We’ve seen occasional requests here or in the shoutbox for pointers to good poetry. While a lot of what makes a poem “great” or even just “good” is a matter of personal taste and interest, I thought it might be fun to just toss around a few of our favorites. Any of us might discover something new that we haven’t seen before.
I’ll start off with two examples. The first is from Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89,) an American poet and Roman Catholic priest. Hopkins was a master of sound and alliteration. Don’t be put off by the religious allusions, which are often buried so deeply that people miss them entirely. Instead try just reading aloud. The sound is fantastic. Here is the first line of “The Windhover”:
I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king- dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
For a second example, from the more bittersweet verses of A. E. Housman (1859-1936,) I’ll quote the entire poem “Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now” which appeared in his famous collection A Shropshire Lad:
LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
Anyone else, feel free to add some suggestions here.