Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 30

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Lines on the Mermaid Tavern
by John Keats

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host’s Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.
 
I have heard that on a day
Mine host’s sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer’s old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story,
Said he saw you in your glory,
Underneath a new old sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.
 
Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

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Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 29

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings
by Juan Felipe Herrera

for Charles Fishman

Before you go further,
let me tell you what a poem brings,
first, you must know the secret, there is no poem
to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,
yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,
instead of going day by day against the razors, well,
the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket
sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from
the outside you think you are being entertained,
when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,
your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold
standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,
is always open for business too, except, as you can see,
it isn’t exactly business that pulls your spirit into
the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,
you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,
the mist becomes central to your existence.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 28

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd
by Walt Whitman

Out of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me,
Whispering, I love you, before long I die,
I have travell’d a long way merely to look on you to touch you,
For I could not die till I once look’d on you,
For I fear’d I might afterward lose you.

Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe,
Return in peace to the ocean my love,
I too am part of that ocean, my love, we are not so much separated,
Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect!
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us,
As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse forever;
Be not impatient – a little space – know you I salute the air, the ocean and the land,
Every day at sundown for your dear sake, my love.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 27

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

On Hearing of Robin Williams’ Diagnosis
by Lynne Knight

My mother had Lewy body dementia, too, a late
diagnosis. Eight years of losing all trace
of herself, like someone following her shadow
into a forest that got deeper and deeper
until it became what Thoreau called
standing night. Her name was Knight,

so sometimes I would think of her as
Standing Night, her shadow lost altogether
by then. Her words, her understanding.
So when I heard that Robin Williams
had the same ruinous disease, I thought
what a generous thing he had done,

what a courageous thing, without the help
of drugs or alcohol or anyone, not wanting
to implicate anyone in his death in a state
where assisted suicide is forbidden.
I thought if there were an afterworld
where the soul is restored to its original

form, my mother would find her way
to Robin Williams and tell him he’d done
the right thing, the thing she would have done
if she’d known all she had coming.
But I don’t believe the soul continues.
The spirit lives on in the hearts of others,

so Robin Williams will live as close
as it gets to forever. As for my mother,
she’d be content to know how much
my sister and I miss her, how we still
talk to her, how we rely on her wisdom
to stand us by on darkest nights.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 26

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Letter to N.Y.
by Elizabeth Bishop

In your next letter I wish you’d say
where you are going and what you are doing;
how are the plays and after the plays
what other pleasures you’re pursuing:

taking cabs in the middle of the night,
driving as if to save your soul
where the road goes round and round the park
and the meter glares like a moral owl,

and the trees look so queer and green
standing alone in big black caves
and suddenly you’re in a different place
where everything seems to happen in waves,

and most of the jokes you just can’t catch,
like dirty words rubbed off a slate,
and the songs are loud but somehow dim
and it gets so terribly late,

and coming out of the brownstone house
to the gray sidewalk, the watered street,
one side of the buildings rises with the sun
like a glistening field of wheat.

–Wheat, not oats, dear. I’m afraid
if it’s wheat it’s none of your sowing,
nevertheless I’d like to know
what you are doing and where you are going.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 25

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 24

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

When I Am Asked
by Lisel Mueller

When I am asked
how I began writing poems,
I talk about the indifference of nature.

It was soon after my mother died,
a brilliant June day,
everything blooming.

I sat on a gray stone bench
in a lovely planted garden,
but the day lilies were as deaf
as the ears of drunken sleepers
and the roses curved inward.
Nothing was black or broken
and not a leaf fell
and the sun blared endless commercials
for summer holidays.

I sat on a gray stone bench
ringed with the ingénue faces
of pink and white impatiens
and placed my grief
in the mouth of language,
the only thing that would grieve with me.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 23

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?
by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 22

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

Money
by Philip Larkin

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
‘Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex.
You could get them still by writing a few cheques.’

So I look at others, what they do with theirs:
They certainly don’t keep it upstairs.
By now they’ve a second house and car and wife:
Clearly money has something to do with life

—In fact, they’ve a lot in common, if you enquire:
You can’t put off being young until you retire,
And however you bank your screw, the money you save
Won’t in the end buy you more than a shave.

I listen to money singing. It’s like looking down
From long french windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets

Poetry Beyond All Praise – No. 21

Antique Typewriter Qwerty IXa celebration of great poets during april’s national poetry month

 

 

 

 

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
 
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
 
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
 
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

 

See full list of poems on My Favorite Poets