What is your favorite stanza or quote from a poem? Mine is from "Anactoria", by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 - 1909). I just love these lines.

"That I could drink thy veins as wine, and eat
Thy breasts like honey! that from face to feet
Thy body were abolished and consumed,
And in my flesh thy very flesh entombed!"

Tags: cannibalism, consumption, love, poem, poetry

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Simon, that is a great stanza. What poem is this from? You should post the entire poem as a separate discussion topic. This is great. I take it Pope was probably an atheist, or leaned that way? I know the name, of course, but not enough about him to have a full picture.
This is the first stanza of the 2nd epistle of the Essay on Man. Pope was a catholic at a time when that was decidedly not a good thing to be in England. The Essay on Man is a long poem that was intended to be part of a larger philosophical work that was incomplete at the time of his death. He was not an atheist but was a rationalist. Apparently Pope is the third most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson. This is a description of the poem gleaned from Wikipedia.

The Essay on Man consists of ten epistles that are addressed to Lord Bolingbroke. Pope presents an idea or his view on the Universe; he says that no matter how imperfect, complex, inscrutable and disturbing the Universe appears to be, it functions in a rational fashion according to the natural laws. The natural laws consider the Universe as a whole a perfect work of God. To humans it appears to be evil and imperfect in many ways; however, Pope points out that this is due to our limited mind set and limited intellectual capacity. Pope gets the message across that humans must accept our position in the "Great Chain of Being" which is at a middle stage between the angels and the beasts of the world. If we are able to accomplish this then we potentially could lead happy and virtuous lives.

One of my favorites is also from Alexander Pope, though I can not recall the context.  It must of course have been from one of his satirical pieces:

"Sir, I admit your general rule

That every poet is a fool.

But you yourself may go to show it

That every fool is not a poet."

It's been years since I've revisited Pope. Thanks for this.

I love that Pope stanza too. He deserves to be better known these days.

There are a handful of poems I remember from high school.  Some of them left a larger impression than others, but none in quite the fashion of "Patterns," by Amy Lowell.  Its final statement   Its final statement manages to be at once mildly sensual and unremittingly tragic, all at once:

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Interesting. I guess only a woman could have written that.

Thanks everyone for all the inspiring poetry. I have no business trying to hang with you artists but here I am. I'm sure many will recognize this Tennyson piece from Ulysses that has stuck with me all these years, the first 4 lines are my unfulfilled anthem:

I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.


How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breath were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

Beautiful stuff Annet, thanks for sharing this. I especially like the first four lines.

These few lines are the reason I ever began to write.

I often see flowers from a passing car
That are gone before I can tell what they are.

I want to get out of the train and go back
To see what they were beside the track.

 

 

 

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