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Jim Moonan

Owner/Artistic Director, NorthWind Education

TEDCRED 50+

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What poems are most powerful to you?

I am astonished at how powerful poetic writing can be - yet poetry remains out of the reach of so many people today.

My hope is to collect here some of those poems that mean so much to people so that others can share the transcendant feeling that good poetry brings.

I would also like to know where others find their poetry - where are the best places to hear it, what are the publications that print it, the courses that teach how to read it, etc.

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  • May 11 2011: Personally, the most thought provoking poem I have ever been fortunate enough to read is "the lesson of the moth" by Don Marquis:

    i was talking to a moth
    the other evening
    he was trying to break into
    an electric light bulb
    and fry himself on the wires

    why do you fellows
    pull this stunt i asked him
    because it is the conventional
    thing for moths or why
    if that had been an uncovered
    candle instead of an electric
    light bulb you would
    now be a small unsightly cinder
    have you no sense

    plenty of it he answered
    but at times we get tired
    of using it
    we get bored with the routine
    and crave beauty
    and excitement
    fire is beautiful
    and we know that if we get
    too close it will kill us
    but what does that matter
    it is better to be happy
    for a moment
    and be burned up with beauty
    than to live a long time
    and be bored all the while
    so we wad all our life up
    into one little roll
    and then we shoot the roll
    that is what life is for
    it is better to be a part of beauty
    for one instant and then cease to
    exist than to exist forever
    and never be a part of beauty
    our attitude toward life
    is come easy go easy
    we are like human beings
    used to be before they became
    too civilized to enjoy themselves

    and before i could argue him
    out of his philosophy
    he went and immolated himself
    on a patent cigar lighter
    i do not agree with him
    myself i would rather have
    half the happiness and twice
    the longevity

    but at the same time i wish
    there was something i wanted
    as badly as he wanted to fry himself
    • Comment deleted

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        May 13 2011: More Kathy! Keep writing!
      • Sri G

        • +1
        May 13 2011: Reminded me of something I wrote few months ago:

        My heart is so stubborn, it won’t listen to my caution
        It is racing for you without any preparation
        says you are the most beautiful thing in the whole creation.
        .................
        how stupid is this heart of mine,
        to lust after the love of thine!
        That silly insect which flies right into the fire,
        is laughing at the futility of my desire!
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      May 13 2011: Connor, this is a fascinating poem, thank you.!We are tempted so often in this life to do exactly what the moth does. We spend our time learning how to defend against the compulsion to go mad (as Richard and Birdia say earlier in this conversation)
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      May 14 2011: But it is next to impossible not to get burned.

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