Poetry to fall in love with, part 2

skullandcrosstales Mad Girls Love Song by Sylvia PlathDid you know that April is National Poetry Month? It’s mainly an American thing, but I still love the idea of having a whole month dedicated to celebrating poetry.

I recently shared some works from a poet I follow on Instagram and had a great response, so thought I would share some of the ‘classics’ that I loved and studied at school and uni (keep in mind, I was still a bit ‘teenage angsty’ at that point!). I had, and still have, a huge affinity for female poets and these remain etched in my mind today. Enjoy!

Mad Girl’s Love Song - Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Because I Could not Stop for Death – Emily Dickinson 

Because I could not stop for Death–
He kindly stopped for me– 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves– 
And Immortality.

We slowly drove–He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility–

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess–in the Ring– 
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain– 
We passed the Setting Sun–

Or rather–He passed us–
The Dews drew quivering and chill–
For only Gossamer, my Gown–
My Tippet–only Tulle–

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground–
The Roof was scarcely visible–
The Cornice–in the Ground–

Since then–’tis Centuries–and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads 
Were toward Eternity– 

Heart! We Will Forget Him! – Emily Dickinson 

Heart! We will forget him!
You and I — tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave –
I will forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me
That I may straight begin!
Haste! lest while you’re lagging
I remember him!

Strange Fruit – Seamus Heaney

Here is the girl’s head like an exhumed gourd.
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.

They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty.
Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:
Her broken nose is dark as a turf clod,
Her eyeholes blank as pools in the old workings.
Diodorus Siculus confessed
His gradual ease with the likes of this:
Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible
Beheaded girl, outstaring axe
And beatification, outstaring
What had begun to feel like reverence. 

A Birthday – Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me. 

There are two more poems that I love love love, but they are quite long, so I have linked them instead - Daddy and Lady Lazarus, both by Sylvia Plath.

And to leave you on a less depressing note, my favourite line from any poem, ever:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
(from Ode on a Grecian Earn – John Keats)

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7 thoughts on “Poetry to fall in love with, part 2

  1. I love this series Rachel. The first poem by Sylvia Plath is just beautiful (actually, they’re all beautiful but it’s probably my favorite!). I’d love to read some of your poetry too! xx

  2. Pingback: Link Love 04.05.2014 | Pretty Mayhem

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