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What is your favorite poem and why?

Poems may be the keys to understanding how the invisible pieces of our soul fit together. Poems are tools that help us not only to understand ourselves but also the world around us.

As Amartya Sen said - "If one can find the right poem, quoting someone else can be as much an expression of one's deeper self as anything one can write oneself."

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    Nov 27 2011: If by Rudyard Kipling

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
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      Nov 28 2011: Dear Silvia,
      I just posted this poem as one of my favorites, then scrolled down and found your contribution! Looks like we're on a similar page again...LOVE it:>)
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        Nov 29 2011: YES! I'm quite amused and happy about that as well, dear Colleen. :)
        I wanted to share another great poem in Bulgarian and hopefully translate it well so that I can get the gist of the meaning:

        Не питай за цената на мечтата -
        бори се, литвай, падай и умирай!. . .
        Носи я винаги напред -в ръката,
        възкръсвай: ставай, искай и намирай!
        Не я затваряй в себе си, в душата. . .
        Изправен дишай, никога не спирай,
        мечтай за радостта, за красотата!
        С възторг и трепет, с вяра в чудесата -
        тя ражда и мира, и светлината,
        с кръвта заплаща любовта и свободата. . .

        НЕ ПИТАЙ ЗА ЦЕНАТА НА МЕЧТАТА!. . .

        Людмил Янков 1984 год.

        Don't ask about the dream's price ...
        fight, fly, fall and die! ...
        Take it always ahead - in your hand,
        Revive: get up, want and find!
        Don't close it inside, in your soul ...
        Standing breathe, never stop,
        Dream of joy, of beauty!
        With rapture and thrill, with faith in miracles -
        it gives birth to both peace and light,
        In blood it pays for love and freedom ...

        DON'T ASK ABOUT THE DREAM'S PRICE! ...

        Lyudmil Yankov 1984

        This is a man who was lost too soon ...
    • Dec 1 2011: I'm afraid I'm also guilty of putting in my entry and not scrolling down. IF is also my favorite poem. I'd like to know when you came across this poem??. The fact that Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book, and this exquisite poem showed me as a young adult that humans have very diversified interests and talents and that we can never judge someone by just one act......We are complex individuals, and only by taking a personal interest in others and their interests and feelings do we start to understand ourselves and those around us. This one poem shaped my thinking very much from a very young age. I am so glad to know that two other individuals...and women at that also love this poem. :)
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        Dec 2 2011: Mary,
        I came across the poem "IF" at a frightening time in my life. I challenged a toxic business in the community years ago. My life was threatened, my home vandalized and damaged, and I was afraid to walk down the street in a community where I lived for 40 years. I was percieved as public enemy number 1, for trying to put these "nice people" out of business. I questioned myself and my actions over and over again during several years. The question to myself was always..."do I want to be liked and feel safe"?, or "do I want to do what is right for our environment"?

        I kept this poem close by, read and re-read it many many times to help give me strength to carry on. Finally, the business was ordered by the environmental court to vacate the site.

        If you can keep your head when all about you
        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
        If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
        But make allowance for their doubting too;
        If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
        Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
        Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
        And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise......................

        This poem means so much to me in so many ways:>)
        • Dec 2 2011: Colleen, you are a brave woman. You will probably appreciate reading "Anyway" by Kent Keith. This poem also is a powerhouse of positive living and self worth despite what others do or say. Colleen, you were true to yourself and you stood up for what you believed in. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing this information with us. Mary :)
        • Dec 23 2011: Hi Colleen,
          The poem "IF" is also one of my favorite ones.and why did not you post till the end of the poem. here it's:

          If you can keep your head when all about you
          Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
          If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
          But make allowance for their doubting too:
          If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
          Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
          Or being hated don't give way to hating,
          And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

          If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
          If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
          If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
          And treat those two impostors just the same:.
          If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
          Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
          Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
          And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

          If you can make one heap of all your winnings
          And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
          And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
          And never breathe a word about your loss:
          If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
          To serve your turn long after they are gone,
          And so hold on when there is nothing in you
          Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

          If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
          Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
          If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
          If all men count with you, but none too much:
          If you can fill the unforgiving minute
          With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
          Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
          And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!


          Rudyard Kipling
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        Dec 2 2011: Dear Mary,
        Thank you. I DID enjoy reading the poem "ANYWAY", which I had not seen before...thank you:>)

        I think/feel that bravery comes and goes. The piece that never leaves my mind and heart, is that I did not come back to this earth school to be complacent:>)
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        Dec 26 2011: Hi Alisa,
        I posted the entire poem in another comment earlier and didn't want to take up any more space.
        It is always good for a repeat...thanks:>)
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      Dec 2 2011: This one's for all TEDsters. :-) :-)
      (I have too many favorite poems to pick just one).

      Out
      Of a great need
      We are all holding hands
      And climbing.

      Not loving is a letting go.
      Listen,

      The terrain around here
      Is
      Far too
      Dangerous
      For that.

      This poem is called "A Great Need" - by Hafiz ...... maybe " Not loving is a letting go" would be a better title !!!! In other words “ A world without love is a deadly place.” - Dr Helen Fisher
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    Nov 28 2011: The message

    Silence, they say, is the voice of complicity.
    But silence is impossible.
    Silence screams.
    Silence is a message,
    just as doing nothing is an act.

    Let who you are ring out and resonate
    in every word and every deed.
    Yes, become who you are.
    There's no side stepping your own being,
    or your own responsibility.

    What you do is who you are.
    You are your own comeuppance.
    You become your own message.

    You are the message.

    -Leonard Peltier, 1998

    ....that is one of my favorites for an extremely internal and personal relationship which lives within myself.
    This is another, but for a message I wish for the uni-verse (one-song) to hear...

    What mad Nijinsky wrote
    About Diaghilev
    Is true of the normal heart;
    For the error bred in the bone
    Of each woman and each man
    Craves what it cannot have,
    Not universal love,
    But to be loved alone....
    And no one exists alone;
    Hunger allows no choice
    To the citizen or the police:
    We must love one another or die.
    -W.H. Auden, I believe..

    It may be titled, The Normal Heart, that, I am also not completely sure of. I read it years ago in a play by Larry Kramer, called: September, 1939

    thank you all for sharing your words. It is like the opening of an old wound and becoming vulnerable to others when we share words and thoughts of our personal love. Without this opportunity, to share and offer ourselves to each other, the wounds have a greater chance of scarring over, rendering love, and our hopes nothing more than a distant intellectual memory that warns us of risk and fear of ever hurting again. For me, keeping this wound open I never forget the intense feelings of being alive because I am, yet, in touch with the emotion, and this justifies the future risk of all that I may share, say or do.
    As Amartya Sen put so well, "If one can find the right poem, quoting someone else can be as much an expression of one's deeper self as anything one can write oneself." Thanks Amartya; your quote, my feelings. Tim.
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      Dec 3 2011: Speaking of silence ...
      Here's Leonard Cohen's poem, "Gift" from 1958.

      You tell me that silence
      is nearer to peace than poems
      but if for my gift
      I brought you silence
      (for I know silence)
      you would say
      "This is not silence
      this is another poem"
      and you would hand it back to me.

      (And who has written more beautifully about silence than Paul Simon?):

      . . .
      And in the naked light I saw
      Ten thousand people, maybe more
      People talking without speaking
      People hearing without listening
      People writing songs that voices never share
      And no one dared
      Disturb the sound of silence

      "Fools", said I, "You do not know
      Silence like a cancer grows
      Hear my words that I might teach you
      Take my arms that I might reach you"
      But my words, like silent raindrops fell
      And echoed
      In the wells of silence.
      . . .
    • Dec 3 2011: I personally love to luxuriate in the "sound of silence".......where I can think about my thinking.

      Wonderful reflection at the end of your entry Mr. Petersen.
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      . .

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      Dec 9 2011: This is a -beautiful beautiful beautiful thought -
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        Dec 10 2011: Juliette, Mary, and Paul,
        I failed to insert my reply to all of you properly and it has ended up at the top of the page.
        Thanks again, to all of you.
  • Dec 2 2011: Too many favorites to name one but this poem really struck me when I first read it and its power has stayed with me.


    Love After Love by Derek Wolcott:

    The time will come
    when, with elation
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror
    and each will smile at the other's welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.
  • Dec 1 2011: THE INVITATION by ORIAH

    It doesn’t interest me
    what you do for a living.
    I want to know
    what you ache for
    and if you dare to dream
    of meeting your heart’s longing.
    It doesn’t interest me
    how old you are.
    I want to know
    if you will risk
    looking like a fool
    for love
    for your dream,
    for the adventure of being alive.
    It doesn’t interest me
    what planets are
    squaring your moon...
    I want to know
    if you have touched
    the centre of your own sorrow
    if you have been opened
    by life’s betrayals
    or have become shrivelled and closed
    from fear of further pain.
    I want to know
    if you can sit with pain
    mine or your own
    without moving to hide it
    or fade it
    or fix it.
    I want to know
    if you can be with joy
    mine or your own
    if you can dance with wildness
    and let the ecstasy fill you
    to the tips of your fingers and toes
    without cautioning us
    to be careful
    to be realistic
    to remember the limitations
    of being human.
    It doesn’t interest me
    if the story you are telling me is true.
    I want to know if you can
    disappoint another
    to be true to yourself.
    If you can bear
    the accusation of betrayal
    and not betray your own soul.
    If you can be faithless
    and therefore trustworthy.
    I want to know if you can see Beauty
    even when it is not pretty
    every day.
    And if you can source your own life
    from its presence.
    I want to know
    if you can live with failure
    yours and mine
    and still stand at the edge of the lake
    and shout to the silver of the full moon,
    “Yes.”
    It doesn’t interest me
    to know where you live
    or how much money you have.
    I want to know if you can get up
    after the night of grief and despair
    weary and bruised to the bone
    and do what needs to be done
    to feed the children.
    It doesn’t interest me
    who you know
    or how you came to be here.
    I want to know if you will stand
    in the centre of the fire
    with me
    and not shrink back.
    It doesn’t interest me
    where or what or with whom
    you have studied.
    I want to know
    what sustains you
    from the inside
    when all else falls away.
    I want to know
    if you can be alone
    with
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      Dec 2 2011: continued...
      I want to know
      if you can be alone
      with yourself
      and if you truly like
      the company you keep
      in the empty moments.


      By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
      from the book The Invitation

      Miki,
      This is another one of my favorites...thanks:>)
  • Nov 30 2011: My favorite poem is IF by Rudyard Kipling. The first time I read it was in high school. I remember thinking, I want to be just like this poem's character. Of course, I think the last line can be changed to include women. I keep a copy of it in my notebook of quotes and sayings. I love words and how they can move me. IF is a poem that has the ability to do just that. It is too long to copy here, but I invite you to look it up. It starts like this....
    "If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
    But make allowance for their doubting too.".......
  • Nov 27 2011: The poem that has been most intriguing to me has been 'Jabberwocky' by Lewis Carroll

    This nonsensical poem exudes a mastery of language which few others have obtained in my opinion. To tell a story using fantastical words and still have the ability to paint such a vivid picture out of nothing is phenomenal.


    `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!"

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought --
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood awhile in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    "And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
    He chortled in his joy.

    `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.
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      Nov 28 2011: well they say this is not just nonesense and Carrol had a deep sense of how to merge morphemes and coin new words. I do love the way he always puts forth ideas unthought before...:)
  • Nov 27 2011: Desiderata
    (There is still conflict about who wrote it)

    I will not post it all here but...
    You are a child of the universe
    No less then the trees and stars
    You have a right to be here

    ETC...

    That poem has always played a major roll in my life.
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    Nov 27 2011: I don't think of it as my "favorite" - Instead just as one of the most important poems to me personally. It captures that moment we experience when change occurs, and change is what we are here for in one way or another...

    The Journey

    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice --
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    "Mend my life!"
    each voice cried.
    But you didn't stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations,
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do --
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

    -Mary Oliver
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    Dec 11 2011: Here is a favorite from my "lighter side", I think in it many of us may hear ourselves.

    The Double Life

    How very simple life would be
    If only there were two of me
    A restless me to drift and roam
    A quiet me to stay at home.
    A Searching One to find his fill
    Of varied skies and new found thrill
    While sane and homely things are done
    By the domestic Other One.

    And that's just where the trouble lies;
    There is a Restless Me that cries
    For chancey risks and changing scene,
    For arctic blue and tropic green,
    For deserts with their mystic spell,
    For lusty fun and raising Hell
    But shackled to that Restless Me
    My other self rebeliously
    Resists the frantic urge to move.
    It seeks the old familiar groove
    That habits make. It finds content
    With hearth and home-dear prisonment,
    With candle light and well-loved books
    And treasured loot in dusty nooks,
    With puttering and garden things
    And dreaming while a cricket sings
    And all the while the Restless One
    Insists on more exciting fun.
    It wants to go with every tide,
    No matter where....just for the ride.
    Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
    Until I have no peace at all.

    One eye turns to the forward track,
    The other eye looks sadly back.
    I'm getting wall-eyed from the strain,
    (It's tough to have an idle brain)
    But One says "Stay" and One says "Go"
    And One says "Yes," and One says "No,"
    And One Self wants a home and wife
    And One Self craves the drifter's life.

    The Restless Fellow always wins
    I wish my folks had made me twins.

    --Don Blanding

    In the way this provokes relaxation and a little smile for me I hope you all enjoy it, too.
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    Dec 10 2011: Without the need to say, I am compelled to acknowledge my gratitude to all of you for meeting me on this path. While sharing myself with everyone here I am afforded the opportunity to consciously remind myself of who I strive to be. When you respond so kindly I am given the strength and confidence to continue in this direction. Sometimes.... most of the time, I lack the courage to express how I think. Thank you Juliette and Mary for understanding me and giving the assurance of collective hearts contemplating in harmony.
    Thanks Paul, because you have also made evident that everything is energy and power, even in silence. We are unable to conceal all that we have been taught to believe sleeps in silence. Energy and power never sleep and silence speaks infinitely.
    I really, really appreciate like-minded hearts, it is my pleasure to have met you all.
  • Dec 9 2011: Here's my favorite poem and the part that speaks most powerfully to me is the line about what happens when we let our own light shine.....

    Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

    It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
    talented and fabulous?

    Actually, who are you not to be?
    You are a child of God.
    Your playing small does not serve the world.
    There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
    people won't feel insecure around you.

    We were born to make manifest the glory of
    God that is within us.

    It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
    And as we let our own light shine,
    we unconsciously give other people
    permission to do the same.

    As we are liberated from our own fear,
    Our presence automatically liberates others.

    —Marianne Williamson
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    Dec 5 2011: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
    there is a field.
    I'll meet you there.

    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
    doesn't make any sense.”

    - Rumi

    I love this because we - all of us- belong here.
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    Nov 28 2011: very hard to decide but hear is a very loved one by Poe:
    A dream within a dream
    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow-
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.
    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand-
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep- while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?


    see how beautifully he engages in the idea of persuit of reality which is not to be found whatsoever...
    • Comment deleted

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        Nov 30 2011: Poe is one of the most enigmatic personalities I have ever known.This poem can be construed in many different ways lets say subjectively.that is what poetry is all about. that u can get what u want out of it.
        thamks for the comments though:)
  • Nov 28 2011: Did you hear about the rose that grew
    from a crack in the concrete?
    Proving nature's law is wrong it
    learned to walk with out having feet.
    Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
    it learned to breathe fresh air.
    Long live the rose that grew from concrete
    when no one else ever cared.

    By 2pac.
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    Nov 28 2011: There are so many wonderful poems, it's difficult to choose a favorite. This is ONE of my favorites.
    Why? Just read it:>)

    IF
    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too:
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or being hated don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same:.
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
    And never breathe a word about your loss:
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much:
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!


    Rudyard Kipling
  • Nov 28 2011: I felt the trust disintegrate
    I watched the loving die
    Did you ever really love me or,
    was your love a lovely lie.

    After the breakdown of a marriage this poem poleaxed me.
  • Nov 27 2011: I don't have one favourite poem, there are many. This is one of them..

    The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam

    Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
    Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
    And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
    The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light. 1

    Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
    I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
    “Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
    Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry.”

    More here http://www.humanistictexts.org/omar_khayyam.htm
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      Nov 28 2011: well u have probably read only the english translation. if u read the original persian version u would just love the poems more than ever...:)
      • Nov 28 2011: I'm sure you are right Zahra - much is always lost in translation. :)
  • Nov 27 2011: Whitman loved life and found such soulful inspiration in every corner of it.
    His poetry has a cadence that puts the reader deeply in touch with the subject matter.
    For me, "A Clear Midnight" is that space in between awake and asleep. It describes a winding down of thought and has always felt like a personal lullaby, the gift of a clear conscious and the promise of a good nights sleep.
    There is a gentleness to Whitman that I have always loved.

    A Clear Midnight

    THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
    Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
    Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
    lovest best.
    Night, sleep, and the stars.

    Walt Whitman
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      Nov 28 2011: I do adore his the song of myself, the strong voice he uses and the way he puts the thoughts into words is just amazing...A clear midnight is also great, applies to me and my hectic life:)
  • Nov 27 2011: This remains one of my most favorite poems because of the million ways
    to interpret it's meaning & for it's accessibility to any age group.

    But mostly, because I'm still not sure if I'm the Bagpipe, or the Turtle ;P

    "The Bagpipe Who Didn't Say No" by Shel Silverstein

    It was nine o'clock at midnight at a quarter after three
    When a turtle met a bagpipe on the shoreside by the sea,
    And the turtle said, "My dearie,
    May I sit with you? I'm weary."
    And the bagpipe didn't say no.
    Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "I have walked this lonely shore,
    I have talked to waves and pebbles--but I've never loved before.
    Will you marry me today, dear?
    Is it 'No' you're going to say dear?"
    But the bagpipe didn't say no.

    Said the turtle to his darling, "Please excuse me if I stare,
    But you have the plaidest skin, dear,
    And you have the strangest hair.
    If I begged you pretty please, love,
    Could I give you just one squeeze, love?"
    And the bagpipe didn't say no.

    Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "Ah, you love me. Then confess!
    Let me whisper in your dainty ear and hold you to my chest."
    And he cuddled her and teased her
    And so lovingly he squeezed her.
    And the bagpipe said, "Aaooga."

    Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "Did you honk or bray or neigh?
    For 'Aaooga' when your kissed is such a heartless thing to say.
    Is it that I have offended?
    Is it that our love is ended?"
    And the bagpipe didn't say no.

    Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "Shall i leave you, darling wife?
    Shall i waddle off to Woedom? Shall i crawl out of your life?
    Shall I move, depart and go, dear--
    Oh, I beg you tell me 'No' dear!"
    But the bagpipe didn't say no.

    So the turtle crept off crying and he ne'er came back no more,
    And he left the bagpipe lying on that smooth and sandy shore.
    And some night when tide is low there,
    Just walk up and say, "Hello, there,"
    And politely ask the bagpipe if this story's really so.
    I assure you, darling children, the bagpipe won't say "No.
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    Nov 27 2011: Very difficult question for me.....as my list of favourite is very very long...........the moment I come across one good poetry it sneaks in that list...........many of which is in my language which I am unable to translate due to my zero poetic skill and poor english.........

    Below is one from Edgar Allan Poe , that I came across just a hour back from a quote actually

    From every depth of good & il
    lThe mystry which binds me still
    From the torrent or the fountain
    From the red cliff of the mountain
    My heart to joy at the same tone
    And all I loved , I loved alone

    Sorry for any mistake in above if any.......

    Liked it because and talks about desire of human or LOVE & solitude of LOVER

    Great poems quoted below by TEDsters are also getting in to my list..........happy I am list got even longer..... thanks everyone for sharing :)
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      Nov 28 2011: Allan Poe is just great, his the raneb and the bells and annabel lee and a lot more. ,..
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        Nov 28 2011: I am also great fan of Rubayat of Omar Khayyam, though read all in translated version....even than simply great............ those are
  • Nov 27 2011: the love song of j. alfred prufock by t.s.eliotLET us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table; Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats 5 Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question…. 10 Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit. In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo. The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, 15 The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening, Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains, Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, 20 And seeing that it was a soft October night, Curled once about the house, and fell asleep. And indeed there will be time For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, Rubbing its back upon the window panes; 25 There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; 30 Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea. In the room the women come and go 35 Talking of Michelangelo. And indeed there will be time To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?” Time to turn back and descend the stair, With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— 40 (They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”) My morning coat, my collar mounting fir sorry did not fit please see web
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      Nov 28 2011: T S Eliot is just marvellous the way he conveys the message and the uncecidablity of the situation and the weaknesses of Prufrock...
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    Dec 23 2011: Thank you, for being here, Dayna. One of my concious daily struggles is looking for reason in our world today. If only I could see beyond my self indulgent animosity as Leonard seems to have done. Oprah Winfrey once said, "Forgiveness is the ability to accept the fact that our past will never be any different than it is." (para-phrased) Leonard, through his loss, has given me alot of strength. It is confusing; trying to be okay with something that I never want to be okay with. Where is my balance? Leonard's words are helping me live with issues and situations no one should be forced to live with. Thank you, again, Dayna.
  • Dec 13 2011: My favorite one is "The Cricket and the grasshopper." Like the title suggests, this poem is very simple to read and understand. Nonetheless, it sends across several different morals, things that perhaps our society has forgotten. It illuminates the importance of cherishing and making the most out of each moment in life, it encourages each human to be strong and last but not the least, the simplicity portrays just how wonderful the most simple things in life can be.
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    Dec 12 2011: My favourite poem is by ee cummings. For me, no poet is able to capture the subtlety of love and beauty, as well as the manic passion of life as poignantly and viscerally as ee cummings. This poem makes me remember every lovers kiss, every embrace, the slightest touch and those quiet moments that make life worth living.

    somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
    any experience,your eyes have their silence:
    in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
    or which i cannot touch because they are too near

    your slightest look easily will unclose me
    though i have closed myself as fingers,
    you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
    (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

    or if your wish be to close me, i and
    my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
    as when the heart of this flower imagines
    the snow carefully everywhere descending;

    nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
    the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
    compels me with the color of its countries,
    rendering death and forever with each breathing

    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens;only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
    nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
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    Dec 10 2011: My favorite poem is one by Dorothea Grossman...

    "I have to tell you,
    there are times when the sun
    strikes me like a gong,
    and I remember everything,
    even your ears."

    ...because it is impossible not to understand it.
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    Nov 28 2011: and another I just cant share by W B Yeats:
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
    enjoy:)
  • Nov 28 2011: I like three Poems very much

    Ekla chalo by Ravindranath Tagore, it is so realistic on the verge of being unromantic, yet it is a poem for th heart when you are alone and it pushes you to "alk alone evern when no one heeds you"

    I like Harivansharai Bachhans "Agni path"

    And I like "prem asav" by kusumagraj
  • Nov 28 2011: One of my all time favorites; it uses humor and storytelling to speak of that part of the human condition we often call "working for a living" with a bit of zen twisted in.

    Hay for the Horses
    by Gary Snyder

    He had driven half the night
    From far down San Joaquin
    Through Mariposa, up the
    Dangerous Mountain roads,
    And pulled in at eight a.m.
    With his big truckload of hay
    behind the barn.
    With winch and ropes and hooks
    We stacked the bales up clean
    To splintery redwood rafters
    High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
    Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
    Itch of haydust in the
    sweaty shirt and shoes.
    At lunchtime under Black oak
    Out in the hot corral,
    ---The old mare nosing lunchpails,
    Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
    "I'm sixty-eight" he said,
    "I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
    I thought, that day I started,
    I sure would hate to do this all my life.
    And dammit, that's just what
    I've gone and done."
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    Nov 28 2011: John Donne's "the flea" because it is witty and funny and goal-oriented ;)
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    Nov 28 2011: Nothing Gold Can Stay.

    Nature's first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leafs a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.

    Alfred R, Ferguson.


    Lot's of people zero in on the religious elements but that's beside the point, for me.

    I just like the imagery and the sadness evoked because, in all her beauty, Nature (and the nature of Time) is heartless.
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      Nov 28 2011: I would have agreed with you until I saw this TED talk just a couple of hours ago:

      http://www.ted.com/talks/devdutt_pattanaik.html

      According to that, depending on what cultural worldview you were brought up on, you might interpret that poem as you have. OR you could think cyclically, where Every Day is Gold :)
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        Nov 29 2011: Correct, everything is subjective the moment it is perceived.

        However, I think the crux of this particular poem is about the nature of experience - everything begins fresh and beautiful and fades over time.

        He doesn't mention the next day :)
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          Nov 29 2011: But, surely a leaf can't just fade over one day...it must be over a few days, in which case another day is possible :)
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        Nov 29 2011: I think he's talking about the morning sun causing a simple leaf to become as beautiful as a golden flower but that it lasts only until dawn has passed into morning, which is when 'leaf subsides to leaf' (my favourite line).

        He then brings in some good old religious imagery which tells the story of how we started as perfect, fresh and innocent but eventually end up succumbing to the ravages of time and experience and continues the theme of new becomes old.

        The great thing about the cyclic level of life is that it renews itself constantly. I don't think he was thinking on that level when he wrote the poem.
  • Nov 28 2011: Hi sadhana! I was a teenager in high school and I remember reading from a book of short poems. For the life of me, I cannot remember who wrote it! (aarrgghh!) Apologies for not being able to give the author. It was wrote, " Inside a flower, grows a beautiful baby.
    Outside of that flower, there are two humans, that have enough love,
    to make that flower bloom." It is probably not quoted right. It stuck with me. It stuck with me as a teenager!! :)
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    Nov 27 2011: from Leonard Cohen's "Book of Mercy"

    “When I have not rage or sorrow, and you depart from me, then I am most afraid. When the belly is full, and the mind has its sayings, then I fear for my soul; I rush to you as a child at night breaks into its parents' room. Do not forget me in my satisfaction. When the heart grins at itself, the world is destroyed. And I am found alone with the husks and the shells. Then the dangerous moment comes: I am too great to ask for help. I have other hopes. I legislate from the fortress of my disappointments, with a set jaw. Overthrow this even terror with a sweet remembrance: when I was with you, when my soul delighted you, when I was what you wanted. My heart sings of your longing for me, and my thoughts climb down to marvel at your mercy. I do not fear as you gather up my days. Your name is the sweetness of time, and you carry me close into the night, speaking consolations, drawing down lights from the sky, saying, See how the night has no terror for one who remembers the Name.”
  • Nov 27 2011: "The Spirit of Innovation" is too long to fit here, I will include part and a link to the rest:

    To be an innovator is to open your mind, stop being negative and bring back the idealism. Things can be better, progress has never, and will never be stopped. Move past the people who have told you that you can't, who have told you NO - there is no room in the world for 'that's just the way it is' mentality! If that were true we would still be living under kings and dictators, we would still be serfs, still be slaves. While I say we are no longer serfs and slaves, the truth is that we still are. The innovators of the past have given us greater freedom, but we are still in a world where the few control the power, where our sweat and labor is being used to enrich the few in power while much of the world is living in poverty and desperation. It is never easy to change the world, but it is what we have to do.

    I know it was not easy for those who have died for freedom, for those who risked their lives stepping on the mayflower, for those who refused to go to the back of the bus, and for all of those who never stop fighting no matter how great the challenge may seem.

    Remember those who have inspired you, people like Rosa Parks, Thomas Edison and others. All of these people carried with them the spirit of innovation, the spirit that says I will not give up, I know how to make the world a better place, and I will not be told 'that’s just the way it is'. They would not accept the world telling them how to think, how to act, or what their values should be. Today our challenges are different than those of our forefathers , but no less significant. Today businesses use their power for pure greed, we have allowed them to take from us our retirement, our health, even our homes ... more:http://bit.ly/v8oyyW
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    Nov 27 2011: It is not the critic who counts;
    not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled
    or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
    The credit belongs to the man
    who is actually in the arena,
    whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
    who strives valiantly;
    who errs and comes short again and again;
    who knows great enthusiasms,
    the great devotions;
    who spends himself in a worthy cause;
    who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
    and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while
    DARING GREATLY
    so that his place shall never be
    with those timid souls
    who know neither victory or defeat

    Theodore Roosevelt
    This is really more of a speech I guess, but I've always loved it. You can almost hear the strength behind the words as you say them.
  • Nov 27 2011: The poem below, Fear - more or less, was of the fear earned as a child- the fear of a father that would not allow failure in any form.

    Fear - more or less

    Hampered this moment; and, also a life time.
    Ultimate pressure to always just begin.
    And, if at once possibly started.
    The fear of failure.
    And recognized.

    It has always been safer never to begin.

    Copyright ©2006
  • Nov 27 2011: Here is a poem that has never failed to inspire me with its message of perseverance, courage and optimism. The last staza is my favorite -- every step you take ,however small, in the right direction makes a huge difference.

    Say not the Struggle Naught Availeth
    - Arthur Hugh Clough

    SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
    The labour and the wounds are vain,
    The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
    And as things have been they remain.

    If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
    It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
    Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
    And, but for you, possess the field.

    For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
    Seem here no painful inch to gain,
    Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
    Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

    And not by eastern windows only,
    When daylight comes, comes in the light;
    In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
    But westward, look, the land is bright!

    Thanks eveyrone for sharing all these awesome poems..I enjoyed each one of them.
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      Nov 28 2011: strongest beliefs most simply put,:)
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    Nov 26 2011: Hi Sadhana. Here's a copy of my favorite poem. It always reminds me that we must always set our minds on our final destination, but recognize that the beauty of life is to fully enjoy the journey.

    Ithaca
    Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

    When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
    pray that the road is long,
    full of adventure, full of knowledge.
    The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
    the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
    You will never find such as these on your path,
    if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
    emotion touches your spirit and your body.
    The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
    the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
    if you do not carry them within your soul,
    if your soul does not set them up before you.

    Pray that the road is long.
    That the summer mornings are many, when,
    with such pleasure, with such joy
    you will enter ports seen for the first time;
    stop at Phoenician markets,
    and purchase fine merchandise,
    mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
    and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    visit many Egyptian cities,
    to learn and learn from scholars.

    Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
    To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
    But do not hurry the voyage at all.
    It is better to let it last for many years;
    and to anchor at the island when you are old,
    rich with all you have gained on the way,
    not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

    Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
    Without her you would have never set out on the road.
    She has nothing more to give you.

    And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
    Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
    you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.
    • Nov 27 2011: What a profound poem!
      "It always reminds me that we must always set our minds on our final destination, but recognize that the beauty of life is to fully enjoy the journey." - beautifully summed up.

      What destination have you chosen, Andres?
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        Nov 27 2011: I want my kids, and their kids and grand kids to live in a world that is infinitely more fair than the one I've had the pleasure to enjoy.

        That's my Ithaca.
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    Nov 26 2011: No poem has meant more to me than Francis Thompson's "The Hound of Heaven." This 19th century Catholic mystic poet tells of his frantic search for spiritual satisfaction and of God's simultaneous "unhurrying chase" after his soul. I count it among the most impressive poems in the English language.

    This poem is is too long to print here, but here are the first few lines:

    I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
    I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
    I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
    Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
    I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
    Up vistaed hopes I sped;
    And shot, precipitated,
    Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
    From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

    But with unhurrying chase,
    And unperturbèd pace,
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
    They beat – and a Voice beat
    More instant than the Feet –
    "All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

    I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
    By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
    Trellised with intertwining charities;
    (For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
    Yet was I sore adread
    Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside);
    But, if one little casement parted wide,
    The gust of His approach would clash it to.
    Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.

    See the rest on my poetry site at www.outstandingpoems.com/ft-hound.htm

    Enjoy
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      Nov 28 2011: the truely fundamental conflict of so many people is depicted beautifully:)
  • Comment deleted

  • Nov 26 2011: My favorite poem is The Red Wheelbarrow because it is the only poem I remember, and it is the perfect example of what poetry is in my mind. "So much depends upon...." ....something completely poetic which nothing in actuality depends upon. I like the poetry (or mostly people who define themselves as poets) because it reminds me how different and interesting everyone is. I feel I can give a fair personal opinion of poetry because I subjected myself to a creative writing poetry class and it was really uncomfortable.

    The quote you listed reminds me of a quote I saw this morning, "Anyone who invokes authors in discussion is not using his intelligence but his memory," Leonardo da Vinci. I only "remembered" it because there seems to be a large population of people who use quotes to a large extent in their everyday conversation. I never remember quotes, and rarely understand the references when they are directed at me. So maybe there are quotey poetry people and not-quote people. I do not exactly agree with the intelligence versus memory part, since poetry people likely gather their inspiration or something from material which is quotable, and I do not really have any exact quotes about, "And you know what so-and-so once said about bacteria..." Although I did start this whole paragraph based on a quote, so there is some overlap allowed.
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      Nov 26 2011: so much depends
      upon

      a red wheel
      barrow

      glazed with rain
      water

      beside the white
      chickens.

      i think what i love so much about it is that it seems so meaningless. yet it means everything. its the secret to everything! i was introduced to it 7th grade, my teacher said it was likely it didnt HAVE a meaning, i thought about all day and that night.. as i was going to bed, i solved it! that was the proudest moment of my life (to that point), and the next day i beautifully articulated that it was about leverage, potential, action, inaction, and clarity. i'll live by that poem for the rest of my life.
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        Nov 28 2011: I had a run in with that poem at one point in my life. Stark imagery and the reality that life is dull and boring but in being so is incredibly real and beautiful.

        I found it weird that so few words could spark lengthy thought.
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          Nov 28 2011: This quote was the hint given by the text book. “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”aristotle.
          A wheelbarrow is bold, sturdy, a way of leveraging energy and making change. rain water symbolizes a spring shower, just enough to coat everything and leave the air clear and crisp. the glaze is the reminance of the rain water still left on the wheelbarrow. it symbolizes that even for those with the most potential, how an inability to absorb and interpret beliefs and facts can distort our reality. this distorts our perception of the world and makes us seek security in our comforts, and, as in the poem, you wont exel any further than the white(innocent, pure, ignorant) chickens(people who are afraid and have no brains). also note that chickens is plural, representing a majority and conformity+ security. yet so much depends upon the red wheelbarrow beside the white chickens, becuase our society is built upon those people. people that make work more profitable for people they work for. so much depends upon the masses remaining ignorant and in fear. organizations leverage these people and resources and profits continue to grow, this is what built and is sustaining our economy, our nation, every nation, the world.
          ---finances was just an example-- but leverage is the key to everything, it applies to everything, just ask donald trump, any physicist or philosopher--its a law of the universe.

          my suggestion is that we need to put the chickens in the wheelbarrow, put an engine on it and when it rains collect that information and use it to redirect, so we can reap more benefits.

          I too found it peculiar that so few words could spark such lenthy thought. :)
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        Dec 14 2011: Seems we have a common appreciation for the terse Julius:

        http://www.ted.com/conversations/575/poetry.html?c=212171