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Time for more poetry?

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Ellen said:

"However, I saw nothing substantial, instead, a strong smell of bourgeois. And, although there is a rich collection of adj.s in the poems, the verbs and nouns in the poems seem a little bit cliche-like. I saw no wonderful image or imagination. Sentences are beautiful but don't strike or scratch me. In one word fairly good but not disdinguished."

What are your favorite poems, then?

Billy Collins

The Art of Drowning

I wonder how it all got started, this business
about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence,
could startle time into such compression, crushing
decades in the vice of your desperate, final seconds.

After falling off a steamship or being swept away
in a rush of floodwaters, wouldn't you hope
for a more leisurely review, an invisible hand
turning the pages of an album of photographs-
you up on a pony or blowing out candles in a conic hat.

How about a short animated film, a slide presentation?
Your life expressed in an essay, or in one model photograph?
Wouldn't any form be better than this sudden flash?
Your whole existence going off in your face
in an eyebrow-singeing explosion of biography-
nothing like the three large volumes you envisioned.

Survivors would have us believe in a brilliance
here, some bolt of truth forking across the water,
an ultimate Light before all the lights go out,
dawning on you with all its megalithic tonnage.
But if something does flash before your eyes
as you go under, it will probably be a fish,

a quick blur of curved silver darting away,
having nothing to do with your life or your death.
The tide will take you, or the lake will accept it all
as you sink toward the weedy disarray of the bottom,
leaving behind what you have already forgotten,
the surface, now overrun with the high travel of clouds.

--Billy Collins

Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Madhav Lakkapragada
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 03, 2000
Posts: 5040
What are your favorite poems, then?

Right now, I am trying to recollect/reciting some rhymes.

Twinkle, twinkle little star.....
Old McDonald had a farm....Eaaa Eaa O!
Mary had a little lamb, little lamb....

Just got some new CDs of rhymes for my seven month old daughter.

- m

Damn I had to correct the lyrics twice......
[ December 18, 2004: Message edited by: Madhav Lakkapragada ]

Take a Minute, Donate an Hour, Change a Life
Ray Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
The Spider and the Fly

This poem was written by Mary Howitt

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
"Oh no, no," said the little fly; "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."
"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high.
Well you rest upon my little bed?" said the spider to the fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest a while, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
"Oh no, no," said the little fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning spider to the fly: "Dear friend, what can I do
To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please to take a slice?
"Oh no, no," said the little fly; "kind sir, that cannot be:
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the spider, "you're witty and you're wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings; how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
If you'd step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say,
And, bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly;
Then came out to his door again and merrily did sing:
"Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple; there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer grew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue,
Thinking only of her crested head. Poor, foolish thing! at last
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast;
He dragged her up his winding stair, into the dismal den -
Within his little parlor - but she ne'er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words I pray you ne'er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength. – Charles Spurgeon
Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
Ach, that Billy Collins poem is meaty! I love quite a few poems, some are well known and some are written by, err...currently unknown teenagers...One of the few poems which deeply stroke me, I've posted it in another thread somewhere...never mind pasting it again.

Rabbi Ben Ezra

- Robert Browning


Not on the vulgar mass
Called "work," must sentence pass,
Things done, that took the eye and had the price;
O`er which, from level stand,
The low world laid its hand,
Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice:

But all, the world`s coarse thumb
And finger failed to plumb,
So passed in making up the main account;
All instincts immature,
All purposes unsure,
That weighed not as his work, yet swelled the man`s amount:
Thoughts hardly to be packed
Into a narrow act,
Fancies that broke through language and escaped;
All I could never be,
All, men ignored in me,
This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped.


Ahh! How disdinguished this poem is (to me)!

I'll post more later.

[ The original poems is long. For readability's sake I cut off the less interesting parts (to me). - Ellen ]
[ December 21, 2004: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
Balaji Akella
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 29, 2003
Posts: 35
Rush headlong and hard at life
or just sit at home and wait.
All things good and all the wrong
will come right to you: it's fate.

Hear the music, dance if you can.
Dress in rage or wear your jewels.
Drink your choice, nurse your fear
in this old honkytonk of fools.

From the "The Book of Counted Sorrows - Dean Koontz".

In the morning there is hope; in the afternoon, fulfillment; in the evening, memory; at night, peace.
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
Edna St. Vincent Millay(from memory, so apologies)

My candle burns at both ends,
it will not last the night,
But oh my friends,
and ah my foes,
It gives a lovely light.

This poems audible sensual tone(oh my friends, and ah my foes) is considered a reference to Edna's bisexuality. So anyway you look at it, it's pretty hot

[ December 20, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]

Java Regular Expressions
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Billy Collins


...It means treasury, but it is just a place
where words congregate with their relatives,
a big park where hundreds of family reunions
are always being held,
house, home, abode, dwelling, lodgings, and digs,
all sharing the same picnic basket and thermos;
hairy, hirsute, woolly, furry, fleecy, and shaggy
all running a sack race or throwing horseshoes,
inert, static, motionless, fixed and immobile
standing and kneeling in rows for a group photograph.

Here father is next to sire and brother close
to sibling, separated only by fine shades of meaning.
And every group has its odd cousin, the one
who traveled the farthest to be here:
astereognosis, polydipsia, or some eleven
syllable, unpronounceable substitute for the word tool.
Even their own relatives have to squint at their name tags.

I would rather see words out on their own, away
from their families and the warehouse of Roget,
wandering the world where they sometimes fall
in love with a completely different word.
Surely, you have seen pairs of them standing forever
next to each other on the same line inside a poem,
a small chapel where weddings like these,
between perfect strangers, can take place.

Read the full version at

where you can even hear the author reading it.
Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
Here is a poem my professor of Comparative Study of Chinese and Western Literature said "Almost all Americans are required to recite when they are little.". The professor himself is an expert in French literature, his English has some accent. Still, I really enjoyed his reading of this poem, and then the wonderful analysis. I liked his lectures so much that this poem became one of my favourites. His name: Prof. Mingjian Zha.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

- Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it's queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Michael Matola
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1793
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

Just so you know, apparently the second comma was not in Frost's orignal, but added later by an editor, the story goes.

In other words, Frost wasn't saying the woods have three characteristics of note:


But rather

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

The loveliness of the woods comes from their darkness and depth.
Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
Wow, this is delicate and exquisite! Thanks, MM! You are sharp! Thank you for your really good catch.

I liked this one in 1999-2000:


- E. E. Cummings

being to timelessness as it's to time,
love did no more begin than love will end;
where nothing is to breathe to stroll to swim
love is the air the ocean and the land

(do lovers suffer?all divinities
proudly descending put on deathful flesh:
are lovers glad?only their smallest joy's
a universe emerging from a wish)

love is the voice under all silences,
the hope which has no opposite in fear;
the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:
the truth more first than sun more last than star

-do lovers love?why then to heaven with hell.
Whatever sages say and fools, all's well

Ach at least over half of my favourite poems are not in English...will post more if I got really good translations.
kayal cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
"E E Cummings" reminds of the half mark that I lost in an English paper during school, because I dared to capitalize the name of a "lower-case poet - ee cummings". Now I know better.
Anyways, he has written some good stuff!
Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581

Cummings's written really good stuff, but also many boring ones (to me)...I looked for his poems because of the "Untitled" I quoted, but before long got tired of some decorations of his lines...I didn't get them...
[ December 21, 2004: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
kayal cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Probably I have read only the good stuff among his creations...
Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
The formation of a few of his poems meets java coding standard - when you code a for loop in a while loop under an if condition... , and he would split words like, say,

(just a mock, I cannot remember a concrete one ... )

Anyone enlighten me why he did that? Thank you very much in advance!
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
William Carlos Williams

This Is Just To Say

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

Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams
Kenneth Koch

I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby
and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.

Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Ted Hughes

In the beginning was Scream
Who begat Blood
Who begat Eye
Who begat Fear
Who begat Wing
Who begat Bone
Who begat Granite
Who begat Violet
Who begat Guitar
Who begat Sweat
Who begat Adam
Who begat Mary
Who begat God
Who begat Nothing
Who begat Never
Never Never Never

Who begat Crow

Screaming for Blood
Grubs, crusts


Trembling featherless elbows in the nest's filth.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits
On a lurgid bee.
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
And hooptiously drangle me
with crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon
See if I don't.

[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Ted Hughes


You're becoming quite the poetry tramp, m'dear.

Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.
- Robert Bresson
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
This is what happens when you don't keep an eye on me.

Ok, here is our revenge to Jim for having faith in Helen!

Hilaire Belloc

There was a Boy whose name was Jim;
His Friends were very good to him.
They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam,
And slices of delicious Ham,
And Chocolate with pink inside
And little Tricycles to ride,
And read him Stories through and through,
And even took him to the Zoo--
But there it was the dreadful Fate
Befell him, which I now relate.

You know--or at least you ought to know,
For I have often told you so--
That Children never are allowed
To leave their Nurses in a Crowd;
Now this was Jim's especial Foible,
He ran away when he was able,
And on this inauspicious day
He slipped his hand and ran away!

He hadn't gone a yard when--Bang!
With open Jaws, a lion sprang,
And hungrily began to eat
The Boy: beginning at his feet.
Now, just imagine how it feels
When first your toes and then your heels,
And then by gradual degrees,
Your shins and ankles, calves and knees,
Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.
No wonder Jim detested it!
No wonder that he shouted "Hi!"

The Honest Keeper heard his cry,
Though very fat he almost ran
To help the little gentleman.
"Ponto!" he ordered as he came
(For Ponto was the Lion's name),
"Ponto!" he cried, with angry Frown,
"Let go, Sir! Down, Sir! Put it down!"
The Lion made a sudden stop,
He let the Dainty Morsel drop,
And slunk reluctant to his Cage,
Snarling with Disappointed Rage.
But when he bent him over Jim,
The Honest Keeper's Eyes were dim.
The Lion having reached his Head,
The Miserable Boy was dead!

When Nurse informed his Parents, they
Were more Concerned than I can say:--
His Mother, as She dried her eyes,
Said, "Well--it gives me no surprise,
He would not do as he was told!"
His Father, who was self-controlled,
Bade all the children round attend
To James's miserable end,
And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.

Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
Nahhh, while E. E. Cummings' poems are sometimes cody, our Jim's code _is_ often poetic - Code is poetry

And, this poetic nature of Jim's code may well deeply rooted in his faith in Helen...Map you should prepare something else, say, get tickets of R. Wagner's Lohengrin for both of J&H, rather than to revenge.

Dear Helen, please don't get angry, it's a time for fun. We are teasing someone who teased you.
Warren Dew
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
Ellen Zhao:

To ask if there's some mistake.

Nitpicky, but it's "To ask if there is some mistake."

It needs the extra syllable to scan. One of the things I really like about Robert Frost's poetry is that he pays attention to meter and rhyme as well as to meaning and underlying beauty. That's probably my favorite poem too, and one of the few I've memorized ... and we did dissect it in detail in high school; I still remember the teacher insisting on us understanding why the last line is repeated.

What did you and your class get out of it?
Helen Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
This is what happens when you don't keep an eye on me.

Ok, here is our revenge to Jim for having faith in Helen!

Hilaire Belloc

There was a Boy whose name was Jim;
His Friends were very good to him.
They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam,
And slices of delicious Ham,
And Chocolate with pink inside
And little Tricycles to ride,
And read him Stories through and through,
And even took him to the Zoo--
But there it was the dreadful Fate
Befell him, which I now relate.


Hey, I just spotted this. Wasn't feeling very poetic this last week.

Thank you.

Most horrid boys in rhyme are called Jack.

Originally posted by Ellen Zhao:

Dear Helen, please don't get angry, it's a time for fun. We are teasing someone who teased you.

Jim's making up for it expounding on the length and breadth of the pelican and toucan's beak here.
[ December 24, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]

Le Cafe Mouse - Helen's musings on the web - Java Skills and Thrills
"God who creates and is nature is very difficult to understand, but he is not arbitrary or malicious." OR "God does not play dice." - Einstein
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
W. H. Auden
The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
I got the book Java Number Cruncher when I was taking the course "Numerical Algorithms" in German. This book helped my studying a lot and I really enjoyed reading this book even at bed time. Usually I'm too lazy to write non-drivel reviews for amazon.com, but I liked that book so much that I posted a review for this book on amazon and gave it five stars. (Last I checked, Mr. Jason Menard also wrote a five star review for the book. Mine was the first review for this book, the display name was "ellenfu" then. ) Then I visited the author Mr. Ronald Mak's website, and really liked it. Not only the very substantial content of his site, but also the design and arrangement. When I was building my first homepage (which was hosted by tu-kl before, then was deleted by mistake), I copied the design and arrangement from Mr. Mak's site. Even the pink/blue colour scheme.

There is a little poem on his site:

Numerical computing is dynamic!
Algorithms are stable or unstable.
They may converge or diverge.
And from their computed values,
Patterns may emerge!

I like it!
Ellen Zhao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
Saddest Poem

-Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Piet Hein

(Commutative Law)

No cow's like a horse,
And no horse like a cow.
That's one similarity

Only hoping

Only hoping isn't what
Gives us strength to cope
Let us only hope; but not
only only hope.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Elizabeth Bishop
One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
How about a couple of modern poets:

Bono, "one":

Did I ask too much?
More than a lot.
You gave me nothing,
Now it's all I got
We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
You say
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt

Bob Dylan:

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."

"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
soumya ravindranath
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 26, 2001
Posts: 300
I have grown fond of this, a part of my son's Rhymes collection

I see the moon
and the moon sees me
The moon sees the somebody
that I would like to see

God bless the moon
and god bless me
God bless the somebody
I would like to see

cutely romantic
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
subject: Time for more poetry?
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