Tomorrow (April 29) is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Carry a poem in your pocket; maybe you will spontaneously read poems to people all day. Maybe a spontaneous poem-sharing will result in some "sparking" as the "Luvernor" of South Carolina calls it. You never know.
Here are a few poems you might print out or copy down to carry in your pocket.
my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell
by Gwendolyn Brooks
I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, be firm till I return from hell.
I am very hungry. I am incomplete.
And none can tell when I may dine again.
No man can give me any word but Wait,
The puny light. I keep my eyes pointed in;
Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
Drag out to their last dregs and I resume
On such legs as are left me, in such heart
As I can manage, remember to go home,
My taste will not have turned insensitive
To honey and bread old purity could love.
Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art
by John Keats
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
When I have Fears that I May Cease to Be
by John Keats
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the fairy power
Of unreflecting love--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
by Claude McKay
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
For more poems for your pocket, go here:
Thanks for all these poems. I really like them.
And this is why I thought of you for this:
I am honored!
Loved the poems. I adore poetry.
When I was a freshman in college I had an English Lit professor who loved Keats, and taught her class to love Keats too. The first thing I read was "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" and I was hooked for life. We probably all were. I've thought about her many times over the vast decades. She gave her class a lasting gift.
i love these! bright star is one of my favorite from keats. i was just re reading some of shelley's adonais on the death of keats--haunting.
What a neat, unexpected selection! It's been ages since I've read Keats. I always thought that he was the best of the Romantic poets, but upon rereading was struck by the richness (and density) of his work. Thanks.
i find poetry intimidating, i've decided. so i hope you keep talking about it, because you're helping me get over that.
i just gave your blog an award, and will be doing a little post about why i like it at some point over the next month, if that's cool.
hello! i have an award for you too! i have no idea how to link to it but it is on my blog!
Love the Keats poem!
and then i forgot to mention the part where i think you are supposed to pass the award on to seven blogs you like!
Ben, I'm very flattered--thank you!
Tom, I'm very partial to Wordsworth, but the more I read Keats, the more I am struck by the richness you noted. There is a complexity to his lyric poems that can be masked by the surface beauty of his language. I feel, as I often do when I read and reread a particular poet, that I know his mind and see through his eyes.
Priya, thank you so much!
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