- Love poems: ‘For one night only naked in your arms’ - 14 poets pick their favourites
- More by James Weldon Johnson
- She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron (George Gordon) | Poetry Foundation
- Top poetry writing tips: Rachel Rooney
- Top 10 poems about light
I draw my veil across the stars.
She lives in New York City. Like a surgeon with a sturdy hand, May pens a succinctly textured psalm, birthing light and life against the landscape of a machine designed to punish and wound until extinction.
Love poems: ‘For one night only naked in your arms’ - 14 poets pick their favourites
The poetic craft of chant and righteous rage finds a delicate balance on the page as May threads together repetition and steel and nature as comforting as any lullaby. This is no easy feat: writing about life and fire and death and the desire for peace through air and flowers birth graveyards without the promise of losing interest, a privilege for some. Mahogany L. Browne is the author of several poetry collections and chapbooks, including Redbone Aquarius Press, She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Rankine begins the poem by collaborating with her reader.
More by James Weldon Johnson
If we trust this poem and this poet, we can immerse ourselves in the effect of the language here as opposed to the direction of the narrative. And when that trust comes into play, the rest of the poem holds greater rewards. We are more than our forms. We may potentially transcend our constructs. We are light contained and not containment. How can you not relish in such faith? She lives in Colorado.
She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron (George Gordon) | Poetry Foundation
It is an excellent teaching poem. He lives in Massachusetts. In , when she was about seven years old, the girl we have come to know as Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped from her home on the West Coast of Africa. She was transported to Boston because she was too frail to be of practical use in the physically demanding sugar plantations of the South. She learned English, Greek, and Latin. But she remained enslaved. Twelve years later, in , this same girl would become the first black person to publish a book in English.
We see it in the rhyme, the meter, in its controlled organization, and also its logic. There is an orderly series of four heroic couplets. There are the requisite nods to Christian ideals. In the mode of her time, Wheatley's poem is clean, uncorrupted. Practically dismissible, it seems so perfect. But this is not a poem to be easily dismissed. Scan it with me.
In doing so, you'll see some of the ways Wheatley uses the apparent order of the poem to reveal an entirely different line of reasoning than what might be evident at first glance. There is practically a secret code inside this poem. This all has something to do with English itself, with where stresses naturally fall in particular words, but the way that these words are put together in Wheatley's poem directs whether and how we attend to them.
Wheatley knew this. She uses the logic of the structure of metrical verse as a means toward revelation and resistance. We see this same thing throughout the poem in her use of punctuation, in her rare enjambment, in the ways she plays with allusions, and especially in the fun she has with the homonymic potential of the English language. Wheatley revels in the ways that something can appear to have one conclusion and also another.
This neoclassical poem, written by an enslaved young woman, barely out of her teens, is rebellious even as it appears to follow all the rules. It is about the complicated blessing of being kidnapped from her home and sold into slavery in a land where she is able to learn about the order and structure of Western traditions including Christianity , and it has at its heart words, phrases, and lines that can be read completely logically in a number of ways.
At every turn, she undermines and complicates the logic to which she is bound. Being myself a protective grandmother now, I mind learning this chant as a child of eight and being seduced by the patterns and interweaving tunes of the sounds,the work concealing the lovemaking, the rhymes and inversions twisting the Irish out of the English. Enda Wyley Some of the finest, most moving love poems in the world have grown out of desolation and isolation. And yet, the right love poem is strangely reassuring.
Someone else has felt like us and has actually survived to write about it. Suddenly we know we are not alone. Suddenly we can make the love poem our own. Here is a favourite, a simple four line love lyric which I have always admired. It aches with loneliness and longing and is short but unforgettable. That the poet is anonymous, adds further to the mystery of the piece written about Western wind, when will thou blow, The small rain down can rain? If my love were in my arms, And I in my bed again!
Peter Sirr When it comes to love poems I like to go back to the source of it all: the troubadours of southern France who kicked off the entire tradition of the lyric love poem as we know it, poets like Bernart de Ventadorn or Arnaut Daniel who inspired Dante so much he considered writing in Occitan.
Some of the best of the poetry was written by women. My tender beautiful cavalier when will I have you for myself? For one night only naked in your arms. It was written to his on-off lover Lily Brik.
Top poetry writing tips: Rachel Rooney
In it was revealed Lily was NKVD agent and had been informing the authorities about his disillusionment with the regime of that nice Mr Stalin. The poem was left as a note when Mayakovsky shot himself in It appeals because, big eejit that I used to be, I once had a tendency to fall for the likes of Lily. You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way streams silver through the night.
Top 10 poems about light
And, as they say, the incident is closed. Now you and I are quits. Why bother then To balance mutual sorrows, pains, and hurts.
Behold what quiet settles on the world. Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars. In hours like these, one rises to address The ages, history, and all creation. Paddy said his mother loved the poem and his father hated it. Better again. My mother smiled. My father raged. He liked his women young, he said And not half-dead. Summer When summer came My father left the house He tied a ribbon in his hair And wore a Kaftan dress. He toured the world And met a guru in Tibet.