My favorites from Americans’ Favorite Poems

Let us see what Americans like....

This collection isn’t actually mine. I presumed that it belonged to my husband, but the name of one of his exes is written on the inside cover.  Oops.  So, if she ever actually reads this post, knows that this is her book, and wants it back, just let us know.  Either way — it’s a great collection of the poems that apparently you’re bound to love if you’re an American.  I’m an American.  So, here are some of my favorites from the book…

One Art
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.

Mother to Son
Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

In My Craft or Sullen Art
Dylan Thomas

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

Buy this collection on Amazon.

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1 Comment

Filed under Collections, Favorites, Poetry

One response to “My favorites from Americans’ Favorite Poems

  1. All were good. Thanks for posting them. The first, a villanelle, probably speaks to everybody since we all lose things. I’ve written some villanelles and I’ll post two next week. Here’s one I’ve already posted:
    http://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/the-circle-widens-by-dennis-lange-2/

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