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Five Memorable Poems

The Art and Craft of Writing Good Poetry | by Maxima Kahn

The Art and Craft of Writing Good Poetry | by Maxima Kahn

Poetry is a special kind of art. It's a form of magic, some might say.


Many people dislike it because they fail to understand it. Only the lucky ones are blessed with the ability to both understand and enjoy poetry. It takes a lot of artistic talent to enjoy good poems, and even more artistic talent is required to write good ones.

I'm not the one to pretend I'm good at creating poems, but I rather enjoy reading them and surrendering to the strong impact they have on my life and inner being.
In continuation, I have randomly chosen five of the famous, but also memorable poems that had a great impact on countless artistic souls out there, during the course of time. This time, I chose five talented English and American poets. For my next article about famous and memorable poems, I will make my choice among poets from other countries as well, and maybe one day I'll mention more of the English and American ones.

"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language."

— W. H. Auden

1. A Poison Tree, by William Blake.

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,--

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

five-memorable-poems

William Blake (1757 – 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker.

His famous collection of illustrated poems, The Songs of Experience, was published in 1794, and within its covers was the amazing masterpiece, a Poison Tree. Blake believed that anger had to be expressed. Therefore, the poem suggests that expressing anger should reduce the need for vengeance while bottling it up tends to have the opposite effect. Repressing the anger and dissatisfaction, according to Blake's words, inevitably leads to a cycle of negativity and even violence.

Like a famous author, Meša Selimović, once said in one of his novels, "Dissatisfaction is like a beast: powerless when it's born, terrible if it grows stronger."




2. Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

five-memorable-poems

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic.

Most people would choose to represent his other works, especially The Raven. That particular poem is an exceptional wonder, but I have chosen his other famous work of art on purpose. Annabel Lee was written in 1849 and it was published after Poe's death. It's not a happy poem, for it represents a young and strong love cut short by a tragedy. That's exactly what made it relatable to many people throughout the years; many have lost their loved ones earlier than they should. The narrator of the poem is Annabel's lover, who rages against Heaven, Earth, and Hell in his grief, only to ultimately claim their bond was so strong, and love never stops, not even after death. Love is infinite. The poem is most definitely something that offered comfort to many.

3. Hope' is the thing with feathers, by Emily Dickinson.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

five-memorable-poems

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (1830 – 1886) was an American poet.

She is mostly famous for her unconventional and unique poems about death and immortality, which is exactly what makes this poem interesting. Opposed to most of her famous poems, Hope' is a thing with feathers is written to honor the human capacity for hope in spite of all odds. Hope is represented in a form of a bird, inhabiting the human heart, and singing at all times: good or bad. According to Dickinson, hope is the feeling which gives us the courage to move on against all bad times.

4. Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

five-memorable-poems

Robert Lee Frost (1874 – 1963) was an American poet, whose work was initially published in England before it was published in the United States.

It's been said that Fire and Ice was inspired by Dante's Inferno (Canto 32). The poem brings up the everlasting questions about the end of the world: is it going to happen, when, and how? Frost wonders about the way the end will most likely happen, and he states that the world will end in either hatred or passion. Within the poem, the elemental force of fire is what represents desire, while the persistent coldness of ice represents hatred. Essentially, the poem describes human talent and capacity for self-destruction, highlighting the two of the strongest feelings people can feel in their lifetime.


5. One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

five-memorable-poems

Elizabeth Bishop (1911 – 1979) was an American poet and short-story writer.

The poem was published in 1976 as a part of Bishop's last collection of poetry, and it focuses on one special kind of art: the art of losing. It mostly centers around the theme of loss and the way in which the speaker deals with it. The author claims that nothing lasts forever, that's why loss is an inevitable part of life. Everyone will lose their memories, hopes, loved ones, dreams, even life. That's why, according to the author, there's a certain importance of practicing the art of losing, so that we can handle the true loss better when it comes.

"Always be a poet, even in prose."

— Charles Baudelaire

Comments

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on November 23, 2020:

Thank you for reading and leaving review, it means a lot to me!

Liz Westwood from UK on November 23, 2020:

This is an interesting collection of poetry. You have chosen well. I have enjoyed reading poems which are new to me.

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on November 22, 2020:

Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment, Peggy! I might make more articles about different poems in the future, as I'm a big fan of poetry.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 22, 2020:

I have always enjoyed reading Robert Frost's poetry, but I enjoyed reading all of these poems and the snippets of information about each poet. This should be the start of a fun series for you.

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