Of all the things today may be or bring, perhaps the one most celebrated by me is World Poetry Day. NPR did a neat little article about the 21st of March, which you can find here. In observance of World Poetry Day, I have compiled some of my favorite lines of poetry. Extra emphasis on the the word “some.” When you love and value words as much as I do, it seems to go without saying that I have an almost limitless supply of favorites poems, words, stories, novels, writers, poets, etc. But, for now, let’s focus on the poems:
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves not step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, —
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
from “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand–
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
from “A Dream Within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.
from “The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
from “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
It’s all Romeo and Juliet—
hate crimes, booty calls, political
Who’s more Tybalt than the Blue Jay?
More Mercutio than the mockingbird?
That ibis pretending to be a lawn ornament
makes a vain and stupid prince.
from “With Birds” by Erin Belieu
these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
from “Homage to My Hips” by Lucille Clifton
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in
my heart) I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
from “i carry your heart with me,” by ee cummings
Because you’ll curse
death, then make
a joke about it.
Because you’ll bring
a stack of papers
you must grade
but not grade me.
Because you have the faith
I lack and will not
from “Why I’ll Want You At My Deathbed” by Mary Makofske
On your left hand
a paper cut near your thumb.
I notice small things
because I love you so much.
“Untitled” by E. Ethelbert Miller
it’s only love
it has no coupon value
though it also does
good for nothing
throw it away
when you get
tired of it
from “It’s Just Love” by Nikki Giovanni
I loved before
Love is a skill.
from “Podcast for Bicycles” by Nikki Giovanni
And now, each night I count the stars,
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.
Nobody sings anymore.
from “Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note” by Amiri Baraka
How many times
have I repeated his lies
to the stars
How many more do I have?
The safety I find in him
it scares me
it scares me
from “Three A.M.” by Sarah Maehl
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.
from “I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You” by Pablo Neruda
Peace & Love,
P.S. It’s also World Down Syndrome Day. So sport your craziest socks to help bring awareness to the cause. And while you’re at it, read a poem or two or five.