So…my10best Poems

I know.   Funny topic to start my 10best lists with.  But I have loved poetry all my life.  It is – and it should be – anything you need it to be.   It is solace, it is heroism, it is despair.  It lurches from the very ordinary to the extra-ordinary and all stops in between.

From Eliot’s life measured out in coffee spoons, to Ted Hughes’ lover with her ‘spider-bite’ smiles, to Owen’s soldiers gassed by the “devil’s sick of sin’.   Poetry gets under your skin.   It is always under mine.   These are my 10best poems of all time. Enjoy.

  1. Words, Wide Night By Carol Ann Duffy.        Best. Love. Poem. Ever.
  2. Still I Rise By Maya Angelou.    ‘I dance like I’ve got diamonds / At the meeting of my thighs’.    As should we all.
  3. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You.  By Pablo Neruda.  Love / In fire and blood.    This takes my breath away.
  4. The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock.  By T S Eliot.   Isolation, despair, thwarted desire.   A life unfulfilled.   Human voices wake us…and we drown…
  5. Love Song. By Ted Hughes.   This poem exhausts me.   All that anger, energy, passion, desire.   Love is hard to stop….
  6. When you are old.  By W. B. Yeats.   One man loved the pilgrim soul in you…
  7. The General.  By Siegfried Sassoon.     Chosen from the hundreds of incredible War Poems.   This one taken from the best collection – Up the Line to Death
  8. No worst, there is none… By Gerard Manly Hopkins.     The mind has mountains; cliffs of fall…..Hold them cheap may who ne’er hung there.
  9. The Tyger. By William Blake.   Did he smile his work to see?
  10. Keep a Poem in Your Pocket. By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers.     Because we all should.  Print this. Cut it out.  Put it in your pocket.   Or better still, your childrens’ pockets.  Or your friends’.    A dozen dreams to dance to you…

I recognise this is eclectic and by necessity self-limiting.   I know there’s no Shakespeare, or Auden, or Byron, or Shelley.   No Whitman, or Plath or Frost or Dickinson.   I hope that one or two come as a delightful surprise; and that others may act as a reminder of poems visited in your youth which you now read with a fresh perspective.

While writing this first list, I have decided upon my unifying structure for this site.  One list will inform the next through a logical, emotional, or thematic link.

Poetry is meant to be spoken aloud.  Therefore next week, my friends, I bring you my10best …. Lipsticks!

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