Favorite Poems

I started collecting favorite poems in high school. I like these old poems; I think you'll enjoy them, too. My little notebook with my handwritten poems was started in 1958, it says on the first page. I kept it all these years, the edges of the pages brown with age. Now I'll share these poems here, and maybe some other favorite works by poets other than me.

Here's one for those who are married to their iPods.

A Fragment: To Music

Silver key of the fountain of tears,
Where the spirit drinks till the brain is wild;
Softest grave of a thousand fears,
Where their mother, Care, like a drowsy child,
Is laid asleep in flowers.

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

In the early 1900s, Edgar Guest wrote a daily poem for a newspaper for many years. The feature at its peak was syndicated in more than 300 newspapers. His book, "It Takes A Heap of Living," sold more than a million copies. You can still buy his books at Amazon.com, including his collected works, which I own and recommend.

It Couldn't Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That maybe it couldn't, but he would be one
Who wouldn't say no till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;"
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

By Edgar A. Guest

This one could apply to individuals, to organizations, to governments, to nations.

"...There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at its flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures."

By William Shakespeare

In our stressed-out world, is there anyone left who could actually "laugh and go," as in the following favorite poem?

I Meant To Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do, but laugh and go?

By Richard Le Galliene