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Poems you Love



There's a great thread going on about poems our members write. I am not able to write anything there, for the few poems I wrote were in Portuguese... but I love poetry and there are many poems I just adore and others I'm willing to discover.

Let's share our favorite poems!

Please don't forget to give the credits to the author and mention the book it was published in, if you have that information.



I found this one very funny, but can someone explain to me what is arn-o-one and narn-a-one?

Prayer to St Catherine *

St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid,
And grant that I never may die an old maid.

A husband, St Catherine,
A good one, St Catherine;
But arn-a-one better than
Narn-a-one, St Catherine.

Sweet St Catherine,
A husband, St Catherine,
Handsome, St Catherine,
Rich, St Catherine.

* St Catherine is the patron saint of spinsters

from the book Love - Poems chosen by Fiona Waters


illegitimi noncarborundum
MariaLux said:
I found this one very funny, but can someone explain to me what is arn-o-one and narn-a-one?

Prayer to St Catherine *

St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid,
And grant that I never may die an old maid.

A husband, St Catherine,
A good one, St Catherine;
But arn-a-one better than
Narn-a-one, St Catherine.

Sweet St Catherine,
A husband, St Catherine,
Handsome, St Catherine,
Rich, St Catherine.

* St Catherine is the patron saint of spinsters

from the book Love - Poems chosen by Fiona Waters


Essentially, "arn-a-one" translates as anyone, and "narn-a-one" translates as no one


Thank you Stan, I thought it could be that, but was afraid it was my imagination. But it fits in perfectly! :)


A Red Red Rose

by Robert Burns

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune;

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my Dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.


Till a'the seas gang dry, my Dear,
and the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will love thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o'life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!


Classic Love Poems


This is my kinda thread!:D

I have to start with a couple of my favourite short poems here. My favourite poet is William Blake, he is able to convey messages in my mind that bring light to even the darkest corners. Allen Ginsberg once said of Blake, "It was like God had a human voice, with all the infinite tenderness and anciency and mortal gravity of a living Creator speaking to his son."

So here's 3 of my favourites from Blake:

Auguries Of Innocence.

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.


He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity's sunrise.

The Fly.

Little fly,
Thy summers play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not
thou a man like me?

For I dance,
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly.
If I live,
Or if I die.

I love poetry and I'll be sure to put up some more poems very soon.


P. B. Shelley

CLXXXIV. Love's Philosophy

THE fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
e.e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
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From the book "The Song of Songs* - a new translation" by Marcia Falk

Love Lyrics from the Bible

At night in bed, I want him-
The one I love is not here.

I'll rise and search the city,
Through the streets and squares

Until the city watchsmen
Find me wandering there

And I ask them- have you seen him?
The one I love is not here.

When they have gone, I find him
And I won't let him go

Until he's in my mother's home,
The room where I was born.

O women of the city,
Swear by the wild field doe

Not to wake or rouse us
Till we fulfill our love.

*also known in English as the Song of Solomon


Beloved, what do you want of me?
I contain all that was, and that is, and shall be,
I am filled with the all.
Take of me all you please-
if you want all of myself, I'll not say no.
Tell me, beloved, what you want of me-
I am Love, who am filled with the all:
what you want,
we want, beloved-
tell us your desire nakedly.

by Marguerite Porete (?~1310) translated by Peter Dronke

All I was doing was Breathing

Something has reached out and taken in the beams of my eyes.
There is a longing, it is for his body, for every hair of that dark body.
All I was doing was being, and the Dancing Energy came by my house.
My family says: "Don't ever see him again!" And implies things in a low voice.
But my eyes have their own life; they laugh at rules, and know whose they are.
I believe i can bear on my shoulders whatever you want to say to me.
MIra says: Without the energy that lifts mountains, how am I to live?

by MIrabai (1498~1565?) translated by Robert Bly

both poems from the book Women in Praise of the Sacred, edit by Jane Hirshfield (Harper Collins Publishers)


Ok I know this is an obvious choice, but it needs to be put up!:D
This is one of the best and most famous poems ever written I would say. It's not a poem that's supposed to be taken literally. It's a poem about perfection. About being in a blissful state of awareness and it was written from the raw materials of inspiration. So, here it is:

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But Oh! That deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! As holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momentarily the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices phrophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! Those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, "Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."


She Walks in Beauty
Lord Byron


She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.


One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.


And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!


God and Gold

As gold breeds misery
Misery breeds light
That makes the stones glare
For the pauper's delight.

Light is but the pauper's gold
Stones are but rocks
That pave the way where run
God's miserable flocks.

The world has many rocks
God has many flocks
God's a shepherd, I was told
God is made of gold.

by Vinicius de Moraes

Rio de Janeiro, 1959



A Birthday


My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.


Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleur-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

~ Christina Rossetti ~



A poem by Jacques Prevert from the collection PAROLES published in 1949


Rappelle-toi Barbara
Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest ce jour-là
Et tu marchais souriante
Epanouie ravie ruisselante
Sous la pluie
Rappelle-toi Barbara
Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest
Et je t’ai croisée rue de Siam
Tu souriais
Et moi je souriais de même
Rappelle-toi Barbara
Toi que je ne connaissais pas
Toi qui ne me connaissais pas
Rappelle-toi quand même ce jour-là
N’oublie pas
Un homme sous un porche s’abritait
Et il a crié ton nom
Et tu as couru vers lui sous la pluie
Ruisselante ravie épanouie
Et tu t’es jetée dans ses bras
Rappelle-toi cela Barbara
Et ne m’en veux pas si je te tutoie
Je dis tu à tous ceux que j’aime
Même si je ne les ai vus qu’une seule fois
Je dis tu à tous ceux qui s’aiment
Même si je ne les connais pas
Rappelle-toi Barbara
N’oublie pas
Cette pluie sage et heureuse
Sur ton visage heureux
Sur cette ville heureuse
Cette pluie sur la mer
Sur l’arsenal
Sur le bateau d’Ouessant
Oh Barbara
Quelle connerie la guerre
Qu’es-tu devenue maintenant
Sous cette pluie de fer
De feu d’acier de sang
Et celui qui te serrait dans ses bras
Est-il mort disparu ou bien encore vivant
Oh Barbara
Il pleut sans cesse sur Brest
Comme il pleuvait avant
Mais ce n’est plus pareil et tout est abîmé
C’est une pluie de deuil terrible et désolée
Ce n’est même plus l’orage
De fer d’acier de sang
Tout simplement des nuages
Qui crèvent comme des chiens
Des chiens qui disparaissent
Au fil de l’eau sur Brest
Et vont pourrir au loin
Au loin très loin de Brest
Dont il ne reste rien.
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Another by Prévert from the same collection.


Il a mis le café
Dans la tasse
Il a mis le lait
Dans la tasse de café
Il a mis le sucre
Dans le café au lait
Avec la petite cuiller
Il a tourné
Il a bu le café au lait
Et il a reposé la tasse
Sans me parler
Il a allumé
Une cigarette
Il a fait des ronds
Avec la fumée
Il a mis les cendres
Dans le cendrier
Sans me parler
Sans me regarder
Il s’est levé
Il a mis
son chapeau sur sa tête
Il a mis
Son manteau de pluie
Parce qu’il pleuvait
Et il est parti
Sous la pluie
Sans une parole
Sans me regarder
Et moi j’ai pris
Ma tête dans ma main
Et j’ai pleuré.



Here is a poem by the so-tragically-murdered-at-the-tender-for-a-genius-age-of-38-as-a-divine-casualty-of-the-Spanish-Civil-War-in-1936 Spanish genius Federico García Lorca from the collection ROMANCERO GITANO composed 1924-1928.


Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montana.
Con la sombra en la cintura
ella suena en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fria plata.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Bajo la luna gitana,
las cosas la estan mirando
y ella no puede mirarlas.

Verde que te quiero verde.
Grandes estrellas de escarcha,
vienen con el pez de sombra
que abre el camino del alba.
La higuera frota su viento
con la lija de sus ramas,
y el monte, gato garduno,
eriza sus pitas agrias.
Pero quien vendra?
Y por donde...?
Ella sigue en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
sonando en la mar amarga.

Compadre, quiero cambiar
mi caballo por su casa,
mi montura por su espejo,
mi cuchillo por su manta.
Compadre, vengo sangrando,
desde los montes de Cabra.

Si yo pudiera, mocito,
ese trato se cerraba.
Pero yo ya no soy yo.
Ni mi casa es ya mi casa.

Compadre, quiero morir
decentemente en mi cama.
De acero, si puede ser,
con las sabanas de holanda.
No ves la herida que tengo
desde el pecho a la garganta?

Trescientas rosas morenas
lleva tu pechera blanca.
Tu sangre rezuma y huele
alrededor de tu faja.
Pero yo ya no soy yo.
Ni mi casa es ya mi casa.

Dejadme subir al menos
hasta las altas barandas,
dejadme subir! dejadme,
hasta las verdes barandas.
Barandales de la luna
por donde retumba el agua.

Ya suben los dos compadres
hacia las altas barandas.
Dejando un rastro de sangre.
Dejando un rastro de lagrimas.
Temblaban en los tejados
farolillos de hojalata.
Mil panderos de cristal,
herian la madrugada.

Verde que te quiero verde,
verde viento, verdes ramas.
Los dos compadres subieron.
El largo viento, dejaba
en la boca un raro gusto
de hiel, de menta y de albahaca.
Compadre! Donde esta, dime?
Donde esta tu nina amarga?
Cuantas veces te espero!
Cuantas veces te esperara,
cara fresca, negro pelo,
en esta verde baranda!

Sobre el rostro del aljibe
se mecia la gitana.
Verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fria plata.
Un carambano de luna
la sostiene sobre el agua.
La noche se puso intima
como una pequena plaza.
Guardias civiles borrachos,
en la puerta golpeaban.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar.
Y el caballo en la montana.


Beautiful, Patricia!!

Do you know this turned into a gorgeous song? Brazilian singer Fagner sang it, it's really a beautiful song!

I had never read the whole poem, and didn't even know he was murdered! I will read more about Lorca!



This is one of my Absolute favourite poems - I just love the language and imagery.

To Earthward
by Robert Frost.

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of--was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they're gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt,
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.


And I've posted this one before but I think it bears repeating! :D

Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


One of my favorites for those days when you want to lie in bed with your shnoocums and sunbeams force you to move.

The Sun Rising
by John Donne

BUSY old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run ?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou think ?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, "All here in one bed lay."

She's all states, and all princes I ;
Nothing else is ;
Princes do but play us ; compared to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus ;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.

Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 7-8.