fulton:


One evening in February I came near to dying here.
The car skidded sideways on the ice, out
on the wrong side of the road. The approaching cars –
their lights – closed in.

My name, my girls, my job
broke free and were left silently behind
further and further away. I was anonymous
like a boy in a playground surrounded by enemies.

The approaching traffic had huge lights.
They shone on me while I pulled at the wheel
in a transparent terror that floated like egg white.
The seconds grew – there was space in them –
they grew as big as hospital buildings.

You could almost pause
and breathe out for a while
before being crushed.

Then something caught: a helping grain of sand
or a wonderful gust of wind. The car broke free
and scuttled smartly right over the road.
A post shot up and cracked – a sharp clang – it
flew away in the darkness.

Then – stillness. I sat back in my seat-belt
and saw someone coming through the whirling snow
to see what had become of me.


I have been walking for a long time
on the frozen Östergötland fields.
I have not seen a single person.

In other parts of the world
there are people who are born, live and die
in a perpetual crowd.

To be always visible – to live
in a swarm of eyes –
a special expression must develop.
Face coated with clay.

The murmuring rises and falls
while they divide up among themselves
the sky, the shadows, the sand grains.

I must be alone
ten minutes in the morning
and ten minutes in the evening.
– Without a programme.

Everyone is queuing at everyone's door.



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