What is your favorite poem?

In honor of National Poetry Month, what is your favorite poem? Do you enjoy writing poetry? Share a favorite that you've read, or one from your personal collection!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }


Alex Robinson April 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm


You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

-Billy Collins


Phyllis April 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

This time of year whenever I see the daffodils on the roadsides, or wherever, this poems runs in me head. I had to memorize it in high school many years ago.

William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


Marjorie shorter-ervin April 22, 2014 at 8:13 am

My favorite poem is "Trees"
I Think That I Shall Never See
A Poem Lovely As A Tree
A Tree Whose Hungry Mouth Is Prest
Against The Earth's Sweet Flowing
A Tree That Looks At God All Day
And Lifts Her Leafty Arms To Pray
A Tree That May In Summer Wear
A Nest Of Robins In Her Hair
Upon Whose Bosom Snow Has Lain
Who Intimately Lives With Rain
Poems Are Made By Fools Like Me
But Only God Make A Tree

By: Joyce Kilmer


Schunrear April 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

Good Day, I enjoyed reading "All" of the poems that were Shared & I have to say that Maya Angelo is One of My Favorites & I was Just Sooooooooooo..... Excited to See two of My Favorite Poerms that I had planned on Submitting Myself. Awesome & Thank You All for Sharing because "All" of the Poems made My Day


Ebony April 18, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Heart, we will forget him! By: Emily Dickinson

Heart, we will forget him!
You an I, tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.

When you have done, pray tell me
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! lest while you're lagging.
I may remember him!


Tyler Scheff April 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

The Laughing Heart - Charles Bukowski.
This poem has changed my perspective in life and makes me feel empowered and free.

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


Ray DePaulo April 18, 2014 at 11:38 am

Recent favorite is No Hemlock Rock, by Jennifer Michael Hecht. See it at the link: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2013/12/30

Hecht also has a current article in American Scholar on same subject (To Live is an Act of Courage)... I would have said that, after my teacher, "Life is a predicament". And after John Stuart Mill: Suicide is not an entirely self-regarding act


H. Byun April 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams (1934)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


Leticia Lyford-Pike April 18, 2014 at 10:09 am

A poem I always remember is:

This Is Just To Say

by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


Kim Herpel April 18, 2014 at 9:39 am


I am the phoenix
Cinderella rising from
ashes of my past

Kimberwind (Kim Herpel)


Robert O'Connell April 18, 2014 at 9:28 am

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and sigh


Therese April 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

I love poetry, I use to write years ago, but too busy now. My two favorites, one being Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise"

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

AND "If" by Rudyard Kipling

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!


Catherine April 18, 2014 at 10:18 am

Wow, both of those ("Rise" and "If") are fantastic! They both represent wisdom to live by. Thank you for sharing them.


Donna Doyle April 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality, from Recollections of Early Childhood"


Jennifer Keith Ciattei April 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

I love writing poetry and am lucky enough to have had some published. Here's one that appeared in the Sewanee Review:

Getting The Vapors

The warmth sneaks in. Like wind, it moves unseen,
arriving well before the creep of green,
aware it can’t be proven. Only when
two strangers nod, agree: It’s spring again,

the spell’s assigned its digits on the news,
the faintest shade of past unrest ensues,
a crueler month still safely weeks away,
yet pressing, like a deadline. There was a day

like this in many years, a moveable feast
that shambled in my sleep, the slouching beast
of the zombie woods, the urgent keen of wind,
the press of unborn leaves like breeze on skin.

On Southern lawns, pale ladies start to fall
like peonies. The heat hangs like a pall.
They take to bed, their wilting petal fans
too heavy, all at once, for their frail hands.

In town, forced joy arrives, a manic flood
of revelry for those of stronger blood
who thrive on promise. In a darker mind,
the season’s far too feral, hungry, blind.

Long winters now hang frozen on my face,
the calm behind my eyes becomes a place
of schizophrenic yammering: frogs and trees,
the awakening dead, the late-night harmonies

of birds gone crazy. Now, what steals my breath:
this horror-show of a miracle, death of death;
the implacable orbit rolls away the stone
from the mouth of the cave. I thought I was alone,

with all my wilder seasons put to rest:
To make one’s dead stay buried is the test.
I fail. You have surprised me; I inhale
a thousand ghosts. I smile, perhaps. I pale.


Melissa Stanton April 18, 2014 at 8:21 am

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


Robert O'Connell April 18, 2014 at 9:29 am



Minke April 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

I know this may be "Baltimore-centric" but I've always been captivated by Poe's "the Raven" and "The Bells". The inter-connectivity of words making the sounds ring in my head!


Kara Beckman April 18, 2014 at 8:11 am

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
By E. E. Cummings

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)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


KM May 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Michael Hedges sang/played guitar to this, amazing! Worth looking up...


Ailea Barnett April 18, 2014 at 6:36 am

Green Again
A friend once said to me
That we all are like trees
And I wasn’t sure how this applied to me
She said take a minute and listen to this analogy
Our roots are what we were taught, what were learn and our beliefs
The trunk is the product of the experiences our spirits go through
The branches are our troubles, concerns and fears
The twigs are our prayers that stretch to God from far and near
The leaves you see are my favorite part because they are our blessings
That God sends straight from His heart
And yes sometimes a few may fall to the ground
But they are yours to come back and pick up all year around
See we aren’t deciduous trees but more like evergreens
Never completely bare… because we have a gardener who cares
And in order to get through the rougher seasons & remain healthy
He has to ensure that we have access to a water supply that is good and plenty

Written By Ailea Barnett


Rose Richardson April 22, 2014 at 11:27 am

As my daughter you are one of a kind and as a poetress you are amazing!!! Keep imprinting on paper what the Creator speaks to your heart!!!


Michele April 18, 2014 at 5:44 am

My favorite poem is Phenomenal Women
by: Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou


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