Some Famous Poetry

Some Famous Poetry, with Apologies and Thanks to the Original Artists

I created this collage of short excerpts from the works of noted poets a number of years ago for a variety show I organized. It was meant to be read aloud, but it also appeared in Writer’s Digest as a challenge to readers to identify all the original sources. However you choose to experience it, I hope you enjoy it!

‘Twas the eighteenth of April in ’75.
Hardly a man is now alive, who remembers that famous day and year
When the highwayman came riding, riding, riding…
Once upon a midnight dreary
By the shores of Gitchee Goomee
By the rude bridge that arched the flood
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
He statred at the Pacific–and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.

These men were born to drill and die,
The unexplained glory flies above them.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying.
And answer echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

“Oh, Captain! My Captain!
Our fearful trip is done!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
Bury my heart at Wounded Knee!
Oh, Death, where is thy sting?”

“Courage!” he said, and pointed towards the land.
“Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere children shout…
And the goblins will get you if you don’t watch out!
…Shall we be trotting home again?”
But answer came there none.
And this was scarecely odd because they’d eaten ev’ry one.

Oh, where have you been, Lord Randall, my son?
Oh, where have you been, charming Billy?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

Come live with me and be my love!
A book of verses underneath the bough.
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou,
And thou beside me singing in the wilderness!
Crying cockles and mussels, alibe, alive-oh!
With a hey and a ho and a hey nonino!
I sing the body electric!

Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
A thing of beauty is a joy forever!
Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships?
Thou fair-hair’d angel of the evening
Thou foster child of silence and slow time,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Sumer is icumen in!

After summer merrily,
Oh Wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?
In Flanders fields the poppies blow–
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may!
Hurry up please its time
Hurry up please its time
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower,
For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love;
For I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

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