Great poems
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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A few of my favorite poems. This is a geeklist that is made to be contributed to. Please feel free to add your favorites if you wish.
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51. Board Game: Game of Love [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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The clever men at Oxford Know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much As intelligent Mr. Toad!
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“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop, As it raced along the road. Who was it steered it into a pond? Ingenious Mr. Toad!”
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Oh, when I was in love with you
Then I was clean and brave,
And miles around the wonder grew
How well did I behave.

And now the fancy passes by
And nothing will remain,
And miles around they'll say that I
Am quite myself again.

-A.E. Housman

Oh, there are lots of Housman poems I could list, but that one will do for now ...
 
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52. Board Game: Killing for the Crown [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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The clever men at Oxford Know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much As intelligent Mr. Toad!
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“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop, As it raced along the road. Who was it steered it into a pond? Ingenious Mr. Toad!”
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When I went down past Charing Cross,
A plain and simple man was I;
I might have been no more than air,
Unseen by any mortal eye.

But, Lord in Heaven, had I the power
To show my inward spirit there,
Then what a pack of human hounds
Had hunted me, to strip me bare.

A human pack, ten thousand strong,
All in full cry to bring me down;
All greedy for my magic robe,
All crazy for my burning crown!

-W.H. Davies
 
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53. Board Game: Sweet Valley High [Average Rating:4.64 Unranked]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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The clever men at Oxford Know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much As intelligent Mr. Toad!
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“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop, As it raced along the road. Who was it steered it into a pond? Ingenious Mr. Toad!”
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My dark-headed Käthchen, my spit-kitten darling,
You stick in my mind like an arrow of barley;
You stick in my mind like a burr on a bear,
And you drive me distracted by not being here.

I think of you singing when dullards are talking,
I think of you fighting when fools are provoking;
To think of you now makes me faint on my feet,
And you tear me to pieces by being so sweet.

The heart in my chest like a colt in a noose
Goes plunging and straining, but it's no bloody use;
It's no bloody use, but you stick in my mind,
And you tear me to pieces by being so kind.

-John Manifold
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54. Board Game: Family Business [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:1893]
Robert Rossney
United States
San Francisco
California [CA]
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THIS BE THE VERSE

They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extras, just for you.

And they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style frocks and coats
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one anothers' throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can
And don't have any kids yourself.

- Philip Larkin
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55. Board Game: Dog [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1867]
Fred Behrendt
United States
Erie
Pennsylvania
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My sympathy tends to follow the subject of this poem rather than the poet. . .

Dog, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself
Fish on newsprint
Ants in holes
Chickens in Chinatown windows
their heads a block away
The dog trots freely in the street
and the things he smells
smell something like himself
The dog trots freely in the street
past puddles and babies
cats and cigars
poolrooms and policemen
He doesn't hate cops
He merely has no use for them
and he goes past them
and past the dead cows hung up whole
in front of the San Francisco Meat Market
He would rather eat a tender cow
than a tough policeman
though either might do
And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory
and past Coit's Tower
and past Congressman Doyle of the Unamerican Committee
He's afraid of Coit's Tower
but he's not afraid of Congressman Doyle
although what he hears is very discouraging
very depressing
very absurd
to a sad young dog like himself
to a serious dog like himself
But he has his own free world to live in
His own fleas to eat
He will not be muzzled
Congressman Doyle is just another
fire hydrant
to him
The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog's life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with
a real live
barking
democratic dog
engaged in real
free enterprise
with something to say
about ontology
something to say
about reality
and how to see it
and how to hear it
with his head cocked sideways
at streetcorners
as if he is just about to have
his picture taken
for Victor Records
listening for
His Master's Voice
and looking
like a living questionmark
into the
great gramophone
of puzzling existence
with its wondrous hollow horn
which always seems
just about to spout forth
some Victorious answer
to everything
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56. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:486]
Mark Ernst
United States
Morrison
Illinois
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Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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57. Board Game: Guerra Civil: The Spanish Civil War – 1936-1939 [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Chris Tandlmayer
United States
Wilkinsburg
Pennsylvania
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My heart of silk
is filled with lights,
with lost bells,
with lilies and bees.
I will go very far,
farther than those hills,
farther than the seas,
close to the stars,
to beg Christ the Lord
to give back the soul I had
of old, when I was a child,
ripened with legends,
with a feathered cap
and a wooden sword.

Federico Garcia Lorca
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58. Board Game: The Conquerors [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:5210]
Mark Ernst
United States
Morrison
Illinois
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The Conqueror Worm
By Edgar Allen Poe

Lo! 'tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly--
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
Invisible Woe!

That motley drama--oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.

But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!--it writhes!--with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And the angels sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.

Out--out are the lights--out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
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59. Board Game: York Town [Average Rating:4.65 Overall Rank:10384]
David Heldt
United States
Harper Woods
Michigan
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My tastes in poetry go toward the satirical. For instance, things that used to appear in Mad magazine--

LORD CORNWALLIS by Frank Jacobs

When Lord Cornwallis lost the war
And sailed back to the British shore
He told a special Parliament committee:
"We had the rabble on the run
"With any luck we would have won
"But half our troops were mugged in New York City"
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60. Board Game: The Landlord's Game [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
David Heldt
United States
Harper Woods
Michigan
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Or this from the old days of Saturday Night Live:

IMAGES by Tyrone Green

Dark and lonely on a summer's night.
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
Watchdog barking. Do he bite?
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
Slip in his window, break his neck.
Then his house I start to wreck.
Got no reason. What the heck?
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
C-I-L-L my landlord!
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61. Board Game: Fairyland Adventure [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Albert Hernandez
United States
Greenville
SC
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I always really liked the verse in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. I was very pleasantly surprised to one day find it in a book of Victorian Fairy Tales.

The Fairy Folk by William Allingham

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And grey cock's feather!

Down along the rocky shore,
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old king sits;
He is now so old and grey
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkille he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieve League to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget
For seven years long.
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow;
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lakes,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wakes.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare
They have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
To dig up one in spite,
He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And grey cock's feather!
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62. Board Game: Silent Death [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1859]
Nate Rethorn
United States
Perrysburg
Ohio
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One of my all-time favorite poems:

Death, Be Not Proud, by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
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63. Board Game: The Emperor Returns [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:3193]
Dave Rubin
United States
Trenton
New Jersey
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Heinrich Heine


Die Grenadiere

Nach Frankreich zogen zwei Grenadier’,
Die waren in Rußland gefangen.
Und als sie kamen in’s deutsche Quartier,
Sie ließen die Köpfe hangen.

Da hörten sie beide die traurige Mähr:
Daß Frankreich verloren gegangen,
Besiegt und zerschlagen das tapfere Heer, –
Und der Kaiser, der Kaiser gefangen.

Da weinten zusammen die Grenadier’
Wohl ob der kläglichen Kunde.
Der Eine sprach: Wie weh wird mir,
Wie brennt meine alte Wunde.

Der Andre sprach: das Lied ist aus,
Auch ich möcht mit dir sterben,
Doch hab’ ich Weib und Kind zu Haus,
Die ohne mich verderben.

Was scheert mich Weib, was scheert mich Kind,
Ich trage weit bess’res Verlangen;
Laß sie betteln gehen, wenn sie hungrig sind, –
Mein Kaiser, mein Kaiser gefangen!

Gewähr’ mir Bruder eine Bitt’:
Wenn ich jetzt sterben werde,
So nimm meine Leiche nach Frankreich mit,
Begrab’ mich in Frankreichs Erde.

Das Ehrenkreuz am rothen Band
Sollst du auf’s Herz mir legen;
Die Flinte gieb mir in die Hand,
Und gürt’ mir um den Degen.

So will ich liegen und horchen still,
Wie eine Schildwach, im Grabe,
Bis einst ich höre Kanonengebrüll,
Und wiehernder Rosse Getrabe.

Dann reitet mein Kaiser wohl über mein Grab,
Viel Schwerter klirren und blitzen;
Dann steig’ ich gewaffnet hervor aus dem Grab’, –
Den Kaiser, den Kaiser zu schützen.




The Two Grenadiers

To France were returning two grenadiers.
In Russia they had been taken.
And when they came to the German frontiers,
Their courage was sadly shaken.

'Twas there that they both heard the sorrowful tale
That France's proud realm had been shaken.
Defeated and scattered the valiant host,
And the Emperor, the Emperor been taken!

How bitterly wept then the grenadiers
At hearing the terrible story,
And one then said, "Alas! once more
My wounds are bleeding and gory."

The other said, "My son is dead.
With thee I would die gladly,
But I've a wife and child at home.
Without me they'd fare badly.

"But what is wife and what is child?
A heavier care has arisen.
Let them beg or pray if they hungry are.
My Emperor lies in prison."

"Oh, grant me, brother, but one prayer
If my hours I now must number:
Take with thee my body to my native land.
In France let me seek holy slumber.

"My cross of honor with ribbon arrayed
Then on my bosom place thou.
Give me my musket in my hand.
My sword around me drape thou.

"Thus will I listen and lie so still
And watch like guard on forces
Until the roaring of cannon I hear
And tramping of neighing horses.

"Then over my grave will my Emperor ride
While swords gleam brightly and rattle.
Then on to the keep will I ride from the grave,
For my Emperor, my Emperor to battle."
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64. Board Game: Law & Order [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Antti Hoo.
Finland
Helsinki
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I came across George Meredith (1828-1909) by accident - a quote from his "Woods of Westermain" somewhere probably led me to investigate - and I've grown quite fond of the poor man's Tennyson... This bit is one of my favourites:

Lucifer in Starlight by George Meredith

On a starred night Prince Lucifer uprose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
Above the rolling ball in cloud part screened,
Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he leaned,
Now his huge bulk o'er Afric's sands careened,
Now the black planet shadowed Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars
With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
He reached a middle height, and at the stars,
Which are the brain of heaven, he looked, and sank.
Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank,
The army of unalterable law.
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65. Board Game: Hangman [Average Rating:4.13 Overall Rank:11145]
Antti Hoo.
Finland
Helsinki
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Oh, and this one's brilliant!
It is from The Ingoldsby Legends, a Victorian collection of myths, ghost stories and poetry written by Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845) under the pen name "Thomas Ingoldsby". It is a bit long for a list item, so I'll just post a few excerpts here.

The Hand of Glory

On the lone bleak moor,
At the midnight hour,
Beneath the Gallows Tree,
Hand in hand
The Murderers stand
By one, by two, by three!
And the Moon that night
With a grey, cold light
Each baleful object tips;
One half of her form
Is seen through the storm,
The other half 's hid in Eclipse!
And the cold Wind howls,
And the Thunder growls,
And the Lightning is broad and bright;
And altogether
It 's very bad weather,
And an unpleasant sort of a night!
"Now mount who list,
And close by the wrist
Sever me quickly the Dead Man's fist!--
Now climb who dare
Where he swings in air,
And pluck me five locks of the Dead Man's hair!"

---

"Open lock
To the Dead Man's knock!
Fly bolt, and bar, and band!--
Nor move, nor swerve,
Joint, muscle, or nerve,
At the spell of the Dead Man's hand!
Sleep all who sleep!-- Wake all who wake!--
But be as the Dead for the Dead Man's sake!"

(Full text: http://www.exclassics.com/ingold/ing6.htm)
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66. Board Game: Iliad [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1171]
Richard Brooks
United Kingdom
London
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Christopher Logue's Homer

War Music
The Husbands
Iliad - Kings
All Day Permenent Red
Cold Calls

Christopher Logue has spent over forty years working on his contemporary version of Homer's Iliad. Begun in 1959 the project has expanded into five full-length collections, known collectively as War Music. He is currently working on the final volume. The books do not follow in chronological order but it doesn't really matter, each one is a jewel. Logue manages to capture so much energy and it helps that there is no attempt to pretend that this is a translation allowing lines such as

Achilles’ armour was not made on earth. / Hephaestus Scientist yoked its dancing particles

or

Moving at speed, but absolutely still/ The arrow in the air. Death in a man/ As something first perceived by accident.

Some exerpts are below but I really can recommend these books to you enough. The first three books are usually printed together under the name War Music.

As a review says "Judged as a translation of Homer, War Music is a controversial and bizarre work. Judged as a poem, it is gripping, lyrical and irresistibly dramatic."

Here, for example, is Hector coming into battle:


See an East African lion
Nose tip to tail tuft ten, eleven feet
Slouching towards you
Swaying its head from side to side
Doubling its pace, its gold-black mane
That stretches down its belly to its groin
Catching the sunlight as it hits
Twice its own length a beat, then leaps
Great forepaws high great claws disclosed
The scarlet insides of its mouth
Parting a roar as loud as sail-sized flames
And lands, slam-scattering the herd.

"This is how Hector came on us."



A battlefield prayer directed at the goddess of warfare receives the following answer:


Setting down her topaz saucer heaped with nectarine jelly
Emptying her blood-red mouth set in her ice-white face
Teenaged Athena jumped up and shrieked:
"Kill! Kill for me!
Better to die than to live without killing!"

Who says prayer does no good?



Another bit from All Day Permenent Red (the name is taken from a Revlon advert for lipstick)


And, candidly, who gives a toss?
Your heart beats strong. Your spirit grips.
King Richard calling for another horse (his fifth).
King Marshall Ney shattering his sabre on a cannon ball.
King Ivan Kursk, 22.30 hrs,
July 4th to 14th ‘43, 7000 tanks engaged,
‘. . . he clambered up and pushed a stable-bolt
Into that Tiger-tank’s red-hot machine-gun’s mouth
And bent the bastard up. Wowee!’
Where would we be if he had lost?
Achilles? Let him sulk.



And finally this is the longest excerpt I feel I can get away with.


To welcome Hector to his death
God sent a rolling thunderclap across the sky
The city and the sea
And momentarily--
The breezes playing with the sunlit dust--
On either slope a silence fell.

Think of a raked sky-wide Venetian blind.
Add the receding traction of its slats
Of its slats of its slats as a hand draws it up.
Hear the Greek army getting to its feet.

Then of a stadium when many boards are raised
And many faces change to one vast face.
So, where there were so many masks,
Now one Greek mask glittered from strip to ridge.
Already swift
Boy Lutie took Prince Hector's nod
And fired his whip that right and left
Signalled to Ilium's wheels to fire their own,
And to the Wall-wide nodding plumes of Trojan infantry--

Flutes!
Flutes!
Screeching above the grave percussion of their feet
Shouting how they will force the savage Greeks
Back up the slope over the ridge, downplain
And slaughter them beside their ships--

Add the reverberation of their hooves: and
"Reach for your oars. . ."
T'lesspiax, his yard at 60°, sending it
Across the radiant air as Ilium swept
Onto the strip
Into the Greeks
Over the venue where
Two hours ago all present prayed for peace.
And carried Greece
Back up the slope that leads
Via its ridge
Onto the windy plain.


A Slate review of All Day Permenent Redhttp://www.slate.com/id/2082824/

Hopefully I haven't used too much as it's all copyrighted
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67. Board Game: Exploring the Depths of Uranus [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Michael B
Canada
Ontario
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Spike Milligan (1918-2002) is not generally remembered for his written works, but some of his poetry moves me.

His nonsense poetry is vivid and silly:

Little Pippa

............Pip Pip Pippety Pip
..........Slid on the lino
........Slippety Slip
.....Fell down stairs
...Trippety Trip
Tore her knickers
.....Rippety Rip
......Started to cry
........Drippety Drip
............Poor little Pippa
...............Pippety Pip.


And the poetry he wrote as he slipped deeper and deeper into this depression is also very vivid.

A baby rabbit
With eyes full of pus
Is the work of scientific us.



God made night
But
Man made darkness

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68. Board Game: Trenchfoot [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:8592]
Tim P.
United States
Thousand Oaks
CA
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Although I was aware of many of Kipling's works I had not heard of a poem about his son who was killed during the Battle of Loos in 1915.

I had heard about a TV drama production of a David Haig play about the events before and after the loss of Kipling's son, John, who was affectionately known as Jack. Kipling had used his influence to get his 17 year old son a commission in the Irish Guards, after John had already been turned down by the Royal Navy and the Army on medical grounds.

This drama was adapted from a play by Haig and starred Haig, Kim Cattrall and a little known actor you might have heard of called Daniel Radcliffe. The nationalism and jingoism leading up to WW1 is hard for us to understand these days, and this drama captures the events leading up and after the loss of John.

Recently this drama was repeated on PBS and was an excellent and moving period piece. Watch it if you can.


My Boy Jack

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”

Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind—
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

Rudyard Kipling



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69. Board Game: Annie [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
MMB
United States
Florida
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FOR ANNIE

With Annie gone,
Whose eyes to compare
With the morning sun?
Not that I did compare,
But I do compare
Now that she's gone.
---Leonard Cohen
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70. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:396]
Dave Rubin
United States
Trenton
New Jersey
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John Keat

Ode on a Grecian Urn

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
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71. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:293]
Eugene van der Pijll
Netherlands
Den Haag
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One of my favourite poems from Dutch literature:

The Gardener and Death
P.N. van Eyck, translation by David Colmer

A Persian Nobleman:

This morning, with a face turned pale from fright,
My gardener rushed in, "Sir, if I might!

"At work, just now, I stopped to take a breath,
And looked up from the roses. There stood Death.

"Startled, I quickly left the work I'd planned,
But saw full well the menace of his hand.

"Lend me a horse and I will make it run.
Before night falls I'll be in Ispahan!"

This afternoon (I'd long since watched him flee),
I chanced on Death beneath a cedar tree.

When he just stood there in his cloak of grey,
I asked about the threat he'd made that day.

He smiled, "It was not threat as he surmised.
I raised my hand because I was surprised,

"To find a man here working in the sun,
Whom I must fetch tonight in Ispahan."
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72. Board Game: King Toad [Average Rating:4.97 Overall Rank:9836]
Calavera Soñando
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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THE FATHER OF TOADS

A man had just delivered a toad from his wife's armpit. He held it by its legs and spanked it.

Do you love it? said his wife.

It's our child, isn't it?

Does that mean you can't love it? she said.

It's hard enough to love a toad, but when it turns out to be your own son then revulsion is without any tender inhibition, he said.

Do you mean you would not like to call it George Jr.? she said.

But we've already called the other toad that, he said.

Well, perhaps we could call the other one George Sr., she said.

But I am George Sr., he said.

Well, perhaps if you hid in the attic, so that no one needed to call you anything, there would be no difficulty in calling both of them George, she said.

Yes, if no one talks to me, then what need have I for a name? he said.

No, no one will talk to you for the rest of your life. And when we bury you we shall put Father of Toads on your tombstone.

Russell Edson
 
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73. Board Game: Flowerpower [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1697]
david mackay
United Kingdom
WARWICK
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Come Into The Garden Maud
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)

'Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone ;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the rose is blown.

For a breeze of morning moves,
And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.

All night have the roses heard
The flute, violin, bassoon ;
All night has the casement jessamine stirred
To the dancers dancing in tune ;
Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
And a hush with the setting moon.

I said to the lily, ‘There is but one
With whom she has heart to be gay.
When will the dancers leave her alone ?
She is weary of dance and play.’
Now half to the setting moon are gone,
And half to the rising day ;
Low on the sand and loud on the stone
The last wheel echoes away.

I said to the rose, ‘The brief night goes
In babble and revel and wine.
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,
For one that will never be thine ?
But mine, but mine,’ so I sware to the rose,
‘For ever and ever, mine.’

And the soul of the rose went into my blood,
As the music clashed in the hall ;
And long by the garden lake I stood,
For I heard your rivulet fall
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood,
Our wood, that is dearer than all ;

From the meadow your walks have left so sweet
That whenever a March-wind sighs
He sets the jewel-print of your feet
In violets blue as your eyes,
To the woody hollows in which we meet
And the valleys of Paradise.

The slender acacia would not shake
One long milk-bloom on the tree ;
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake
As the pimpernel dozed on the lea ;
But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
Knowing your promise to me ;
The lilies and roses were all awake,
They sighed for the dawn and thee.

Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
Come hither, the dances are done,
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
Queen lily and rose in one ;
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
To the flowers, and be their sun.

There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear ;
She is coming, my life, my fate ;
The red rose cries, ‘She is near, she is near ;’
And the white rose weeps, ‘She is late ;’
The larkspur listens, ‘I hear, I hear ;’
And the lily whispers, ‘I wait.’

She is coming, my own, my sweet,
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed ;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead ;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.'

I'm just an Old Romantic at heart blush

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74. Board Game: To Make Georgia Howl! [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Tim Thorp
United States
Granite Falls
Washington
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"Come on! Come on! Come and get it, baby! Come on! I don't got all day! Come on! Come on! Come on you bastard! Come on, you too! Oh, you want some of this? "
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Howl! by Allen Ginsberg



For Carl Solomon

I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
publishing obscene odes on the windows of the
skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through
Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their
torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al-
cohol and cock and endless balls,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and
lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of
Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo-
tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery
dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops,
storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brook-
lyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless
ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine
until the noise of wheels and children brought
them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
in the drear light of Zoo...

(not the whole poem, the poem in its entirety is here):

http://members.tripod.com/~Sprayberry/poems/howl.txt
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75. Board Game: Song of Wind and Water [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Calavera Soñando
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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I have been thinking of the difference
between water
and the waves on it. Rising,
water's still water, falling back
it is water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?

Because someone has made up the word
"wave" do I have to distinguish it
from water?

There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets in all the galaxies
pass through His hands like beads.

That is a string of beads one should look at with
luminous eyes.

Kabir, 1500?. Trans. Robert Bly
 
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