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Poetic Wanderings


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February 2014

Because this thread was originally called "Poetry Chain" it was mistaken for a "game" along the same lines as the Book or Song Chain threads, and was moved into the games thread in Anything but Books.

As it has always worked as a thread to share poems, rather than just make lists I have re-titled it and returned it to the Poetry & Drama Forum.

It will work as it has always done - rather than post a poem totally at random, each one must connect with the previous one by including a word they have in common. The linking word should stand out by being in Bold, (or capital letters)

megustaleer (moderator)


Don't know if we have enough people wandering through the poetry section to make this work, but I thought it might be interesting to try. (If it doesn't "run" - I'll come back when we reach 1000 members, and try it again :) )

This is very similar to the Book Chain or the Song Chain threads - except based on actual chunks of poetry, rather than titles. (Borrowed this from the forum at the ShipofFools website.)

The idea is that I will post up a short extract from a poem - maybe four or five lines or so, nothing too big or unwieldy. The next person to come along has to post up another extract, from a different poem, which has a word in common with the first extract. (A distinctive, interesting word, please, rather than "and" or "the", or similar ;) )

The person after that posts another extract, which has a word in common with the second persons extract.

Does that make sense?

If you post the title and poet of the extract too, then we have the chance to go away and look it up, and maybe discover some new poetry along the way. Also helpful if you can highlight for us what the repeated word is, perhaps. Extracts don't have to be the start of a poem, they can be taken from the middle or end too) I think it might be quite hard....so feel free to use such reference tools as you see fit :D - maybe better if it is a poem is one you are at least slightly familiar with though, rather than something found completely at random on Google!

If you can find extracts with several words, or a short phrase in common with the previous one, then you get tons of extra points, (though no-one is counting!) and you can go around all day feeling very smug!

So the first extract is something well known and very appropriate to the time of year:

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.

(by William Wordsworth - the title is the first line, I think, though it also gets called "Daffodils" - Click the link to read the rest of it!)

Any takers??

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Oooh, I like that. There are cherry trees all down our road, and it's started me looking forward to the blossom again.


How about something from the middle of:


The Doormouse and the Doctor , by A A Milne,




They took out their spades and they dug up the bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),

And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white)

"And now," said the Doctor, "we'll soon have you right."




Very sad ;)

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Ha! The rhythm reminds me of this delightful nonsense from Edward Lear:


'Far and few, far and few,

Are the lands where the Jumblies live;

Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,

And they went to sea in a Sieve'



I'm fond of this because it made my daughter laugh so much when I used to read it to her at bedtime

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The owl and the pussycat went to sea

In a beautiful pea green boat.

They took some honey,

And plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five pound note.


Edward Lear (as if I needed to add that)




Thanks for the Houseman quote. I get to recite him every April when the big flowering cherry in my garden is 'decked with snow'.

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Got one that links cats and boats! - 'Picnic Boat', one of Carl Sandburg's Chicago poems - short, lyrical insights into working class - and often immigrant - lives in that city in the early years of the last century.


SUNDAY night and the park policemen tell each other it

is dark as a stack of black cats on Lake Michigan.

A big picnic boat comes home to Chicago from the peach

farms of Saugatuck.

Hundreds of electric bulbs break the night's darkness, a

flock of red and yellow birds with wings at a standstill.

Running along the deck railings are festoons and leaping

in curves are loops of light from prow and stern

to the tall smokestacks.

Over the hoarse crunch of waves at my pier comes a

hoarse answer in the rhythmic oompa of the brasses

playing a Polish folk-song for the home-comers.

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I've barely heard of Carl Sandburg - I now need to go and investigate, I liked that one you've just posted. (And you saved me from having to post: "I eat me peas with honey.... ;) )


So: From the end of "Fulbright Scholars", which is the first poem in Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes.


Was it then I bought a peach? That's as I remember.

From a stall near Charing Cross Station.

It was the first peach I had ever tasted.

I could hardly believe how delicious.

At twenty-five I was dumbfounded afresh

By my ignorance of the simplest things.

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Oh, Claire, I was all set to quote from 'Cargoes' to link with the Carl Sandburg! Now I'll have to offer this, which is the first verse from 'Past and Present' by Thomas Hood.


I remember, I remember

The house where I was born,

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn;

He never came a wink too soon

Nor brought too long a day;

But now, I often wish the night

Had borne my breath away.


I first came across this poem many, many years ago in a 'Children's Treasury' of poems and stories. The first four lines are often quoted, but the rest of the poem is so clearly written from the perspective of a man regretting his past mistakes that I have always wondered what it was doing in a child's anthology!

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This is turning out to be an enjoyable thread.


Claire, I'm glad you liked the Sandburg. He doesn't waste his words and does write with a warmth toward the working people of his city.


Megustaleer, I hope there is an other opportunity for 'Cargoes' - I'm particularly fond of the final stanza of that one


Here's the next link, then. The three verses of 'Those Winter Sundays' by Robert Hayden.


Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.


I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he'd call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,


speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love's austere and lonely offices?

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Resisting the temptation to repeat the poem we started with, I offer the first few lines of Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen


What passing bells for those who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the rilfles' rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.




Re: Carl Sandeburg. I had never heard of him until a week ago, when i found some of his poems on the 'Poetry Connection's website, while looking for the poem that 'Chardot' is trying to identify. Joining BGO is already paying off!

(Maybe not for Chardot, as no-one has found the poem yet)

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Another battle related poem - but of a very very different sort....



Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Agreed to have a battle;

For Tweedledum said Tweedledee

Had spoiled his nice new rattle.


Just then flew down a monstrous crow,

As black as a tar-barrel;

Which frightened both the heroes so,

They quite forgot their quarrel.'


From Alice in Wonderland By Lewis Carrol

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I can't bring myself to quote just the one verse from this, The Donkey by G.K. Chesterton, so here's the whole thing, appropriately for the week before Palm Sunday!



When fishes flew and forests walked

And figs grew upon thorn,

Some moment when the moon was blood

Then surely I was born.


With Monstrous head and sickening cry

And ears like errant wings,

The devil's walking parody

On all four-footed things.


The tattered outlaw of the earth,

Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

I keep my secret still.


Fools! For I also had my hour;

One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

And palms beneath my feet.

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Andrew Marvell: To His Coy Mistress.


Had we but world enough, and time,

This coyness, Lady, were no crime

We would sit down and think which way

To walk and pass our long love’s day.


I like the way this thread is making me look up the rest of famous beginnings - like the "All the worlds a stage" bit that Tess quoted. It's never occurred to me to wonder what came after that, before now.

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Back to school with this one!



On either side the river lie

Long fields of barley and of rye,

That clothe the wold and meet the sky;

And thro' the field the road runs by

To many tower'd Camelot;



The beginning of (of course) The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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I met the Bishop on the road

And much said he and I.

'Those breasts are flat and fallen now,

Those veins must soon be dry;

Live in a heavenly mansion,

Not in some foul sty.'


WB Yeats - Crazy Jane Talks With the Bishop


This thread's a great idea - really challenging, i like it! :)

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Watch your thermometer, Sister,

The patient refuses to die.

The dizzy germ and the raving sperm

Can't keep his powder dry.


Second verse of 'The Life Of The Poet' by Charles Causely




Had never heard of 'Crazy Jane Talks With the Bishop', so thanks for a new poem. I expect my offering isn't too well known, either. Causely is one of my favourite poets, but this one I found by chance!

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A whole verse I am afraid because I love this poem so much


For now the lark's song has grown visible

and all that was dark is ever possible

and the morning grabs me by the heart and screams

Oh taste me! Taste me please!

And so I taste. And the clear blood hums

a tune to which the whole world might dance;

and love which often lived in vulgar forms

bubbles up through sorrow and laughing screams

Oh taste me! taste me please!


Brian Patten - Someone Coming Back

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Belinda, it's too good to disregard!

I have picked the only word that our two quotes have in common to connect them both to this:


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;


First verse of 'When You Are Old" by W.B. Yeats


Sorry it's not an interesting or distinctive word, Claire. Hope you'll turn a blind eye in this instance!

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