Your Favourite Poem

34 posts / 0 new
Last post
Your Favourite Poem



I love Irish poet Paul Durcan.

Here are two of his works I especially admire:


His name was Christmas and he was a refugee
and he moved through his exile like waves on a landless sea.



The Weeping Headstones of the Isaac Becketts

The Protestant graveyard was a forbidden place
So naturally as children we explored its precincts:
Clambered over drystone walls under elms and chestnuts,
Parted long grasses and weeds, poked about under yews,
Reconnoitred the chapel whose oak doors were always closed,
Stared at the schist headstones of the Isaac Becketts.
And then we would depart with mortal sins in our bones
As ineradicable as an arthritis;
But we had seen enough to know what the old folks meant
When we would overhear them whisperingly at night refer to
'The headstones of the Becketts - they would make you weep.'
These arthritises of sin:
But although we had only six years each on our backs
We could decipher
Brand-new roads open up through heaven's fields
And upon them - like thousands upon thousands
Of pilgrims kneeling in the desert -
The weeping headstones of the Isaac Becketts.

And one last, by W.H. Auden. I can't write about poetry without including Auden.


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 for ever: 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 wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


Nothing? Seriously?

And yeah. I'm pouting.


Cloud in Trousers [Part 1]

You think malaria makes me delirious?

It happened.
In Odessa it happened.

"I'll come at four," Maria promised.


Then the evening
turned its back on the windows
and plunged into grim night,

At my decrepit back
the candelabras guffawed and whinnied.

You would not recognise me now:
a bulging bulk of sinews,
and writhing,
What can such a clod desire?
Though a clod, many things!

The self does not care
whether one is cast of bronze
or the heart has an iron lining.
At night the self only desires
to steep its clangour in softness,
in woman.

And thus,
I stood hunched by the window,
and my brow melted the glass.
What will it be: love or no-love?
And what kind of love:
big or minute?
How could a body like this have a big love?
It should be teeny-weeny,
humble, little love;
a love that shies at the hooting of cars,
that adores the bells of horse-trams.

Again and again
nuzzling against the rain,
my face pressed against its pitted face,
I wait,
splashed by the city's thundering surf.

Then midnight, amok with a knife,
caught up,
cut him down –
out with him!

The stroke of twelve fell
like a head from a block.

On the windowpanes, grey raindrops
howled together,
piling on a grimace
as though the gargoyles
of Notre Dame were howling.

Damn you!
Isn't that enough?
Screams will soon claw my mouth apart.

Then I heard,
a nerve leap
like a sick man from his bed.
barely moving,
at first,
it soon scampered about,
Now, with a couple more,
it darted about in a desperate dance.

The plaster on the ground floor crashed.

big nerves,
tiny nerves,
many nerves! –
galloped madly
till soon
their legs gave way.

But night oozed and oozed through the room –
and the eye, weighed down, could not slither out of
the slime.

The doors suddenly banged ta-ra-bang,
as though the hotel's teeth

You swept in abruptly
like "take it or leave it!"
Mauling your suede gloves,
you declared:
"D'you know,
I'm getting married."

All right, marry then.
So what,
I can take it.
As you see, I'm calm!
Like the pulse
of a corpse.

Do you remember
how you used to talk?
"Jack London,
But I saw one thing only:
you, a Gioconda,
had to be stolen!

And you were stolen.

In love, I shall gamble again,
the arch of my brows ablaze.
What of it!
Homeless tramps often find
shelter in a burnt-out house!

You're teasing me now?
"You have fewer emeralds of madness
than a beggar has kopeks!"
But remember!
When they teased Vesuvius,
Pompeii perished!

of sacrilege,
and carnage,
have you seen
the terror of terrors –
my face
am absolutely calm?

I feel
my "I"
is much too small for me.
Stubbornly a body pushes out of me.

Who's speaking?
Your son is gloriously ill!
His heart is on fire.
Tell his sisters, Lyuda and Olya,
he has no nook to hide in.

Each word,
each joke,
which his scorching mouth spews,
jumps like a naked prostitute
from a burning brothel.

People sniff
the smell of burnt flesh!
A brigade of men drive up.
A glittering brigade.
In bright helmets.
But no jackboots here!
Tell the firemen
to climb lovingly when a heart's on fire.
Leave it to me.
I'll pump barrels of tears from my eyes.
I'll brace myself against my ribs.
I'll leap out! Out! Out!
They've collapsed.
You can't leap out of a heart!

From the cracks of the lips
upon a smouldering face
a cinder of a kiss rises to leap.

I cannot sing.
In the heart's chapel the choir loft catches fire!

The scorched figurines of words and numbers
scurry from the skull
like children from a flaming building.
Thus fear,
in its effort to grasp at the sky,
lifted high
the flaming arms of the Lusitania.

Into the calm of the apartment
where people quake,
a hundred-eye blaze bursts from the docks.
into the centuries,
if you can, a last scream: I'm on fire!

Vladimir Mayakovksy

Translation from Russian


I love Durcan's stuff.

Don't have a favourite poem at hand but here's a loathsome one by Mayakovsky:

A White Army Officer
when you catch him
you beat him
and what about Raphael
it's time to make museum
walls a target
let the mouths of big guns
shoot the old rags of past!




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.


Not sure this is my favourite but it is the first one to come to mind:

The Chariot

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played, Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible.
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ‘tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

 Emily Dickinson

Someone pointed out that you can sing it to the tune of Yellow Rose of Texas.


Not really my favorite, but this has a prophetic insistence hard to shake these days.
First published in 1926 by Robinson Jeffers

Shine, Perishing Republic

While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening
to empire
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the
mass hardens,
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots
to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence;
and home to the mother.
You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly
long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
shine, perishing republic.
But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening
center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there
are left the mountains.
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant,
insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught – they say –
God, when he walked on earth.


Some good stuff! I'm pouting less now! [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

Any good Canadiana? or Quebecois poetry?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well I wrote...

But then there is always the drywall,
great sheets of it laid end over end,
so much drywall that you could circumnavigate the globe,
dusty men look up,
spy rough permutations in it surface
and think of work to be done,
opporunities missed,
and loves faded into history
like rotting plaster under a leaky roof


[url=]Ogden Nash - Reflections on Ice-Breaking[/url]


Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.


When I have Fears that I may cease to be

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high pil`d books, in charact'ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face, 5
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And feel that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more, 10
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think,
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

John Keats

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It's impossible to pick a favourite, but here's a nice Canadian lad whom I love.


Reducing providence to theorems, the horrible atheist compiled such lore that proved, like proving two and two make four, that in the crown of God we all are gems. From glass and dust of glass he brought to light, out of the pulver and the polished lens, the prism and the flying mote; and hence the infinitesimal and infinite.

Is it a marvel, then, that he forsook the abracadabra of the synagogue, and holding with timelessness a duologue, deciphered a new scripture in the book? Is it a marvel that he left old fraud for passion intellectual of God?

A.M. Klein, From "Out of the Pulver and the Polished Lens"

Papal Bull

In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree...



Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]Well I wrote...

But then there is always the drywall,
great sheets of it laid end over end,
so much drywall that you could circumnavigate the globe,
dusty men look up,
spy rough permutations in it surface
and think of work to be done,
opporunities missed,
and loves faded into history
like rotting plaster under a leaky roof[/b]

Dude, I like.


And A.M. Klein!

I'm rembering a line that goes something like:

"And we turned to listen to the strangers speak of Auschwitz and its ovens and we swore to ourselves to never forgive".

Something like that? Anyone no which poem I'm talking about?

I remember it being a revelation at the age of 19, at any rate.


And i'm not sure if I have the words right, but the revelation for me was the sentiment that it was alright not to forgive; in fact, in some cases, forgiveness is not the moral choice.


[b]The Common Well[/b] - Piet Hein, Grooks 4(Oh ya!)

To Charles Chaplin

The well you invite us to drink of
is one that no drop may be bought of.
You think of what all of us think of
but nobody else could have thought of.



By Billy Collins

All we need is fourteen lines, well thirteen now,
and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on loves storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.


My first poetry love was and still is Adrienne Rich:

[url=]Diving Into the Wreck[/url]


My favorite poet is Edgar Allen Poe. (The TellTale Heart)


(adspam removed by moderator)


(I like Poe thoe)

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Sounds like an interesting poet. Among recent Irish poets ... I'm fond of Seamus Heaney, who did a new translation of the great epic, [i]Beowulf,[/i] among other works. Heaney also makes use of an old poetic form, the sonnet, and modernizes it. Here is a favourite line of Heaney's for me ....

Heaney wrote:
Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

It's a poem about digging potatoes. Very earthy.


My second favourite poem


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs 
And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots 
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! -  An ecstasy of fumbling, 
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; 
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, 
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . . 
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, 
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, 
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace 
Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; 
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 
To children ardent for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen

8 October 1917 - March, 1918


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Mine is:


The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe



horizontal space
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
''Tis some visitor,' I muttered, 'tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
''Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
'Sir,' said I, 'or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, 'Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, 'Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
'Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, 'art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as 'Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered 'Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, 'Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
'Doubtless,' said I, 'what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking 'Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
'Wretch,' I cried, 'thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'

'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'

'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'

'Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
'Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!


The anti-war poem, [url=] Patterns [/url] by Amy Lowell, is one of my favourites:



In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

I love pretty much everything Emily Dickinson wrote, as well a e.e. cummings. I can't find a text of it, but here is [url=] audio [/url] of a much more recent poem by Islander Hugh MacDonald that I love called Manure.
I probably have too many suggestions here already, but I discovered [url=] The Disappointment [/url] by Aphra Behn the other evening, which is a 17th century erotic poem with a somewhat amusing ending. Poor guy could have used some viagra.


Ah! que les temps s'abrègent
Viennent les vents et les neiges
Viennent l'hiver en manteau de froid
Viennent l'envers des étés du roi
Même le roi n'aura point oreille
A maison vieille où déjà ta voix

File un air de chanson d'amour
Au rouet des jours
Qui tourne à l'envers
Dans le feu tout le bois passé
Qui s'est entassé
Au temps de nous deux
Au jardin des vieux livres
Fleur de gel et de givre
Et par les nuits de haute rafale
A la maison comme à ton traineau
J'attellerai comme une cavale
La poudrerie et très haut.

Par-dessus les lacs, les bois, les mers, les champs, les villes,
Plus haut que les plus hauts jeux du soleil qui dort immobile
Nous irons par les chemins secrets de l'univers
Pour y vivre le pays qui nous appelle à ciel ouvert
Hors du temps, au gré de l'espace
Fiers de nos corps plus beaux
Eternels comme froids et glaces
Seuls comme des oiseaux
Viennent la blanche semaine
Ah! que les temps ramènent

[i]Gilles Vigneault[/i]

[size=10]It's not actually my favourite poem, but it's a beautiful song.[/size]

Cueball Cueball's picture



All along Jensen Avenue poverty had spilled

out of the houses, even the dogs and cats

had caught it and a harsh and sulfurous light

had faded the T-shirts of the jobless welders

and the blouses of their pubescent daughters.


The newsagents on the north-west corner

didn't sell wallets, and the glass case

full of pens and watches was sealed

with a patina of dead dust. That's not

to say that dignity had been abolished,


nor that the music that inhabits aspirations

was silenced nor the drums of passion dismantled.

Children blew about the street like crisp packets,

doorways were carpeted with condoms, laughter

fell about, half an hour after the bars opened.


It was while he was stealing a girl's bicycle

from the alley by the chapel that Amos Dupre

caught sight of a fluorescent angel lurking

behind the tombstone of Andrea Bellini, mother

of Patsy Fate and a seven piece rock band.


And it told him to get his thieving hands

off the bike and pointed out to him

that in Draper's Close a fish-merchant

had just parked a Ford Capri and neglected

to remove the keys from the ignition.


Sithen the sege and the assaut was sesed at Troye,
The borgh brittened and brent to brondes and askes,

The tulk that the trammes of tresoun ther wroght
Was tried for his tricherie, the trewest on erthe.

Hit was Ennias the athel and his highe kynde,
That sithen depreced provinces, and patrounes bicome
Welneghe of all the wele in the west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swythe,
With gret bobbaunce that burghe he biges upon fyrst
And nevenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Ticius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes up homes,
And fer over the French flod, Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settes
Wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi sythes has wont therinne,
And oft bothe blysse and blunder
Full skete has skyfted synne.
...&tc., &tc.



I have, I guess, a pedestrian attachment to old fashioned lyric poems:

The Highwayman, Alfred Noyes:


And of course, these two from Robert Service:


Not a lyric poem, but one that I came across in the Globe and Mail years ago, was "The Takers" by Sharon Olds.  Never fails to disturb.  It's not part of public domain, and I guess typing out the full poem would violate copyright, and babble policy.  But look for it.

Back to lyric poems, while I don't like the whole poem, this stanza from "Horatius at the Bridge" by Thomas Babbington Macaulay has always struck me as poetically perfect:

Then out spake brave Horatius,
      The Captain of the gate:
  "To every man upon this earth
       Death cometh soon or late.
   And how can man die better
       Than facing fearful odds,
   For the ashes of his fathers,
      And the temples of his Gods,

And, we have this precient offering by Lewis Carol,  telling us all we ever need to know about Canadian Politics:

Lastly, we have you know who's last siloloquay from the Scottish Play: 


To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Billy Shakesdude.


The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that --
We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake.
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat.
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place,
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped --
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches, bleak with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves on a worn and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone in the stands,
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clinched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh! somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville -- mighty Casey has struck out.




loon echoes

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

A young woman said to me

you guys in the sixties were so

naïve. How could you ever believe

there would be a revolution?


Oh, child of the oughts, did you

ever believe Wall Street would

turn out to be a sham, stocks

made of piffle and hype?


Did you ever believe General

Motors would come to tax

payers cup in hand begging

not to go out of business?


Did you ever believe we would

got to war on a lie? That one

president could fuck up every

thing standing in just eight years?


That we would elect an African

American president? That in some

states, lesbians and gays could marry?

That greed might go out of style?


What I've learned on my hard

scrabble way is that nothing remains

but trouble and love and opportunity

we can make to change what needs it.


Who's naïve?, Marge Piercy

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Tommy Paine beat me to the Lewis Carroll site, but my favorite is found here:


`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

And while I'm not always a fan of Bukowski's self-indulgence and misanthropic tendencies, I pull this one out time and time again:


a little atomic bomb

o, just give me a little atomic bomb
not too much
just a little
enough to kill a horse in the street
but there aren't any horses in the street

well, enough to knock the flowers from a bowl
but I don't see any
flowers in a

enough then
to frighten my love
but I don't have any

give me an atomic bomb then
to scrub in my bathtub
like a dirty and lovable child

(I've got a bathtub)

just a little atomic bomb, general,
with pugnose
pink ears
smelling like underclothes in

do you think I'm crazy?
I think you're crazy
so the way I think:
send me one before somebody else





Always greatly admired this work

The Truant, EJ Pratt

A mite long to reproduce here, so heres the link