Tuesday, July 5, 2011


These are some of my favorite poems. Top of the list is "Excelsior" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Close second is "The City of the End of Things" by Archibald Lampman. (much too long to post here but absolutely fabulous, hence the link.) And interestingly, I love this poem "Fatima" which seems so different than anything Alfred, Lord Tennyson ever wrote. "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. I think W.B Yeats should be here just because of "When You Are Old".
But today I have Robert Frost on my mind:

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no 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.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And since they are so very short, I am going to include First Fig and Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

First Fig
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!

Second Fig
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand;
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

Why do I not include some medieval poem to this list? Because most of the best ones involve swords and monsters and war and I am not in a martial mood today.


Tracy said...

It was you who recommended the Robert Frost poem to me. I love Yeats' When You Are Old, and I'll check out your other recommendations.

I've heard First Fig before, but not Second Fig!

Anachronist said...

Robert Frost sends shivers down my spine. I loved both Figs - so short, so laden with meaning! The rest I will check the other day - I am busy with a project and officially I shouldn't have been here at all (but I am a sucker for poetry)! Bad Bridget!

The Red Witch said...

I should also mention The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Walrus and the Carpenter. Notice my favorites all rhyme. I guess I am stuck on that horrible germanic stuff that Milton pronoinced inferior to the Romans.

Tracy said...

I love The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, too. Coleridge, Shelley, Keats - some of my favourite poets.

Tracy said...

Once there were multitudes of men
That built that city in their pride,
Until its might was made, and then
They withered, age by age, and died;
And now of that prodigious race
Three only in an iron tower,
Set like carved idols face to face,
Remain the masters of its power;
And at the city gate a fourth,
Gigantic and with dreadful eyes,
Sits looking toward the lightless north

Now, what does this remind me of?? I cn see why you like The City of the End of Things, Red Witch. I like Trees, too, though it's been a while since I first read it.

The Red Witch said...

It is rather like Coleridge, although Lampman was Canadian. Most of his poems are about trees and wilderness. This one is very different. Few people have ever heard of him.