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Off topic: English Language Poems
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:05
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Apr 11, 2009

Does anyone have an English language poem they would like to share? I would like to start by presenting this specimen:

The Old Vicarage, Grantchester
By Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Just now the lilac is in bloom,
All before my little room;
And in my flower-beds, I think,
Smile the carnation and the pink;
And down the borders, well I know,
The poppy and the pansy blow . . .
Oh! there the chestnuts, summer through,
Beside the river make for you
A tunnel of green gloom, and sleep
Deeply above; and green and deep
The stream mysterious glides beneath,
Green as a dream and deep as death.
— Oh, damn! I know it! and I know
How the May fields all golden show,
And when the day is young and sweet,
Gild gloriously the bare feet
That run to bathe . . .
'Du lieber Gott!'
Here am I, sweating, sick, and hot,
And there the shadowed waters fresh
Lean up to embrace the naked flesh.
Temperamentvoll German Jews
Drink beer around; — and THERE the dews
Are soft beneath a morn of gold.
Here tulips bloom as they are told;
Unkempt about those hedges blows
An English unofficial rose;
And there the unregulated sun
Slopes down to rest when day is done,
And wakes a vague unpunctual star,
A slippered Hesper; and there are
Meads towards Haslingfield and Coton
Where das Betreten's not verboten.
ειθε γενοιμην . . . would I were
In Grantchester, in Grantchester! —
Some, it may be, can get in touch
With Nature there, or Earth, or such.
And clever modern men have seen
A Faun a-peeping through the green,
And felt the Classics were not dead,
To glimpse a Naiad's reedy head,
Or hear the Goat-foot piping low: . . .
But these are things I do not know.
I only know that you may lie
Day long and watch the Cambridge sky,
And, flower-lulled in sleepy grass,
Hear the cool lapse of hours pass,
Until the centuries blend and blur
In Grantchester, in Grantchester. . . .
Still in the dawnlit waters cool
His ghostly Lordship swims his pool,
And tries the strokes, essays the tricks,
Long learnt on Hellespont, or Styx.
Dan Chaucer hears his river still
Chatter beneath a phantom mill.
Tennyson notes, with studious eye,
How Cambridge waters hurry by . . .
And in that garden, black and white,
Creep whispers through the grass all night;
And spectral dance, before the dawn,
A hundred Vicars down the lawn;
Curates, long dust, will come and go
On lissom, clerical, printless toe;
And oft between the boughs is seen
The sly shade of a Rural Dean . . .
Till, at a shiver in the skies,
Vanishing with Satanic cries,
The prim ecclesiastic rout
Leaves but a startled sleeper-out,
Grey heavens, the first bird's drowsy calls,
The falling house that never falls.
God! I will pack, and take a train,
And get me to England once again!
For England's the one land, I know,
Where men with Splendid Hearts may go;
And Cambridgeshire, of all England,
The shire for Men who Understand;
And of THAT district I prefer
The lovely hamlet Grantchester.
For Cambridge people rarely smile,
Being urban, squat, and packed with guile;
And Royston men in the far South
Are black and fierce and strange of mouth;
At Over they fling oaths at one,
And worse than oaths at Trumpington,
And Ditton girls are mean and dirty,
And there's none in Harston under thirty,
And folks in Shelford and those parts
Have twisted lips and twisted hearts,
And Barton men make Cockney rhymes,
And Coton's full of nameless crimes,
And things are done you'd not believe
At Madingley on Christmas Eve.
Strong men have run for miles and miles,
When one from Cherry Hinton smiles;
Strong men have blanched, and shot their wives,
Rather than send them to St. Ives;
Strong men have cried like babes, bydam,
To hear what happened at Babraham.
But Grantchester! ah, Grantchester!
There's peace and holy quiet there,
Great clouds along pacific skies,
And men and women with straight eyes,
Lithe children lovelier than a dream,
A bosky wood, a slumbrous stream,
And little kindly winds that creep
Round twilight corners, half asleep.
In Grantchester their skins are white;
They bathe by day, they bathe by night;
The women there do all they ought;
The men observe the Rules of Thought.
They love the Good; they worship Truth;
They laugh uproariously in youth;
(And when they get to feeling old,
They up and shoot themselves, I'm told) . . .
Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester!
To smell the thrilling-sweet and rotten
Unforgettable, unforgotten
River-smell, and hear the breeze
Sobbing in the little trees.
Say, do the elm-clumps greatly stand
Still guardians of that holy land?
The chestnuts shade, in reverend dream,
The yet unacademic stream?
Is dawn a secret shy and cold
Anadyomene, silver-gold?
And sunset still a golden sea
From Haslingfield to Madingley?
And after, ere the night is born,
Do hares come out about the corn?
Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
Gentle and brown, above the pool?
And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?
Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?


(Just one thing, if someone could tell me what the Greek phrase that appears in the poem means I would be very grateful. It is "ειθε γενοιμην")


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
I enjoyed that Apr 11, 2009

I'm not much into poems, but I enjoyed that!

The Greek bit, by the way, simply means "would I were", I believe, and the poem is frequently published without it; there's a sort of an explanation in the link below, if you scroll down to 'A plate of Greek' (it' about half-way down).

http://www.languagehat.com/archives/2005_07.php


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:05
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Theodore Roethke Apr 11, 2009

Here's one of my favorites by him:

Cuttings (later)

This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?
I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it --
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.

Theodore Roethke


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:05
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
A lot from Rabbie Burns Apr 12, 2009

My all time favorite:

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!



More information on Robert Burns, one of the greatest Scotsmen ever can be found here:

http://www.rabbie-burns.com

Not only to celebrate Burns' 250th birthday but also to celebrate Scotland and all its famous contributors to culture and science Scotland is celebrating Homecoming Scotland 2009. If you have not been to Scotland, this is definitely a reason to visit it.

http://www.homecomingscotland2009.com/what-is-homecoming-scotland/robert-burns/default.html


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:05
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Another of my favourites Apr 12, 2009

I also like this one.

I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD
By William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:05
Portuguese to English
+ ...
That's one of my favorites, too. :o) Apr 12, 2009

Paul Dixon wrote:

I also like this one.

I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD
By William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)



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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:35
German to English
Contemporary Indian poetry in English Apr 13, 2009

There are quite a few Indian poets who write in English. Here is a poem by one of them:

GANDHI AND POETRY

By K. Satchidanandan

One day a lean poem
reached Gandhi's ashram
to have a glimpse of the man.
Gandhi spinning away
his thread towards Ram
took no notice of the poem
waiting at his door.
Ashamed of not being a bhajan,
the poem now cleared his throat
and Gandhi glanced at him sideways
through those glasses that had seen hell.
'Have you ever spun thread?' he asked,
'Ever pulled a scavenger's cart?
Ever stood the smoke of
an early morning kitchen?
Have you ever starved?'

The poem said: 'I was born in the woods,
in a hunter's mouth.
A fisherman brought me up
in a cottage.
Yet I know no work, I only sing.
First I sang in the courts:
then I was plump and handsome;
but am on the streets now,
half starved.'

'That's better,' Gandhi said
with a sly smile, 'But you must give up this habit
of speaking in Sanskrit at times.
Go to the fields. Listen to
the peasants' speech.'

The poem turned into a grain
and lay waiting in the fields
for the tiller to come
and upturn the virgin soil
moist with new rain.


[Edited at 2009-04-13 04:55 GMT]


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kriddl  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:05
English to German
+ ...
Here comes another one... Apr 13, 2009

Charles Tomlinson

A Rose for Janet

I know
this rose is only
an ink-and-paper rose
but see how it groes and goes
on growing
beneath your eyes:
a rose in flower
has had (almost) its vegetable hour
whilst my
rose of spaces and typography
can reappear at will
(your will)
whenever you repeat
this ceremony of the eye
from the beginning
and thus
learn how
to resurrect a rose
that's instantaneous
perennial
and perfect now

Happy Easter!


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Mihail M Mateev
Bulgaria
Local time: 00:05
Member
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
If by Rudyard Kipling Apr 13, 2009

If

by Rudyard Kipling
(written in 1895)


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


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Natalya Danilova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:05
Member (2007)
Italian to Russian
+ ...
+1 Apr 13, 2009

I've always wondered how Kipling managed to put so much wisdom in just a few lines. My favorite poem.


Mihail M Mateev wrote:

If

by Rudyard Kipling
(written in 1895)


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!



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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Probably very known, but... Apr 14, 2009

...Here it is, just as well:


The Tiger
(from "Songs of Innocence and Experience")

By William Blake*
(1757-1827)

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


--------------

* Poet, artist, printmaker/publisher

--------------

P.S.: As far as I'm concerned, it's always great that someone starts or "revives" a poetry thread, so thanks, Paul.


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Steve Thomasson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:05
Member (2012)
German to English
Not dissimilar to If... Apr 14, 2009

This is from a fairly well-known poet called Edmund Vance Cooke (1866 - 1932) who mainly wrote for children. The sentiments are similar to those in Kipling's If. Not much difference in "age" either as this was first published - as far as I am aware - in 1903. The poem is called "How Did You Die?"

I remember reading this poem once at the age of 10 (am now 28) and it hit home such that I still recall every word.

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it.
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there - that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts;
It's how did you fight - and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, e'en the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?


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