I love when things come across my timeline that helps me with this little project. OutofPrintClothing.com posted on their Instagram account that it was World Poetry Day. If you have never heard of OutofPrint.com, they make products with literary themes. I love their novel t-shirts, plus they donate a book for every item you buy. I have talked about music, television, novels, movies, sports, and short stories during this project, but I have not talked about poetry.
William Wordsworth once stated that “Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge - it is as immortal as the heart of man.” That may be so, but I'm not a huge fan of poetry. I'm like most people in that I'm not going to go pick up a book of poetry and read it the same way I would read a novel. I do, however, appreciate a well-written poem that moves me. With that, here are my 15 favorite poems.
#15-"Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe: Discovered this poem in junior high school. It is such a pretty and sad poem--like Poe's life. It tells the story of a grieving lover who has lost his precious love, Annabel Lee. I had to memorize this poem for a class; I don't remember which one, but it has always stayed with me.
#14-"Mutability" by Percy Bysshe Shelley: This poem speaks to the fact that the only constant in our life is change, and how transitory our lives are. I actually wrote a paper about this one and compared it to the Kansas song "Dust in the Wind."
#13-"We are Seven" by William Wordsworth: Another school poem, but it was so beautiful. The narrator tells the story of a little girl with whom he discusses the members of her family. She tells him there are seven children, but you learn that two have passed away. Yet, she refuses to not count her lost siblings because the are no longer physically with her insisting "We are Seven."
#12-"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A longer narrative poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tells the tale an ancient mariner who is force to tell his terrible story to all who listen after his reckless actions results in the deaths of multiple men. My favorite line from this poem is "He prayeth best, who loveth best/All things both great and small;/For the dear God who loveth us,/He made and loveth all."
#11-"The Creation" by James Weldon Johnson: I discovered this work in college. Absolutely, loved it! It is recounting the Creation myth from Genesis 1-3 through the voice of a minister. It reads like the sermons that I grew up with and Sunday mornings with my grandmother.
#10-"Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson: The poem tells the story of the most popular man in a small town. What sticks with you the most is the surprise ending. Nothing ever prepares your for the ending of Richard Cory.
#9- "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot: A not so simple poem about a simple man who hesitates at life. It reminds us all that sometimes we need to take a chance, or we, too, will grow old like J. Alfred.
#8- "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe: The poem is read by school children every where, every year. Poe's narrator and his discussion with a Raven who has flown into his home. It shows the depths to which a person can sink when dealing with grief and isolation.
#7-"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley: I first became acquainted with this poem by watching the tv show A Different World. The quote "I am the master of my fate: I am the Captain of my Soul" was on a poster that appeared in the rooms of the ladies of the show. I looked up the quote and found the poem "Invictus" which is a poem about finding the strength in yourself and overcoming your fears.
#6- "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar: This poem, although written about the plight of African American people, has found a place with all who feel downtrodden and forced to be something they are not. We all show one face to the world while keeping our true selves hidden.
#5- "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou: Love this poem! It, too, is a poem of strength and dignity. It deals with self-assurance in the face of those who would see you fail. Each time they try to knock you down, rise!
#4- "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson: Nobody is not necessarily a bad thing according to Emily Dickinson. It is about being unique, being, different, and not having to be admired to have meaning to your life.
#3- "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou: I first heard this poem recited by Phylicia Rashad. Like, "Still I Rise," this poem is about being proud of who you are. It is the ultimate poem in self-confidence.
#2- "Nothing Gold can Stay" by Robert Frost: I wrote a post about why I love this poem. It just reminds us that life is transitory. Nothing is meant to remain, and we should appreciate it for the beautiful moment it was with us.
#1- "Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town" by E E Cummings: This is such a pretty little poem, which has such a deeper meaning. Anyone focuses on how we are so consumed with ourselves that we don't recognized the people around us have problems, too. It also discuss how often living the day to day we forget of dreams living our day to day and how quickly it all passes.
So, what are your favorite poems?
Until next time, "Every poem is unique but each reflects the universal in human experience,
the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time
as well as space, in the constant affirmation of humanity as a single
family."-Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO