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Poetic Wanderings

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I wonder if anyone here would be interested in this?


We at BGO have been doing this since 2005 and it's much fun.


It's harder to explain than to actually do so here goes :


The idea is that one of the members will post up a short extract from a long poem - maybe four or five lines or so, nothing too big or unwieldy - or a short poem. The next person to come along has to post up another extract, from a different poem, which has a word in common with the first extract. (A distinctive, interesting word, please, rather than "and" or "the", or similar  )

The person after that posts another extract, which has a different word in common with the second persons extract.

Does that make sense?

Please post the title and poet of the extract too, then we have the chance to go away and look it up, and maybe discover some new poetry along the way. Also please highlight in bold what the repeated word is. Extracts don't have to be the start of a poem, they can be taken from the middle or end too.  Feel free to use such reference tools as you see fit, it's not a test of the poems you have memorised.

If you can find extracts with several words, or a short phrase in common with the previous one, then you get tons of extra points, (though no-one is counting!) and you can go around all day feeling very smug!


Poetry is, IMHO, an essential part of reading and this way, I've found, that I read more poetry than I otherwise would.



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So, here are the poems that started us off



I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I wandered lonely as a cloud or Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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The only thing to come now is the sea.

From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me,

Slapping its phantom laundry in my face.

These hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt.

I follow the sheep path between them. A last hook brings me

To the hills' northern face, and the face is orange rock

That looks out on nothing, nothing but a great space

Of white and pewter lights, and a din like silversmiths

Beating and beating at an intractable metal.


Blackberrying (final stanza) - Sylvia Plath



In addition to what luna has said about this thread,a note about the author, if it is someone not well known, is helpful

Also, if the poem is available on the web, a link to a site where it can be read in full would make it easier to find than hunting around in anthologies.

That is, if course, if you can get a link loaded. No luck with either safari or chrome this afternoon.



Edited by megustaleer
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I found me in a great surging space,
At either end a door,
And I said: 'What is this giddying place,
With no firm-fixed floor,
That I knew not of before?'
'It is life,' said a mask-clad face
I asked: 'but how do I come here,
Who never wished to come;
Can the light and air be made more clear,
The floor more quietsome,
And the doors set wide? They numb
Fast-locked and fill with fear.'
The mask put on a bleak smile then,
And said, 'O vassal-wight,
There once complained a goosequill pen
To the scribe of the Infinite
Of the words it had to write
Because they were past its ken.'
The Masked Face - Thomas Hardy
Edited by Hux
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You did not come,

And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.

Yet less for loss of your dear presence there

Than that I thus found lacking in your make

That high compassion which can overbear

Reluctance for pure lovingkindness' sake

Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,

You did not come.


You love not me,

And love alone can lend you loyalty;

-I know and knew it. But, unto the store

Of human deeds divine in all but name,

Was it not worth a little hour or more

To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came

To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be

You love not me.


A Broken Appointment - Thomas Hardy



For any one interested in knowing more about Thomas Hardy I can recommend the biography by Claire Tomalin, the title of which is a phrase taken

from this poem- TheTime-torn Man



Edited by megustaleer
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Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood;
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet’st,
And do whate’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world and all her fading sweets;
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O! carve not with thy hours my love’s fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow
For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.


Sonnet 19, William Shakespeare


A short analysis of the above, should anyone want to know : https://interestingliterature.com/2017/01/a-short-analysis-of-shakespeares-sonnet-19-devouring-time-blunt-thou-the-lions-paws/

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.
(Carol Ann Duffy - Words, Wide Night)
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Birth and death, twin-sister and twin-brother,

Night and day, on all things that draw breath,

Reign, while time keeps friends with one another

Birth and death.


Each brow-bound with flowers diverse of wreath,

Heaven they hail as father, earth as mother,

Faithful found above them and beneath.


Smiles may lighten tears, and tears may smother

Smiles, for all that joy or sorrow saith:

Joy nor sorrow knows not from each other

Birth and death.


Birth and Death -  a  roundel by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He invented the roundel form, which is a short poem consisting of three stanzas of three lines each, rhyming alternately, with the opening words repeated as a refrain after the first and third stanzas.

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Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:


Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth


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Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too truly to be fearful of the night.


(The 'famous' line from The Old Astronomer To His Pupil by Sarah Williams) 

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Thank you so much, Chrissy, for posting that. I had never come across "The Old Astronomer..." before, nor its "famous" line, so have hied me off to Google to read the rest of it.

Love it!

To follow, here's the midle stanza from another starry poem


And yonder star that burns so white,

May have died to dust and night

Ten, maybe, or fifteen year,

Before it shines upon my dear.


Fafaia - Rupert Brooke

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Glad you like the lines, megustaleer. They resonated with me when I first read them, and now regularly encircle my idle thoughts.


An emerald is as green as grass;

A ruby red as blood;

A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;

A flint lies in the mud.


A diamond is a brilliant stone,

To catch the world's desire;

An opal holds a fiery spark;

But a flint holds fire. 


(Precious Stones - Christina Rossetti) 


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The land is full of what was lost. What’s hidden

Rises to the surface after rain

In new-ploughed fields. and fields stubbled again:

The clay shards, foot and lip, that heaped the midden,


And here and there a blade or flakes of blade,

A patient art, knapped from a core of flint,

Most broken, few as coins new from the mint,

Perfect, shot through time as though through a glade.


First two stanzas of Arrowhead Hunting - A.E. Stallings


Alicia Elsbeth Stallings, American poet born 1968



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I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.


And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.


I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.


The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

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This is an obvious choice, but I couldn’t resist as I am getting old and wearing purple


But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

 When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.


The last three lines of Warning - Jenny Joseph


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"You are old, father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
Do you think, at your age, it is right?

"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
Pray what is the reason for that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment -- one shilling a box --
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak --
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as every;
Yet you balanced an eel on the tend of your nose --
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?

Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs.


You are Old Father William, Lewis Carroll

Edited by lunababymoonchild
Found a better poem
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I love this game! (And Lewis Carroll!) 


You say, O Sage, when weather-checked, 
"I have been favoured so 
With cloudless skies, I must expect 
This dash of rain or snow." 

"Since health has been my lot," you say, 
"So many months of late, 
I must not chafe that one short day 
Of sickness mars my state." 

You say, "Such bliss has been my share 
From Love's unbroken smile, 
It is but reason I should bear 
A cross therein awhile." 

And thus you do not count upon 
Continuance of joy; 
But, when at ease, expect anon 
A burden of annoy. 

But, Sage this Earth why not a place 
Where no reprisals reign, 
Where never a spell of pleasantness 
Makes reasonable a pain?

-The Child and the Sage by Thomas Hardy 


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On afternoons of drowsy calm

We stood in the panelled pew,

Singing one-voiced a Tate-and-Brady psalm

To the tune of 'Cambridge New'.


We watched the elms, we watched the rooks,

The clouds upon the breeze,

Between the whiles of glancing at our books,

And swaying like the trees.


So mindless were those outpourings! -

Though I am not aware

That I have gained by subtle thought on things

Since we stood psalming there.


Afternoon Service at Mellstock - Thomas Hardy



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I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.

I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.

I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

I Opened a Book - Julia Donaldson 

[I hope it isn’t cheating to change a word from the plural because I really like this one :lol:]

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47 minutes ago, Hayley said:

I Opened a Book - Julia Donaldson 

[I hope it isn’t cheating to change a word from the plural because I really like this one :lol:]


Absolutely not.  And it is a great poem.  Thanks for taking part, this is precisely the point of the game, to introduce poems that no-one has ever seen before and old standards that are still good enough to read.  

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For this one I have added an 's' to make a singular into a plural! ;)


EARTH has not anything to show more fair:

   Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

   A sight so touching in its majesty:

This City now doth like a garment wear

The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,

   Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie

   Open unto the fields, and to the sky;

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep

   In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

   The river glideth at his own sweet will:

Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;

   And all that mighty heart is lying still!


Upon Westminster Bridge - William Wordsworth


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i{My Soul} I summon to the winding ancient stair; 
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent, 
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement, 
Upon the breathless starlit air, 
'Upon the star that marks the hidden pole; 
Fix every wandering thought upon 
That quarter where all thought is done: 
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul 
i{My Self}. The consecretes blade upon my knees 
Is Sato's ancient blade, still as it was, 
Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass 
Unspotted by the centuries; 
That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn 
From some court-lady's dress and round 
The wodden scabbard bound and wound 
Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn 
i{My Soul.} Why should the imagination of a man 
Long past his prime remember things that are 
Emblematical of love and war? 
Think of ancestral night that can, 
If but imagination scorn the earth 
And interllect is wandering 
To this and that and t'other thing, 
Deliver from the crime of death and birth. 

Fragment from A Dialogue Of Self And Soul by W B Yeats


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Borne through many nations and over many seas
I come to these wretched funeral rites, brother mine,
so that I might hand you over with a final tribute in
and speak in vain to your silent ashes,
since fortune indeed has stolen you yourself away from me –
alas, my brother, cruelly snatched from me.
But now accept these gifts dripping with fraternal tears,
handed down by the ancient custom of our forefathers
as a sorrowful tribute in funeral rites,
and forevermore, brother, hail and farewell!


(Catullus 101)

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