Top 25

Top 25 Poems

One side of me most don’t know, and I’m not really forthcoming about is that I write poetry.

As I stumble to find a creative release these days, I am revisiting something I enjoyed heavily in high school. I enjoy playing with words. How they sound. How they work.

Let me level with you though. It wasn’t my English teachers that taught me vocabulary. Going to public school you’re meshed in with kids who don’t care for poetry. The teachers might have used examples of poems, and some might of coaxed me into exploring my creativity.

But frankly they didn’t tell me to write a Shakespearean sonnet for the girls I crushed on back then. Though I absolutely abhor William Shakespeare, I did teach myself plenty in language, diction and the proper use of a thesaurus when one particular teacher admonished me.  Of course, writing poetry as a teen for teen girls was a doomed experiment. And even more so in university … well maybe I was focusing on the wrong women then.

Frankly, I don’t give a damn.

Anyhow, my minor in university was English. I focused on Victorian and Romantic period poetry and prose, so most of the selections here are from that period. What do I like about the Romance poets? They’re bloody epic tales that spiral out of control. Blake, Coleridge are guilty parties.

I also had a good friend read one of my favourite poems at my wedding. Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” was something that struck a chord with me.

Anyhow, I am rambling. Without further ado, my Top 25 Poems.

25. BB-Top25-Poets-Cummings Poem: All In Green
Author: E.E. Cummings
First Line: “All in green went my love riding …”
24. BB-Top25-Poets-Pope Poem: The Rape of the Lock
Author: Alexander Pope
First Line: “What dire offense from amorous causes spring …”
23. BB-Top25-Poets-Dickinson Poem: 49
Author: Emily Dickinson
First Line: “I never lost as much but twice …”
22. BB-Top25-Poets-Coleridge Poem: The Death of the Starling
Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
First Line: “Lugete, O Veneres, Cupidinesque — Catallus …” (Mourn oh Venuses and Cupids).
21. BB-Top25-Poets-Coleridge Poem: Sonnet: To The River Otter
Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
First Line: “Dear native Brook! wild Streamlet of the West!
20. BB-Top25-Poets-Blake Poem: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Author: William Blake
First Line: “Rintrah roars, and shakes his fires in the burden’d air;”
19. BB-Top25-Poets-Yeats Poem: Leda and the Swan
Author: William Butler Yeats
First Line: “A sudden blow: the great wings beating still”
18. BB-Top25-Poets-Keats Poem: Ode to a Nightingale
Author: John Keats
First Line: “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains”
17. BB-Top25-Poets-Poe Poem: Ulalume
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
First Line: “The skies they were ashen and sober;”
16. BB-Top25-Poets-Blake Poem: The Clod and Pebble
Author: William Blake
First Line: “‘Love seeketh not Itself to please,”
15. BB-Top25-Poets-Keats Poem: Hyperion (A Fragment)
Author: John Keats
First Line: “Deep in shady sadness of a vale”
14. BB-Top25-Poets-Browning Poem: My Last Duchess
Author: Robert Browning
First Line: “That’s my last duchess painted on the wall,”
13. BB-Top25-Poets-Williams Poem: The Red Wheelbarrow
Author: William Carlos Williams
First Line: “So much depends”
12. BB-Top25-Poets-Shelley Poem: Ozymandias
Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
First Line: “I met a traveler from an antique land”
11. BB-Top25-Poets-Tennyson Poem: The Kraken
Author: Alfred Tennyson
First Line: “Below the thunders of the upper deep;”
10. BB-Top25-Poets-Poe Poem: The Raven
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
First Line: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,”
9. BB-Top25-Poets-Yeats Poem: Sailing to Byzantium
Author: William Butler Yeats
First Line: “That is no country for old men. The young”
8. BB-Top25-Poets-Carroll Poem: Jabberwocky (from Through the Looking Glass)
Author: Lewis Carroll
First Line: “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves”
7. BB-Top25-Poets-Stevens Poem: 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Author: Wallace Stevens
First Line: “Among twenty snow mountains,”
6. BB-Top25-Poets-Frost Poem: The Road Not Taken
Author: Robert Frost
First Line: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood;”
5. BB-Top25-Poets-Coleridge Poem: Kubla Khan
Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
First Line: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure dome decree:”
4. BB-Top25-Poets-Thomas Poem: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Author: Dylan Thomas
First Line: “Do not go gentle into that good night.”
3. BB-Top25-Poets-Blake Poem: The Tyger
Author: William Blake
First Line: “‘Tyger! Tyger! burning bright”
2. BB-Top25-Poets-Eliot Poem: The Waste Land
Author: T.S. Eliot
First Line: (Skipping the Satyricon of Petronious) “April is the cruellest month, breeding”
1. BB-Top25-Poets-Coleridge Poem: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
First Line: “It is an ancient mariner / And he stoppeth one of three”

One Comment

  1. Good list Brian. I think four or five would be in my top 25 as well (always a sign of a good list). I found it interesting to see how many on your list and bird related content. Having pointed that out I must make the obligatory fowl pun before I fly from your blog.