Ahhh, feel the wankery power of the English major. But I don't think you have to be an English major to have a favorite poem. Poetry can be moving or funny, poignant or novel, or it can remind you of some time in your life when you were someone else. So what do you like, Hubskyites? What poems take your fancy?
I've been thinking about this a lot since I recently rediscovered my own favorite. It's incredibly tempting to pick something like Jabberwocky or something that tickles my funny bone ("Does anybody want any flotsam? I've gotsam. Does anybody want any jetsam? I can getsam.") But whenever I see Tom o' Bedlam, I remember why it's so good:
- From the hag and hungry Goblin
that into rags would rend ye
and the spirit that stands by the naked man
in the book of moons defend ye
That of your five sound senses
you never be forsaken,
Nor wander from your selves with Tom
abroad to beg your bacon.
While I do sing any food any feeding feeding drink or clothing, Come dame or maid, be not afraid poor Tom will injure nothing.
Of thirty bare years have I twice twenty been enraged and of forty been three times fifteen in durance soundly caged. On the lordly lofts of Bedlam with stubble soft and dainty, brave bracelets strong sweet whips ding dong with wholesome hunger plenty. And now I sing etc.
With a thought I took for Maudlin and a cruse of cockle pottage, with a thing thus tall sky bless you all I befell into this dotage. I slept not since the Conquest till then I never waked Till the roguish boy of love where I lay me found and strip't me naked. And now I sing etc.
When I short have shorn my sow's face and swigg'd my horny barrel In an oaken Inn I pound my skin as a suit of gilt apparel The moon's my constant Mistress and the lowly owl my marrow. The flaming Drake and the Night crow make me music to my sorrow. While I do sing etc.
The palsy plagues my pulses when I prig your pigs or pullen your culvers take or matchless make your Chanticleer or sullen When I want provant with Humphrey I sup, and when benighted I repose in Paul's with waking souls yet never am affrighted. But I do sing etc.
I know more than Apollo, for oft when he lies sleeping I see the stars at bloody wars in the wounded welkin weeping, The moon embrace her shepherd and the queen of love her warrior, While the first doth horn the star of morn and the next the heavenly Farrier. While I do sing etc.
The Gypsy Snap and Pedro are none of Tom's Comradoes the punk I scorn and the cutpurse sworn and the roaring boys' bravadoes, The meek and the white the gentle, me handle touch and spare not but those that cross Tom Rhinosceros do what the Panther dare not. Although I sing etc.
With an host of furious fancies whereof I am commander with a burning spear and a horse of air, to the wilderness I wander. By a knight of ghosts and shadows I summon'd am to Tourney ten leagues beyond the wide world's end me think it is no journey. Yet will I sing etc.
But then, it's also massively tempting to throw a second poem in there for fear of neglecting a masterpiece. If you're not bored to tears already or if you could do with a chuckle, I also love archys autobiography by Don Marquis, written from the point of view of a cockroach who jumps up and down on the keys of a typewriter. That's why there are no capitals or punctuation - archy can't hit two keys at the same time.