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Poems that mean something to you

Mr Karswell
Fire of Insight
England 5awards
Joined 4th Oct 2021
Forum Posts: 412

Best Society by Philip Larkin (1922 to 1985)

When I was a child, I thought,
Casually, that solitude
Never needed to be sought.
Something everybody had,
Like nakedness, it lay at hand,
Not specially right or specially wrong,
A plentiful and obvious thing
Not at all hard to understand.

Then, after twenty, it became
At once more difficult to get
And more desired - though all the same
More undesirable; for what
You are alone has, to achieve
The rank of fact, to be expressed
In terms of others, or it's just
A compensating make-believe.

Much better stay in company!
To love you must have someone else,
Giving requires a legatee,
Good neighbours need whole parishfuls
Of folk to do it on - in short,
Our virtues are all social; if,
Deprived of solitude, you chafe,
It's clear you're not the virtuous sort.

Viciously, then, I lock my door.
The gas-fire breathes. The wind outside
Ushers in evening rain. Once more
Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.

poet Anonymous

I See Boats Moving On The Sea –  Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)

Their sails, like wings of what I see,
Bring me a vague inner desire to be
Who I was without knowing what it was.
So all recalls my home self, and, because
It recalls that, what I am aches in me.

North(west)ern - Patience Agbabi (contemporary)

I was 12 as in the 1 2-bar blues, sick
for the Southeast, marooned on the North Wales coast,
A crotchet, my tongue craving the music
of Welsh, Scouse or Manc; entering the outpost

of Colwyn Bay Pier, midsummer, noon,
niteclub for those of us with the deep ache
of adolescence, when I heard that tune.
Named it in one. Soul. My heart was break

dancing  on the road to Wigan Casino,
Northern Soul mecca, where transatlantic bass
beat blacker than blue in glittering mono

then back via Southport, Rhyl to the time, place
I bit the Big Apple. Black. Impatient. Young.
A string of pips exploding my tongue.

Fire of Insight
Portugal 17awards
Joined 26th May 2022
Forum Posts: 227


Minh'alma, de sonhar-te, anda perdida.
Meus olhos andam cegos de te ver.
Não és sequer razão do meu viver
Pois que tu és já toda a minha vida!

Não vejo nada assim enlouquecida...
Passo no mundo, meu Amor, a ler
No mist'rioso livro do teu ser
A mesma história tantas vezes lida!...

"Tudo no mundo é frágil, tudo passa...
Quando me dizem isto, toda a graça
Duma boca divina fala em mim!

E, olhos postos em ti, digo de rastros:
"Ah! podem voar mundos, morrer astros,
Que tu és como Deus: princípio e fim!..."

Florbela Espanca, in "Livro de Sóror Saudade"

Translation under my responsability:


My soul, dreaming of you, is lost.
My eyes are blind to see you.
You're not even the reason for my living
Because you are already my whole life!

I don't see anything being so crazy...
I step into the world, my love, to read
In the mysterious book of your being
The same story so many times read!...

"Everything in the world is fragile, everything passes...
When they tell me this, all the grace
From a divine mouth speaks in me!

And, with my eyes fixed on you, I say:
"Ah! worlds can fly, stars may die,
But you are like God: the beginning and the end!..."

Florbela Espanca, in "Book of Soror Saudade"

Florbela Espanca
*8 Dez 1894 // +8 Dez 1930

poet Anonymous

Beggar’s Song by Gregory Orr

Here’s a seed. Food
for a week. Cow skull
in the pasture; back room
where the brain was:
spacious hut for me.

Small then, and smaller.
My desire’s to stay alive
and be no larger
than a sliver
lodged in my own heart.

And if the heart’s a rock
I’ll whack it with this tin
cup and eat the sparks,
always screaming, always
screaming for more.

Fire of Insight
United States 2awards
Joined 10th Apr 2020
Forum Posts: 74

Blue Girls        By John Crowe Ransom

Twirling your blue skirts, traveling the sward
Under the towers of your seminary,
Go listen to your teachers old and contrary
Without believing a word.

Tie the white fillets then about your hair
And think no more of what will come to pass
Than bluebirds that go walking on the grass
And chattering on the air.

Practice your beauty, blue girls, before it fail,
And I will cry with my loud lips and publish
Beauty which all our power shall never establish
It is so frail.

For I could tell you a story which is true;
I know a woman with a terrible tongue,
Blear eyes fallen from blue,
All her perfections tarnished and yet it is not long
Since she was lovelier than any of you.

Mr Karswell
Fire of Insight
England 5awards
Joined 4th Oct 2021
Forum Posts: 412

Deceptions by Philip Larkin (1922 to 1985)

"Of course I was drugged, and so heavily I did not regain consciousness until the next morning.  I was horrified to discover that I had been ruined, and for some days I was inconsolable, and cried like a child to be killed or sent back to my aunt." - Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor

Even so distant, I can taste the grief,
Bitter and sharp with stalks, he made you gulp.
The sun's occasional print, the brisk brief
Worry of wheels along the street outside
Where bridal London bows the other way,
And light, unanswerable and tall and wide,
Forbids the scar to heal, and drives
Shame out of hiding.  All the unhurried day,
Your mind lay open like a drawer of knives.

Slums, years, have buried you.  I would not dare
Console you if I could.  What can be said,
Except that suffering is exact, but where
Desire takes charge, readings will grow erratic?
For you would hardly care
That you were less deceived, out on that bed,
Than he was, stumbling up the breathless stair
To burst into fulfillment's desolate attic.

poet Anonymous

fuck off freak (to the bot or whatever monstrosity immediately above)

Mr Karswell
Fire of Insight
England 5awards
Joined 4th Oct 2021
Forum Posts: 412

Oh well, at least he bumped this thread

Rowing by Anne Sexton (1928 to 1974)

A story, a story!
(Let it go. Let it come.)
I was stamped out like a Plymouth fender
into this world.
First came the crib
with its glacial bars.
Then dolls
and the devotion to their plactic mouths.
Then there was school,
the little straight rows of chairs,
blotting my name over and over,
but undersea all the time,
a stranger whose elbows wouldn’t work.
Then there was life
with its cruel houses
and people who seldom touched—
though touch is all—
but I grew,
like a pig in a trenchcoat I grew,
and then there were many strange apparitions,
the nagging rain, the sun turning into poison
and all of that, saws working through my heart,
but I grew, I grew,
and God was there like an island I had not rowed to,
still ignorant of Him, my arms, and my legs worked,
and I grew, I grew,
I wore rubies and bought tomatoes
and now, in my middle age,
about nineteen in the head I’d say,
I am rowing, I am rowing
though the oarlocks stick and are rusty
and the sea blinks and rolls
like a worried eyebal,
but I am rowing, I am rowing,
though the wind pushes me back
and I know that that island will not be perfect,
it will have the flaws of life,
the absurdities of the dinner table,
but there will be a door
and I will open it
and I will get rid of the rat insdie me,
the gnawing pestilential rat.
God will take it with his two hands
and embrace it.

As the African says:
This is my tale which I have told,
if it be sweet, if it be not sweet,
take somewhere else and let some return to me.
This story ends with me still rowing.

poet Anonymous

For the sheer cheek Runes, another bumping. Lol. Old skool. Not sure I'd liked to have encountered any of the poets of the hedgerows on their rambles.


John Clare

The thistledown's flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

Mr Karswell
Fire of Insight
England 5awards
Joined 4th Oct 2021
Forum Posts: 412

God, John Clare… you know the way to my heart, you saucy Welsh pirate. England’s great working-class poets don’t get enough recognition.

The Fire Elemental
Tyrant of Words
United States 36awards
Joined 27th Feb 2016
Forum Posts: 239

The Horizons, under my balcony, are
Bearing the superior lights of the city,
Where nobody sleeps.
This place, where metals and bones,
Concrete and blood were mixed
To erect a sanctuary for all
Bad and good, this planet remembered.
On purpose all born naturally
Are equipped with both rectipetality
And self-hatred.

In this compact universe several
Techniques are extraordinarily important
For those who want to live and to die.
Settled Red, Green, Blue
Are the colours of breathe mechanics.
And every breath is a prayer
And every breath is vital.

Morose asphalt, made of souls of those,
Who coddled the Earth till the comet's arrival
Is a firm jacket for the lawbook.
And every law is a legacy
And every law is deadly.

My eyes are becoming upturned binoculars
And Now things around are frustrated.
Naked houses, drunken street lamps,
Pained prophets are going mad,
Beating down the sun,
Waiting for it's reverse.
And against a background of all these
We are the lost scenery
Set up for making cheap resurrections
Every time our minds and hearts awake.
Oblivion is the word, the horizons under
My balcony whisper...

Wobbling, the moon rises at the top of the hill.
This world is over.
This world begins.


The Horizons by Mooncake

Mr Karswell
Fire of Insight
England 5awards
Joined 4th Oct 2021
Forum Posts: 412

I’m oversensitive, but the last verse of this one still has the ability to make me weep:

Faith Healing by Philip Larkin (1922 to 1985)

Slowly the women file to where he stands  
Upright in rimless glasses, silver hair,
Dark suit, white collar. Stewards tirelessly  
Persuade them onwards to his voice and hands,  
Within whose warm spring rain of loving care  
Each dwells some twenty seconds. Now, dear child,
What’s wrong, the deep American voice demands,  
And, scarcely pausing, goes into a prayer  
Directing God about this eye, that knee.  
Their heads are clasped abruptly; then, exiled

Like losing thoughts, they go in silence; some  
Sheepishly stray, not back into their lives
Just yet; but some stay stiff, twitching and loud  
With deep hoarse tears, as if a kind of dumb  
And idiot child within them still survives  
To re-awake at kindness, thinking a voice  
At last calls them alone, that hands have come  
To lift and lighten; and such joy arrives
Their thick tongues blort, their eyes squeeze grief, a crowd  
Of huge unheard answers jam and rejoice—

What’s wrong! Moustached in flowered frocks they shake:  
By now, all’s wrong. In everyone there sleeps  
A sense of life lived according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make  
By loving others, but across most it sweeps
As all they might have done had they been loved.  
That nothing cures. An immense slackening ache,  
As when, thawing, the rigid landscape weeps,
Spreads slowly through them—that, and the voice above  
Saying Dear child, and all time has disproved.

Tyrant of Words
United States 117awards
Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 14903

I Grant You Refuge

Hiba Abu Nada
(trans. Huda Fakhreddine)

I grant you refuge
in invocation and prayer.
I bless the neighborhood and the minaret
to guard them
from the rocket

from the moment
it is a general’s command
until it becomes
a raid.

I grant you and the little ones refuge,
the little ones who
change the rocket’s course
before it lands
with their smiles.

I grant you and the little ones refuge,
the little ones now asleep like chicks in a nest.

They don’t walk in their sleep toward dreams.
They know death lurks outside the house.

Their mothers’ tears are now doves
following them, trailing behind
every coffin.

I grant the father refuge,
the little ones’ father who holds the house upright
when it tilts after the bombs.
He implores the moment of death:
“Have mercy. Spare me a little while.
For their sake, I’ve learned to love my life.
Grant them a death
as beautiful as they are.”

I grant you refuge
from hurt and death,
refuge in the glory of our siege,
here in the belly of the whale.

Our streets exalt God with every bomb.
They pray for the mosques and the houses.
And every time the bombing begins in the North,
our supplications rise in the South.

I grant you refuge
from hurt and suffering.

With words of sacred scripture
I shield the oranges from the sting of phosphorous
and the shades of cloud from the smog.

I grant you refuge in knowing
that the dust will clear,
and they who fell in love and died together
will one day laugh.

Palestinian poet, novelist, and teacher, Hiba Abu Nada. “Refuge” was written on October 10th and is among the last pieces she composed before being martyred by an Israeli airstrike on October 20th. We are beyond grateful to Huda Fakhreddine for her incredible translation from the original Arabic.

poet Anonymous

We're still listening ♥️

The Blackbird

The nightingale has a lyre of gold,
The lark's is a clarion call,
And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute,
But I love him best of all.

For his song is all of the joy of life,
And we in the mad, spring weather,
We two have listened till he sang
Our hearts and lips together.

(William Ernest Henley)

Strange Creature
United States
Joined 23rd Nov 2023
Forum Posts: 4

I am the shipwreck with its scattered and soaked wood littering the ocean like a nest of roaches.
The water smothers me patiently and it waits to feel my body on the ocean floor.
I am the captain.
I stand upon my ship never leaving its side for tonight I sleep in a sharks stomach.
The tears and rain both hit my face as I lay on the deck and wait to drown.
I am the thunder and I am the storm, hear me roar as I deafen all.
I conduct my orchestra as loud as possible and conclude with a violent smash.
I am washing the splinters from within my heart and I scream as it pumps.
I let my lungs fill with water as the broken bathtub leaks.
Untitled poem by Aristos Petrou

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