Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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I Like This Poem

If you see this, post a poem in your LiveJournal. If you want to, of course.

I've read a lot of unfamiliar poems over the last few days - thanks, guys. This one probably won't be new to you as it's in just about every school textbook ever, as well as kiddy verse anthology I Like This Poem. (It's great, that book. More than half the pages have fallen out of my copy. Every poem in it was chosen by a child, who's also explained why they like it underneath. My favourite caption is for Lone Dog: 'because when I was little I was rough and tough'.)

I like poems to have rhyme and rhythm, hence my deep love of Tennyson. But above all, I like poems to have a point - to be based around a central clever idea, and reach a brilliant conclusion in the last line or two. Like a good detective story, you don't know how it will turn out until the very end although all the clues are there. This is why I like Abou Ben Adhem, and Ozymandias, and If. And that's why I like

Not Waving But Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

~ Stevie Smith

I love Stevie Smith. She was bonkers and brilliant; I admire her atheism, her appreciation of cats, and the fact that she was depressed for much of her life but didn't moan about it. This is not my favourite of her poems - this one is - but it popped into my head the other day and I thought: 'If that poetry meme turns up again, this is what I shall post.'

So I did.

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