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Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 03, 2004 03:00AM

The idea here is that people inspire people. I find that some of my best work is inspired by someone I have known.

Many poems by famous authors have been dedicated to people they admire or someone they have known. Any favorites out there?

Here's an example:

To E. T.
by Robert Lee Frost

I slumbered with your poems on my breast
Spread open as I dropped them half-read through
Like dove wings on a figure on a tomb
To see, if in a dream they brought of you,

I might not have the chance I missed in life
Through some delay, and call you to your face
First soldier, and then poet, and then both,
Who died a soldier-poet of your race.

I meant, you meant, that nothing should remain
Unsaid between us, brother, and this remained--
And one thing more that was not then to say:
The Victory for what it lost and gained.

You went to meet the shell's embrace of fire
On Vimy Ridge; and when you fell that day
The war seemed over more for you than me,
But now for me than you--the other way.

How over, though, for even me who knew
The foe thrust back unsafe beyond the Rhine,
If I was not to speak of it to you
And see you pleased once more with words of mine?


Post Edited (11-04-04 22:21)

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: November 03, 2004 08:40AM

Edward Thomas, Frost's ET, has a whole book of poems in his memory, Elected Friends, and a whole book, Adlestrop Revisited, about just one poem.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: November 03, 2004 09:17AM

Helen Keller by Langston Hughes, London Calling Christopher Wren by Chesterman, The burial of Sir John Moore after Corruna by Charles Wolfe. I think there's one about Grace Darling, as well but can't find it.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: IanB (
Date: November 03, 2004 10:01AM

For Anne Gregory
by William Butler Yeats

"NEVER shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair."

"But I can get a hair-dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or carrot,
That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair."

"I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair."

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 03, 2004 11:44AM

Here are the ones Marian2 suggested:

Helen Keller
by Langston Hughes

In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.
Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul's own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.


London Calling Christopher Wren
by Hugh Chesterman

Clever men
Like Christopher Wren
Only occur just now and then.
No one expects
In perpetuity
Architects of his ingenuity;
No, never a cleverer dipped his pen
Than clever Sir Christopher - Christopher Wren,
With his chaste designs
On classical lines,
His elegant curves and neat inclines.
For all day long he'd measure and limn
Till the ink gave out or the light grew dim.
And if a Plan
Seemed rather baroque or too 'Queen Anne'
(As Plans well may),
He'd take a look
At his pattern book
And do it again in a different way.
Every day of the week was filled
With a church to mend or a church to build,
And never an hour went by but when
London needed Sir Christopher Wren.
'Bride's in Fleet Street lacks a spire.
Mary-le-Bow a nave and choir.'
'Please to send the plans complete
For a new Saint Stephen's, Coleman Street.'
'Pewterer's Hall is much too tall,
Kindly lower the N.W. wall.'
'Salisbury Square,
Decidedly bare
Can you put one of your churches there?'
Dome of St Paul's is not yet done,
Dean's been waiting since half-past one
London calling from ten till ten,
London calling Christopher Wren!


The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna
by Charles Wolfe

NOT a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light
And the lanthorn dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
With his martial cloak around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed
And smooth'd down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we far away on the billow!

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that 's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him—
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
But we left him alone with his glory.


Kathleen Bell
Grace Darling at Alnwick Castle - after the Forfarshire

‘And there was no more sea.’

Inland tastes of chaff and honey.

The earth is rich with grain.
Pigs, sheep are humble. Silent, the soft-eyed calves
Tender their docile necks to the farmer’s knife
And streams run sweet.

By night the seals swim close
Pushing through nightmare in a moment’s grace
Till they slide, laugh, clap - bloated mistakes
Disturbing dreams.

The taste of salt is gone.
I am made soft as soil. My task is set:
Obey the ladies, watch, give answer to their
Endless questions.

‘Books and my father schooled me -
I learned the Bible, sermons, tales of peoples,
Countries elsewhere.’ Read polish clean write cipher -
Oceans and words.

‘Always busy at home,
We harvest the sea. Cormorant, sea-weed, eggs
Are good for food.’ Seals we must skin and salt,
Which we take, eat.

The woman flapped like a bird
When we rowed to Harcar. ‘Spray was fierce, hit hard’
At her closed and stone-dead sons whom we took, laid
Limp on black rock.

‘But surely suffering saves?’
Riches do not ennoble. I have been carried
Far from my work and set among ladies,
Dull, indolent, useless,
Wicked as seals.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 03, 2004 11:57AM

Here is Walt Whitman's tribute to President Lincoln:

O Captain! My Captain!
by Walt Whitman

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills; 10
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 03, 2004 12:00PM

Although the person referred to is not mentioned by name, it is one of the most famous American dedications:

To my Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye woman, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the east doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor aught but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so perservere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: Marty (
Date: November 03, 2004 02:39PM

I'm crying again....friends.
But I am also feeling stronger----healthier---- and will commence working on the painting project in my foyer, where the chandelier casts a beautiful light on this new color.
I may have some poems to add to this thread later and I will also reread the ones here.

Thanks for sharing.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: ilza (
Date: November 03, 2004 02:55PM

I wonder who was she . . .
Of A Woman, Dead Young
Dorothy Parker
(J. H., 1905-1930)

If she had been beautiful, even,
Or wiser than women about her,
Or had moved with a certain defiance;
If she had had sons at her sides,
And she with her hands on their shoulders,
Sons, to make troubled the Gods—
But where was there wonder in her?
What had she, better or eviler,
Whose days were a pattering of peas
From the pod to the bowl in her lap?

That the pine tree is blasted by lightning,
And the bowlder split raw from the mountain,
And the river dried short in its rushing—
That I can know, and be humble.
But that They who have trodden the stars
Should turn from Their echoing highway
To trample a daisy, unnoticed
In a meadow of small, open flowers—
Where is Their triumph in that?
Where is Their pride, and Their vengeance?

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 03, 2004 03:27PM

As might be expected not all dedications are positive in nature:

Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time ----
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off the beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine,
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You ----

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two ----
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagersnever liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always KNEW it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: drpeternsz (
Date: November 03, 2004 07:20PM

These two, which show the lover's eye, are by Sappho to Atthis

Love -- bittersweet, irrepressible --
loosens my limbs and I tremble.

Yet, Atthis, you despise my being,
To chase Andromeda, you leave me.

and, second,

I loved you, Atthis, long ago,
when my girlhood was in full flower
and you were like a graceless child.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 03, 2004 08:23PM

Here is one of many dedicated to the bard:

by Matthew Arnold

Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask--Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill,
Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,

Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,
Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base
To the foil'd searching of mortality;

And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure,
Didst tread on earth unguess'd at.--Better so!

All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
Find their sole speech in that victorious brow.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: November 04, 2004 11:40AM

I wonder who was she . . .

Dunno, but I enjoyed the poem. Not your typical Dottie P. fer sure. Odd that she would capitalize the plural Gods and even Their adjectives. The three-beat meter, with a smattering of one-syllable masculine endings mixed in with the mostly feminine ones is haunting, for some reason. And the lines that start with trochees instead of iambs seem to add punch in just the right places.

Probably fruitless to search for J.H. (1905-1930) since A. she might have been a figment of Parker's imagination, and B. she needs to remain insipid for the poem to work.

Hugh . . .
Posted by: ilza (
Date: November 04, 2004 01:09PM

don't get me wrong, I always enjoy the riding . . .
and I have no choice but to laugh at my own ignorance ...

I could never forget a Peanuts cartoon
( I feel like Charlie Brown sometimes) :

Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus are laying on their backs on a hill,
looking up into the sky.

Lucy says:
- If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations...- What do you think you see, Linus?

Linus answers:
- Well, those clouds up there look to me like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean...
That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor...
and that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen...
I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side...

Lucy says:
Uh huh...That's very good...what do you see in the clouds, Charlies Brown?

Charlie Brown answers:
Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: November 04, 2004 01:22PM

I was amazed that Frost wrote that poem YEARS before the movie ET came out !

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: November 04, 2004 01:26PM

Thanks for posting the poems I suggested, Les - I've been far busier than I like lately and didn't have time to do it myself. Thanks also for finding Grace Darling - I'd completely lost track of it.

Re: Hugh's post about Dorothy Parker
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: November 04, 2004 01:46PM

Having read some of Parker's religious poems about the Virgin Mary, which have a rather feminist and empathic tone, and also having read Parker's biography, I wonder if the pluralised and capitalised Gods are in fact meant to be the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, deliberately pluralised to 'bring them down' to the status and give them the attitudes towards mankind (ie as a plaything) of the Greek and Roman gods.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 02:08PM

Here's one to all of us:

Dear Reader
by Billy Collins

Baudelaire considers you his brother,
and Fielding calls out to you every few paragraphs
as if to make sure you have not closed the book,
and now I am summoning you up again,
attentive ghost, dark silent figure standing
in the doorway of these words.

Pope welcomes you into the glow of his study,
takes down a leather-bound Ovid to show you.
Tennyson lifts the latch to a moated garden,
and with Yeats you lean against a broken pear tree,
the day hooded by low clouds.

But now you are here with me,
composed in the open field of this page,
no room or manicured garden to enclose us,
no Zeitgeist marching in the background,
no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.

Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,
unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,
you could be the man I held the door for
this morning at the bank or post office
or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
You could be someone I passed on the street
or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.

The sunlight flashes off your windshield,
and when I look up into the small, posted mirror,
I watch you diminish—my echo, my twin—
and vanish around a curve in this whip
of a road we can't help traveling together.


Post Edited (11-04-04 13:08)

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 03:00PM

My Mother On An Evening In Late Summer
by Mark Strand

When the moon appears
and a few wind-stricken barns stand out
in the low-domed hills
and shine with a light
that is veiled and dust-filled
and that floats upon the fields,
my mother, with her hair in a bun,
her face in shadow, and the smoke
from their cigarette coiling close
to the faint yellow sheen of her dress,
stands hear the house
and watches the seepage of late light
down through the sedges
the last gray islands of cloud
taken from view, and the wind
ruffling the moon's ash-colored coat
on the black bay.

Soon the house, with its shades drawn closed, will send
small carpets of lampglow
into the haze and the bay
will begin its loud heaving
and the pines, frayed finials
climbing the hill, will seem to graze
the dim cinders of heaven.
And my mother will stare into the starlanes,
the endless tunnels of nothing,
and as she gazes,
under the hour's spell,
she will think how we yield each night
to the soundless storms of decay
that tear at the folding flesh,
and she will not know
why she is here
or what she is prisoner of
if not the conditions of love that brought her to this.

My mother will go indoors
and the fields, the bare stones
will drift in peace, small creatures --
the mouse and the swift -- will sleep
at opposite ends of the house.
Only the cricket will be up,
repeating its one shrill note
to the rotten boards of the porch,
to the rusted screens, to the air, to the rimless dark,
to the sea that keeps to itself.
Why should my mother awake?
The earth is not yet a garden
about to be turned. The stars
are not yet bells that ring
at night for the lost.
It is much too late.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: ilza (
Date: November 04, 2004 05:01PM

A Poem for Emily
by Miller Williams ( Emily is his granddaughter)

Small fact and fingers and farthest one from me,
a hand's width and two generations away,
in this still present I am fifty-three.
You are not yet a full day.

When I am sixty-three, when you are ten,
and you are neither closer nor as far,
your arms will fill with what you know by then,
the arithmetic and love we do and are.

When I by blood and luck am eighty-six
and you are someplace else and thirty-three
believing in sex and god and politics
with children who look not at all like me,

sometime I know you will have read them this
so they will know I love them and say so
and love their mother. Child, whatever is
is always or never was. Long ago,

a day I watched awhile beside your bed,
I wrote this down, a thing that might be kept
awhile, to tell you what I would have said
when you were who knows what and I was dead
which is I stood and loved you while you slept

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: no of you bussines (69.155.178.---)
Date: November 04, 2004 05:08PM

Hey waz u my Nigas. Jus thought i would give my peeps a holla
lata lozas.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: no of you bussines (69.155.178.---)
Date: November 04, 2004 05:08PM

Hey waz u my Nigas. Jus thought i would give my peeps a holla
lata lozas.

Re: Hugh . . .
Posted by: drpeternsz (
Date: November 04, 2004 05:08PM

One of my favorite Chalie Browns


Re: Hugh . . .
Posted by: Linda (
Date: November 04, 2004 05:27PM

My favourite has Linus describing a match he watched in which one team fell a long way behind, then rallied to win and rejoiced greatly. Charly Brown's comment "But how did the other team feel."

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 06:56PM

Old Poets
by Joyce Kilmer

(For Robert Cortez Holliday)

If I should live in a forest
And sleep underneath a tree,
No grove of impudent saplings
Would make a home for me.

I'd go where the old oaks gather,
Serene and good and strong,
And they would not sigh and tremble
And vex me with a song.

The pleasantest sort of poet
Is the poet who's old and wise,
With an old white beard and wrinkles
About his kind old eyes.

For these young flippertigibbets
A-rhyming their hours away
They won't be still like honest men
And listen to what you say.

The young poet screams forever
About his sex and his soul;
But the old man listens, and smokes his pipe,
And polishes its bowl.

There should be a club for poets
Who have come to seventy year.
They should sit in a great hall drinking
Red wine and golden beer.

They would shuffle in of an evening,
Each one to his cushioned seat,
And there would be mellow talking
And silence rich and sweet.

There is no peace to be taken
With poets who are young,
For they worry about the wars to be fought
And the songs that must be sung.

But the old man knows that he's in his chair
And that God's on His throne in the sky.
So he sits by the fire in comfort
And he lets the world spin by.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 07:16PM

To Walter de la Mare
by T. S. Eliot

The children who explored the brook and found
A desert island with a sandy cove
(A hiding place, but very dangerous ground,

For here the water buffalo may rove,
The kinkajou, the mungabey, abound
In the dark jungle of a mango grove,

And shadowy lemurs glide from tree to tree -
The guardians of some long-lost treasure-trove)
Recount their exploits at the nursery tea

And when the lamps are lit and curtains drawn
Demand some poetry, please. Whose shall it be,
At not quite time for bed? ...

           Or when the lawn
Is pressed by unseen feet, and ghosts return
Gently at twilight, gently go at dawn,
The sad intangible who grieve and yearn;

When the familiar is suddenly strange
Or the well known is what we yet have to learn,
And two worlds meet, and intersect, and change;

When cats are maddened in the moonlight dance,
Dogs cower, flitter bats, and owls range
At witches' sabbath of the maiden aunts;

When the nocturnal traveller can arouse
No sleeper by his call; or when by chance
An empty face peers from an empty house;

By whom, and by what means, was this designed?
The whispered incantation which allows
Free passage to the phantoms of the mind?

By you; by those deceptive cadences
Wherewith the common measure is refined;
By conscious art practised with natural ease;

By the delicate, invisible web you wove -
The inexplicable mystery of sound.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 07:59PM

For Roberta
by Andrew Taylor

I'll bet, Roberta
your first sense that something was wrong
in that plane didn't steer
your thoughts to me.

At 12,000 feet
you couldn't drown and your mind reel back
through your past to how our lives
sadly, badly untwined.

I'll bet your thought
went to those you loved then, buckled in the small
and malfunctioning plane
and the ground below

I bet it was closer
than you guessed, a mountain erupting
seconds ahead and you
and your thoughts clutched

on an instant of panic.
Then nothing but flames and fragments
in an unvisited
fraction of Africa.

And if I claimed
I didn't care that in that terrible
impact with reality
you didn't think of me

I'll bet, Roberta
you'd rise like an avenging angel
to scourge me, nightly
with pure grief, and scorn.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: Marty (
Date: November 04, 2004 09:00PM

The Grove At St. Elmo
By Henry Thompson Stanton

The Grove at St. Elmo, by moonlight, is fair--
Cool shadows, green curtains, long grass, and
fresh air---
(I envy the man who is domiciled there)--
Beneath it the city, dull, smoky, and gray,
The river in glimpses, and hills either way.
Those beautiful hills, tree-covered and blue,
In the midst of the morning--and there, looking through
The tangles of vines, as the shine of the moon
Falls over the summits, all golden as June.
Though late in the August--I wonder how long
It will be till the true poet comes with his song--
The Rhine hath its castles of art; its bridges, the Thames;
The Hudson, its somnolent hollows--all names
Writ strongly in picture--but, standing alone,
The cliffs of Kentucky are nearly unknown.
If Taylor should come to St. Elmo, and sketch
The undulant range of its westermost stretch,
And tell in his song, as he told of Cashmere,
The eye of the world would be wandering here.
St. Elmo! I sit in the cool of its vines.
Strung to a voice of the tenderest lines--
Strung to the sweetest accord of a song---
A heart-cry of passion--"How long? how long?"
Over me glitters the white, bright star,
Riding the sky in the distant far,
Riding the sky and filling the sphere
With a sense of light and a song of her.
Vine after vine, goes out of the yard,
Up to the curve of the gray Mansard
Of the beautiful house--lines of art
Over St. Elmo and over my heart.
I hear in the grove, as I linger yet,
The steady play of the parlor jet,
The steady fall and the music-play
Of a western window's fountain spray;
I hear it fall in a tinkle brief,
Over the ivy's waxen leaf;
Over the cypress, frail and fair;
Over the cups of fuchsias rare;
Fresh and sweet, and pure and cool
As the drip of the moss in the mountain pool,
the grove of St. Elmo, laid leafy and still.
the moonlight fair---the grass-grown hill--
I could lie all night in the glow and gaze
As the stars go down in the Eastern haze.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: rikki (
Date: November 04, 2004 09:54PM

One that always brings a tear to my eye is Federico Garcia Lorca's "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias", the elegy he wrote for his beloved bull-fighter friend who died from injuries in the bullring.

A few excerpts (it's very long) -

At five in the afternoon.
It was exactly five in the afternoon.
A boy brought the white sheet
at five in the afternoon.
A basketfull of lime in readiness
at five in the afternoon.
Beyond that, death and death alone
at five in the afternoon.....

No. I refuse to see it!
Tell the moon to come -
I refuse to see the blood
of Ignacio on the sand....

His eyes did not shut
when he saw the horns close in
but the terrible mothers
lifted their heads to watch.
And sweeping the herds of cattle
came an air of secret voices
called out to bulls of heaven
by pale ranchers of mist...

I don't want them covering his face with kerchiefs
to break him into the wearing of death.
Go now, Ignacio. Feel no more the hot bellows.
Sleep, soar, repose. The sea dies too...

No one knows you. No one. But I sing you -
sing your profile and your grace, for later on.
The signal ripeness of your mastery.
The way you sought death out, savoured its taste.
The sadness just beneath your gay valor.

Not soon, if ever, will Andalusia see
so towering a man, so venturesome.
I sing his elegance with words that moan
and remember a sad breeze in the olive groves.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 11:09PM

Picasso... (XXIII)
by e. e. cummings

you give us Things
bulge:grunting lungs pumped full of sharp thick mind

you make us shrill
presents always
shut in the sumptuous screech of

(out of the
black unbunged
Something gushes vaguely a squeak of planes

between squeals of
Nothing grabbed with circular shrieking tightness
solid screams whisper.)
Lumberman of The Distinct

your brain's
axe only chops hugest inherent
Trees of Ego,from
whose living and biggest

bodies lopped
of every

you hew form truly


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 11:19PM

by A. C. Swinburne

Milton! I think thy spirit hath passed away
From these white cliffs and high-embattled towers;
This gorgeous fiery-coloured world of ours
Seems fallen into ashes dull and grey,
And the age changed unto a mimic play
Wherein we waste our else too-crowded hours:
For all our pomp and pageantry and powers
We are but fit to delve the common clay,
Seeing this little isle on which we stand,
This England, this sea-lion of the sea,
By ignorant demagogues is held in fee,
Who love her not: Dear God! is this the land
Which bare a triple empire in her hand
When Cromwell spake the word Democracy!


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 04, 2004 11:37PM

Did someone say "duckies and horsies"?

DREAMS (a tribute to Dr. Seuss)
by Carole Weatherford

How in the world do dreams get in your head?
Do they hide with dust bunnies under the bed?
Do dreams float on feathers, fluff in your pillow,
drifting on air the way puffs of smoke billow?
Do dreams spring from seeds sprouted deep in your mind,
creep while you sleep into vines you can climb?
Do dreams start as shadows, thumps in the night,
grow into monsters that bump, scratch and bite?
Is a dream a strange story with twists to no end,
a maze with surprises around every bend?

Is a dream a hit movie that lights up the screen
with actors who step out of stretch limousines;
Or a long, lazy song that begins with a yawn
and turns to a symphony by break of dawn?
Are dreams secret kingdoms, a paradise found,
where you reign supreme with stars in your crown?
Is a dream a tall ship sailing toward a strange land
with a crew from a zoo and you in command;
Or a train chug-chug-chugging on magical track
traveling through time, racing forward and back?

Do dreams let you soar on a flying trapeze,
tickling the clouds as you ride on the breeze?
Is a dream a blue moon that shines just for you
lighting your pathway till day starts anew?
And why do dreams fade in the blink of an eye
till you can't remember, hard as you try?
If a dream were a rainbow with stairs to the sky,
you wouldn’t ask where or dare wonder why.
So sleep on these questions; see where dreams go.
That’s the only way, dreamer, you’ll ever know.

copyright 2004, C. B. Weatherford

Post Edited (11-04-04 23:04)

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: Marty (
Date: November 05, 2004 12:21AM

May In Mason, 1775
By Henry T. Stanton

Where Limestone, with her gathered rills,
A rocky passage follows;
Where Lawrence, breaking through the hills,
Beats down the lonesome hollows;
The woods were dark and dense above,
The canes were dank below,
When houseless lay the city's cove
An hundred years ago.

In narrow way, by gulch and knoll,
The brown deer broke his bearing;
The grey wolf made the sloping mole
An ambush for his faring;
The stately elk, with antlers wide,
The nose-down buffalo,
Their lickward way went side by side,
An hundred years ago.

The blue Ohio, gulfward bound,
Ran ripples on the border,
Where nature gave the wanton ground
Her winning, wild disorder.
Nor sound of bell, nor sigh of stream,
Nor oar-sweep creaking slow--
The river lay a liquid dream
An hundred years ago.

The web-fowl nested in the sloo
Beside the sliding otter;
The red maid, in her bark canoe,
Just skimmed the slumb'rous water;
The red man took the wareless game
With sinew-twanging bow,
Till Kenton's cracking rifle came,
An hundred years ago.

An hundred years! What time! What change!
To him who kept the tally,
Till balder grew the bounding range,
And busy grew the valley.
There floats the smoke of forge and mill,
That tireless ply below,
Where stood the white cane, stark and still,
An hundred years ago.

The willows died upon the shore,
The beeches lost their glory;
The giant, white-barked sycamore
But lingers still in story.
Now smoother ways go down the bank,
To meet the water's flow--
It never knew a steamer's plank
An hundred years ago.

These fallow lands that laugh to-day
In summer's mulling juices,
From wanton sleep and idle play,
Were brought to truer uses;
And daring hands were on the plow
That broke the primal row,
To see the tasseled corn-tops bow,
An hundred years ago.

The settler found his savage foes,
In every corpse appearing,
And death was in the smoke that rose,
Above the early clearing;
The toil was hard, the danger great,
The progress doubtful, slow;
But these were men who made the State
An hundred years ago.

Now closures grand and pastures green
Are blocked about the Granges,
And goodly herds and homes are seen
Along the olden ranges--
The busy city rings with toil,
The steamers come and go--
God Bless the brawn that broke the soil
An hundred years ago.

No longer in her bark canoe,
The red maid skims the river;
The web-fowl's nestling from the sloo
Has winged away forever;
A single line these lands abrade,
The lick-bound buffalo
Has left till now, the trace he made
An hundred years ago.

So let us leave our trace behind,
And wear it broader, deeper,
That coming man may bring to mind
The courses of the sleeper--
That after days may see our toil
And women praise us so;
As brawny men who broke the soil
An hundred years ago.

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 12:39AM

Marty, the idea here is that the poems themselves are tributes to other people, not OUR tribute to the poet.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 12:51AM

My Father
by Yehuda Amichai

The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits
out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,

and the rivers of his hands
overflowed with good deeds.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 12:59AM

In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W.H. Auden

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
The snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.


You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.


Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice.

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress.

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountains start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.


Post Edited (11-05-04 01:04)

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 01:16AM

After the Funeral (In memory of Ann Jones)
by Dylan Thomas

After the funeral, mule praises, brays,
Windshake of sailshaped ears, muffle-toed tap
Tap happily of one peg in the thick
Grave's foot, blinds down the lids, the teeth in black,
The spittled eyes, the salt ponds in the sleeves,
Morning smack of the spade that wakes up sleep,
Shakes a desolate boy who slits his throat
In the dark of the coffin and sheds dry leaves,
That breaks one bone to light with a judgment clout'
After the feast of tear-stuffed time and thistles
In a room with a stuffed fox and a stale fern,
I stand, for this memorial's sake, alone
In the snivelling hours with dead, humped Ann
Whose hodded, fountain heart once fell in puddles
Round the parched worlds of Wales and drowned each sun
(Though this for her is a monstrous image blindly
Magnified out of praise; her death was a still drop;
She would not have me sinking in the holy
Flood of her heart's fame; she would lie dumb and deep
And need no druid of her broken body).
But I, Ann's bard on a raised hearth, call all
The seas to service that her wood-tongud virtue
Babble like a bellbuoy over the hymning heads,
Bow down the walls of the ferned and foxy woods
That her love sing and swing through a brown chapel,
Blees her bent spirit with four, crossing birds.
Her flesh was meek as milk, but this skyward statue
With the wild breast and blessed and giant skull
Is carved from her in a room with a wet window
In a fiercely mourning house in a crooked year.
I know her scrubbed and sour humble hands
Lie with religion in their cramp, her threadbare
Whisper in a damp word, her wits drilled hollow,
Her fist of a face died clenched on a round pain;
And sculptured Ann is seventy years of stone.
These cloud-sopped, marble hands, this monumental
Argument of the hewn voice, gesture and psalm
Storm me forever over her grave until
The stuffed lung of the fox twitch and cry Love
And the strutting fern lay seeds on the black sill.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 01:22AM

To My Wife - With A Copy Of My Poems
by Oscar Wilde

I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 01:51AM

For A Poet
by Countee Cullen

I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold;
Where long will cling the lips of the moth,
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
I hide no hate, I am not even wroth
Who found earth's breath so keen and cold;
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 01:55AM

Young Poets
by Nicanor Parra

Write as you will
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing
That only one road is right.

In poetry everything is permitted.

With only this condition of course,
You have to improve the blank page.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 02:03AM

About Tu Fu
By Li Po

I met Tu Fu on a mountaintop
in August when the sun was hot.

Under the shade of his big straw hat
his face was sad --

in the years since we last parted,
he'd grown wan, exhausted.

Poor old Tu Fu, I thought then,
he must be agonizing over poetry again.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 02:14AM

My Father's Love Letters
by Yusef Komunyakaa

On Fridays he'd open a can of Jax
After coming home from the mill,
& ask me to write a letter to my mother
Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Taller than men. He would beg,
Promising to never beat her
Again. Somehow I was happy
She had gone, & sometimes wanted
To slip in a reminder, how Mary Lou
Williams' "Polka Dots & Moonbeams"
Never made the swelling go down.
His carpenter's apron always bulged
With old nails, a claw hammer
Looped at his side & extension cords
Coiled around his feet.
Words rolled from under the pressure
Of my ballpoint: Love,
Baby, Honey, Please.
We sat in the quiet brutality
Of voltage meters & pipe threaders,
Lost between sentences . . .
The gleam of a five-pound wedge
On the concrete floor
Pulled a sunset
Through the doorway of his toolshed.
I wondered if she laughed
& held them over a gas burner.
My father could only sign
His name, but he'd look at blueprints
& say how many bricks
Formed each wall. This man,
Who stole roses & hyacinth
For his yard, would stand there
With eyes closed & fists balled,
Laboring over a simple word, almost
Redeemed by what he tried to say.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 02:17AM

by Alfred Kreymborg

After we've had
our age of gold
and sung our song of brass,
fingers will brush
the age aside,
fingers and leaves
of grass.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 02:26PM

by Maurice Browne

Her footsteps fall in silent sands;
Her hands are cool like growing leaves;
The fingers of her hovering hands
Touch lightly, pass; and time bereaves
The benison of her caress
Of peace, or pain, or bitterness.

The kisses of her mouth like dew
Rain gently down; if she has sinned,
That she had sinned she never knew;
Lightly she walks upon the wind,
And like the wind she leaves no trace
Upon the quiet of this place.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 10:57PM

To the Recluse, Wei Pa
by Tu Fu

Often in this life of ours we resemble, in our failure to meet, the Shen and
Shang constellations, one of which rises as the other one sets. What lucky
chance is it, then, that brings us together this evening under the light of
this same lamp? Youth and vigor last but a little time. --- Each of us now has greying temples. Half of the friends we ask each other about are dead, and our shocked cries sear the heart. Who could have guessed that it would be twenty years before I sat once more beneath your roof? Last time we parted you were still unmarried, but now here suddenly is a row of boys and girls who smilingly pay their respects to their father's old friend. They ask me where I have come from; but before I have finished dealing with their questions, the children are hurried off to fetch us wine. Spring chives are cut in the rainydark, and there is freshly steamed rice mixed with yellow millet. `Come, we don't meet often!' you hospitably urge, pouring out ten cupfuls in rapid succession. That I am still not drunk after ten cups of wine is due to the strength of the emotion which your unchanging friendship inspires. Tomorrow the peak will lie between us, and each will be lost to the other, swallowed upin the world's affairs.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: lg (
Date: November 05, 2004 11:04PM

by Robert Herrick

Ah Ben!
Say how or when
Shall we, thy guests,
Meet at those lyric feasts,
Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun;
Where we such clusters had,
As made us nobly wild, not mad?
And yet each verse of thine
Out-did the meat, out-did the frolic wine.

My Ben!
Or come again,
Or send to us
Thy wit's great overplus;
But teach us yet
Wisely to husband it,
Lest we that talent spend;
And having once brought to an end
That precious stock,--the store
Of such a wit the world should have no more.


Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: tandy (
Date: December 13, 2004 07:17PM

Oliver Goldsmith dedicated his poem "The Deserted Village" to Sir Joshua Reynolds. It's a long dedication but the lines I find particularly moving are: "The only dedication I ever made was to my brother, because I loved him better than most other men. He is since dead. Permit me to inscribe this poem to you."

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: PaperTyger (216.30.200.---)
Date: December 13, 2004 07:23PM

       Houses <br />
     by Joyce Kilmer<br />
       (For Aline) <br />

When you shall die and to the sky
Serenely, delicately go,
Saint Peter, when he sees you there,
Will clash his keys and say:
"Now talk to her, Sir Christopher!
And hurry, Michelangelo!
She wants to play at building,
And you've got to help her play!"

Every architect will help erect
A palace on a lawn of cloud,
With rainbow beams and a sunset roof,
And a level star-tiled floor;
And at your will you may use the skill
Of this gay angelic crowd,
When a house is made you will throw it down,
And they'll build you twenty more.

For Christopher Wren and these other men
Who used to build on earth
Will love to go to work again
If they may work for you.
"This porch," you'll say, "should go this way!"
And they'll work for all they're worth,
And they'll come to your palace every morning,
And ask you what to do.

And when night comes down on Heaven-town
(If there should be night up there)
You will choose the house you like the best
Of all that you can see:
And its walls will glow as you drowsily go
To the bed up the golden stair,
And I hope you'll be gentle enough to keep
A room in your house for me

-Love It!

Re: Poems dedicated to/or about a person
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (
Date: December 13, 2004 08:54PM

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning:


That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fr Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
Fr Pandolf'' by design, for never read <br /> Strangers like you that pictured countenance, <br /> The depth and passion of its earnest glance, <br /> But to myself they turned (since none puts by <br /> The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) <br /> And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, <br /> How such a glance came there; so, not the first <br /> Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not <br /> Her husband's presence only, called that spot <br /> Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps <br /> Fr Pandolf chanced to sayHer mantle laps
Over my lady's wrist too much,'' orPaint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint <br /> Half-flush that dies along her throat:'' such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart---how shall I say?---too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace---all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,---good! but thanked
Somehow---I know not how---as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech---(which I have not)---to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, Just this <br /> Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
``Or there exceed the mark''---and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
---E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

---Robert Browning---

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