You might remember, if you’ve been around here for a bit and you’re the remembering sort, that there was a time when I was posting my favorite hundred poems. I think I did five of them, and then … well, I got busy making jam and writing about my couch.
So, I’ve got 95 to go and I thought that, instead of posting entire poems, I’d post the lines that stick in my mind and see if anybody knows the poem, or wants to go and look for it or would just like me to post a link to the damned thing.
So, I’ll begin with this lot:
95. There are too many waterfalls here
Okay, okay, I’ll just tell you. Click on the number for the entire Elizabeth Bishop poem. I love the question she asks in the end — would it have been better to have stayed home? Sometimes, I think that is the best question you can ask about your life, and the hardest to answer.
94. We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan/Grayed in, and gray
I wrote a lot about Gwendolyn Brooks when I was in graduate school. And I heard her read once in Chicago. She is a remarkable poet, a great poet. Another poem, The Mother (#93), is also on my list of best poems of all time. (It is at the bottom on the link.)
92. Complacencies of the peignoir, and late/Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
Wallace Stevens. A poem everyone should read on Easter morning.
91. But what could we know, tanned white boys,
Wiping sugar and salt from our mouths,
And leaning forward to feel their song?Not much, except to feel it
Ravel us up like a wave
In the silk of white water,
Simply, sweetly, repeatedly,
And just as quickly let go.
I read this poem in the New Yorker when I lived in Los Angeles a long time ago. I love “ravel us up like a wave in the silk of white water /simply sweetly repeatedly and just as quickly let go.”
So, there you have it. A bunch of really good poems.