SMILE – Spike Milligan

[  # 100 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

 

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This is a wonderfully positive poem, with a delightful premise, wittily expressed by that master of humour, SPIKE  MILLIGAN

SMILE

 

Smiling is infectious
You catch it like the flu

When someone smiled at me today
I started smiling too

I walked around the corner
And someone saw me grin

When he smiled I realised
I had passed it on to him

I thought about the smile
And then realised its worth

A single smile like mine
Could travel round the earth

So if you feel a smile begin
Don’t leave it undetected

Start an epidemic
And get the world infected.

 

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‘Death’ . . . W.B.Yeats

[  # 98 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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This poem, ‘Death’, by W.B.Yeats (1865 – 1939} is one of his shortest.   It attempts to contrast the death of of animals, who do not possess such a concept, with the centrality, the significance and the certitude of what death means in the experience of all human beings.   Yeats wrote this poem in 1929 and published it in his 1933 collection, ‘The Winding Stair and Other Poems’. 

Death

Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone –
Man has created death.

 

Author: William Butler Yeats

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‘Trees’ . . . Joyce Kilmer

[  # 99 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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Tree Roots at Claremont Gardens, Surrey – WHB   ©

 

Trees

By: Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

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Joyce Kilmer (born as Alfred Joyce Kilmer; December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918) was an American writer and poet mainly remembered for a short poem titled “Trees” (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his Roman Catholic religious faith, Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. While most of his works are largely unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics—including both Kilmer’s contemporaries and modern scholars—have disparaged Kilmer’s work as being too simple and overly sentimental, and suggested that his style was far too traditional, even archaic. Many writers, including notably Ogden Nash, have parodied Kilmer’s work and style—as attested by the many parodies of “Trees”.

At the time of his deployment to Europe during World War I, Kilmer was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries  G.K.Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). He enlisted in the New York National Guard and was deployed to France with the  69th Infantry regiment (the famous “Fighting 69th”) in 1917. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31. He was married to Aline Murray, also an accomplished poet and author, with whom he had five children.

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‘Mirror, Mirror’ – by Spike Milligan

[ # 97 of My Favourite Short Poems ]

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Spike Milligan (1918 – 2002)

Yes, another poem by Spike Milligan, that arch-Goon. This one, however, shows another side to his poetry. Here, he shows that he is quite capable of being tender and is able to give us such a gentle and gracious poem. Recognising that the blind boy sees, not what is on the mirror’s surface, but what his own senses tell him is the true nature of the ‘spring-tender’ girl.

MIRROR, MIRROR – by Spike Milligan

A young spring-tender girl
combed her joyous hair
‘You are very ugly’ said the mirror.
But,
on her lips hung
a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
for only that morning had not
the blind boy said,
‘You are beautiful’?

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‘A Vow’. . . by Wendy Cope

[  # 96 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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A poem by Wendy Cope, who, in her own down-to-earth and honest style presents a non-traditional version of the marriage vows, one with greater honesty than any more conventional approach to the promises and commitments of marriage.

It may be remembered that Wendy Cope once rebuked our poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, for agreeing to write a poem to celebrate Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton.  This poem confirms her views on such matters by taking a common-sense view of the marriage vows.

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I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind.

And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure. 
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.

I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I hope to pass that test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.

By Wendy Cope 

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The Moon And Sixpence

 

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The Moon & Sixpence

 

At such a sight
As the moon at night
So high, so bright
My thoughts take flight
The sheer delight
Of its vibrant white
Its pungent bite
Some day might
Emit its light
End my plight
Leaving me quite
Without foresight
Yet still contrite

All this I write
So slight
And yet
So recondite

My life’s Sixpence 
I’ve almost spent
It’s true
I’m getting old
And to my cost
I’ve loved and lost
My heady tale
Is nearly told

For all my time
The pain, the wine
I’ve trod the edge
So they allege

But despite the sorrow  
The joy and pain
Nothing in vain

The theme has been
I’ve lived my dream

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NOTE:  From ‘Wikipedia’, describing the derivation of the title for Somerset Maugham’s novel, ‘The Moon and Sixpence’, which is loosely based on the life of French artist, Paul Gauguin.

According to some sources, the title, the meaning of which is not explicitly revealed in the book, was taken from a review of Maugham’s novel Of Human Bondage in which the novel’s protagonist, Philip Carey, is described as “so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.”  According to a 1956 letter from Maugham, “If you look on the ground in search of a sixpence, you don’t look up, and so miss the moon.” Maugham’s title echoes the description of Gauguin by his contemporary biographer, Meier-Graefe (1908): “He [Gauguin] may be charged with having always wanted something else.”

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‘A Word is Dead’ . . . Emily Dickinson

[  # 95 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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A Word is Dead

by Emily Dickinson


A word is dead

When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

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One of the shortest poems I know, yet I find it so powerful, so wise.   Words need to be heard, to be read, to be said,  above all perhaps they need to be used.  In its brevity, Emily Dickinson uses them so carefully here and yet prompting further thought with the depth of their meaning.  Words used in a poem do take flight as the reader is led to consider their meaning further.

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‘A Silly Poem’ . . . Spike Milligan

[  # 94 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

 

‘A Silly Poem’ . . . Spike Milligan

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Spike Milligan … 1918 – 2002

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,

I’ll draw a sketch of thee,

What kind of pencil shall I use?

2B or not 2B? 

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. . .   GENIUS POET – TRULY SILLY POEM !!!bar-yellow N.B.  2B is an indicator used in the primary UK graphite grading scale to measure the hardness of a pencil’s graphite core.bar-yellow

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“I Would Live In Your Love” … Sara Teasdale

[  # 93 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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I Would Live In Your Love – Sara Teasdale

I would  live in your love

As the sea-grasses live in the sea,

Borne up by each wave as it passes,

Drawn down by each wave that recedes;

I would empty my soul

Of the dreams that have gathered in me

I would beat with your heart as it beats,

I would follow your soul as it leads.

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A gentle love poem by the American lyric poet, Sara Teasdale (1884-1933).  After her marriage in 1914, she used the name Sara Teasdale Filsinger.  As the sea-grass lives in and is sustained by the sea, so the poet wishes her life to be consumed and given wholly to her love. The images created belie her own love story when it would appear that she married largely to meet with the wishes of her parents.  The marriage ended in divorce in 1929 and just four years later Sarah was found dead in her bath.  Although denied at the time, it is believed that the death was suicide.
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PC or Not-PC?

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“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.”

From Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ – Act III, Scene I..

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Thoughts on Seeing, Fleeing and Being Politically Correct

( Pace tua Wm. Shakespeare ) 

 

To see, or not to see: that is the question : Whether’ tis wiser to look it full in the face, or, to turn that blind eye, which is the kiss of ineptitude, and by ignoring, forget them.

To flee, or not to flee: that is the question : Whether’ tis safer to meet with danger face to face, or, to turn and run, and by escaping, live to flee another day.

PC or non-Pc: that is the question: Whether ’tis better in the end to put up with the hawks and sparrows of mind distortion, or to take umbrage against such hubble-bubble, and by exposing suspend them. 

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