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Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Thu, 17th Apr '08 3:52 PM


Okay--I've voted for dogs and marching bands. It's payback time. Please read my blog on the Houston Chronicle website. It's on the subject of National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day (today!). If you like it, you can click the "recommend" button or even leave a comment. You do not have to be a subscriber to leave a comment, but you do have to register. Go to this site and look for my face in the middle of the page. It's under my real name, Susan Adcox. Thanks!

Maurlin  (Level: 211.2 - Posts: 2660)
Thu, 17th Apr '08 5:07 PM

I'm in! I clicked on Recommended.

Tresgatos  (Level: 201.7 - Posts: 4147)
Thu, 17th Apr '08 5:52 PM

I also clicked on recommended!

-- Geri

Nelly  (Level: 169.8 - Posts: 1167)
Thu, 17th Apr '08 6:26 PM

Recommended (and I didn't have to register).

Alvandy  (Level: 225.6 - Posts: 7527)
Thu, 17th Apr '08 8:57 PM

I clicked on "recommended."
Great article!


Mplaw51  (Level: 176.9 - Posts: 1582)
Thu, 17th Apr '08 9:08 PM

I recommended as well, e.e. cummings tops my list.

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Thu, 17th Apr '08 10:31 PM

E. E. Cummings is one of my favorites, too. Thanks to all who visited! My numbers are looking better!

Salzypat  (Level: 154.5 - Posts: 5295)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 6:20 AM

I remember loving this poem as a child and I can still see the picture in the book.:

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Robert Louis Stevenson

Salzypat  (Level: 154.5 - Posts: 5295)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 6:23 AM

Oh yes, I also clicked on recommend and didn't have to register to do so.

Lisap369  (Level: 61.1 - Posts: 992)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 8:03 AM

Great job.. definitely worth recommending.. so I did

Zeedee  (Level: 222.2 - Posts: 1088)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 8:44 AM

Thanks for the link, Sue. Well worth recommending.

I don't remember ever coming across "Frost at Midnight" before. I really like it!

The only long poem I ever memorized was "Paul Revere's Ride." I think we started losing something in our culture when we stopped trying to memorize things. Students are almost never challenged to memorize poetry anymore. I guess I should pick a good poem to memorize today.

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 9:02 AM

That was interesting, Susie.

A poem I memorized just cause I wanted to was "Choose Something Like a Star" by Robert Frost. I first learned about it when I was in All-State Choir in high school because we sang a song based on the poem.

It has a line in it at the end I like..."So when at times the mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far, Choose something like a star to stay our minds on and be staid."

(I remember it when I read some threads here on Sploofus...)

Cjar855  (Level: 133.4 - Posts: 838)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 9:11 AM

I also clicked on recommended..

Tresgatos  (Level: 201.7 - Posts: 4147)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 10:24 AM

"The Swing" has always been one of my favorites as well and one that I memorized as a child. "The Village Blacksmith" was another one I memorized.

Zeedee wrote: "I guess I should pick a good poem to memorize today."

I was thinking the same thing!

-- Geri

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 11:42 AM

Thank you all! Here's my favorite poem for memorizing. The short lines and rhyme make it super easy. It's the wrong time of year, but so what!

To A Snowflake

WHAT heart could have thought you? --
Past our devisal
(O filigree petal!)
Fashioned so purely,
Fragilely, surely,
From what Paradisal
Imagineless metal,
Too costly for cost?
Who hammered you, wrought you,
From argentine vapor? --
"God was my shaper.
Passing surmisal,
He hammered, He wrought me,
From curled silver vapor,
To lust of His mind --
Thou could'st not have thought me!
So purely, so palely,
Tinily, surely,
Mightily, frailly,
Insculped and embossed,
With His hammer of wind,
And His graver of frost."

Francis Thompson

Townline  (Level: 54.0 - Posts: 213)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 3:46 PM

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.

Garrybl  (Level: 276.3 - Posts: 6610)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 4:35 PM

My favorite, by Kipling.

They shut the road through the woods

Seventy years ago.

Weather and rain have undone it again,

And now you would never know

There was once a road through the woods

Before they planted the trees.

It is underneath the coppice and heath,

And the thin anemones.

Only the keeper sees

That, where the ring-dove broods,

And the badgers roll at ease,

There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods

Of a summer evening late,

When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools

Where the otter whistles his mate.

(They fear not men in the woods,

Because they see so few)

You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,

And the swish of a skirt in the dew,

Steadily cantering through

The misty solitudes,

As though they perfectly knew

The old lost road through the woods. . . .

But there is no road through the woods.

Chyenn  (Level: 200.8 - Posts: 1332)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 6:57 PM

From the autograph book i had as a senior in high school:

"When heaven opens her golden curtains
And pins them with a star;
Remember your Mother loves you,
No matter where you are."

it was signed "Your Loving Mother"

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 10:04 PM

Wow, Garrybl--when I taught high school, I used to struggle to find something by Kipling that I liked. I wish I had found this one.

Linenlady  (Level: 159.1 - Posts: 306)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 10:29 PM

I despise planes, don't fly and have no idea why this has always commanded my fascination. It's one of the few I've memorized:
High Flight
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Cypressriver  (Level: 59.9 - Posts: 160)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 10:46 PM

Thanks for this thread!

When I was young, each child in the family had to memorize a poem a week and present it to the family. We now do this with our daughter, too. I remember the first poem I memorized was Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter. I quickly latched onto Emily Dickinson's poems after that, for their brevity! My daughter's first choice was Blake's Tyger. That was cool because I didn't really stop to understand it until I was in grad school, but she got it at age 8. I'm doing Elizabeth Bishop poems now for our weekly recitations. I cheated last week by doing a favorite I remembered from years ago--


The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

It's more wistful and less matter-of-fact than much Bishop.

Anyway, Barry, thanks for the Kipling. I grew up in Brattleboro, VT where he met his wife and lived for a few years. His house is still there, a lonely, green almost-mansion on a wooded back road. It's been cleaned up in the past ten or twenty years, but in my twenties I used to sneak past the threatening signs, climb over the fence, and explore the house and property. It was wonderfully dilapidated and dark, very frightening and romantic at the same time. I never admired his writing that much, but I love the poem you offered.

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Fri, 18th Apr '08 10:52 PM

Here's my favorite Elizabeth Bishop:

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

-- Elizabeth Bishop

This poem is a villanelle. If you don't know what that is, Google it. You will be amazed by the requirements for a villanelle. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is the most famous villanelle.

Cypressriver  (Level: 59.9 - Posts: 160)
Sat, 19th Apr '08 3:42 PM

I love "One Art." One of the best. I've written several villanelles and may even post one here. They are a nightmare to write!

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2012)
Sat, 19th Apr '08 8:03 PM


I went to the US AIr Force Academy and that was one of the "mandatory memorizations" we were required to recite at any given moment.

Thanks for the memories and the friggin nightmares.


Elaine0602  (Level: 48.6 - Posts: 111)
Sun, 20th Apr '08 5:28 AM

I am now older than dirt but I still remember this poem from the 4th grade !! I always wanted to be in that sleigh watching the snow.

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 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.

Robert Frost

Cypressriver  (Level: 59.9 - Posts: 160)
Sun, 20th Apr '08 10:35 AM

You might not have known this but "Stopping by Woods" is very effective sung as a tango.

Zeedee  (Level: 222.2 - Posts: 1088)
Sun, 20th Apr '08 12:17 PM

Ahhh, yes . . . . to the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway."

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Sun, 20th Apr '08 2:42 PM

That's hysterical! I just tried it!!

Salzypat  (Level: 154.5 - Posts: 5295)
Sun, 20th Apr '08 5:26 PM

Geri, I just now read through this thread, and saw your post about also liking The Village Blacksmith. Earlier this afternoon I posted the first stanza from thata poem I believe it was on the neverending activity and the letter was U

I hadn't thought of that poem in years, but when U came up, that was the first thing that came to mind. I'm sure I memorized The Village Blacksmith when I was in school. You're right, we have missed out on a great deal when they stopped asking children to memorize poems. My grandchildren go to a Christian school, so they still have to memorize Bible verses. I just wish I could remember well enough any more to memorize verses.

When I was in grade school in the tiny one-room schoolhouse, we had a certain amount of time each week set aside to study art - the works of the old masters - as well as memorize the poems of the great writers.

I bought the game of Authors for my grandchildren and they have no interest in playing it because they have absolutely no idea of who the famous authors are.

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Mon, 21st Apr '08 2:46 PM

Would love to read one of your villanelles!

Cypressriver  (Level: 59.9 - Posts: 160)
Tue, 22nd Apr '08 12:05 AM


Okay (deep breath) here goes. I wrote this some years back, when youth and a stint living in France was a not-so-distant memory. This form is great for reflective, nay obsessive, subjects.

Villanelle on a Precipice

I met him on the quai beside the track.
He taught me how to roll a cigarette
before I pulled away and started back.

I learned to roll them tight and lick the tack,
delighting that Parisiens are upset
by girls who haunt the quai beside the track.

I lingered to the subway’s hiss and clack,
and met each halting carriage with regret
before I pulled away and started back.

Below the wind-bared trees of rue du Bac,
descending flights, I made a sudden bet;
I'd meet him on the quai beside the track.

I stayed with him in Cambronne, moonless, black.
A month passed, maybe longer, I forget,
before I pulled away and started back.

A cavern quickly widens from a crack,
and shadows wear the walls still wider, yet
I met him on the quai beside the track
before I pulled away and started back.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3645)
Tue, 22nd Apr '08 12:35 AM

When I was a child, my dad had a book of poetry by Robert Service and he used to read them to me. Most of Service's poems are quiet lengthy so I have posted links to my favorites.

The Cremation of Sam McGee:

Bessie's Boil:

And my father's favorite (he was a WWII vet, having gone overseas when he was 17):

Robert Service (1874-1958)


"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad,
On this glittering morn of May?
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad;
They're looking for men, they say."
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad;
You aren't obliged to go."
"I'm seventeeen and a quarter, Dad,
And ever so strong, you know."

"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad,
And you're looking so fit and bright."
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad,
But I feel that I'm doing right."
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad,
You're all of my life, you know."
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad,
And I'm awfully proud to go."

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad?
I watch for the post each day;
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad,
And it's months since you went away.
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit,
And I'm keeping it burning bright
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit
Into the quiet night."

"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad?
No letter again to-day.
Why did the postman look so sad,
And sigh as he turned away?
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground,
But a terrible price we've paid:
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound;
But oh I'm afraid, afraid."

"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad:
You'll never come back again:
(Oh God! the dreams and the dreams I've had,
And the hopes I've nursed in vain!)
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad,
And you proved in the cruel test
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell
That my boy was one of the best.

"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad,
In the gleam of the evening star,
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child,
In all sweet things that are.
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy,
While life is noble and true;
For all our beauty and hope and joy
We will owe to our lads like you."

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Tue, 22nd Apr '08 12:44 AM

Which leads me to, though not so elegant words as above, the lyrics to Danny Boy. I've had so many students sing it for Solo & Ensemble contests, but when my son went into the Marines, I had to put it away - I couldn't even accompany them without crying.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Tue, 22nd Apr '08 12:58 AM

(And just for the record, you can sing the words of the song "Amazing Grace" very well to the tune of "Gilligan's Island")

Tresgatos  (Level: 201.7 - Posts: 4147)
Thu, 24th Apr '08 4:03 AM

Hi Salzypat,
Thanks for the reply! You wrote: "I bought the game of Authors for my grandchildren and they have no interest in playing it because they have absolutely no idea of who the famous authors are."

I'm sorry to hear that. It seems they could learn who the authors are by playing the game, so it's too bad they're not interested. Do they enjoy reading?

To Cypressriver: Thanks for sharing your villanelle!

In honor of my dad, who loves Langston Hughes, here's a link to one of my favorites, "Mother to Son" -

In honor my my mom, who introduced me to poetry, here's another favorite, The Term, by William Carlos Williams:

A rumpled sheet
Of brown paper
About the length

And apparent bulk
Of a man was
Rolling with the

Wind slowly over
And over in
The street as

A car drove down
Upon it and
Crushed it to

The ground. Unlike
A man it rose
Again rolling

With the wind over
And over to be as
It was before.

-- Geri

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