Melmoth Reads Poetry

Some of my favourite Poets

Emily Dickinson

Emily wrote what I consider to be some of the most beautiful of english poems. I was once asked what I would put into a capsule to be found after a nuclear war, and although I knew I should put in 'useful' items, my first reaction was -"The Complete Works Of Emily Dickinson", what else ?

More than anything else, I love poetry which combines simplicity of expression with complexity of meaning, and Dickinson's poetry excels in this category.
Also, she was so stunningly ahead of her time that you can't help but be impressed.

!New!I was going to reproduce my favourite Dickinson poem here, but choosing 'the one' was an impossible task, so here's a collection of my favourite poems instead. :)

Here's a brief collection of Emily Dickinson sites on the Web -

I once read a book of Emily's letters, from the DCU library, and I was highly impressed with her turn of phrase in some cases.
Anyway, I collected together a short list of quotations and passages.

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Walter de la Mare

I'm not 100% certain that Walter qualifies as a great poet, but I read a collection of his in school, and after that I was hooked.

My all time favourite poem, which I read as a kid, would have to be "The Listeners" which really captured my imagination when I was a kid, and started me reading poems in first place.
Indeed, there was a poll conducted recently in the UK which asked people what their favourite poem was, and "The Listeners" was second only to the much more famous "If", which is nice to know.

Link Wise there's

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Séamus Heaney

Séamus Heaney was one of those poets that an old secondary school teacher of mine was mad into. He wasn't a fan he was a fanatic.
Except for Mid Term Break, which because of the time I read it, had a very strong effect on me, the rest of the poems we read in shool were of little or no interest to us at the time. We frankly didn't care if he was having sex with his mother while peeling the potatoes, or drowning cats in his farmyard. It was school stuff - and that was that.

That is until Séamus Heaney won a Nobel Prize, after which a well meaning uncle of mine bought me a book of his poems. I felt duty bound to read this, as a presant, and so I did.

I'm still not sure about a lot of his works, but I'd now have to admit that his poems are far deeper than I first thought. He's Paddy Kavanagh, but he's not Paddy Kavanagh :)

There's a fairly comprehensive Séamus Heaney site giving some of his poetry, and speeches etc.

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson

When I was a kid back in primary school I came across a copy of Lancelot and Elaine and read it, and loved it, and learned off some quotations from it.

In the back of my mind I knew that it was but part of a larger story, yet I never bothered going to the bother of finding out.

That is until I started reading the Wheel Of Time series, by a fella called Robert Jordan, and became interested in some of the sources for the names of his characters. So, I decided to go off and learn a little more about people like Gawain, and Elaine, and Galad etc - and the best way I went about it was to read Tennyson's Idylls Of The King

!New!The above link is to the full text but I've also included my favourite quotes from this epic.

I'd strongly recommend this to all WoT fans, or indeed, to anyone. You'll need a good afternoon free to read it though !

Note: I'd draw the attention of WoT fan(atics) to Arthur's death scene, and hope they remember that the King's symbol was, of course, the Dragon :)

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Some Other Poems

I was cleaning out some junk from the bottom of a press a while back, and came across and old school copy containing the following two poems.

And here's one more poem that didn't seem to fit in any other category.

Lurking Shadows

On a dreary, moonlit country road,
John sets forth for his own abode,
Leaves rustle strangely in the breeze,
Long weeds slap against his knees.

On this barren, empty country track,
John has noticed an unnatural lack,
There's no sound of life upon this road,
No howl of dog nor call of toad.

His nostrils flare at a worrying smell,
He knows that here he should not dwell,
He soon departs with a hurried walk
But the evil has begun to stalk

He knows it now - and quickens his pace,
Terror grips his chalklike face,
A face covered with a layer of sweat,
Which clings to him - a shourd of death.

It hunts him down, he is it's prey,
What creature is this ? He cannot say,
It snatches his mind away from him,
He's at the mercy of it's every whim.

What beast is this ? He thinks with woe,
He wants to turn to face his foe;
He spins around - the road is clear!
John stands alone but for his fear.

Grá ?

D'fhanas anseo,
ag fanacht ort,
Súil le bóthar,
Ach bóthar nocht,
Mise gan tú,
Tusa gan bac,
Mise ag machnamh,
's fágtha amach,
Tréighte is cráite,
Ach fós i mo stad,
Ag fanacht go múinte,
Ag fanacht ar cad ?

The version of this that I came across didn't have the author's name attatched, but if anyone knows who wrote it, please contact me so that I can give him / her proper credit.

The Ballad Of John Waldron

The O/S teacher known as Waldron,
Was weary night and day
For half his class were failing tests,
Their pointers all astray.

Once, while he sat at his desk,
At the Nachos time of year,
Another poor grade came from them,
And he began to leer.

"Have you no brains?, you stupid sods,
No grey stuff in your heads ?"
And after cried he, "For God's sake,
They're just some simple Threads!"

He sat, and leaning on his desk,
He cursed his own bad luck;
Got up, said "Is is, is that o.k. ?"
Then opened his textbook.

Upon the time of test results,
When poor grades came once more,
The O/S teacher known as Waldron,
Stood upright on the floor.

"O o o, oh no, oh no" yet more have failed
And CA3 is near"
So he roused his class out of their sleep(),
And he taught with little care.

He taught now as he never taught;
With methods old and new,
And when the next test came around,
They needed all they knew.

"Wer, Wer, Were you happy with that?" He cried,
"All you asked we knew!!!",
The O/S teacher known as Waldron,
In Joy screamed "YeeHew!".

"When we went in and read the test,
We knew we had it made!"
The O/S teacher known as Waldron,
Knew that honours were the grades.

"He who hath made pupils like mine,
For teachers who think life's simple,
Sent one of His great miracles down,
To put in my smile a dimple".

"He who is wrapped in heavenly robes,
With Education in His care,
Had pity on the least of things,
Teaching this sad shower!".

- As adapted from "The Ballad Of Father Gilligan" by W.B. Yeats.

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Page last updated 29th of December, '98.