My Favorite Kickass Poetry

I’ll readily admit it: I don’t know poetry. I am not a talented poet.

I wrote a lot (a lot) of “poetry” when I was a teenager, and I hope it’s now all thoroughly destroyed.

I’m not particularly good at reading a poem and telling you if it’s good or bad, and half the time I’m not particularly good at gleaning what I’m even reading about.

So, for reasons unknown, I decided to write a post about my favorite poetry! Fortunately, all this poetry is 100%, bona fide kickass, so worry not; I will not expose you to anything unsavory.

Without further ado, here are my favorite excerpts from my favorite poems.

Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson

…for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

How beautiful is that? Go ahead, slap that on your girly quotes Pinterest board. Hashtag wanderlust.

To a Mouse, Robert Burns

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
You know this one already.

The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

This is one of the most beautiful poems ever written, in my opinion. His choice of words, the rhythm, the ominous images.

The Tyger, by William Blake

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the Lamb make thee?

I really like tigers. Also, this poem drips power and strength and ferocity, love and admiration. I’m sure you read it back in school. Read it again.

Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea–
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

Did I mention I was a goth kid in the early 2000s? I started reading Poe then, but my appreciation has only become more genuine with age. This tragic poem has such beautiful language; it reminds me why I once tried so hard to mimic his gorgeous prose. (I’ve since learned that it’s best to leave the Poe to Poe.)

The Fox, Mary Oliver

All night under the pines
The fox moves through the darkness
With a mouth full of teeth and a reputation

Foxes are my favorite animal, and I love this lady’s poetry. Obvious choice for me. Check her out!

She Walks in Beauty, Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

You knew this one was coming.

Caged Bird, Maya Angelou

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

 You might have expected this one, too, given so many on the list are school classics. But I picked poems I think are important, beautiful, or haunting. And this poem is all of those things.
What are some of your favorite poems, and why?

4 thoughts on “My Favorite Kickass Poetry

  1. I like all early Eliot. “Not with a bang but a whimper.” That’s a punch to the gut when read for the first time. Jim Morrison, I think, was also a fan:
    Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god
    Wandering, wandering in hopeless night
    Out here in the perimeter there are no stars
    Out here we IS stoned

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eliot’s work is absolute genius. That line is one of the strongest in poetry.

      I never caught that in those lyrics; very observant! There’s also this, from Bush’s Chemicals Between Us:

      “We’re of the hollow men
      We are the naked ones
      We never meant you harm
      Never meant you wrong
      I’d like to thank
      All of my lovers, lovers, lovers”


  2. I just discovered your blog yesterday and decided to follow … and with today’s post, I’m totally glad I did! Thanks for the reminders of some of my favourite poetry 🙂 I’m from the “old school” age when we had to memorise reams of poetry, and I’m glad we did. What an adventure! Thanks for the ride…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much; I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Only after the fact did I realize it’s National Poetry Month, haha.

      I wish these old poems were still taught with the same importance as they used to be. There is so much to learn from them. If I remember correctly, I didn’t encounter them until a college lit class!


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