General Question

forki's avatar

Am I not understanding poetry or is it something else?

Asked by forki (55points) June 1st, 2010

I’ve been reading some Jon Donne, T. S Elliot and I don’t see what other do, I don’t think they’re that great.
I’m I not getting something or are these just not to my taste?

Could you post poems you like so I can see if I like any of them.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

You’re not getting something.

marinelife's avatar

As @Jeruba said, you’re not getting it.

Here is a John Donne poem that I like:

“Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)
by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”

I also like Underwear by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and I sing of Olaf glad and big by ee cummings and I’m Not Lonely by Nikki Giovanni and so many others, all different, all wonderful.

6rant6's avatar

The Donne poem is woven into the play, “Wit.” If you want a hand to hold as you try to understand the poem, I’d say read that. Here’s one that might be easier. It’s from Rhode Island’s poet Laureate (who knew?) Lisa Starr

“For A Student In One Of My Basic Writing Classes

“Not only are permanent goodbyes the worse, but it is also one of the most horrible things about life in general.”

— Excerpt from a student’s essay, written, by the author’s choice, on “saying goodbye.”

May I just say that I love you, Lauren Lonucci

and that somehow your paper made me weep?

You will find the words, eventually,

you will learn to live with grief.

Surely, your diction will improve.

But your heart — your heart is home already.

My young friend, you got this sentence wrong

about eight different ways,

but that bit about ‘permanent good-byes’ —

A+, A+, A+. ”

Nullo's avatar

This one has personal significance to me (it was the cause of the only trouble that I had in high school and involved me, parents, faculty, staff, revenge, treachery, and the poem’s author), but I liked it before all that, too.

Caution: Old computer jokes ahead.
Abort, Retry, Ignore?

A parody based on E.A.Poe’s “The Raven”.
Original Version by Marcus Bales

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there doing spreadsheets.
Having reached the bottom line I took a floppy from the drawer
I then invoked the SAVE command and waited for the disk to store,
Only this and nothing more.

Deep into the monitor peering, long I sat there wond’ring, fearing.
Doubting, while the disk kept churning, turning yet to churn some more.
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token.
“Save!” I said, “You cursed mother! Save my data from before!”
One thing did the phosphors answer, only this and nothing more,
Just, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

Was this some occult illusion, some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices undesired, ones I’d never faced before.
Carefully I weighed the choices as the disk made impish noises.
The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting, baiting me to type some more.
Clearly I must press a key, choosing one and nothing more,
>From “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

With fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee, timidly, I pressed a key.
But on the screen there still persisted words appearing as before.
Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore,
Saying “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

I tried to catch the chips off guard, and pressed again, but twice as hard.
I pleaded with the cursed machine: I begged and cried and then I swore.
Now in mighty desperation, trying random combinations,
Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, angrily winking, blinking nonsense as before.
Reading, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by my own machine accosted.
Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor.
And then I saw a dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night.
A gasp of horror overtook me, shook me to my very core.
The lightning zapped my previous data, lost and gone forevermore.
Not even, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

To this day I do not know the place to which lost data go.
What demonic nether world is wrought where lost data will be stored,
Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, into black holes?
But sure as there’s C, Pascal, Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more,
You will be one day be left to wander, lost on some Plutonian shore,
Pleading, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
—Edwin Markham

skfinkel's avatar

Go to a library and check out Billy Collins. I think you will like his work.

stardust's avatar

Wonderful posts.
I believe that poetry should be felt – it should speak to your soul. If you’re reading it and trying hard to “get it” that might be the very problem. It should make your spirit dance.

The Waste Land
T.S. Eliot

my favourite part
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish?Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

gailcalled's avatar

Here is a John (sp.) Donne sonnet that I have always loved. If nothing else, remember the first five (if you count “three-personed” as one word) words. They are clear enough; and the word “you” refers always back to “God.”

John Donne



Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

gailcalled's avatar

For contrast, read the scatological poems of Jonathan Swift;

Some famous lines from his “The Lady’s Dressing Room,” written in 1732.

“Disgusted Strephon stole away
Repeating in his amorous Fits,
Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!”

susanc's avatar

May I ask a counter-question?
Do you like the lyrics of any songs? A lot?
What are they?
Why do you like them?
Look for poetry with those qualities. Ask for those qualities. Ask people to find you poems with those qualities. You’ll be rich!

zenele's avatar

Well for one understand is a Stative verb – you either understand it or you don’t.

forki's avatar

:( They still all song well not good.

gailcalled's avatar

@forki :Sorry if this sounds rude: is English your native tongue?

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther