Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Top Ten Week: My ten favorite poems

Partly inspired by Chance (who lists the ten best poems in the English language) and partly by Tom (who lists his top ten sitcoms), I decided to do a Top Ten Week. I will do my favorites, though, because I haven't read every English-language poem or seen every situation comedy. I probably won't even do situation comedies! Each day I will list my favorite ten somethings. Since Chance inspired me, let's do my favorite poems first! We don't get enough high-falutin' culture up in you around here!

(In no particular order, because it's tough to decide exactly where I would rank these).

1. "The Hollow Men" by T. S. Eliot. Except for this one, my favorite poem EVER. Eliot is my favorite poet ever, and this one is almost perfect. "Lips that would kiss form prayers to broken stone." Holy crap, it's beautiful. I used to do this with my students in the ghetto even though I knew most of them wouldn't care or understand it. I didn't care.

2. "Lepanto" by G. K. Chesterton. I only recently discovered this poem (and I can't remember where) but I instantly fell in love with it. A long, beautifully constructed piece about the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, with wonderful rhymes, wonderful rhythms, and a wonderful sound. It deserves to be read aloud, despite its length.

3. "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I suppose it's a dull choice, because it's one of the greatest poems in history, but I have always loved this poem since I was a wee lad and first read it. I'm sure other, smarter people have brought this up, but I think it works better because Coleridge never finished it. It adds to the mystery.

4. "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Another standard, but there's a reason. One of the most stellar examples of a sonnet ever, and who can resist the ironic line, "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" Great stuff.

5. "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats. Another candidate for my favorite poem ever. This gives me chills when I read it. "What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?" Brrrr.

6. "Enigmas" by Pablo Neruda. This poem is simply beautiful and heartbreaking. It's tinged with Neruda's romanticism of the sea, and it evokes a moonlit beach and strange creatures in deep crevices. I first heard it in the movie Mindwalk, which will be on a future list!

7. "An African Elegy" by Ben Okri. The most recent poem on this list (1992), this is a beautiful poem about Africa and the hope that flourishes there. Okri is a very good poet.

8. "Locked Doors" by Anne Sexton. Sexton is my favorite female poet. She's tough to read, because she dealt with so much pain in her life, but she's freakin' brilliant. This is a very disturbing little poem.

9. "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen. Another sonnet, and as you might expect from Owen, it's kind of depressing. My favorite anti-war poem: "What passing-bells for those who die like cattle?" Horrifying and powerful.

10. "The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower" by Dylan Thomas. Another poet I love, and this poem is just creepy enough to make it more memorable than "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," even though I love that too. This is a more challenging poem, and the imagery is more disturbing. I heard a record of Thomas reading his poetry years ago. He had a cool voice.

Honorable mention (because I love more than just ten poems, and it's my blog, damn it!): "The Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop, "Epitaph on a Tyrant" by W. H. Auden, "Addressed to Haydon" by John Keats (there are apparently a few different poems by Keats called this - I like this one), and "Nire aitaren etxea defendituko dut" ("I will defend the house of my father") by Gabriel Aresti, a Basque poet.

Anyone out there have favorites they want to share?

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Blogger john sweet said...

I am shocked!!! Well, no, not really. No Galway Kinnell. No Beat poetry. No John Haag?!?! BLASPHEMER!!! No Krys? Oh, to the dog house with you.


I am going to have to pursue that poetry which I had not previously heard of.

Uncle Monster

25/7/06 8:36 AM  
Blogger Roxy said...

Christina Rossetti - Goblin Market. Evil and wicked and juicy and wonderful - so allegorical.

25/7/06 9:04 AM  
Blogger Tom the Dog said...

I'm no big poetry fan, but I did once write a short story about Coleridge and Kubla Khan, updated to modern times, where he actually finished the poem but lost the end of it because his computer got unplugged and he hadn't saved recently.

25/7/06 1:04 PM  
Blogger Krys said...

I will be mentally reciting "Ozymandias" while we are visiting Abu Simbel, or Karnak, or wherever it is that has the big freakin' statues of Ramses. Good Stuff!

25/7/06 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excuse me!! the ghetto? just kidding. I don't recall you ever hearing that poem in school.

25/7/06 10:34 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

And who might you be, Anonymous????? I never "heard" that poem in school, but I did teach it. Or at least I tried to teach it!!!!

27/7/06 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its yazil! I dont recall you ever reading that poem in school.

27/7/06 6:19 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Did you ever take my poetry class, young lady? I can't remember if you did. I think I only did that poem in one term, but I could be wrong.

27/7/06 6:32 PM  

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