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flutherother's avatar

What lines of poetry especially appeal to you?

Asked by flutherother (30158points) August 24th, 2010

Lines of poetry are a treasure that cannot be lost like material things. Have you any favourite lines?

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31 Answers

Zyx's avatar

One of mine:

In the building of structure,
where words lose whim.
It’s the fresh bricks falling,
that taste yellow to me.

It’s the banana blue,
under an approving moon.
Where the path is laid out,
and I’m carried by you.

muppetish's avatar

Nobody will mind if I revisit this post several times throughout the day, right? There are so many lines of poetry near and dear to my heart.

“and your very flesh shall be a great poem” – Walt Whitman

“Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul, / And sings the tune without the words, / And never stops at all,” – Emily Dickinson

“she laughed his joy she cried his grief” – E.E. Cummings

Those are my three favourite poets of the moment. Emily is the poet of my heart. She owns it completely.

marinelife's avatar

“Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.”
From The Road Not Traveled by Robert Frost

“Underwear on clothesline a great flag of freedom
Someone has escaped his Underwear
May be naked somewhere
Help!” from Underwear by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Aster's avatar

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep..
And miles to go before I sleep.
——-Walking by Woods on a Snowy Evening——R Frost

marinelife's avatar

@Aster Please give the attribution.

Austinlad's avatar

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!

_From “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My favorite-just because


It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Edgar Allan Poe

muppetish's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I was going to post “And neither the angels in heaven above, / Nor the demons down under the sea, / Can ever dissever my soul from the soul / Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;” – it’s one of my favourite verses by Poe.. the rhyme gives it such a quietly romantic sound.

I’m also really fond of Chaucer’s introduction to the Canterbury Tales (which I had to memorize, in Middle English, for an English course):

“Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. ”

I’d be utterly delighted if some users here would record themselves reciting it :)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@muppetish—I first read it when I was a little girl and still love it.I also like Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”—:)

Austinlad's avatar


Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.

From “The Death of a Hired Man” by Robert Frost

Aster's avatar

it said “lines of ” poetry . So we get the entire poem. /-:

absalom's avatar

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.


muppetish's avatar

@absalom I love that poem! “We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown / Till human voices wake us, and we drown.” is another good one.

flutherother's avatar

The Little White Rose

The rose of all the world is not for me.
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet—and breaks the heart.

Hugh Macdiarmid

stardust's avatar

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.

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid

Invictus, William Ernest Hemley

Among others

@muppetish Love those

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

“Burnt Norton” V
by T.S. Eliot

Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.

Actually, I love all of Eliot’s Four Quartets that “Burnt Norton” comes from.

muppetish's avatar

@stardust The Waste Land was the second poem by T.S. Eliot I ever read and I’m quite fond of it as a result (the first was “Macavity” from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, though I didn’t know it was his poem at the time.)

@hawaii_jake My American Literature professor recited excerpts from “Burnt Norton” at his son’s funeral. It’s all I can think about when I read the poem now. My favourite line is, “Except for the point, the still point, / There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”

A few more lines:

“you can watch
this fool still with his harmonica
playing elegiac tunes while
slouching toward Nirvana
expectation or
—“Poem for Nobody” by Charles Bukowski

“do Not create anything. it will be
misinterpreted. it will not change.
it will follow you the
rest of your life.”
—“Advice For Geraldine On Her Miscellaneous Birthday” by Bob Dylan

aprilsimnel's avatar

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow

T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

janbb's avatar

‘And I walked abroad in a shower of all my days”

-from Dylan Thomas’ “Poem in October”

I also love Eliot’s Four Quartets.

Haleth's avatar

Till we watch the last low star,
Let us love and let us take
Of each other all we are.
On some morning with that star
One of us shall lie awake,
Lonely for the other’s sake.
-A Tent Song, Witter Bynner

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth—
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth—
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?—
If design govern in a thing so small.
-Design, Robert Frost

Trillian's avatar

I love all kinds of poets, Coleridge came to mind, I especially love the last two lines: “For he on honey-dew hath fed. And drunk the milk of paradise.

Here’s the whole lovely thing:


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 momently 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 prophesying 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.

ratboy's avatar

O hideous little bat, the size of snot,
With polyhedral eye and shabby clothes,
To populate the stinking cat you walk
The promontory of the dead man’s nose

“The Fly”—Karl Shapiro

ducky_dnl's avatar

My friend sent me this poem she found via email a few weeks after my friend passed away.

Memories of The Heart.

Feel no guilt in laughter
He knows how much you care
Feel no sorrow in a smile
That he’s not here to share.

You cannot grieve forever
He would not want you to
He’d hope that you would carry on
The way you always do.

So talk about the good times
And the ways you showed you cared
The days you spent together
All the happiness you shared.

Let the memories surround you
A word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture
A time, an hour, a day.

That brings him back as clearly
As though he were still here
And fills you with the feelings
That he is always near

For if you keep those memories
You will never be apart
And he will live forever
Locked safe within your heart

I also like this poem:

Something beautiful remains.

The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle
warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, and yet it echoes
on in sweet refrains…..
For every joy that passes,
something beautiful remains.

Zyx's avatar

@Aster That’s not how poetry works

Still think most of these are too long though, that’s just entirely missing the point. imo

Aster's avatar

Do u have any favorite LINES OF poetry was what the question stated, @Zyx . I can easily put the entire poem on here but that was not the request as you can see in the Q.

muppetish's avatar

Technically @Aster, almost none of the posts here would qualify (including your own) if we want to really get into the semantics of poetry. “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” is a line of poetry whereas:

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!”

is an entire verse of the poem. I interpreted @flutherother‘s request for “lines of poetry” as “multiple lines of a poem” that appealed to us as readers. There was no limitation on the length of poetry we select unless the original intention was to choose a singular line from the literary work.

And to conclude with a singular line from a singular poem that has a significant meaning to me, “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” – “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes.

lonelydragon's avatar

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

Francis William Bourdillon (b. 1852)

THE NIGHT has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes, 5
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.

This really speaks to where I am in life right now.

lifeflame's avatar

I’m in agreement with @Aster & @zyx.. I’m more curious about hearing specific turns of phrases that have really caught your attention. A line that stopped you cold.

I can easily name my favourite poems, but really, specific lines or specific images is harder. Here’s one that just came to mind though:

Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

from Lovesong by Ted Hughes.

Rubrica's avatar

“Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The carriage held just but ourselves
And immortality” – Emily Dickinson

That might not be quite right, I recited it from memory. The poem in it’s entirety is lovely.

Rhodentette's avatar

“The best gesture of my brain
is less than your eyelid’s flutter
which says we are for each other.” – e.e. cummings

“Have you wine and music still?
And statues and a bright-eyed love
And foolish thoughts of good and ill
And prayers to them who sit above?” – James Elroy Flecker

“From you have I been absent in the spring” – Shakespeare

flutherother's avatar

“For through the hot red tides of sin move such
fish as lose radiance at virtue’s touch.”

From Satan
By Mervyn Peake

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