Favorite poems 2

When You Are Old

by William Butler Yeats


WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.



The Song of Wandering Aengus

by William Butler Yeats


I WENT out to the hazelwood
Because a fire was in my head
Cut and peeled a hazel wand
And hooked a berry to a thread
And when white moths were on the wing
And moth-like stars were flickering out
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
And gone to blow the fire aflame
Something rustled on the floor
And someone called me by my name.
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossoms in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And vanished in the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands
I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips and take her hand
And walk through long green dappled grass
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon
The golden apples of the sun.



Saddest Poem

by Pablo Neruda


I can write the saddest lines tonight.
Write for example: ‘The night is fractured
and they shiver, blue, those stars, in the distance’
The night wind turns in the sky and sings.
I can write the saddest lines tonight.
I loved her, sometimes she loved me too.
On nights like these I held her in my arms.
I kissed her greatly under the infinite sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could I not have loved her huge, still eyes.
I can write the saddest lines tonight.
To think I don’t have her, to feel I have lost her.
Hear the vast night, vaster without her.
Lines fall on the soul like dew on the grass.
What does it matter that I couldn’t keep her.
The night is fractured and she is not with me.
That is all. Someone sings far off. Far off,
my soul is not content to have lost her.
As though to reach her, my sight looks for her.
My heart looks for her: she is not with me.
The same night whitens, in the same branches.
We, from that time, we are not the same.

I don’t love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the breeze to reach her.
Another’s kisses on her, like my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body, infinite eyes.
I don’t love her, that’s certain, but perhaps I love her.
Love is brief: forgetting lasts so long.
Since, on these nights, I held her in my arms,
my soul is not content to have lost her.
Though this is the last pain she will make me suffer,
and these are the last lines I will write for her.




by John Drinkwater


I do not think that skies and meadows are
Moral, or that the fixture of a star
Comes of a quiet spirit, or that trees
Have wisdom in their windless silences.
Yet these are things invested in my mood
With constancy, and peace, and fortitude;
That in my troubled season I can cry
Upon the wide composure of the sky,
And envy fields, and wish that I might be
As little daunted as a star or tree.



Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver


You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.




by Shiki Masaoka 


Above a hollow of rock
An ivy hangs.
One small temple.




by Kyoshi Takahama


They call this flower white peony.
Yes, but
A little red.




by Matsuo Basho


A kite floats
At the place in the sky
Where it floated yesterday.



For Yaedi

by David Ignitor


Looking out the window at the trees
and counting the leaves,
listening to a voice within
that tells me nothing is perfect
so why bother to try, I am thief
of my own time. When I die
I want it to be said that I wasted
hours in feeling absolutely useless
and enjoyed it, sensing my life
more strongly than when I worked at it.
Now I know myself from a stone
or a sledgehammer.




by W. S. Merwin


Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence



What Do I Do When Lost In The Forest?

by David Wagner


Stand still.
The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger;
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes.
It answers.
I have made this place around you,
And if you leave it 
You may come back again
No two trees are the same to raven
No two branches are the same to wren.
If what a tree or branch 
Does is lost on you,
Then you are surely lost.
Stand still.
The forest knows where you are.
You must let it find you.



Poem 657

by Emily Dickinson


I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of Eye –
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide of narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –



Snowy Night

by Mary Oliver


Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
an indeterminate number
of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.
I couldn’t tell
which one it was –
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air –
it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else’s story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable – would have hurried
over the fields
to name it – the owl, I mean.
But it’s mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out
my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,
whatever its name –
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.



Agnes' Song

by Lee chang-Dong

from the film "Poetry"


How is it over there?

How lonely is it?

Is it still glowing red at sunset?

Are the birds still singing on the way to the forest?

Can you receive the letter I dared not send?

Can I convey...

the confession I dared not make?

Will time pass and roses fade?

Now it's time to say goodbye

Like the wind that lingers and then goes,

just like shadows

To promises that never came,

to the love sealed 'till the end.


To the grass kissing my weary ankles

And to the tiny footsteps following me

It's time to say goodbye

Now as darkness falls

Will a candle be lit again?

Here I pray...

nobody shall cry...

and for you to know...

how deeply I loved you

The long wait in the middle of a hot summer day

An old path resembling my father's face

Even the lonesome wild flower shyly turning away

How deeply I loved

How my heart fluttered at hearing faint song

I bless you

Before crossing the black river

With my foul's last breath

I am beginning to dream...

a bright sunny morning...

again I awake blinded by the light...

and meet you...

standing by me.


When Death Comes

by Mary Oliver



When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes the bright coins from his purse


to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; when death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,


I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?


And therefore I look upon everything

as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I consider eternity as another possibility,


And I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular,


and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, tending, as all music does, toward silence,


and each body of a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth.


When it's over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.


When it's over, I don't want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.


I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.



by Charles Bukowski


I always resented all the years, the hours, the

minutes I gave them as a working stiff, it

actually hurt my head, my insides, it made me

dizzy and a bit crazy—I couldn't understand the 

murdering of my years


yet my fellow workers gave no signs of

agony, many of them even seemed satisfied, and

seeing them that way drove me almost as crazy

as the dull and senseless work.


I resented each minute, every minute

as it was mutilated

and nothing relieved the monotonous ever-structure.


I considered suicide.

I drank away my few leisure hours.


I worked for decades.


I lived with the worst women, they killed

what the job failed to kill.


I knew that I was dying.

something in me said, go ahead, die, sleep, become

like them, accept.


then something else in me said, no,

save the tiniest bit.

it needn't be much, just a spark.

a spark can set a while forest on fire.

just a spark.

save it.


I think I did.

I'm glad I did.

what a lucky god damned




If You Forget Me

by Pablo Neruda


I want you to know

one thing.


You know how this is:

if I look

at the crystal moon, at the red branch

of the slow autumn at my window,

if I touch

near the fire

the impalpable ash

or the wrinkled body of the log,

everything carries me to you,

as if everything that exists,

aromas, light, metals,

were little boats

that sail

toward those isles of yours that wait for me.


Well, now,

if little by little you stop loving me

I shall stop loving you, little by little.


If suddenly

you forget me

do not look for me,

for I shall already have forgotten you.


If you think it long and mad,

the wind of banners that passes through my life,

and you decide

to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots,


that on that day,

at that hour,

I shall lift my arms

and my roots will set off

to seek another land.



if each day,

each hour,

you feel that you are destined for me

with implacable sweetness,

if each day a flower

climbs up to your lips to seek me,

ah my love, ah my own,

in me all that fire is repeated,

in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,

my love feeds on your love, beloved,

and as long as you live it will be in your arms

without leaving mine.


The Sun

by Mary Oliver


Have you ever seen 
in your life 
more wonderful 

than the way the sun, 
every evening, 
relaxed and easy, 
floats toward the horizon 

and into the clouds or the hills, 
or the rumpled sea, 
and is gone –
and how it slides again 

out of the blackness, 
every morning, 
on the other side of the world, 
like a red flower 

streaming upward on its heavenly oils, 
say, on a morning in early summer, 
at its perfect imperial distance –
and have you ever felt for anything 
such wild love –
do you think there is anywhere, in any language, 
a word billowing enough 
for the pleasure 

that fills you, 
as the sun 
reaches out, 
as it warms you 

as you stand there, 
empty-handed –
or have you too 
turned from this world –

or have you too 
gone crazy 
for power, 
for things?



The House of Belonging

by David Whyte


I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
like any other.

the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
I thought

it must have been the quiet
that filled my room

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light.

The tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun had made.

This is the bright home
in which I live
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.



Still I Rise

by Maya Angelou


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 back yard.

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.



The Last Night That She Lived

by Emily Dickinson


The last night that she lived,
It was a common night,
Except the dying; this to us
Made nature different.

We noticed smallest things,—
Things overlooked before,
By this great light upon our minds
Italicized, as 'twere.

That other could exist
While she must finish quite,
A jealousy for her arose
So nearly infinite.

We waited while she passed;
It was a narrow time, 
Too jostled were our souls to speak,
At length the notice came.

She mentioned, and forgot;
Then lightly as a reed
Bent to the water, shivered scarce, 
Consented, and was dead.

And we, we placed the hair,
And drew the head erect;
And then an awful leisure was,
Our faith to regulate.



If There Is Another World

by Malena Mörling


If there is another world,
I think you can take a cab there–
or ride your old bicycle
down Junction Blvd.
past the Paris Suites Hotel 
with the Eiffel Tower on the roof 
and past the blooming Magnolia and on– 
to the corner of 168th street. 
And if you’re inclined to,
you can turn left there 
and yield to the blind
as the sign urges us– 
especially since it is a state law. 
Especially since there is a kind of moth 
here on the earth
that feeds only on the tears of horses.
Sooner or later we will all cry 
from inside our hearts.
Sooner or later even the concrete 
will crumble and cry in silence 
along with all the lost road signs. 
Two days ago 300 televisions 
washed up on a beach in Shiomachi, Japan, 
after having fallen off a ship in a storm.
They looked like so many 
over-sized horseshoe crabs 
with their screens turned down to the sand. 
And if you’re inclined to, you can continue 
in the weightless seesaw of the light
through a few more intersections 
where people inside their cars 
pass you by in space
and where you pass by them,
each car another thought—only heavier.




From the film "Before Sunrise"


Daydream delusion 
Limousine eyelash 
Oh, baby with your pretty face 
Drop a tear in my wineglass 
Look at those big eyes 
See what you mean to me 
Sweet cakes and milkshakes
I am a delusion angel 
I am a fantasy parade 
I want you to know what I think 
Don’t want you to guess anymore 
You have no idea where I came from 
We have no idea where we’re going 
Launched in life
Like branches in the river
Flowing downstream
Caught in the current
I’ll carry you. You’ll carry me
That’s how it could be
Don’t you know me? 
Don’t you know me by now?



The Snow Man

by Wallace Stevens


One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;


And have been cold a long time

To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

The spruces rough in the distant glitter


Of the January sun; and not to think

Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

In the sound of a few leaves,


Which is the sound of the land

Full of the same wind

That is blowing in the same bare place


For the listener, who listens in the snow,

And, nothing himself, beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.



The Journey

by Mary Oliver


One day you finally knew 


what you had to do and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.


Street with a Pink Corner Store

by Jorge Louis Borges


Gone into night are all the eyes from every intersection

and it's like a drought anticipating rain.

Now all roads are near,

even the road of miracles.


The wind brings with it a slow, befuddled dawn.

Dawn is our fear of doing different things

and it comes over us.

All the blessed night I have been walking

and its restlessness has left me

on this street, which could be any street.


Here again the certainty of the plains

on the horizon

and the barren terrain that fades into weeds and wire 

and the store as bright as last night's new moon.


The corner is familiar like a memory

with those spacious squares and the promise of a courtyard.

How lovely to attest to you, street of forever, since my own days have witnesses so few things!

Light draws streaks in the air.


My years have run down roads of earth and water

and you are all I feel, strong rosy street.

I think it is your walls that conceived sunrise,

store so bright in the depth of night.

I think, and the confession of my poverty

is given voice before these houses:

I have seen nothing of mountain ranges, rivers, or the sea,

but the light of Buenos Aires made itself my friend

and I shape the lines of the street.

Big long-suffering street,

you are the only music my life has understood.




by Robert Frost


OUT through the fields and woods

And over the walls I have wended;

I have climbed the hills of view

And looked at the world, and descended;

And lo, it is ended


The leaves are all dead on the ground,

Save those that the oak is keeping

To ravel them one by one

And let them go scraping and creeping

Out over the crusted snow,

When others are sleeping.


And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,

No longer blown hither and thither;

The last lone aster is gone;

The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;

The heart is still aching to seek,

But the feet question 'Whither?'


Ah, when to the heart of man

Was it ever less than a treason

To go with the drift of things,

To yield with a grace to reason,

And bow and accept the end

Of a love or a season?