STUDENTS' FAVORITE POEMS

Honorable Mention:
 
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot
"Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost
"Luke Havergal" by Edwin Arlington Robinson
"Poema de los dones" by Jorge Luis Borges
"Brahma" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats
 
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The Unknown Citizen

by W. H. Auden

 
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
 
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views.
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car, and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year:
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation,
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 
Ulysses
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. 5
 
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 10
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known _ cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all _ 15
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch where through
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades 20
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me 25
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire 30
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
 
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle _
Well_loved of me, discerning to fulfill 35
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail 40
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
 
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners, 45
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads _ you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil. 50
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep 55
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 60
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though 65
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are _
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. 70
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 
"precisely as unbig a why as i'm" by E.E. Cummings
 
somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frial gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
 
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have always closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, 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
 
precisely as unbig a why as i'm
(almost too small for death's because to find)
may, given perfect mercy, live a dream
larger than alive any star goes round
 
-a dream sans meaning(or whatever kills)
a giving who(no taking simply which)
a marvel every breathing creature feels
(but none can think) a learning under teach-
 
precisely as unbig as i'm a why
(almost too small for dying's huge because)
given much mercy more than even the
mercy of perfect sunlight after days
 
of dark, will climb;will blossom:will sing(like
april's own april and awake's awake)
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 

Ickle me, Tickle me, Pickle me, too

by Shel Silverstein
 
 
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Went for a ride in a flying shoe.
"Hooray!"
"What fun!"
"It's time we flew!"
Said Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.
 
Ickle was captain, and Pickle was crew
And Tickle served coffee and mulligan stew
As higher
And higher
And higher they flew,
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.
 
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too,
Over the sun and beyond the blue.
"Hold On!"
"Stay in!"
"I hope we do!"
Cried Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.
 
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Never returned to the world they knew,
And nobody
Knows what's
Happened to
Dear Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 
Reflection
by Shel Silverstein
 
Each time I see the Upside-Down Man
Standing in the water,
I look at him and start to laugh,
Although I shouldn't oughtter.
For maybe in another world
Another time
Another town,
Maybe HE is right side up
And I am upside down.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 
Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelly
 
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 
To His Coy Mistress

by Andrew Marvell

 
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day.
 
Thou by the Indian Ganges side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
that long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honor turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
 
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like a morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS

 

"Fire and Ice"
by Robert Frost
 
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 

Sonnet 130

by William Shakespeare

 
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak. Yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 
 

The Raven

by Edgar Allen Poe

 
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore -
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
 
Only this and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden who the angels name Lenore -
 
Nameless here for evermore.
 
And the liken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
" 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
 
This it is and nothing more."
 
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you" - here I opened wide the door;
 
Darkness there and nothing more.
 
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word "Lenore!"
 
Merely this and nothing more.
 
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
 
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"
 
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
 
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
 
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grime and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what they lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
 
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
 
Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Every yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird of beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
 
With such name as "Nevermore."
 
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
 
Then the bird said "Nevermore."
 
Startly at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I," "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
 
Of 'Never - nevermore.' "
 
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of your.
 
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
 
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core:
This and more I sat diving, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
 
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
 
Then, methoought, the air grew denser, presumed from an unseen censor
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from they memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
 
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
 
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by Horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"
 
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
 
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow sadden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
 
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
 
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting -
"Get thee back into the tempest of the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the best above my door!
Take thy break from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
 
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
 
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
 
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

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FAVORITE POEMS

Song of Myself

by Walt Whitman
 
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
 
I loaf and invite my soul,
I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
 
My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
 
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.
 
 
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands,
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.
 
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.
 
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark,
and say Whose?
 
What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?
They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and doe not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas'd the moment life appear'd,
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.
 
 
The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack'd in the sagging mow.
 
I am there, I help, I came stretch'd atop of the load,
I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,
I jump from the crossbeams and seize the clover and timothy,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.
 
 
The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listening close,
Find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry sky.
 
The sharp-hoof'd moose of the north, the cat on the house sill, the chickadee, the prairie dog,
The litter of the grunting sow as they tug at her teats,
 
The brood of the turkey hen and she with her half-spread wings,
I see in them and myself the same old law.
 
The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections,
They scorn the best I can do to relate them.
 
I am enamor'd of growing outdoors,
Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods,
Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses,
I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out.
 
What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me,
Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,
Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,
Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,
Scattering it freely forever.
 
 
These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original to me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,
If they are not just ass close as they are distant they are nothing,
This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This is the common air that bathes the globe.
 
 
The past and present wilt- I have fill'd them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.
 
Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening.
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)
 
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
 
I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.
 
Who has done his day's work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?
 
Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?
 
 
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering,
 
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world,
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
 
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
 
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.
 
You will hardy know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fiber your blood.
 
Failing to fetch me at first keep encourage,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 
Richard Cory
by Edwin Arlington Robinson
 
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
clean favored, and imperially slim.
 
And he was always quietly arrayed.
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.
 
And he was rich &endash; yes, richer than a king &endash;
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
 
So on he worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, on a calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 

Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

 
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
 

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FAVORITE POEMS
 

The Second Coming

by William Butler Yeats
 
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of i{Spiritus Mundi}
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
 

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FAVORITE POEMS