Your favourite poem?

I’m just back from picking up the shopping and noticed a vessel of some sort out in the sea. I thought it might be a tanker but my OH referred to it as a cargo ship.

Now, I would have to think long and hard to tell you what I cooked for dinner on Monday evening, but immediately I heard the word ‘cargo’ I found myself reciting word for word the poem by John Masefield which I fondly remember from 60 years ago …

“Quinquireme of Ninevah from distant Ophir”

Do you have a favourite poem?

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The poem that comes to mind is Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

As I read it again, it’s sadder than I remembered.


[quote=“butterscotch, post:2, topic:84818”

Another lovely one!

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MY favourite poem was printed on the side of a beautiful tankard I once owned, but sadly didn’t stand up to being dropped on a hard floor.

"The wondrous love of a beautiful male,
And the love of a staunch true man,
The love of a baby, unafraid,
Hath existed since life began.
But the greatest love, the love of love,
Even stronger than that of a mother,
Is the tender passionate infinite love,
Of one drunken sod for another."


Haven’t heard that one, Fruitcake!

I remember singing that poem as a song whilst I was at junior school.

My favourite part was the increased tempo when we sang,

"Dirty little coaster with salt caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the Mad-March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal, road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, ironware and cheap tin trays."


Wow - what tune did you sing it to, Fruitcake?

This, but not quite so … British.

Peter Dawson - Cargoes - YouTube

Very proper indeed! If your school was anything like mine, we would have tackled it differently too.

My favourite poem is too rude to mention on a public forum. :blush:

If by Rudyard Kipling
Two parts I especially like:

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 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:*

So many times I have read this poem to myself throughout my life. :yellow_heart:

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My favourite poem is The Tyger by William Blake The Tyger by William Blake | Poetry Foundation

I was 11 years old and my English teacher read it out in class and then we copied it into our books and illustrated it in the margin. I have loved it ever since. When I was older I began to understand the meaning behind it whilst studying it for A’ level and then I taught it to A’level students myself when we were looking at William Blake and his life and poetry. It’s always a risk teaching something you love to others in case they hate it but in this case it worked and they appeared to be as enthusiastic as I am about the poem.

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I bet that’s Eskimo Nell :roll_eyes: :smiley: :smiley:

Wrong. It’s “On the street of a thousand arseholes”. Oh, bugger, now you’ve made me mention it. :lol:

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It’s not my favourite but I have always liked The Snake by DHLawrence .


A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.


The Lady of Shallot by Tennyson.
Part I

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;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil’d
Slide the heavy barges trail’d
By slow horses; and unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken-sail’d
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower’d Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers “'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.”

Part II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower’d Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon’d baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse -
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance -
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right -
The leaves upon her falling light -
Thro’ the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song.
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken’d wholly,
Turn’d to tower’d Camelot.
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame.
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross’d themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace.
The Lady of Shalott.”

We had a challenge on the poetry forum I was a member of. Write a poem in the style of Tennyson & The Lady of Shallot. So I did…

This Road Once Lead To Camelot.

Gone, sights Tennyson saw plainly
GMT crops, bearded Barley
Combined harvesters heard clearly
Cutting, baling, binding early.
This road once lead to Camelot
The river full of rusting rubble
New houses cover where once stubble
Bringing peoples and all their trouble
Past, is the Island of Shallot.

The Lady’s legend is of yore
They didn’t believe, wanted more
Progress and greed replaced folklore
The past is dead and gone before
Lost, once strong towered Camelot
High rise apartments fill the space
Where a dream castle had such grace
Now none can ever see the face
Cursed, forgot, Lady of Shallot.

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The Lady of Shallot by Tennyson.

Tiffany, another of my favourites!


If by Rudyard Kipling

I remember my dad reciting that one.

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I used to have ot up on the wall when my children were small .