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Favorite Poems

Discussion in 'Other Discussions' started by Crabtownboy, Jun 13, 2015.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy Well-Known Member
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    Feb 12, 2008
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    Post here a favorite poem. Do not feel restricted to just one poem.

    Here is one I have liked since I was a teenager.

  2. padredurand

    padredurand Well-Known Member
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    Oct 25, 2004
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    The Road Not Taken

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
  3. Rolfe

    Rolfe Well-Known Member
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    May 17, 2014
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    Little birdy in the air,
    Why'd you do that in my hair?
  4. padredurand

    padredurand Well-Known Member
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    Oct 25, 2004
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    You need a infusion of culture. :flower:

    Emily Dickinson #1723

    High from the earth I heard a bird;
    He trod upon the trees
    As he esteemed them trifles,
    And then he spied a breeze,
    And situated softly
    Upon a pile of wind
    Which in a perturbation
    Nature had left behind.
    A joyous-going fellow
    I gathered from his talk,
    Which both of benediction
    And badinage partook,
    Without apparent burden,
    I learned, in leafy wood
    He was the faithful father
    Of a dependent brood;
    And this untoward transport
    His remedy for care,—
    A contrast to our respites.
    How different we are!
  5. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple

    Aug 28, 2001
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    I always liked this one, from Where the Sidewalk Ends:


    You should have heard the old men cry,
    You should have heard the biddies
    When that sad stranger raised his flute
    And piped away the kiddies.
    Katy, Tommy, Meg and Bob
    Followed, skipped gaily,
    Red-haired Ruth, my brother Rob,
    And little crippled Bailey,
    John and Nils and Cousin Claire,
    Dancin', spinnin', turnin',
    'Cross the hills to God knows where-
    They never came returnin'.
    'Cross the hills to God knows where
    The piper pranced, a leadin'
    Each child in Hamlin Town but me,
    And I stayed home unheedin'.
    My papa says that I was blest
    For if that music found me,
    I'd be witch-cast like all the rest.
    This town grows old around me.
    I cannot say I did not hear
    That sound so haunting hollow-
    I heard, I heard, I heard it clear...
    I was afraid to follow.

    Shel Silverstein


    Remember me when I am gone away,
    Gone far away into the silent land;
    When you can no more hold me by the hand,
    Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
    Remember me when no more day by day
    You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
    Only remember me; you understand
    It will be late to counsel then or pray.
    Yet if you should forget me for a while
    And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
    For if the darkness and corruption leave
    A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
    Better by far you should forget and smile
    Than that you should remember and be sad.

    Christina Rossetti

    I also would list The Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats and The Wasteland by T.S. Elliot among my favorites.
    #5 JonC, Jun 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2015
  6. Rolfe

    Rolfe Well-Known Member
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    May 17, 2014
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    I have the sudden urge for a cup of Earl Grey served on a doily.
  7. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple

    Aug 28, 2001
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    :wavey: This is our version (here in Tennessee) of that very poem. It's by Silverstein....who, oddly enough, is not from Tennessee :rolleyes:.


    Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
    And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
    If you’re a bird, be an early early bird--
    But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

    #7 JonC, Jun 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2015
  8. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    Dec 17, 2002
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    Here's one of mine:


    Of all the tenets throughout all the Bible
    This one stands tall without a mistake:
    The Good News began with the Hebrews in tribal—
    There was Abe; there was Ike; there was Jake.

    Abe was the one who started it all;
    He journeyed to Canaan from Ur.
    He never did waver, but answered God’s call.
    Things would not again be as they were.

    His name predicated “A Father Exalted;”
    His wife’s, of a “Princess who quarrels.”
    The promise of children they never defaulted;
    They were not ones to rest on their laurels.

    But Sarah was barren; she and Abe both uneasy;
    God had promised them many descendants.
    So they set for themselves a course kind of sleazy,
    Which made them, in God’s eyes, defendants.

    “I promised a son born of Sarah, your wife,”
    Said the God of old Abe’s sole devotion.
    “And am I not the only Creator of life?
    You’ll have sons vast as sands of the ocean!”

    Sarah heard these bold words, which to her were a tickle,
    And her face was compelled into laughter.
    But when God knew she laughed, she felt scared—in a pickle—
    Her son’s name would recall this thereafter.

    So Sarah bore Ike—“One who Laughs,” means his name
    He was soon mocked by big brother, Ish--
    Being also Abe’s son, yet their moms not the same,
    Was ejected on Sarah’s charged wish.

    Then God tested Abe by His puzzling command
    To sacrifice Ike on Moriah.
    And Abe followed through; then God told him no hand
    Would be used to make Ike a pariah.

    So Abe made an A on the ultimate test--
    Will a man sacrifice his own son?--
    His flesh and his blood, the one he loves best,
    If that alone’s how redemption is won?

    So 2 sons there were to beget their own nations,
    But just one was the prophesied blessing.
    Both names would be praised by to-come generations
    But just Ike’s would have God’s own addressing.

    As Abe then advanced into long golden years,
    With Sarah now gone from his side,
    He retained one of Sarah’s most prevalent fears:
    That his son choose a Canaanite bride.

    So Abe took his man, who had charge of his house,
    And enjoined him to go on a trek
    Back to Abe’s former home, for to seek Isaac’s spouse,
    And he found Nahor’s daughter, Rebek.

    He knew she’s the one, for he’d asked for a sign
    From the Great God his master reveres.
    All facets requested did cleanly align;
    To Canaan she went without tears.

    There Ike was still mourning his mom, Sarah’s, death,
    As Rebek then arrived on a camel.
    He then ran to meet her, was soon out of breath,
    As she jumped from that tall, mangy mammal.

    So Ike’s disposition was now turned to joy
    And he took Rebek into his tent.
    In that day and age they just didn’t play coy,
    But cut quick to their passions’ consent.

    Before old Abe died he reminded his son
    Of the contract they had with their God
    To remember the great things He’d already done
    And he’d keep all the land they now trod.

    Then Abe passed away from his bountiful life,
    Content that he’d met God’s commands.
    Laid to rest by his sons beside Sarah, his wife,
    Ike and Ish then dwelt in their own lands.

    Then Ike and Rebek lived as husband and wife;
    For two decades their children were none.
    They understood Sarah's and Abe’s kind of strife,
    Till the LORD heard Ike’s prayer for a son.

    Ike got double, in fact, his answer to prayer,
    As Rebek anguished, carrying twins.
    Ike looked forward to having a son and an heir;
    Yet with two, only one offspring wins.

    Rebek then delivered the first of two boys--
    His skin displayed red hair, so thick.
    The second at birth did the first of his ploys
    And grabbed Red’s heel, foretelling a trick.

    And Esau the Red became skilled as an archer;
    Twin Jake was content to stay home.
    And Rebek’s shifty scheme led to Jake’s long departure,
    And would make him a man long to roam.

    For Ike’s favored son was the older, red Esau,
    While Rebek was more partial to Jake.
    But old Ike was tricked by the gamble that she saw,
    And the “Esau” that Ike blessed was fake.

    Having come home from hunting, bedazzled with hunger,
    Red demanded a bowl of Jake’s stew.
    The price, his twin told him, was to give him—the younger—
    The birthright the older was due.

    “What good is a birthright to a man who is starving?”
    Said Esau, despising his title.
    Rebek’s plan was now in Jake’s hands for the carving.
    But the next step was even more vital.

    For Ike, as he aged, became virtually blind;
    He prepared to give Esau that blessing.
    But Jake and Rebek had a plot so designed
    To leave Ike with no course but his guessing.

    She prepared Ike a dish and cut skins of a goat;
    Thus connived at Jake’s impersonation.
    After Ike felt the hair he gave Jacob his vote
    And he blessed him with strong acclamation.

    As Esau then knew he’d been shafted again,
    He pled for any blessing remaining.
    But all to be gained thus was painfully thin,
    And his grudge against Jake was now reigning.

    Rebek overheard and warned Jacob to flee
    From the bounds of Esau’s deadly rage,
    Which she knew would last long, but she still could foresee
    That in coming years he’d be more sage.

    So Jacob fled Canaan, by his mother’s direction,
    His course set for her kindred’s land.
    He met God on his way and gained great introspection
    As he slept between rocks on the sand.

    He saw, in his dream, a heavenly ladder,
    Which angels did climb and descend.
    At the top was the LORD, who spoke of the matter
    That Jake He would always attend;

    That Abe’s and Ike’s promise would now go to Jake,
    That of Esau he need not be fretful,
    That the land all around him his children would take.
    He awoke then and called the place Bethel.
  9. padredurand

    padredurand Well-Known Member
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    Oct 25, 2004
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    Don't forget the biscuits and scones.

    I had a little tea party, this afternoon at three
    Twas very small, three guests in all, I, Myself, and Me
    Myself ate up the sandwiches, while I drank up the tea
    Twas also I who ate the pie and passed the cake to me!
  10. Gina B

    Gina B Active Member

    Dec 30, 2000
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    Many faves. Here's one.

    On Turning Ten - by Billy Collins

    The whole idea of it makes me feel
    like I'm coming down with something,
    something worse than any stomach ache
    or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
    a kind of measles of the spirit,
    a mumps of the psyche,
    a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

    You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
    but that is because you have forgotten
    the perfect simplicity of being one
    and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.

    But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.

    At four I was an Arabian wizard.

    I could make myself invisible
    by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.

    At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

    But now I am mostly at the window
    watching the late afternoon light.

    Back then it never fell so solemnly
    against the side of my tree house,
    and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
    as it does today,
    all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

    This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
    as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.

    It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
    time to turn the first big number.

    It seems only yesterday I used to believe
    there was nothing under my skin but light.

    If you cut me I could shine.

    But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
    I skin my knees.
    I bleed.
  11. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy Well-Known Member
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    Feb 12, 2008
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    Here is a powerful poem.

    Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

    (America never was America to me.)

    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.

    (It never was America to me.)

    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.

    (There's never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

    I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
    Tangled in that ancient endless chain
    Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
    Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
    Of work the men! Of take the pay!
    Of owning everything for one's own greed!

    I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
    I am the worker sold to the machine.
    I am the Negro, servant to you all.
    I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
    Hungry yet today despite the dream.
    Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
    I am the man who never got ahead,
    The poorest worker bartered through the years.

    Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
    In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
    Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
    That even yet its mighty daring sings
    In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
    That's made America the land it has become.
    O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
    In search of what I meant to be my home--
    For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
    And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
    And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
    To build a "homeland of the free."

    The free?

    Who said the free? Not me?
    Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
    The millions shot down when we strike?
    The millions who have nothing for our pay?
    For all the dreams we've dreamed
    And all the songs we've sung
    And all the hopes we've held
    And all the flags we've hung,
    The millions who have nothing for our pay--
    Except the dream that's almost dead today.

    O, let America be America again--
    The land that never has been yet--
    And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
    The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
    Who made America,
    Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
    Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
    Must bring back our mighty dream again.

    Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
    The steel of freedom does not stain.
    From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
    We must take back our land again,

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath--
    America will be!

    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain--
    All, all the stretch of these great green states--
    And make America again!
  12. Melanie

    Melanie Active Member
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    Nov 21, 2002
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    Nice one Crabtownboy. I have always loved Ulyesses by Alfred Lord Tennyson, and a very funny one called Said Hanrahan by John O' Brien.
  13. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace Well-Known Member
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    Feb 3, 2002
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    One of my favs:

    MAUD MULLER -- John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

    MAUD MULLER, on a summer's day,
    Raked the meadows sweet with hay.

    Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
    Of simple beauty and rustic health.

    Singing, she wrought, and her merry glee
    The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

    But, when she glanced to the far-off town,
    White from its hill-slope looking down,

    The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
    And a nameless longing filled her breast--

    A wish, that she hardly dared to own,
    For something better than she had known.

    The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
    Smoothing his horse's chestnut mane.

    He drew his bridle in the shade
    Of the apple-trees, to greet the maid,

    And ask a draught from the spring that flowed
    Through the meadow across the road.

    She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
    And filled for him her small tin cup,

    And blushed as she gave it, looking down
    On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

    "Thanks!" said the Judge, "a sweeter draught
    From a fairer hand was never quaffed."

    He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
    Of the singing birds and the humming bees;

    Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether
    The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

    And Maud forgot her briar-torn gown,
    And her graceful ankles bare and brown;

    And listened, while a pleasant surprise
    Looked from her long-lashed hazel eyes.

    At last, like one who for delay
    Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away,

    Maud Muller looked and sighed: "Ah, me!
    That I the Judge's bride might be!

    "He would dress me up in silks so fine,
    And praise and toast me at his wine.

    "My father should wear a broadcloth coat;
    My brother should sail a painted boat.

    "I'd dress my mother so grand and gay,
    And the baby should have a new toy each day.

    "And I'd feed the hungry and clothe the poor,
    And all should bless me who left our door."

    The Judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
    And saw Maud Muller standing still.

    "A form more fair, a face more sweet,
    Ne'er hath it been my lot to meet.

    "And her modest answer and graceful air
    Show her wise and good as she is fair.

    "Would she were mine, and I to-day,
    Like her, a harvester of hay:

    "No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
    Nor weary lawyers with endless tongues,

    "But low of cattle, and song of birds,
    And health, and quiet, and loving words."

    But he thought of his sisters, proud and cold,
    And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.

    So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
    And Maud was left in the field alone.

    But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
    When he hummed in court an old love-tune;

    And the young girl mused beside the well,
    Till the rain on the unraked clover fell.

    He wedded a wife of richest dower,
    Who lived for fashion, as he for power.

    Yet oft, in his marble hearth's bright glow,
    He watched a picture come and go:

    And sweet Maud Muller's hazel eyes
    Looked out in their innocent surprise.

    Oft when the wine in his glass was red,
    He longed for the wayside well instead;

    And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms,
    To dream of meadows and clover-blooms.

    And the proud man sighed, with a secret pain,
    "Ah, that I were free again!

    "Free as when I rode that day,
    Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay."

    She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
    And many children played round her door.

    But care and sorrow, and child-birth pain,
    Left their traces on heart and brain.

    And oft, when the summer sun shone hot
    On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,

    And she heard the little spring brook fall
    Over the roadside, through the wall,

    In the shade of the apple-tree again
    She saw a rider draw his rein,

    And, gazing down with timid grace,
    She felt his pleased eyes read her face.

    Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
    Stretched away into stately halls;

    The weary wheel to a spinnet turned,
    The tallow candle an astral burned;

    And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
    Dozing and grumbling o'er pipe and mug,

    A manly form at her side she saw,
    And joy was duty and love was law.

    Then she took up her burden of life again,
    Saying only, "It might have been."

    Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
    For rich repiner and household drudge!

    God pity them both! and pity us all,
    Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;

    For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
    {emphasis mine}

    Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
    Deeply buried from human eyes;

    And, in the hereafter, angels may
    Roll the stone from its grave away!
  14. Gina B

    Gina B Active Member

    Dec 30, 2000
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    This one has been a favorite since I was around seven. I've always loved to watch waves crashing on rocks, then it goes further and brings the power of love into it, along with a sense of struge against the powers that be. So happy yet so sad.
    By Edgar Allen 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 wingéd seraphs in 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 high-born 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.
  15. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple

    Aug 28, 2001
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  16. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple

    Aug 28, 2001
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    I always liked this one by Yeats, and I've found the first part very accurate.


    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
  17. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    Dec 17, 2002
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    An isosceles triangle low in the west--
    Jupiter, Venus, the Moon.
    These make up the points in th' horizon's low crest--
    Jupiter, Venus, the Moon.
    These lights reassure us our day's now at rest.
    Whatever we did this day, may it be bless'd.
    When we see them tomorrow night, we'll reattest--
    Jupiter, Venus, the Moon.
  18. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy Well-Known Member
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    Feb 12, 2008
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    It rained and rained and rained
    The average fall was well maintained
    And when the tracks were simple bogs
    It started raining cats and dogs

    After a drought of half an hour
    We had a most refreshing shower
    And then most curious thing of all
    A gentle rain began to fall

    Next day one was fairly dry
    Save for one deluge from the sky
    Which wetted the party to the skin
    And then at last the rain set in.