General Question

janbb's avatar

How about sharing a poem or some favorite lines to lift the spirits in a dark time?

Asked by janbb (51316points) December 16th, 2012

We’ve done this before but not for a while. Share a link or a line; something you love or just enjoy the sound of.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

64 Answers

janbb's avatar

This is one of my favorites:

Dust of Snow


The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

CWOTUS's avatar

Maybe just as apropos, and also by Robert Frost but you won’t like it.

Out, Out

The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside them in her apron
To tell them “Supper.” At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. “Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!”
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

newtscamander's avatar

Everything will be all right in the end. So if it is not all right, it is not yet the end.

Sonny Kapoor, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Sunny2's avatar

What fools we mortals be.

zensky's avatar

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine -

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.


Jeruba's avatar


He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

        —William Blake


NOTE: I see this poem online with the word “binds” where I have “bends.” All it takes is one wrong transcription—such as I have seen many times on the Internet—and the error is reproduced forever. I learned this poem from reading it in books before there was an Internet, and the word was “bends” (I just checked it). I think that is more consistent with Blake’s likely meaning.

wildpotato's avatar

Cosmic Gall

Neutrinos, they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
and painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
and pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed – you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.

- Telephone Poles and Other Poems, John Updike, Knopf, 1960

fremen_warrior's avatar

Here‘s my favourite poem by W. Wordsworth – very rhytmical, and it’s funny to imagine the exchange between the author and the little kid ;-)

bkcunningham's avatar


Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

janbb's avatar

@bkcunningham Ah yes! Whitman is a favorite.

gailcalled's avatar

Starting the Subaru at Five Below, by Raymond Carver

After 6 Maine winters and 100,000 miles,
when I take it to be inspected

I search for gas stations where they
just say beep the horn and don’t ask me to

put it on the lift, exposing its soft
rusted underbelly. Inside is the record

of commuting: apple cores, a bag from
McDonald’s, crushed Dunkin’ Donuts cups,

A flashlight that doesn’t work and one
That does, gas receipts blurred beyond

recognition. Finger tips numb, nose
hair frozen, I pump the accelerator

and turn the key. The battery cranks,
the engine gives 2 or 3 low groans and

starts. My God it starts. And unlike
my family in the house, the job I’m

headed towards, the poems in my briefcase,
the dreams I had last night, there is

no question about what makes sense.
White exhaust billowing from the tail pipe,

Heater blowing, this car is going to
move me, it’s going to take me places.

bkcunningham's avatar

Or, to lighten my mood and get rid of the blues, my friend and yours friend, Langston Hughes.

Bad Morning

Here I sit
With my shoes mismated.
Lawdy mercy.
I’s frustrated.

gailcalled's avatar


@Jeruba; We were asked to write a brief exegesis on the Blake poem for the first pop quiz in Engl. comp 101 at that school outside of Boston. It was presented to us as “He who binds to himself.” I got an unforgettable D for being gushy and vague and jejune.

@wildpotato; I was initially going to thank you for the poem about me.

bkcunningham's avatar

@gailcalled, that is fabulously funny, deep and moving to me. I hadn’t read that one before. Thanks for sharing.

@janbb, Whitman is my go to man.

@everyone, thank you and keep them coming. It is lifting my mood.

Jeruba's avatar

@gailcalled, I wonder if his handwriting has been the subject of different interpretations, then. It makes sense either way, but I always liked it the way I understood it—as altering the path of a winged thing in flight, rather than as grasping and clinging to something stationary.

flutherother's avatar

by Iain Crichton Smith

It neither was the words nor yet the tune
Any tune would have done and any words.
Any listener at all.

As nightingales in rocks or a child crooning
in its own world of strange awakening
or larks for no reason but themselves.

So on the bus through late November running
by yellow lights tormented, darkness falling,
the two girls sang for miles and miles together

and it wasn’t the words or the tune. It was the singing.
It was the human sweetness in that yellow,
the unpredicted voices of our kind.

bkcunningham's avatar

The imagery that Frost puts into his words never, ever ceases to amaze me.

gailcalled's avatar

Death and December, by George Garrett

The Roman Catholic bells of Princeton, New Jersey,
wake me from rousing dreams into a resounding hangover.
Sweet Jesus, my life is hateful to me.
Seven a.m. and time to walk my dog on a leash.

Ice on the sidewalk and in the gutters,
and the wind comes down our one-way street
like a deuce-and-a-half, a six-by, a semi,
huge with a cold load of growls.

There’s not only leaf left to bear witness,
with twitch and scuttle, rattle and rasp,
against the blatant roaring of the wrongway wind.
Only my nose running and my face frozen

into a kind of grin which has nothing to do
with the ice and the wind or death and December,
but joy pure and simple when my black and tan puppy,
for the first time every, lifts his hind leg to pee.

Shippy's avatar

God Grant me the SERENITY
to ACCEPT the things I cannot change
COURAGE to change the things I can
and the WISDOM to know the difference.

Live and Let Live

Even the darkest hour has only 60 minutes.

THIS TOO shall pass.

tinyfaery's avatar

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

WB Yeats The Stolen Child

bkcunningham's avatar

That is making me cry @tinyfaery. So fitting in such a time.

gailcalled's avatar

More Frost;

“Have I not walked without an upward look
Of caution under stars that very well
Might not have missed me when they shot and fell?
It was a risk I had to take and took.”
Robert Frost

filmfann's avatar

Kahlil Gibran

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

marinelife's avatar

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. ~ Hugh Downs

wildpotato's avatar

Let It Enfold You by Charles Bukowski

either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when I was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb, unsophisticated.
I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious

I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
I trusted no man and
especially no

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and
out of fights, in and out
of my mind.
women were something
to screw and rail
at, I had no male

I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
english accents, spain,
france, italy, walnuts and
the color
algebra angred me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
and flowers were for

peace and happiness to me
were signs of
tenants of the weak

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women – it gradually
began to occur to
that I wasn’t different

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
darkness was the

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
just staring at the
knobs of some
or listening to the
rain in the
the less I needed
the better I

maybe the other life had worn me
I no longer found
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into

I could never accept
life as it was,
I could never gobble
down all its
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the

I re formulated
I don’t know when,
date, time, all
but the change
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
I no longer had to
prove that I was a

I didn’t have to prove

I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
then – it was

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.

I’ve missed too many
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, ‘I am going
to have to let you go.’

‘it’s all right,’ I tell

he must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children.
expenses, most probably
a girlfriend.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk onto the blazing
the whole day is

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,

I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels, breasts,
singing, the

(don’t get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for
the sake of
itself -
this is a shield and a

the knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
but when the good
moments arrived
I didn’t fight them off
like an alley
I let them take me,
I luxuriated in them,
I bade them welcome
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
I now liked what
I saw, almost
handsome, yes,
a bit ripped and
scares, lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a baby’s

and finally I discovered
real feelings of
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wife in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the toteboard waiting for
I saw the shape of my
wife’s head,
she so still,
I ached for her life,
just being there
under the

I kissed her in the
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
I entered the world
drove down the
past the houses
full and empty
I saw the mailman,
he waved
at me.

gailcalled's avatar

Two typos in “Death and December.” Sorry

line 9: There’s not one leaf left to bear witness,

LIne 16: for the first time ever, lifts his hind leg to pee.

gailcalled's avatar

The Way it is Now, by Charles Bukowski (a poem I really, really like).

I’ll tell you
I’ve lived with some gorgeous women
and I was so bewitched by those
beautiful creatures that
my eyebrows twitched.

but I’d rather drive to New York
than to live with any of them

the next classic stupidity
will be the history
of those fellows
who inherit my female

in their case
as in mine
they will find
that madness
is caused by not
being often enough

bkcunningham's avatar

@filmfann, just this week I sent those exact words to my daughter’s birth mother. To think of how many words there are in this world and to see those 68 words sitting together on this page made me smile. I’m glad you posted that. It was confirmation to me.

gailcalled's avatar

This is why I still love fluther.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think a funny, gorgeous woman who lives alone in the Sierra foothills surrounded by nature and geese will like that one by Bukowski too.

bkcunningham's avatar

For Milo:

Gus – The Theatre Cat – T S Eliot

Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That’s such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat’s very shabby, he’s thin as a rake,
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats—
But no longer a terror to mice and to rats.
For he isn’t the Cat that he was in his prime;
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club
(Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub)
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays,
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree—
He has acted with Irving, he’s acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls,
Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.

“I have played,” so he says, “every possible part,
And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.
I’d extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag,
And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.
I knew how to act with my back and my tail;
With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I’d a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts,
Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell;
When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat,
And I once understudied Dick Whittington’s Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.”

Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin,
He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat,
When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger—could do it again—
Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most,
Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire,
To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: “Now then kittens, they do not get trained
As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
They never get drilled in a regular troupe,
And they think they are smart, just to jump through a hoop.”
And he’ll say, as he scratches himself with his claws,
“Well, the Theatre’s certainly not what it was.
These modern productions are all very well,
But there’s nothing to equal, from what I hear tell,
That moment of mystery
When I made history
As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.”

Kardamom's avatar

Poetry is one of those things that is kind of like reading Russian or Klingon, I just can’t understand it and it’s kind of like that phenomenon TL;DR. Forgive me. I’m more of a prose kinda gal.

So I am posting one of my favorite Uplifting Videos that make me smile and laugh every time I watch it.

ucme's avatar

Papa don’t preach, i’ve been losing sleep
Papa don’t preach, i’m in trouble deep
But i’ve made up my mind, i’m keepin my baby….ooh-hoo…..woah-ho!

bkcunningham's avatar

Click here, @Kardamom:

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 for my care.
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

bookish1's avatar

Nice idea @janbb. My go-to’s for solace are Whitman, Ginsburg, DiPrima, and Rimbaud.

One of my favorite poems by Ginsburg. And a video of him reading it for @Kardamom‘s delectation ;)

[Poem and video are NSFW.]


Be kind to your self, it is only one
and perishable
of many on the planet, thou art that
one that wishes a soft finger tracing the
line of feeling from nipple to pubes—
one that wishes a tongue to kiss your armpit,
a lip to kiss your cheek inside your
whiteness thigh—
Be kind to yourself Harry, because unkindness
comes when the body explodes
napalm cancer and the deathbed in Vietnam
is a strange place to dream of trees
leaning over and angry American faces
grinning with sleepwalk terror over your
last eye—
Be kind to yourself, because the bliss of your own
kindness will flood the police tomorrow,
because the cow weeps in the field and the
mouse weeps in the cat hole—
Be kind to this place, which is your present
habitation, with derrick and radar tower
and flower in the ancient brook—
Be kind to your neighbor who weeps
solid tears on the television sofa,
he has no other home, and hears nothing
but the hard voice of telephones
Click, buzz, switch channel and the inspired
melodrama disappears
and he’s left alone for the night, he disappears
in bed—
Be kind to your disappearing mother and
father gazing out the terrace window
as milk truck and hearse turn the corner
Be kind to the politician weeping in the galleries
of Whitehall, Kremlin, White House
Louvre and Phoenix City
aged, large nosed, angry, nervously dialing
the bald voice box connected to
electrodes underground converging thru
wires vaster than a kitten’s eye can see
on the mushroom shaped fear-lobe under
the ear of Sleeping Dr. Einstein
crawling with worms, crawling with worms, crawling
with worms the hour has come—
Sick, dissatisfied, unloved the bulky
foreheads of Captain Premier President
Sir Comrade Fear!
Be kind to the fearful one at your side
Who’s remembering the Lamentations
of the bible
the prophesies of the Crucified Adam Son
of all the porters and char men of
Be kind to your self who weeps under
the Moscow moon and hide your bliss hairs
under raincoat and suede Levi’s—
For this is the joy to be born, the kindness
received thru strange eyeglasses on
a bus thru Kensington,
the finger touch of the Londoner on your thumb,
that borrows light from your cigarrette,
the morning smile at Newcastle Central
station, when longhair Tom blond husband
greets the bearded stranger of telephones—
the boom bom that bounces in the joyful
bowels as the Liverpool Minstrels of
raise up their joyful voices and guitars
in electric Afric hurrah
for Jerusalem—
The saints come marching in, Twist &
Shout, and Gates of Eden are named
in Albion again
Hope sings a black psalm from Nigeria,
and a white psalm echoes in Detroit
and reechoes amplified from Nottingham to Prague
and a Chinese psalm will be heard, if we all
live our lives for the next 6 decades—
Be kind to the Chinese psalm in the red transistor
in your breast—
Be kind to the Monk in the 5 Spot who plays
lone chord-bangs on his vast piano
lost in space on a bench and hearing himself
in the nightclub universe—
Be kind to the heroes that have lost their
names in the newspaper
and hear only their own supplications for
the peaceful kiss of sex in the giant
auditoriums of the planet,
nameless voices crying for kindness in the orchestra,
screaming in anguish that bliss come true
and sparrows sing another hundred years
to white haired babes
and poets be fools of their own desire—O Anacreon
and angelic Shelley!
Guide these new-nippled generations on space
ships to Mars’ next universe
The prayer is to man and girl, the only
gods, the only lords of Kingdoms of
Feeling, Christs of their own
living ribs—
Bicycle chain and machine gun, fear sneer
& smell cold logic of the Dream Bomb
have come to Saigon, Johannesburg
Dominica City, Phnom Penh, Pentagon
Paris and Lhasa—
Be kind to the universe of Self that
trembles and shudders and thrills
in XX Century,
that opens its eyes and belly and breast
chained with flesh to feel
the myriad flowers of bliss
that I Am to Thee—
A dream! a Dream! I don’t want to be alone!
I want to know that I am loved!
I want the orgy of our flesh, orgy
of all eyes happy, orgy of the soul
kissing and blessing its mortal-grown
orgy of tenderness beneath the neck, orgy of
kindness to thigh and vagina
Desire given with meat hand
and cock, desire taken with
mouth and ass, desire returned
to the last sigh!
Tonite let’s all make love in London
as if it were 2001 the years
of thrilling god—
And be kind to the poor soul that cries in
a crack of the pavement because he
has no body—
Prayers to the ghosts and demons, the
lackloves of Capitals & Congresses
who make sadistic noises
on the radio—
Statue destroyers & tank captains, unhappy
murderers in Mekong & Stanleyville,
That a new kind of man has come to his bliss
to end the cold war he has borne
against his own kind flesh
since the days of the snake.

June 8, 1965

gailcalled's avatar

@bkcunningham: MIlo here; Thank-you. Auden also wrote wonderful poetry about his cats.

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

I like reading comedic poetry to cheer me up. Pam Ayres is a favourite. Here’s one of hers.

Not You, Basil

Basil he loved Ethel,
In his heart there burned a flame,
Every night he gripped the sheets,
And whispered Ethel’s name,
He saw her every morning,
And the breath caught in his throat,
He loved her in her summer dress,
And in her winter coat.

Each night the lovely Ethel,
She came to him in a dream,
And lay reclining in the boat,
He rowed them in, upstream.
Her hand trailed in the water,
And she was a wondrous sight,
Saying “Basil! I can wait no more!
Marry me, tonight!”

But his love was unrequited,
When he saw her every day,
She only said, “How do”,
And hurried past him on her way,
To catch the bus to work,
Where every day from morn to eve,
She gazed out of the window,
Thinking of her true love, Steve.

Now Steve he ran a scrapyard,
Once a week he knocked the door,
And Ethel, she would open it,
Saying, “I know what you’ve come for!
Your rag and bones!” she cried,
“And here they are, in this here sack,”
And she’d watch with heart a-flutter,
As he heaved them on his back.

She never thought of Basil,
Never knew that he was there,
From morn to eve, she thought of Steve,
Her fingers, in his hair.
For Steve was rugged, like an oak,
While Basil, like a skittle,
Had no physique, of which to speak,
His muscles, they was little.

But his ardour never cooled,
And to himself he sadly said,
“If Ethel do not love me,
Why, I’d just as soon be dead,
I’ll knock upon her door,
And say ‘I love you’ and forsooth,
She can either take or leave me,
But at least I’ll know the truth.”

So he knocked upon her door,
And when she answered, he began:
“I know someone that you could make,
A Very Happy Man.”
Ethel gripped the doorpost,
“Do you mean Steve? Oh can it be?”
And Basil, looking at her,
He said “No, you fool, it’s me.”

She said “Oh not you, Basil
I thought you’d come on Steve’s behalf,
As though he’s see, a girl like me.”
(She laughed a tragic laugh)
She said, “I interrupted you,
What were you going to say?”
And Basil said, “Don’t matter”,
And he coldly walked away.

Back in his house he primed his gun,
And placed it to his head,
“I die for Ethel, though my death’ll
Grieve her not,” he said.
He strained to press the trigger,
But his courage upped and fled,
So he rushed out in the garden,
And he shot the cat instead.

Jeruba's avatar

Urequited love, despair, suicide, and animal cruelty? Yup, pretty funny, all right…

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

@Jeruba your comment reminded me of this

Response moderated (Spam)
lanahopple's avatar

On a frightful night, I see a darkness.
Its claustrophobic corners plague my vision.
I bump into air that whirls feverishly about,
And I am left with a wind-chapped mind.

I am numb.
The blackness has entered me.
My ears, my eyes, my mouth, as its holy entry;
I am left there to choke.
There is no hope.

It continues.
I feel it burrowing into my pores,
Making my thoughts those of eternal emptiness.
I am a black hole.
I suck in all the pain and suffering around me.

Bigger and bigger I get.
The layers compiling, but the smaller I feel.
Life is trapped outside of me.

Suddenly, a crash, a boom!
I burst!
Darkness shoots from every surface.
Soon, I am naked and pure and small,
Only bones make me.

- The catalyst: a pure white snowflake –

I am new and reborn.
This white blanket continues to fall.
Its coolness soothes me.
Its water drowns my memories of before.
Darkness and fear
Safety and Peace

Layer upon layer I grow.
The cascading whiteness leaves sheets
Of purity on my soul.

I grow with more snow,
Ever big like
A snowman!

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ That is supposed to lift the spirits?

Who’s the author? It seems more like a journal entry twisted into a poetic (sort of) form.

ucme's avatar

It just goes to show the snobbery attached to any of the arts, in this case poetry.
Apparently if it’s not driven by angst, it’s not valid, a popular misconception if ever there was one.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^A valid point but for another question..

OP says, “How about sharing a poem or some favorite lines to lift the spirits in a dark time?”

ucme's avatar

Madonna was, I thought, a decent example, or maybe I should’ve gone with Like A Virgin.

bookish1's avatar

One of the most uplifting songs by a very uplifting band:
Don’t Stay Home-311

ucme's avatar

There was a young man named McVitie
Who played for Manchester City
He scored lots of goals
Quite a few with his nose
And now he can’t smell, what a pity

Earthgirl's avatar

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

janbb's avatar

@Earthgirl Lovely – that made me cry.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Earthgirl, you always know just what to say. I love your spirit.

Earthgirl's avatar

@janbb The thought is so beautiful and true. Nature is so deep in his blood and bone. That is why I love Wendell Berry. If only I could write something half as beautiful myself!

@bkcunningham Wendell speaks for me, but thank you so much!

Earthgirl's avatar

Another poet I like a lot is Stephen Dunn.

Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear
one more friend
waking with a tumor, one more maniac

with a perfect reason, often a sweetness
has come
and changed nothing in the world

except the way I stumbled through it,
for a while lost
in the ignorance of loving

someone or something, the world shrunk
to mouth-size,
hand-size, and never seeming small.

I acknowledge there is no sweetness
that doesn’t leave a stain,
no sweetness that’s ever sufficiently sweet….

Tonight a friend called to say his lover
was killed in a car
he was driving. His voice was low

and guttural, he repeated what he needed
to repeat, and I repeated
the one or two words we have for such grief

until we were speaking only in tones.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough

to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
source. As for me, I don’t care

where it’s been, or what bitter road
it’s traveled
to come so far, to taste so good.

gailcalled's avatar

The Return of the Subjunctive
by Tamara Madison

Oh, the Subjunctive,
May it make its bold return!
May it ride back proud
In liveried coach,
May its two fine horses snort
And paw the ground,
And, escorted by its staunch
Attendants If and Whether,
May it descend in velvet cloak
And black-gloved hand
The lacquered steps of hope
And happenstance.
May it fix upon us its deep
Uncertain gaze!
I shall be there to greet it
Though my company
Be small and moody.
I shall beg it stay
And may its presence give
Some respite from the steely glare
Of Indicative, a mantle to shield us
From Passive’s clammy chill.
May it light again the land
Between the world that was
And is, and that which still might be,
And may we tread again desire’s
Leaf-dappled path
Of possibility.

gailcalled's avatar

And this; Billy Collin’s poem about poetry

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

flutherother's avatar

Not very cheery, but I like this poem, one of a series written by Douglas Dunn on the death of his wife.

The Kaleidoscope

To climb these stairs again, bearing a tray,
Might be to find you pillowed with your books,
Your inventories listing gowns and frocks
As if preparing for a holiday.
Or, turning from the landing, I might find
My presence watched through your kaleidoscope,
A symmetry of husbands, each redesigned
In lovely forms of foresight, prayer and hope.
I climb these stairs a dozen times a day
And, by the open door, wait, looking in
At where you died. My hands become a tray
Offering me, my flesh, my soul, my skin.
Grief wrongs us so. I stand, and wait, and cry
For the absurd forgiveness, not knowing why.

wildpotato's avatar

Quod est ante pedes nemo spectat, caeli scrutantur plagas.

Translation: No one regards what is before his feet when searching out the regions of the sky.

By the Roman poet Ennius, written about Thales of Miletus. Thales was the very first philosopher and mathematician (of Western thought), and the story goes that he got so caught up in his contemplation of the stars that he didn’t notice the earth in front of him and fell into a well.

Aesop, as usual, understood the tale as a moralistic warning, but I think it’s a beautiful image of the yearning for knowledge. Thales was fine, by the way, and the story is probably a reference to an experiment involving star-viewing from a well.

gailcalled's avatar

@wildpotato: I knew I could count on you to get my morning off to a good start. Is the star-viewing well story apocryphal? Has it been replicated. Any deep wells near you?

Well, how about my favorite joke about Décartes?

Decartes walks into a MacDonald’s.

Server asks him, “Do you want your burger with fries”?

Decartes says, “I think not” and promptly disappears.

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled Gotcha! “Descartes”

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ OMG. I have sinned; I have transgressed; I have done perversely.

Barbs666's avatar

Your prisons mean nothing to me.
Your narrow minded suspicions do not phase me.
I want to dance to the beat of the sun.
I want to cradle the moon in the arms of eternity.

wildpotato's avatar

@gailcalled Happy to oblige. And that’s a great joke. I have to dig out my copy of Plato and a Platypus one of these days. I think my favorite from the book is:
The optimist says, “This glass is half full.”
The pessimist says, “This glass is half empty.”
The logical positivist says, “This glass is twice as large as it needs to be.”

Jeruba's avatar

Faze. Do not faze me.

bkcunningham's avatar

When words aren’t enough.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^:—That little guy embodies “ebullient.”—

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