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Favorite Poem of the Moment


John Donne

The Broken Heart
Death, Be Not Proud

Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Acquainted With the Night
Fire and Ice
Mending Wall
Nothing Gold Can Stay
The Road Not Taken

Other Poets

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Spell Bound
The Explanation
Lines on the Back of a Confederate Note
On the Threshold
God Speed the Year of Jubilee
The Wayfarer
The Philosophic Flight


by Alfred Lord Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

The Broken Heart

by John Donne

He is stark mad, whoever says,
That he hath been in love an hour,
Yet not that love so soon decays,
But that it can ten in less space devour;
Who will believe me, if I swear
That I have had the plague a year?
Who would not laugh at me, if I should say
I saw a flash of powder burn a day?

Ah, what a trifle is a heart,
If once into love's hands it come!
All other griefs allow a part
To other griefs, and ask themselves but some;
They come to us, but us love draws;
He swallows us and never chaws;
By him, as by chain'd shot, whole ranks do die;
He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.

If 'twere not so, what did become
Of my heart when I first saw thee?
I brought a heart into the room,
But from the room I carried none with me.
If it had gone to thee, I know
Mine would have taught thine heart to show
More pity unto me ; but Love, alas!
At one first blow did shiver it as glass.

Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite;
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they be not unite;
And now, as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
But after one such love, can love no more.

Death, Be Not Proud

by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

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 idle 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 if there is some mistake
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The 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.

Acquainted With the Night

by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Fire and Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Mending Wall

by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Where The Sidewalk Ends

by Shel Silverstein
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends

Spell Bound

by Unknown
Eye halve a spelling checker,
It came with my PC,
It plainly Marx four my revue,
Miss teaks I can not sea,
I've run this poem threw it,
I'm sure your please too no,
its letter perfect in it's weigh,
My checker tolled me sew!

The Explanation

by Rudyard Kipling
Love and Death once ceased their strife
At the Tavern of Man's Life.
Called for wine, and threw -- alas! --
Each his quiver on the grass.
When the bout was o'er they found
Mingled arrows strewed the ground.
Hastily they gathered then
Each the loves and lives of men.
Ah, the fateful dawn deceived!
Mingled arrows each one sheaved;
Death's dread armoury was stored
With the shafts he most abhorred;
Love's light quiver groaned beneath
Venom-headed darts of Death.

Thus it was they wrought our woe
At the Tavern long ago.
Tell me, do our masters know,
Loosing blindly as they fly,
Old men love while young men die?


by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
  And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
  If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
  And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
  Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
  If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
  And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Lines on the Back of a Confederate Note

by Major Samuel Alroy Jonas
Representing nothing on God's earth now,
And naught in the waters below it,
As the pledge of a nation that's dead and gone,
Keep it, dear friends, and show it

Show it to those who will lend an ear
To the tale that this trifle can tell,
Of a liberty born of a patriot's dream,
Of a storm-cradled nation that fell.

Too poor to possess the precious ores,
And too much of a stranger to borrow,
We issued today our promise to pay
And hoped to redeem on the morrow.

The days rolled by and the weeks became years,
But our coffers were empty still.
Coin was so rare that the treasury'd quake
If a dollar dropped into the till.

But the faith that was in us was strong indeed,
And our poverty well we discerned,
And this little note represented the pay
That our suffering veterans earned.

They knew it had hardly a value in gold,
Yet as gold each soldier received it.
It gazed in our eyes with a promise to pay,
And every true soldier believed it.

But our boys thought little of price or of pay,
Or of bills that were long past due;
We knew if it brought us our bread today,
'Twas the best our poor country could do.

Keep it; it tells all our history over,
From the birth of the dream to its last:
Modest and born of the Angel of Hope,
Like our hope of success it has passed.

On the Threshold

by Unknown
I am standing on the threshold of eternity at last,
As reckless of the future as I have been of the past;
I am void of all ambition, I am dead of every hope;
The coil of life is ended; I am letting go the rope.

I have drifted down the stream of life till weary, sore oppressed;
And I'm tired of all the motion and simply want a rest.
I have tasted all the pleasures that life can hold for man.
I have scanned the whole world over till there's nothing left to scan.

I have heard the finest music, I have read the rarest books,
I have drunk the purest vintage, I have tasted all the cooks;
I have run the scale of living and have sounded every tone,
There is nothing left to live for and I long to be alone.

Alone and unmolested where the vultures do not rave,
And the only refuge left me is the quiet, placid grave;
I am judge and jury mingled, and the verdict that I give
Is, that minus friends and money it is foolishness to live.

In a day or two my body will be found out in the lake;
The coroner will get a fee, and the printer get a "take";
The usual verdict-"Suicide, from causes yet unknown."
And Golgotha draws another blank, a mound without a stone.

To change the usual verdict I will give the reason now,
Before the rigid seal of death is stamped upon my brow.
'Tis the old familiar story of passion, love and crime,
Repeated thru the ages since Cleopatra's time.

A woman's lips, a woman's eye-a siren all in all,
A modem Circe fit to cause the strongest men to fall;
A wedded life, some blissful years, and poverty drops in
With care and doubt and liquor from whisky down to gin.

The story told by Tolstoi in comparison to mine
Is moonlight unto sunlight, as water unto wine;
The jealous pangs I suffered, the sleepless nights of woe
I pray no other mortal may ever undergo.

But I've said enough, I fancy, to make the reason plain-
Enough to show the causes of a shattered heart and brain;
What wonder then that life holds not a single thread to bind
A wish or hope to live for, an interest in mankind.

Already dead but living, a fact that I regret,
A man without desire excepting to forget,
And since there is denied me one, why should I linger here,
A dead leaf from the frost of a long-forgotten year?

So au revoir, old cronies; if there's a meeting place beyond,
I'll let you know in spirit, and I know you will respond;
I'm going now, old comrades, to heaven or to hell;
I'll let you know which shortly-farewell, a long farewell.

God Speed the Year of Jubilee

by Frederick Douglas
   from "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" on July 5, 1852
God speed the year of jubilee

The wide world o'er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee,
And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom's reign,
To man his plundered fights again

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant's presence cower;
But all to manhood's stature tower,
By equal birth!
THAT HOUR WILL COME, to each, to all,
And from his prison-house, the thrall
Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I'll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive-
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate'er the peril or the cost,
Be driven.

The Wayfarer

by Stephen Crane
The wayfarer,
Perceiving the pathway to truth,
Was struck with astonishment.
It was thickly grown with weeds.
"Ha," he said,
"I see that none has passed here
In a long time."
Later he saw that each weed
Was a singular knife.
"Well," he murmured at last,
"Doubtless there are other roads."

The Philosophic Flight

by Giordano Bruno
Now that these wings to speed my wish ascend,
The more I feel vast air beneath my feet,
The more toward boundless air on pinions fleet,
Spurning the earth, soaring to heaven, I tend:
Nor makes them stoop their flight the direful end
Of Daedal's Son; but upward still they beat.
What life the while with this death could compete,
If dead to earth at last I must descend?
My own heart's voice in this void air I hear.
Where wilt thou bear me, O rash man! Recall
Thy daring will! This boldness waits on fear!
Dread not, I answer, that tremendous fall
Strike through the clouds, and smile when death is near,
If death so glorious be our doom at all!

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