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The 10 Poems That I Like

"Light breaks where no sun shines..."
...Dylan Thomas
Never give all the heart
...W B Yeats
The Crocodile And The Monkey
...Vikram Seth
I would like to be a dot in a painting by Miro
...Moniza Alvi
First Lesson
...Philip Booth
Bugs
...Margaret Wise Brown
Lines from 'The song of the open road'
...Walt Whitman
If you forget me
...Pablo Neruda
Lyric written in 1830
...Alexander Pushkin
Bits of love make real love
...Arvind Passey




"Light breaks where no sun shines..."
by Dylan Thomas

Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
Push in their tides;
And, broken ghosts with glowworms in their heads,
The things of light
File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

A candle in the thighs
Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;
Where no seed stirs,
The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,
Bright as a fig;
Where no wax is, the candle shows its hairs.

Dawn breaks behind the eyes;
From poles of skull and toe the windy blood
Slides like a sea;
Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky
Spout to the rod
Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

Night in the sockets rounds,
Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;
Day lights the bone;
Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin
The winter's robes;
The film of spring is hanging from the lids.

Light breaks on secret lots,
On tips of thought where thoughts smell in the rain;
When logics die,
The secret of the soil grows through the eye,
And blood jumps in the sun;
Above the waste allotments the dawn halts.

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Never give all the heart
by W B Yeats

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

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Lines from The Crocodile And The Monkey
by Vikram Seth

On the Ganga's greenest isle
Lived Kuroop the crocodile:
Greeny-brown with gentle grin,
Stubby legs and scaly skin,
He would view with tepid eyes
Prey below a certain size--
But when a substantial dish
--Dolphin, turtle, fatter fish--
Swam across his field of view,
He would test the water too.
Out he'd glide, a floating log,
Silent as a polliwog--
Nearer, nearer, till his prey
Swam a single length away;
Then he'd lunge with smiling head,
Grab, and snap, and rip it dead--
Then (prime pleasure of his life)
Drag the carcass to his wife,
Lay it humbly at her feet,
Eat a bit, and watch her eat...

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I would like to be a dot in a painting by Miro
by Moniza Alvi

I would like to be a dot in a painting by Miro.

Barely distinguishable from other dots,
it's true, but quite uniquely placed.
And from my dark centre

I'd survey the beauty of the linescape
and wonder -- would it be worthwhile
to roll myself towards the lemon stripe,

Centrally poised, and push my curves
against its edge, to give myself
a little attention?

But it's fine where I am.
I'll never make out what's going on
around me, and that's the joy of it.

The fact that I'm not a perfect circle
makes me more interesting in this world.
People will stare forever --

Even the most unemotional get excited.
So here I am, on the edge of animation,
a dream, a dance,a fantastic construction,

A child's adventure.
And nothing in this tawny sky
can get too close, or move too far away.

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First Lesson
by Philip Booth

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

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Bugs
by Margaret Wise Brown

I like bugs.
Black bugs,
Green bugs,
Bad bugs,
Mean bugs,
Any kind of bug.

A bug in a rug,
A bug in the grass,
A bug on the side-walk,
A bug in a glass --
I like bugs.

Round bugs,
Shiny bugs,
Fat bugs,
Buggy bugs,
Big bugs,
Lady bugs,
I like bugs.

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Lines from 'The song of the open road'
by Walt Whitman

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

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If You Forget Me
by Pablo Neruda

I want you to know one thing
You know how this is

If I look at the crystal moon
At the red branch of the slow autumn at my window
If I touch near the fire the impalpable ash Or the wrinkled body of the log
Everything carries me to you
As if everything that exists - aromas, light, metals
Were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me

Well, now
If little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you
Little by little
If suddenly you forget me
Do not look for me
For I shall already have forgotten you

If you think it long and mad the wind of banners that passes through my life
And you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots
Remember
That on that day, at that hour, I shall lift my arms
And my roots will set off to seek another land

But if each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me
With implacable sweetness
If each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me
Ahh my love, ahh my own, in me all that fire is repeated
In me nothing is extinguished or forgotten
My love feeds on your love, beloved
And as long as you live, it will be in your arms without leaving mine.

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Lyric written in 1830
by Alexander Pushkin

What means my name to you?...T'will die
As does the melancholy murmur
Of distant waves or, of a summer,
The forest's hushed nocturnal sigh.

Found on a fading album page,
Dim will it seem and enigmatic,
Like words traced on a tomb, a relic
Of some long dead and vanished age.

What's in my name?...Long since forgot,
Erased by new, tempestuous passion,
of tenderness 'twill leave you not
The lingering and sweet impression.

But in an hour of agony,
Pray, speak it, and recall my image,
And say, "He still remembers me,
His heart alone still pays me homage."

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Bits of love make real love
by Arvind Passey

First love, is it?
You asked, and then to self I said:
First love, is it?
Fond bit, loved bit, with bit on bit
Were added; just as child is fed
And that is how we reach to Z.
First love, is it?

(From 'Poetry Chronicle', July-Oct 1990)

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