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Thread: What's your favourite poem?

  1. #31
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    20 Aug 03
    Drake's Drum

    DRAKE he's in his hammock an' a thousand miles away,
    (Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)
    Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay,
    An' dreamin' arl the time O' Plymouth Hoe.
    Yarnder lumes the Island, yarnder lie the ships,
    Wi' sailor lads a-dancing' heel-an'-toe,
    An' the shore-lights flashin', an' the night-tide dashin',
    He see et arl so plainly as he saw et long ago.

    Drake he was a Devon man, an' ruled the Devon seas,
    (Capten, art tha' sleepin' there below?)
    Roving' tho' his death fell, he went wi' heart at ease,
    A' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
    "Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
    Strike et when your powder's runnin' low;
    If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port o' Heaven,
    An' drum them up the Channel as we drumm'd them long ago."

    Drake he's in his hammock till the great Armadas come,
    (Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)
    Slung atween the round shot, listenin' for the drum,
    An' dreamin arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
    Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound,
    Call him when ye sail to meet the foe;
    Where the old trade's plyin' an' the old flag flyin'
    They shall find him ware and wakin', as they found him long ago!

    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.


  2. #32
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    20 Aug 03

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.


  3. #33
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    20 Aug 03

    The splendour falls on castle walls
    And snowy summits old in story:
    The long light shakes across the lakes,
    And the wild cataract leaps in glory:
    Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
    Bugle blow; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
    O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
    And thinner, clearer, farther going!
    O sweet and far from cliff and scar
    The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
    Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
    Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
    O love, they die in yon rich sky,
    They faint on hill or field or river:
    Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
    And grow for ever and for ever.
    Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
    And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.


  4. #34
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    20 Aug 03
    I wonder if I have had a favourite poem.

    The beauty of a poem enraptures me and loses me into a blissful solitude!

    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.


  5. #35
    Banned Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    24 Nov 04
    Columbia Heights, MN
    I'm not much for poetry myself, but if I had to pick it would be what chankya said: "If" by Kipling.


  6. #36
    Lei Feng Protege
    Defense Professional
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    23 Aug 05
    Arlington, VA
    here's one of my favorite (western) poems.


    To Alan Michell
    Vixi duellis nuper idoneus
    Et militavi non sine gloria

    To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
    We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
    We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
    To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
    Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
    And to-day we have naming of parts.

    This is the lower sling swivel. And this
    Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
    When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
    Which in your case you have not got. The branches
    Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
    Which in our case we have not got.

    This is the safety-catch, which is always released
    With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
    See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
    If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
    Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
    Any of them using their finger.

    And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
    Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
    Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
    Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
    The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
    They call it easing the Spring.

    They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
    If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
    And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
    Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
    Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
    For to-day we have naming of parts.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #37
    Armchair Worrier Senior Contributor bolo121's Avatar
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    19 Dec 07
    Quote Originally Posted by glyn View Post
    When the Reverend gentleman wrote that it was possible to buy laudunum at the chemist shop. What's the betting that he indulged himself?
    Id say you'd win that one man in his right mind could have written 'Into the looking glass'.

  8. #38
    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    04 Jan 07
    cheshire uk
    Quote Originally Posted by glyn View Post
    When the Reverend gentleman wrote that it was possible to buy laudunum at the chemist shop. What's the betting that he indulged himself?
    If it's anything like the so called modern art, laudanum has probably been put into our water supply rather than floride. The way some of our "leaders" act I'm sure there is an Opium Den in Westminster. Lewis Caroll would be in good company

  9. #39
    Senior Contributor Samudra's Avatar
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    01 Sep 04
    I'm a big fan of Rabindranath Tagore. The man writes such complex things in the simplest language. I never had to look for a dictionary to understand Tagore.

    Here's one of his from a novel.

    No mystery beyond the present; no striving for the impossible;
    no shadow behind the charm; no groping in the depth of the dark.
    This love between you and me is simple as a song.

    We do not stray out of all words into the ever silent; we do not raise our
    hands to the void for things beyond hope.
    It is enough what we give and we get.
    We have not crushed the joy to the utmost to wring from it the wine of pain.
    This love between you and me is simple as a song.

  10. #40
    Global Moderator
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    Albany Rifles's Avatar
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    27 Apr 07
    Prince George, VA
    It would have to be either "Stopiing By a Wood On A Snowy Eveneing" by Robert Frost

    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the Village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.

    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.

    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.

    or Robert Service's "The Creation of Sam McGee"

    Poem: The Cremation of Sam McGee
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  11. #41
    A Handsome Military Professional ShawnG's Avatar
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    03 Jan 08
    I don't care for poetry whatsoever. In fact in most aspects I despise it. I don't do metaphors and I can't interperet meaning of other people's. It was probably High School that turned me off poetry. Completely and utterly. I'd rather stab my eye with a rusty screwdriver than read poetry.

    But if I had to choose....

    "There once was a man from Bel-Air.
    He made love to his wife on the stair.
    The bannister broke
    On the 31st stroke,
    So he finished her off in mid-air!"

    Author unknown.
    "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach...just make sure you thrust upward through his ribcage."

  12. #42
    In Memoriam/OAF-Old Aggravating Fart Senior Contributor Shamus's Avatar
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    13 Apr 07
    The Dead
    Rupert Brooke

    Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
    There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
    But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
    These laid the world away; poured out the red
    Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
    Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
    That men call age; and those who would have been,
    Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

    Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
    Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain,
    Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
    And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
    And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
    And we have come into our heritage.
    These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
    Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
    The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
    And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
    These had seen movement, and heard music; known
    Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
    Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
    Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

    There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
    And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
    Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
    And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
    Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
    A width, a shining peace, under the night

    "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." Thomas Jefferson

  13. #43
    Patron mike nickeas's Avatar
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    28 Jul 07
    kipling If:

    If you can keep your head when all about you

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

    Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,

    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream--and not make dreams your master;

    If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;

    If you can meet with triumph and disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;

    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

    And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

    And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,

    And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

    Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch;

    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run--

    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

    And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

    wow! it sends shivers down my spine.

  14. #44
    An t-aimiréal chléthúil Senior Contributor crooks's Avatar
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    17 Oct 06
    Baile Átha Cliath/Dublin, again.
    Under Ben Bulben, William Butler Yeats.

    I love this poem so much, read it and I think you'll like it - the message really is carved on his grave, I was there in Spring, an utterly beautiful place.

    Swear by what the sages spoke
    Round the Mareotic Lake
    That the Witch of Atlas knew,
    Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.
    Swear by those horsemen, by those women
    Complexion and form prove superhuman,
    That pale, long-visaged company
    That air in immortality
    Completeness of their passions won;
    Now they ride the wintry dawn
    Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.

    Here's the gist of what they mean.

    Many times man lives and dies
    Between his two eternities,
    That of race and that of soul,
    And ancient Ireland knew it all.
    Whether man die in his bed
    Or the rifle knocks him dead,
    A brief parting from those dear
    Is the worst man has to fear.
    Though grave-digger's toil is long,
    Sharp their spades, their muscles strong,
    They but thrust their buried men
    Back in the human mind again.

    You that Mitchel's prayer have heard,
    "Send war in our time, O Lord!"
    Know that when all words are said
    And a man is fighting mad,
    Something drops from eyes long blind,
    He completes his partial mind,
    For an instant stands at ease,
    Laughs aloud, his heart at peace.
    Even the wisest man grows tense
    With some sort of violence
    Before he can accomplish fate,
    Know his work or choose his mate.

    Poet and sculptor, do the work,
    Nor let the modish painter shirk
    What his great forefathers did,
    Bring the soul of man to God,
    Make him fill the cradles right.
    Measurement began our might:
    Forms a stark Egyptian thought,
    Forms that gentler Phidias wrought,
    Michael Angelo left a proof
    On the Sistine Chapel roof,
    Where but half-awakened Adam
    Can disturb globe-trotting Madam
    Till her bowels are in heat,
    Proof that there's a purpose set
    Before the secret working mind:
    Profane perfection of mankind.

    Quattrocento put in print
    On backgrounds for a God or Saint
    Gardens where a soul's at ease;
    Where everything that meets the eye,
    Flowers and grass and cloudless sky,
    Resemble forms that are or seem
    When sleepers wake and yet still dream,
    And when it's vanished still declare,
    With only bed and bedstead there,
    That heavens had opened.

    Gyres run on;
    When that greater dream had gone
    Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude,
    Prepared a rest for the people of God,
    Palmer's phrase, but after that
    Confusion fell upon our thought.

    Irish poets, learn your trade,
    Sing whatever is well made,
    Scorn the sort now growing up
    All out of shape from toe to top,
    Their unremembering hearts and heads
    Base-born products of base beds.
    Sing the peasantry, and then
    Hard-riding country gentlemen,
    The holiness of monks, and after
    Porter-drinkers' randy laughter;
    Sing the lords and ladies gay
    That were beaten into clay
    Through seven heroic centuries;
    Cast your mind on other days
    That we in coming days may be
    Still the indomitable Irish.

    Under bare Ben Bulben's head
    In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
    An ancestor was rector there
    Long years ago, a church stands near,
    By the road an ancient cross.
    No marble, no conventional phrase;
    On limestone quarried near the spot
    By his command these words are cut:

    Cast a cold eye
    On life, on death.
    Horseman, pass by!

  15. #45
    Regular Bad Karma's Avatar
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    28 Jan 08
    The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

    From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
    And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
    Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
    I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
    When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

    -- Randall Jarrell

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