My Three Favourite Poems

21 Mar

In honour of today being International Poetry Day, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite poems. I will bolden my favourite lines, but not in the first, because the whole thing is just brilliant. Enjoy!

The Sick Rose by William Blake

O Rose thou art sick. 
The invisible worm, 
That flies in the night 
In the howling storm: 
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

This is from Blake’s Songs of Experience, the partner to The Blossom in Songs of Innocence. I love this poem! I love the heartache, the secrecy, the wonderful imagery. I studied this while I was in Sixth Form, and I fell in love with this story of an affair; though my interpretation was different from others. I believed the Rose was the mistress, while my classmates believed she was the wife being cheated on. I think this is such a powerful poem, for being so short. So beautiful. What do you think?

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

I also studied this in Sixth Form. I love how certain Shakespeare is that he’s right. This sonnet is quite popular with weddings, and it’s easy to see why. But I especially love how Shakespeare talks about how love doesn’t change despite how circumstances might change, or ends because someone tries to stop it (The end of a relationship? Someone tying to intrude on a relationship?). I think those lines also speak to unrequited love. It doesn’t change, it doesn’t stop just because feelings are not returned. It’s just a poem I completely adore, and it really speaks to me.

After A While by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…

I’ve not studied this one, and I’m not so great at analysing poems on my own. It sounds like a melancholy poem, how you get hurt over and over, but to me, it’s such a positive poem. You get hurt, but you learn who you are, and what you’re willing to put up with; what you want in a relationship. And you keep learning, that really, you don’t need someone else, your self-worth isn’t based on who loves you. Does the relationship end, and then you know, or do you know, and that’s why the relationship ends? Because it wasn’t right, because you weren’t treated right? Either way, to me, it really speaks to discovering, learning, knowing yourself as an individual, making your own happiness, and not relying on anyone but yourself. It’s a hopeful poem, a poem of sadness and heartache, sure, but also of strenght and resilience, and acknowledging that strength and resilience. I really love where this poem goes as it ends.

So, what do you think of my three favourites? What are your favourite poems? Are there any poets you would recommend?


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