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Favourite Poem

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  • barnflatwyngarde
    started a topic Favourite Poem

    Favourite Poem

    I have always loved poetry, and there have been several excellent poetry anthologies published recently.

    I thought that this was timely moment to open up a poetry thread asking you what your favourite poem is.

    Having checked out the copyright situation, it is permissable to reproduce a poem for "criticism or review".

    "In addition to the specified exceptions, there exists a group of exemptions which fall within the scope of ‘fair dealing'. Material reproduced for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study, for criticism or review or for the reporting of current events is included in this group. If material is reproduced for these purposes, provided it is genuinely and fairly used for the stated purpose, and is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement, it may be considered fair dealing and thus exempt from clearance."


    I still remember the emotional jolt of Philip Larkin's "An Arundel Tomb", but a poem that has haunted me for years is "Richard Cory" by Edward Arlington Robinson.

    Richard Cory

    Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
    We people on the pavement looked at him:
    He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
    Clean favored, and imperially slim.

    And he was always quietly arrayed,
    And he was always human when he talked;
    But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
    "Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

    And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
    And admirably schooled in every grace:
    In fine, we thought that he was everything
    To make us wish that we were in his place.

    So on we worked, and waited for the light,
    And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
    And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
    Went home and put a bullet through his head.

    Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935),

  • Herlock Sholmes
    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
    Old Mary from flat 32
    Died months before anyone knew;
    She died on the bog,
    And was chewed by her dog,
    Till all that was left was her shoe

    (Sean Lock)
    I thought it was TS Eliot.

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  • Sam Flynn
    Old Mary from flat 32
    Died months before anyone knew;
    She died on the bog,
    And was chewed by her dog,
    Till all that was left was her shoe

    (Sean Lock)

    Leave a comment:

  • Herlock Sholmes
    Originally posted by Robert View Post
    Michael, that was Ron Moody.

    Section 2 'But two there are....'
    I’ve just given it a second look and you’re absolutely correct of course Robert. As soon as I saw it I thought Wilmer. Not very good observation for a Holmes fan.

    Ron Moody did actually play Holmes on stage in a musical though.

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  • Herlock Sholmes
    This guy is well worth checking out if you haven’t already. Felix Dennis.

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  • Robert
    Michael, that was Ron Moody.

    Section 2 'But two there are....'

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  • c.d.
    The Cremation of Sam McGee

    By Robert W. Service

    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.

    Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
    Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
    He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
    Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

    On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
    Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
    If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
    It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

    And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
    And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
    He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
    And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

    Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
    "It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
    Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
    So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

    A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
    And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
    He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
    And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

    There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
    With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
    It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
    But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

    Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
    In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
    In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
    Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

    And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
    And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
    The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
    And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

    Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
    It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
    And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
    Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

    Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
    Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
    The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
    And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

    Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
    And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
    It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
    And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

    I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
    But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
    I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
    I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.

    And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
    And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
    It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
    Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.


    Leave a comment:

  • MrBarnett
    Impossible to chose just one, but this is one of many that go through my head all the time:
    Attached Files
    Last edited by MrBarnett; 05-26-2019, 02:51 AM.

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  • Herlock Sholmes
    No one has quoted JK Stephen or Francis Thompson yet

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  • Herlock Sholmes
    As an admirer of all things Holmes/Doyle I have to add this one. Written and read by noted Holmes scholar Vincent Starrett.

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  • Herlock Sholmes
    Some great stuff posted here by all

    one of my favourites

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  • Herlock Sholmes
    Originally posted by Robert View Post
    Brilliant. Miss Marple reciting to Sherlock Holmes (the brilliant Douglas Wilmer.)

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  • Wickerman
    Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
    I like Service. He was the unofficial poet of the great Yukon Gold Strike of the 1890s.
    Ah yes, Robert W Service, great poet, he could make anyone laugh. Yet George Sims was no slouch, he put together some cracking good poems, especially with a sarcastic twist.

    This is one of my favorites - The Sick Note.
    Use your imagination as you read it, it's an oldie but a goodie...

    Dear Sir I write this note to you to tell you of my plight
    For at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight
    My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly grey
    And I write this note to say why Paddy's not at work today.

    Whilst working on the fourteenth floor,some bricks I had to clear
    To throw them down from such a height was not a good idea
    The foreman wasn't very pleased, the bloody awkward sod
    He said I had to cart them down the ladders in my hod.

    Now clearing all these bricks by hand, it was so very slow
    So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below
    But in my haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
    That a barrel full of building bricks was heavier than me.

    And so when I untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead
    And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead
    I shot up like a rocket till to my dismay I found
    That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

    Well the barrel broke my shoulder, as to the ground it sped
    And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with my head
    I clung on tightly, numb with shock, from this almighty blow
    And the barrel spilled out half the bricks, fourteen floors below.

    Now when these bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor
    I then outweighed the barrel and so started down once more
    Still clinging tightly to the rope, my body racked with pain
    When half way down, I met the bloody barrel once again.

    The force of this collision, half way up the office block
    Caused multiple abrasions and a nasty state of shock
    Still clinging tightly to the rope I fell towards the ground
    And I landed on the broken bricks the barrel scattered round.

    I lay there groaning on the ground I thought I'd passed the worst
    But the barrel hit the pulley wheel, and then the bottom burst
    A shower of bricks rained down on me, I hadn't got a hope
    As I lay there bleeding on the ground, I let go the bloody rope.

    The barrel then being heavier then started down once more
    And landed right across me as I lay upon the floor
    It broke three ribs, and my left arm, and I can only say
    That I hope you'll understand why Paddy's not at work today.

    Pat Cooksey.

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  • Cogidubnus
    Pursuit - Stephen Dobyns

    Each thing I do I rush through so I can do
    something else. In such a way do the days pass—
    a blend of stock car racing and the never
    ending building of a gothic cathedral.
    Through the windows of my speeding car, I see
    all that I love falling away: books unread,
    jokes untold, landscapes unvisited. And why?
    What treasure do I expect in my future?
    Rather it is the confusion of childhood
    loping behind me, the chaos in the mind,
    the failure chipping away at each success.
    Glancing over my shoulder I see its shape
    and so move forward, as someone in the woods
    at night might hear the sound of approaching feet
    and stop to listen; then, instead of silence
    he hears some creature trying to be silent.
    What else can he do but run? Rushing blindly
    down the path, stumbling, struck in the face by sticks;
    the other ever closer, yet not really
    hurrying or out of breath, teasing its kill.

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  • Ginger
    Keats' "Lamia", I believe:

    She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue,
    Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue;
    Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,
    Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr’d;
    And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed,
    Dissolv’d, or brighter shone, or interwreathed
    Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries—

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