Poems That You Love

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
Antcliff
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Antcliff » Sat May 24, 2014 6:11 pm

Time for some of Captain Graves..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z26h2f6MRzg
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Sat May 24, 2014 6:23 pm

I hardly dare say anything about the Graves, after that line about snivelling commentary, but it's not one I've come across before.

Here's a link to one of my favourite Les Murray poems - http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/m ... ty-0560114

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by CalebMurdock » Tue May 27, 2014 2:37 am

I can't get enough of Alicia Stallings. Here is a poem which is a riot:

How the Demons Were Assimilated &
Became Productive Citizens


The demons were more beautiful than the angels.
They had no qualms about plastic surgery.
They took to wearing black: didn't show dirt
In the city like Innocence, which anyway
Couldn't be worn between Labor Day and Easter.
They tired of grudging angels their gilded hair
& had theirs done. Their complexions were so pale
The blond looked natural, only more so.
They shrunk their wings into fashionable tattoos
So cashmere suits draped better from their shoulders.
Elocution lessons turned hisses to lisps.

The demons converted. They became Episcopalian,
Name-dropped high-ups in the Company of Heaven.
As for Evil, it became too much trouble:
The demons started to shirk the menial jobs
Which like good deeds, took one among the poor,
And bruised the manicure of rose-petal nails.
They preferred to stand by & watch Evil happen,
Or offended by odors & noise, even turned away.

They had become so beautiful, even the angels
(Who never looked in mirrors to comb their hair,
Afraid to be called vain, & never bought clothes
Since the old ones didn't wear out, just got shabby)
Left the lovely demons to languish, dropping all charges
On the spoiled creatures. They were that good.

Alicia E. Stallings

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Antcliff » Wed May 28, 2014 10:38 pm

Mad Mr Swinburne did not do sense, but he did do rhythm. Robert Graves says "..the rhythm in this poem is remarkably powerful.." I ran across it just now having not seen it for years.


An Old Saying

Many waters cannot quench love,
Neither can the floods drown it.
Who shall snare or slay the white dove Faith,
whose very dreams crown it,
Gird it round with grace and peace, deep,
Warm, and pure, and soft as sweet sleep?
Many waters cannot quench love,
Neither can the floods drown it.

Set me as a seal upon thine heart,
As a seal upon thine arm.
How should we behold the days depart
And the nights resign their charm?
Love is as the soul: though hate and fear
Waste and overthrow, they strike not here.
Set me as a seal upon thine heart,
As a seal upon thine arm.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by k-j » Wed May 28, 2014 11:02 pm

Antcliff wrote:Swinburne
A genius of metre and rhyme... I went through a Swinburne phase at uni. Still think he's underrated, but I suppose he did get carried away with his technical skills, at the expense of meaning. The Yngwie Malmsteen of English poetry.
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Antcliff » Wed May 28, 2014 11:39 pm

k-j wrote:
Antcliff wrote:Swinburne
A genius of metre and rhyme... I went through a Swinburne phase at uni. Still think he's underrated, but I suppose he did get carried away with his technical skills, at the expense of meaning.
Me too. I still think a sympathetic editor could work up a selection. I was reminded of the poem today after reading a short essay by Robert Graves recalling seeing him as a child. Max Beerbohm wrote an essay about visiting him at "The Pines" which I much enjoyed years ago. I threw out my Swinburne books...rather regret it now.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by CalebMurdock » Fri May 30, 2014 3:35 pm

For David I am posting this Wilbur poem to give him a taste of Wilbur. Wilbur can be Frost-like, but he is more earthy in my opinion (although this particular poem is very Frost-like). I'll post his more famous poem about bedsheets soon.


A Storm in April

for Ben

Some winters, taking leave,
Deal us a last, hard blow,
Salting the ground like Carthage
Before they will go.

But the bright, milling snow
Which throngs the air today—
It is a way of leaving
So as to stay.

The light flakes do not weigh
The willows down, but sift
Through the white catkins, loose
As petal-drift,

Or in an up-draft lift
And glitter at a height,
Dazzling as summer’s leaf-stir
Chinked with light.

This storm, if I am right,
Will not be wholly over
Till green fields, here and there,
Turn white with clover,

And through chill air the puffs of milkweed hover.

Richard Wilbur

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Magpie Jane » Sat May 31, 2014 12:01 am

A marvellous thread, this one, full of inspiration and polychromatic poetry. Enjoyable reading, all of it; for me, especially Derek Mahon's Disused Shed (an old-time favourite), Edward Thomas' Cock-Crow, Helen MacDonald's Taxonomy, and Alicia Stalling's Demons (O wOw for that one!)

Here's one I'm very fond of:


I Went Looking For the Wild One

by Rob Lewis


I went looking for the wild one, the howler, the vatic tramp.
The one for whom the wounded hills are body burns, whose
blood is stained with the old love-wine of poet and earth,
warrior poet, slinging battle flak out at the static
shattering polite conversations everywhere.

I looked in the anthologies, listening for echoes,
traced for signs in the quarterlies, magazines, best-of's.
I learned it's been a good year for poetry. Grants and awards
keep coming in. Contests and prizes are proliferating.
The wise grey consensus counsels a return to the classics.

Meanwhile, poor scientist holds extinction
in a palm full of numbers
with nothing but data
to howl with.

*
Everything looks better by candlelight. Everything sounds more plausible on the shortwave.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Sat May 31, 2014 10:30 am

CalebMurdock wrote:For David I am posting this Wilbur poem to give him a taste of Wilbur.
Thank you, Caleb! That's very kind of you. I'll read it with interest. (I also have an anthology of American poetry somewhere, so I'll try to dig that out in case I can find any more.)

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by CalebMurdock » Sat May 31, 2014 4:03 pm

David wrote:Thank you, Caleb! That's very kind of you. I'll read it with interest. (I also have an anthology of American poetry somewhere, so I'll try to dig that out in case I can find any more.)
This is the poem that Wilbur is most famous for. Since so much of his poetry is about nature and has that Frost-like lightness, this poem (in my view) is the poem that showed he was more than just a talented Frost-wannabe.


Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

[tab]The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,[/tab]
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
``````````````Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.

[tab]Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,[/tab]
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

[tab]Now they are flying in place, conveying[/tab]
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
``````````````````````````````The soul shrinks

[tab]From all that it is about to remember,[/tab]
From the punctual rape of every blessèd day,
and cries,
``````````“Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

[tab]Yet, as the sun acknowledges[/tab]
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,

[tab]“Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;[/tab]
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating
Of dark habits,
``````````````keeping their difficult balance.”

Richard Wilbur

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by ray miller » Sat May 31, 2014 4:58 pm

Ken Smith


AFTER MR MAYHEW'S VISIT

So now the Victorians are all in heaven,
Miss Routledge and the young conservatives
chatting with the vicar, visiting again
the home for incurables who never die.

The old damp soaks through the wallpaper,
there's servant trouble, the cook
fighting drunk at the sherry, and Edith
coughing and consumptive, fainting away.

Only this time it never ends: the master
continually remarking how the weather bites cold,
the brandy flask stands empty, and the poor
are pushing to the windows like the fog.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by ray miller » Sat May 31, 2014 5:12 pm

John Cooper Clarke » Beasley Street

Far from crazy pavements -
the taste of silver spoons
A clinical arrangement
on a dirty afternoon
Where the fecal germs of Mr Freud
are rendered obsolete
The legal term is null and void
In the case of Beasley Street

In the cheap seats where murder breeds
Somebody is out of breath
Sleep is a luxury they don't need
- a sneak preview of death
Belladonna is your flower
Manslaughter your meat
Spend a year in a couple of hours
On the edge of Beasley Street

Where the action isn't
That's where it is
State your position
Vacancies exist
In an X-certificate exercise
Ex-servicemen excrete
Keith Joseph smiles and a baby dies
In a box on Beasley Street

From the boarding houses and the bedsits
Full of accidents and fleas
Somebody gets it
Where the missing persons freeze
Wearing dead men's overcoats
You can't see their feet
A riff joint shuts - opens up
Right down on Beasley Street

Cars collide, colours clash
disaster movie stuff
For a man with a Fu Manchu moustache
Revenge is not enough
There's a dead canary on a swivel seat
There's a rainbow in the road
Meanwhile on Beasley Street
Silence is the code

Hot beneath the collar
an inspector calls
Where the perishing stink of squalor
impregnates the walls
the rats have all got rickets
they spit through broken teeth
The name of the game is not cricket
Caught out on Beasley Street

The hipster and his hired hat
Drive a borrowed car
Yellow socks and a pink cravat
Nothing La-di-dah
OAP, mother to be
Watch the three-piece suite
When shit-stoppered drains
and crocodile skis
are seen on Beasley Street

The kingdom of the blind
a one-eyed man is king
Beauty problems are redefined
the doorbells do not ring
A lightbulb bursts like a blister
the only form of heat
here a fellow sells his sister
down the river on Beasley Street

The boys are on the wagon
The girls are on the shelf
Their common problem is
that they're not someone else
The dirt blows out
The dust blows in
You can't keep it neat
It's a fully furnished dustbin,
Sixteen Beasley Street

Vince the ageing savage
Betrays no kind of life
but the smell of yesterday's cabbage
and the ghost of last year's wife
through a constant haze
of deodorant sprays
he says retreat
Alsations dog the dirty days
down the middle of Beasley Street

People turn to poison
Quick as lager turns to piss
Sweethearts are physically sick
every time they kiss.
It's a sociologist's paradise
each day repeats
On easy, cheesy, greasy, queasy
beastly Beasley Street

Eyes dead as vicious fish
Look around for laughs
If I could have just one wish
I would be a photograph
on a permanent Monday morning
Get lost or fall asleep
When the yellow cats are yawning
Around the back of Beasley Street
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Magpie Jane » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:14 pm

mouse)Won
derfully is
anyone else entirely wo doesn’t
move(Moved more suddenly than)whose

tiniest smile?may Be
bigger than the fear of all
hearts never which have
(Per

haps)loved(or than
everyone that will Ever love)we
‘ve
hidden him in A leaf

and,
Opening
beautiful earth
put(only)a Leaf among dark

ness.sunlight’s
thanlike?now
Disappears
some

thing(silent:
madeofimagination
;the incredible soft)ness
(his ears(eyes


e.e. cummings
Everything looks better by candlelight. Everything sounds more plausible on the shortwave.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by CalebMurdock » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:24 am

This is a favorite poem of mine. For those who are not in the U.S., the second stanza is mostly about an incident that happened decades ago in the U.S. in which students at an Ohio university were shot by guardsmen during a demonstration.


The Odessa Steps

Old lady with the pince-nez whirling,
there on the steps, to meet the bayonets—
would she, given, in that twinkling of an
eyeglass smashed, the option, have gone home
and shut the door before the trouble started,
preferring ikon and samovar to all those changes,
promises of an upheaval far too heady
to be kept: or would she have declared
that to have died there, where the action was,
inhaling an ozone that only in transit
tastes like splendor, was to have been lucky?

Dark mother of an ailing boy, aghast
as at a long atrocity exhumed, the damp
of catacombs still on it: shade
from the same cleft that opened, halfway
around the world, on an Ohio hillside
where shots were fired—a kneeling,
incredulous dark girl’s mouthed O,
the Soviet cinema’s unconscious ape:
a runaway, picked up two years after
for loitering with intent, her moment of
pure grief, fame’s discard, an unhoused ruin.

Wheels of the upended baby carriage
flailing, there on the steps, a visionary
metaphor derailed: where are the wheels
Ezekiel saw ablaze, where are the eyes,
the voice, the noise of many waters?
Who looked for openings, for signs
of a new age beginning, finds instead
a shutdown: these gray lives’ torpor,
the labor gangs, the litter on the freeway,
fleered-at shapes of windmills gone rotten,
the Satanic millwheels still grinding.

Amy Clampitt

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:06 am

The Lost Pilot
BY JAMES TATE

for my father, 1922-1944

Your face did not rot
like the others—the co-pilot,
for example, I saw him

yesterday. His face is corn-
mush: his wife and daughter,
the poor ignorant people, stare

as if he will compose soon.
He was more wronged than Job.
But your face did not rot

like the others—it grew dark,
and hard like ebony;
the features progressed in their

distinction. If I could cajole
you to come back for an evening,
down from your compulsive

orbiting, I would touch you,
read your face as Dallas,
your hoodlum gunner, now,

with the blistered eyes, reads
his braille editions. I would
touch your face as a disinterested

scholar touches an original page.
However frightening, I would
discover you, and I would not

turn you in; I would not make
you face your wife, or Dallas,
or the co-pilot, Jim. You

could return to your crazy
orbiting, and I would not try
to fully understand what

it means to you. All I know
is this: when I see you,
as I have seen you at least

once every year of my life,
spin across the wilds of the sky
like a tiny, African god,

I feel dead. I feel as if I were
the residue of a stranger’s life,
that I should pursue you.

My head cocked toward the sky,
I cannot get off the ground,
and, you, passing over again,

fast, perfect, and unwilling
to tell me that you are doing
well, or that it was mistake

that placed you in that world,
and me in this; or that misfortune
placed these worlds in us.








~

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:17 am

Skunk Hour
by ROBERT LOWELL

For Elizabeth Bishop


Nautilus Island’s hermit
heiress still lives through winter in her Spartan cottage;
her sheep still graze above the sea.
Her son’s a bishop. Her farmer
is first selectman in our village,
she’s in her dotage.

Thirsting for
the hierarchic privacy
of Queen Victoria’s century,
she buys up all
the eyesores facing her shore,
and lets them fall.

The season’s ill--
we’ve lost our summer millionaire,
who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean
catalogue. His nine-knot yawl
was auctioned off to lobstermen.
A red fox stain covers Blue Hill.

And now our fairy
decorator brightens his shop for fall,
his fishnet’s filled with orange cork,
orange, his cobbler’s bench and awl,
there is no money in his work,
he’d rather marry.

One dark night,
my Tudor Ford climbed the hill’s skull,
I watched for love-cars. Lights turned down,
they lay together, hull to hull,
where the graveyard shelves on the town. . . .
My mind’s not right.

A car radio bleats,
‘Love, O careless Love . . . .' I hear
my ill-spirit sob in each blood cell,
as if my hand were at its throat . . . .
I myself am hell,
nobody’s here--

only skunks, that search
in the moonlight for a bite to eat.
They march on their soles up Main Street:
white stripes, moonstruck eyes’ red fire
under the chalk-dry and spar spire
of the Trinitarian Church.

I stand on top
of our back steps and breathe the rich air--
a mother skunk with her column of kittens swills the garbage pail.
She jabs her wedge-head in a cup
of sour cream, drops her ostrich tail,
and will not scare.








~

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:19 am

Dream Song 14
BY JOHN BERRYMAN

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.







~

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:20 am

Diving into the Wreck
by ADRIENNE RICH

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
Otherwise
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.











~

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Ros » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:08 am

wow, some good poems ending up here.
I'm getting a bit worried about the amount of copyright material being posted, though. I might start culling earlier posts soon.

Ros
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by CalebMurdock » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:52 am

On the other forum, the Poems You Love thread just went on and on. They are over ten pages now. Truth be told, copyrights aren't being respected on the internet, and no one is doing anything about it. That's not to say that we should be breaking copyright laws, of course.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Ros » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:55 am

CalebMurdock wrote:On the other forum, the Poems You Love thread just went on and on. They are over ten pages now. Truth be told, copyrights aren't being respected on the internet, and no one is doing anything about it. That's not to say that we should be breaking copyright laws, of course.
Indeed. Just because others are breaking the law doesn't mean I want to.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by David » Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:34 pm

Bearing copyright laws in mind (should be safe with this one, I think), and because it is a favourite - Will, of course ...

Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown of the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan;
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!

Incidentally, I've just discovered that some form of "fear" occurs 40 times in the play. It appears 48 times in Macbeth - a very fearful play, you would have thought - and 9 times in Much Ado About Nothing (to take a comedy at random). And yet Cymbeline is supposed to be a comedy too. Interesting? Yes, I thought so.

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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by CalebMurdock » Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:46 am

That poem by Shakespeare is one of my favorites.

Antcliff
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by Antcliff » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:34 am

More Algy...


Envoi

Fly, white butterflies, out to sea,
Frail pale wings for the winds to try,
Small white wings that we scarce can see
Fly.

Here and there may a chance-caught eye
Note in a score of you twain or three
Brighter or darker of tinge or dye.

Some fly light as a laugh of glee,
Some fly soft as a low long sigh:
All to the haven where each would be
Fly.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

CalebMurdock
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Re: Poems That You Love

Post by CalebMurdock » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:45 am

Who is Algy?
Last edited by CalebMurdock on Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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