I am definitely guilty of not reading enough poetry. I’ve got my favourites, but this list has not been added to for quite a while. Poetry is so expressive and can be truly beautiful both in the message, and the structure. The written word alone is an art form, but poetry really brings the beauty and intricacies of language to life.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,Edgar Allan Poe – The Raven
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;”
First published in 1845, this is one of Poe’s more famous poems. It has been a favourite of mine since I first came across it. It conjures a dark and chilling atmosphere in the mind as the flow and rhythm of the words draw the reader in, trapping them in the melody. Despite the chilling atmosphere, it is a poem about loss and grief. The narrator is clearly mourning for his lost love Lenore and is trapped between wanting to remember her, and wanting to forget his pain.
“Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore.'”Edgar Allan Poe – The Raven
“Tyger Tyger, burning bright,The Tyger – William Blake
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”
I actually had to study this poem in school and that is where I fell in love with it. Published in 1794, it is possibly his most popular work. The poem has a fantastic rhythm and uses imagery, alliteration and rhyming to showcase the beauty of language. He is wondering what sort of god could create such a fearsome creature as the tiger. The god that creates the tiger must be even more fearsome than the tiger itself.
“You may shoot me with your words,Still I Rise – Maya Angelou
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
Maya Angelou remains an inspiration to us all. This is a wonderfully written poem about the struggle of being black in America, and her pride in her heritage. It was first published in 1978 and it still highly relevant today.
Better by far you should forget and smileRemember – Christina Rossetti
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Published in 1849, when Rossetti was just 19 years old, this is a beautiful poem about grief. Although it is sad, it is also uplifting. In a few short lines you are taken on a journey of your grief to the end point of acceptance. This was read at my Grandfathers funeral years ago and it stays with me still.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to seaThe Owl and the Pussy-Cat – Edward Lear
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
This is a nonsense poem by Edward Lear, first published in 1871. It tells the story of an owl and a cat who fall in love, and are married by a turkey with a ring they bought off a pig. Whats not to love about that? I enjoyed this poem as a child and I enjoy it still.
There are many more poems I love, but these few are the ones I often find myself reciting in my head, or out loud, at random points in my life. If you have any poetry you hold dear to your heart, let me know in the comments below.