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Old 03-19-2020, 08:27 AM   #1
pdurrant
The Grand Mouse 高貴的老鼠
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Poems and Verse you know by heart

What poem or verse do you know by heart? It doesn't have to be any particular category. Just so long as you know it by heart and like it.

Please give the source of the poem if you can.

[Additions to the guidelines for this thread]

If you know more than one, I suggest posting no more than once per day.

It doesn't have to be in English, but if possible please add an English translation.

Last edited by pdurrant; 03-24-2020 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:32 AM   #2
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Here's one of the children's poem I know by heart.

The Toothless Tiger
by James Campbell
(To be recited out loud, with lips kept over your teeth, if you have any.)

I am a toothless tiger
I have a toothless grin
I catch my prey with clawless paws
And suck ’till they give in

James Campbell did (does?) "Comedy for Kids" shows. I saw him with my children about twenty years ago at the Edinburgh Fringe. More recently he writes children's books, but some CDs of his old shows can be found second-hand.

Last edited by pdurrant; 03-24-2020 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:57 AM   #3
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By Stephen Crane.

Quote:
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”
Joyce Carol Oates used the last two lines as the title of a novel, but it was already a favorite of mine.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:01 AM   #4
astrangerhere
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Invictus by William Ernest Henley


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:46 PM   #5
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Don't ignite me to write dozens of poems I know by heart! I'm singing them every now and then with my 4 yo grand-daughter, beginning with 'Ba Ba Black Sheep' to 'Old MacDonald had a Farm'.
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:14 PM   #6
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Only in English? I know a few Estonian verses by heart, but I doubt the rest of the world has ever heard of them.
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:41 PM   #7
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If Bob Dylan song lyrics are allowed:

"Forever Young" - (first verse only)

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.


And a few fragments from "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands"

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes
Oh, who do they think could bury you?
...

With your sheet-metal memory of Cannery Row
And your magazine husband who one day just had to go
And your gentleness now, which you just can't help but show
Who among them do you think would employ you?

Now you stand with your thief, you're on his parole
With your holy medallion and your fingertips now that fold
And your saintlike face and your ghostlike soul
Who among them could ever think it could destroy you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums
Should I put them by your gate
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
What poems or verse do you know by heart?...
...Please give the source of the poem if you can.
Unfortunately NZ's cultural poetry is not nearly as rich as that of our Strine speaking neighbors across the Tasman Sea, but one of NZ's better such poets was Denis Glover who died in 1980. Even then his best known poem is tied together by the call of the Australian Magpie bird . Below is one of his less well known ones and being written for children is short and easy to recall by the likes of me who do not get along well with other than straightforward cultural poetry.

It is set at Sumner Beach, Sumner being a Christchurch, NZ suburb and nearby Scarborough Head has the suburb of Scarborough on it. I suspect it was written during the 1930s or 1940. It is still in copyright everywhere so below is the first verse and a bit; if anyone is interested, the authorized whole, together with an old recording of Glover reading it, is at
https://poetryarchive.org/poem/child/

For a Child

Cave Rock is made of toffee
And the sea of lemonade
And the little waitress wavelets
Are always on parade
When cars roll down to Sumner
On a Sunday

The ice-cream mountain on the blue
Is free for anyone,
And Scarborough Head looms solid
As a tearoom tuppeny bun...
etc.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 03-19-2020 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 03-20-2020, 01:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Unfortunately NZ's cultural poetry is not nearly as rich as that of our Strine speaking neighbors across the Tasman Sea,
Maybe because you have a lesser Irish influence, I might do a quick squizz at the top dozen to see if that bears any sagacity - (what an apropos word for these times, can't recall typing it before)

Your link has: "For a Child, first published in Recent Poems (Caxton Press, 1941)"

BR
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Old 03-20-2020, 01:27 AM   #10
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Maybe because you have a lesser Irish influence, I might do a quick squizz at the top dozen to see if that bears any sagacity - (what an apropos word for these times, can't recall typing it before)...

BR
Might be something in that BR and perhaps why Denis Glover was one of the very few good ones here - if I recall correctly his father was Irish, don't know about his mother though. He was also an alcoholic for much his life and maybe that helped his poetry too; well while he managed to stay alive (he died when he fell down the steps of his home).

I actually met Denis a number of times very late in his life when I was a young student, that through a young woman who knew him and who later became my wife :-).
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:58 AM   #11
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The Grand Mouse 高貴的老鼠
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Only in English? I know a few Estonian verses by heart, but I doubt the rest of the world has ever heard of them.
Poems in any language. But if you can, an English translation would be welcome.
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Old 03-20-2020, 04:04 AM   #12
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The Grand Mouse 高貴的老鼠
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A little something by Hillaire Belloc that I came across in a school English Literature lesson, 40 years ago or so:

I am a sundial, and I make a botch
Of what is done far better by a watch

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Old 03-20-2020, 04:28 AM   #13
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Unfortunately NZ's cultural poetry is not nearly as rich as that of our Strine speaking neighbors across the Tasman Sea

What about the poetry of the indigenous people there? Did they come up with nothing in the 5 centuries or so they lived there before English speakers arrived? Or does your definition of "cultural poetry" simply not include them?
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Old 03-20-2020, 04:47 AM   #14
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There are holes in the sky
Where the rain gets in
But the holes are small
That's why rain is thin...

Spike Milligan
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Old 03-20-2020, 04:59 AM   #15
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Poems in any language. But if you can, an English translation would be welcome.
Excluding songs (poetry set to music) I only remember fragments of poems, although once upon a long ago, I did get halfway through memorising The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The most persistent fragment of poetry I remember are both from Der LattenZaun (English translation)
Quote:
Es war einmal ein Lattenzaun, mit Zwischenraum, hindurchzuschaun
It's been far too long since I was comfortable or even vaguely comfortable in German, but the sound of that opening line has never left me. Nor has the (to me) still amusing "punchline" of the final lines

Quote:
Der Architekt jedoch entfloh
nach Afri — od — Ameriko
The forced "rhyme" of the "o" endings still makes me smile, making me think of Emo Philips' song "most states", which does the same thing, with a different set of vowels.

Last edited by Uncle Robin; 03-20-2020 at 01:34 PM.
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