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Understanding Poetry - 2

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Guest Fufu Xiawoun

JazakAllah khair everyone for their contributions to the thread!

 

Hear the wail of nightingale, and remain unstirred,

Am I a flower insensate that will not say a word?

 

The power of speech emboldens me to speak out my heart,

I'll sure be damned, I know, if fault my God.

 

Hear, O Lord, from the faithful ones this sad lament,

From those used to hymn a praise, a word of discontent.

 

Enternally were you present, Lord, eternally omniscent,

The flower hung upon the tree, but without incense.

 

Be Thou fair, tell us true, O fountsin head of grace,

How could the scent spread without the breeze apace?

 

This is a translation of a few of the verses from Iqbals Poem in Urdu called Shikwa [complaint] which is supposed to be a complaint from a person to God, and then he wrote a second part of the poem called Jawab-e-Shikwa [the response to this complaint from God] both poems are fantastic. Before the second part of the poem was written, the first caused an outrage in Pakistan, people thought it was blasphemous - but when they read the second part, it all makes sense. It's too long to analyse but I like it because it shows us why we were in the state we are, when we have the audacity to think of Allah tala as someone who has no mercy for us, or someone who has wronged us - and then the way the tables are turned in the second poem and we see the ways in which we have 'wronged' our Creator. mashaAllah i loved it!

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Guest Fufu Xiawoun

I'll post them here if anyone wants to read it, they are long so it's in spoilers.

 

Shikwa [complaint]

 

Why should I abet the loss, why forget the gain,

Why forfiet the future, bemoan the past in vain?

Hear the wail of nightingale, and remain unstirred,

Am I a flower insensate that will not say a word?

The power of speech emboldens me to speak out my heart,

I'll sure be damned, I know, if fault my God.

Hear, O Lord, from the faithful ones this sad lament,

From those used to hymn a praise, a word of discontent.

Enternally were you present, Lord, eternally omniscent,

The flower hung upon the tree, but without incense.

Be Thou fair, tell us true, O fountsin head of grace,

How could the scent spread without the breeze apace?

The world presented a queer sight ere we took the stage,

Stones and plants in your stead were worshipped in that age.

Man, being inured to senses, couldn't accept a thing unseen,

How could a formless God impress his senses keen?

Tell me, Lord, if anyone ever invoked Thy name,

The strength of Muslim arm alone restored Thy fame.

There was no dearth of peoples on this earth before,

Turkish tribes and Persian clans lived in days of yore;

The Greeks and the Chinese both bred and throve,

Christians as well as the Jews on this planet roved.

But who in Thy holy name raised his valiant sword,

Who set the things right, resolved the rigmarole?

We were the warrior bands battling for Thy cause,

Now on land, now on water, we the crusades fought.

Now in Europe's synods did we loudly pray,

Now in African deserts made a bold foray.

Not for territorial greed did we wield the sword,

Not for pelf and power did we suffer the blows.

Had we been temped by the greed of glittering gold,

Instead of breaking idols, would have idols sold.

We impressed on every heart the oneness of our mighty Lord,

Even under the threat of sword, bold and clever was our call.

Who conquered, tell us Thou, the fearful Khyber pass?

Who vanquished the Imperial Rome, who made it fall?

Who broke the idols of the primitive folks?

Who fought the kafirs, massacred their hordes?

If the prayer time arrived right amid the war,

With their faces turned to Kaaba, knelt down the brave Hejaz.

Mahmud and Ayaz stood together in the same flank,

The ruler and the ruled forget the difference in their rank.

The rich and poor, Lord and slave, all were levelled down,

All became brethern in love, with Thy grace crowned.

We roamed the world through, visited every place,

Did our rounds like the cup, serving sacred ale.

Forget about the forests, we spared not the seas,

Into the dark, unfathomed ocean, we pushed our steeds.

We removed falsehood from the earth's face,

We broke the shackles of the human race.

We reclaimed your Kaaba with our kneeling brows,

We pressed the sacred Quran to our heart and soul.

Even then you grumble, we are false, untrue,

If you call us faithless, tell us what are you?

You reserve your favours for men of other shades,

While you hurl your bolts on the Muslim race.

This is not our complaint that such alone are blesse,

Who do not know the etiquette, nor even can converse.

The tragedy is while kafirs are with houries actually blest,

On vague hopes of houries in heaven the Muslim race is made to rest!

Poverty, taunts, ignominy stare us in the face,

Is humiliation the sole reward of our suffering race?

To perpetuate Thy name is our sole concern,

Deprived of the saqi's aid can the cup revolve and turn?

Gone is your assemblage, off your lovers have sailed,

The midnight sights are no more heard, nor the morning wails;

They pledged their hearts to you, what is their return?

Hardly had they stepped inside, when they were externed.

Thy lovers came and went away, fed on hopes of future grace,

Search them now with the lamp of your glowing face.

Unassuaged is Laila's ache, unquenched is Qais's thirst,

In the wilderness of Nejd, the wild deer are still berserk.

The same passion thrills the hearts, enchanting still is beauty's gaze,

You are the same as before, same too is the Prophet's race.

Why then this indifference, without a cause or fault?

Why with your threatening looks dost thou break our heart?

Accepted that the flame of love burneth low and dim,

We do not, as in your, dance attendance on your whims;

But you too, pardon us, possess a coquettish heart,

Now on us, now on others, alight your amorous darts.

The spring has now taken leave, broken lies the lyre string,

The birds that chirped among the leaves have also taken wing;

A single nightingale is left singing on the tree,

A flood of song in her breast is longing for release.

From atop the firs and pines the doves have flown away,

The floral petals lie scattered all along the way.

Desolate lie the garden paths, once dressed and neat,

Leafless hang the branches on the naked trees.

The nightingale is unconcerned with the season's range,

Would that someone in the grove appreciates her wail.

May the nightingale's wail pierce the listeners' hearts,

May the clinking caravan awaken slumbering thoughts!

Let the hearts pledge anew their faith to you, O Lord,

Let's re-charge our cups from the taverns of the past.

Through I hold a Persian cup, the wine is pure Hejaz,

Thought I sing an Indian song, the turn is of the Arabian cast.

 

 

 

Jawab-e-Shikwa [the response to this complaint from God]

 

 

The word springing from the heart surely carries weight,

Though notendowed with wings, it yet can fly in space.

 

Pureand spiritual in its essence, it pegs its gaze on high,

Rising from the lowly dust, grazes past the skies.

 

Keen, defiant, and querulous was my passion crazed,

It pierced through the skies, my audacious wail.

 

"Someone is there," thus spoke the heaven's warder old,

the planets said, "From above proceeds this voice so bold."

 

"No, no," the moon said," "tis someone on the earth below,"

Butted in the milky way: "The voice is hereabouts, I trow."

 

Ruzwan alone, if at all, understood aright,

He knew it was the man, from heaven once exiled.

 

Even the angles wondered who raised this cry,

All the celestial denizens looked about surprised.

 

Does man possess the might to scale empyreal heights?

Has this mere pinch of dust learnt the knack to fly?

 

What are these earthly folks? Careless of all respect,

How bold and impudent, the lowly dwellers of the earth!

 

Extremely rude and insolent, cross even with God,

Is it the same Adam whom angels once did laud?

 

Steeped in bliss, man is of wisdom's lore possessed,

Nonetheless, he's alien to humility's sterling worth.

 

Man feels proud of the power of his speech,

But the fool doesn't know how and what to speak.

 

You narrate a woeful tale, thus the voice arose,

Your heart is boiling overwith tears uncontrolled.

You have delivered your plaint with perfect skill and art,

You have brought the humans in contact with God.

We are inclined to grant, but none deserves our grace,

None treads the righteous path, whom to show the way?

 

Our school is open to all, but talent there is none,

Where is that soil fertile to breed the human gems?

We reward the deserving folks with splendid meed,

We grant newer worlds to those who strive and seek.

Arms have been drained of strength, hearts have gone astray,

The Muslim race is a blot on the Prophet's face.

 

Idol-breakers have left the scene, idol-makers remain,

Aazar has inherited Abraham's glorious name.

Wine, flask, and drinkers-all are new and changed,

A different Kaaba, different idols now your worship claim.

Therewas a time when you were respected far and wide,

Once this desert bloom was the season's wealth and pride.

 

Every Muslim then was a lover profound of God,

Your sole beloved once was the all-embracing Lord.

Who removed falsehood from the earth's face?

Who broke the shackles of the human race?

Who reclaimed our Kaaba with their kneeling brows?

Who presses the sacred Quran to their heart and soul?

 

True, they were your forbears, but what are you, I say?

Idle sitting, statue-like you dream away your days.

What did you say? Muslims are with hopes of houries consoled,

Even if your plaint is false, your words should be controlled.

Justice is the law supreme, operative on this globe,

Muslims can't expect the houries, if they follow the kafir's code.

 

None of you is, infact, deserving of the "hoor",

A Moses is but hard to fin, burneth still the Tur.

Common to the race entire is their gain or loss,

Common is their faith and creed, common too the Rasul of God;

One Kaaba, one Allah, and one Quran inspire their heart,

Why can't the Muslims then behave like a single lot?

 

Cast, creed and factions have disjointed this race,

Is this way to forge ahead, to flourish in the present age?

It's the poor who visit the mosque, join the kneeling rows,

The poor alone observe the fasts, practise self-control.

If someone repeats our name, it's the poor again,

The devout poor hide your sins, preserve your vaunted name.

 

Drunk with the wine of wealth, the rich are unconcerned with God,

The Muslim race owes its life to the poor, indigent lot.

"Muslims have vanished from earth," this is what we hear,

but we ask, " Were the Muslims ever the Jewish sects.

You are Nisars by your looks, but Hindus by conduct,

Your culture puts to shame even the Jewish sects.

 

If the son is alien to his learned father's traits,

How can he then claim his father's heritage?

All of you love to lead a soft, luxurious life,

Are you a Muslim indeed? Is this the Muslim style?

All of you desire to be invested with the crown,

You should first produce a heart worthy of renown.

 

The new age is the lighting blast, it will set your barns on fire,

It can't produce in groves or deserts the Old Sinai's burning spire.

The new fire consumes for fuel the blood of nations old,

The clothes of the Prophet's race are incinerated in its folds.

Don't be depressed, gardener, by the present scene,

The starry buds are about to burst with a brilliant sheen.

 

The garden will soon be rid of its thorns and weeds,

The martyr's blood will bring to bloom all the dormant seeds.

Mark how the sky reflects its orange purple hues,

The rising sun will flush the sky with its rays anew.

Islamic tree exemplifies cultivation long and hard,

A fruit of arduous gardening over centuries past.

Your caravan needn't fear the perils of the path,

But for the call of bells you own no wealth at all.

You are the plant of light, the burning wick that never fails,

With the power of your thought you can incinerate the veil.

We'll love you as our own, if you follow the Prophet's ways,

The world is but a paltry thing, you'll command the pen and page.

 

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I guess everyone have read this one

 

 

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

 

But here is the rest

 

 

A robin redbreast in a cage

Puts all heaven in a rage.

 

A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons

Shudders hell thro' all its regions.

A dog starv'd at his master's gate

Predicts the ruin of the state.

 

A horse misused upon the road

Calls to heaven for human blood.

Each outcry of the hunted hare

A fibre from the brain does tear.

 

A skylark wounded in the wing,

A cherubim does cease to sing.

The game-cock clipt and arm'd for fight

Does the rising sun affright.

 

Every wolf's and lion's howl

Raises from hell a human soul.

 

The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,

Keeps the human soul from care.

The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,

And yet forgives the butcher's knife.

 

The bat that flits at close of eve

Has left the brain that won't believe.

The owl that calls upon the night

Speaks the unbeliever's fright.

 

He who shall hurt the little wren

Shall never be belov'd by men.

He who the ox to wrath has mov'd

Shall never be by woman lov'd.

 

The wanton boy that kills the fly

Shall feel the spider's enmity.

He who torments the chafer's sprite

Weaves a bower in endless night.

 

The caterpillar on the leaf

Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.

Kill not the moth nor butterfly,

For the last judgement draweth nigh.

 

He who shall train the horse to war

Shall never pass the polar bar.

The beggar's dog and widow's cat,

Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.

 

The gnat that sings his summer's song

Poison gets from slander's tongue.

The poison of the snake and newt

Is the sweat of envy's foot.

 

The poison of the honey bee

Is the artist's jealousy.

 

The prince's robes and beggar's rags

Are toadstools on the miser's bags.

A truth that's told with bad intent

Beats all the lies you can invent.

 

It is right it should be so;

Man was made for joy and woe;

And when this we rightly know,

Thro' the world we safely go.

 

Joy and woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine.

Under every grief and pine

Runs a joy with silken twine.

 

The babe is more than swaddling bands;

Every farmer understands.

Every tear from every eye

Becomes a babe in eternity;

 

This is caught by females bright,

And return'd to its own delight.

The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,

Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.

 

The babe that weeps the rod beneath

Writes revenge in realms of death.

The beggar's rags, fluttering in air,

Does to rags the heavens tear.

 

The soldier, arm'd with sword and gun,

Palsied strikes the summer's sun.

The poor man's farthing is worth more

Than all the gold on Afric's shore.

 

One mite wrung from the lab'rer's hands

Shall buy and sell the miser's lands;

Or, if protected from on high,

Does that whole nation sell and buy.

 

He who mocks the infant's faith

Shall be mock'd in age and death.

He who shall teach the child to doubt

The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.

 

He who respects the infant's faith

Triumphs over hell and death.

The child's toys and the old man's reasons

Are the fruits of the two seasons.

 

The questioner, who sits so sly,

Shall never know how to reply.

He who replies to words of doubt

Doth put the light of knowledge out.

 

The strongest poison ever known

Came from Caesar's laurel crown.

Nought can deform the human race

Like to the armour's iron brace.

 

When gold and gems adorn the plow,

To peaceful arts shall envy bow.

A riddle, or the cricket's cry,

Is to doubt a fit reply.

 

The emmet's inch and eagle's mile

Make lame philosophy to smile.

He who doubts from what he sees

Will ne'er believe, do what you please.

 

If the sun and moon should doubt,

They'd immediately go out.

To be in a passion you good may do,

But no good if a passion is in you.

 

The whore and gambler, by the state

Licensed, build that nation's fate.

The harlot's cry from street to street

Shall weave old England's winding-sheet.

 

The winner's shout, the loser's curse,

Dance before dead England's hearse.

 

Every night and every morn

Some to misery are born,

Every morn and every night

Some are born to sweet delight.

 

Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

We are led to believe a lie

When we see not thro' the eye,

Which was born in a night to perish in a night,

When the soul slept in beams of light.

 

God appears, and God is light,

To those poor souls who dwell in night;

But does a human form display

To those who dwell in realms of day.

 

 

 

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William Blake- Auguries(omens/portence)of Innocence. Masha'Allah, that is beautiful. So much of what we believe in Islam is held within this poem. I had to look it up, so dont be impressed. Bits and pieces i read a while ago, but never the whole. the line 'A truth that's told with bad intent, Beats all the lies you can invent.' seems word for word Islamic.

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must read poetry!

 

 

The Raven

 

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -

Only this, and nothing more.'

 

the rest:

 

 

 

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -

Nameless here for evermore.

 

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -

Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -

This it is, and nothing more,'

 

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -

Darkness there, and nothing more.

 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'

Merely this and nothing more.

 

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;

Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -

'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

 

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -

Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.

Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'

Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

 

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,

Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -

Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,

With such name as `Nevermore.'

 

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,

That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.

Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -

Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -

On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'

Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

 

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -

Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore

Of "Never-nevermore."'

 

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;

Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking

Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore

Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

 

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;

This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining

On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,

But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,

She shall press, ah, nevermore!

 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.

`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee

Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'

Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

 

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -

Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -

On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -

Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'

Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

 

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!

By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,

It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'

Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

 

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -

`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!

Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'

Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

 

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted - nevermore!

 

 

 

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i love the constant referencing to greek mythology for clues to the characters intent and why he feels so guilty that he actually smells her perfume. and a line posthumously at the end while his soul will raise up 'never more'. here is a companion piece.

 

 

Lenore

Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!

Let the bell toll!-a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;

And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?-weep now or nevermore!

See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!

Come! let the burial rite be read-the funeral song be sung!-

An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-

A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

 

"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,

And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her-that she died!

How shall the ritual, then, be read?-the requiem how be sung

By you-by yours, the evil eye,-by yours, the slanderous tongue

That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

 

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song

Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong.

The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,

Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy

bride.

For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,

The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes

The life still there, upon her hair-the death upon her eyes.

 

"Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven-

From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven-

From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of

Heaven!

Let no bell toll, then,-lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,

Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned Earth!

And I!-to-night my heart is light!-no dirge will I upraise,

But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!"l

 

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Anne Stevenson - Utah

 

 

Somewhere nowhere in Utah, a boy by the roadside,

gun in his hand, and the rare dumb hard tears flowing.

Beside him, the greyheaded man has let one arm slide

awkwardly over his shoulder, is talking and pointing

at whatever it is, dead, in the dust on the ground.

 

By the old parked Chevy, two women, talking and watching.

Their skirts flag forward. Bandannas twist with their hair.

Around them some sheep and a fence and the sagebrush burning

and burning with its blue flame. In the distance, where

mountains are clouds, lightning, but no rain.

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Guest Fufu Xiawoun

My all time favourite,

 

The Clod and the Pebble

 

"Love seeketh not itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care,

But for another gives its ease,

And builds a heaven in hell's despair."

 

So sung a little Clod of Clay,

Trodden with the cattle's feet,

But a Pebble of the brook

Warbled out these metres meet:

 

"Love seeketh only Self to please,

To bind another to its delight,

Joys in another's loss of ease,

And builds a hell in heaven's despite."

 

- Blake

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Roses are red

Violets are blue

Sugar is sweet

and so are you

 

-Sakeena

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i like reading sylvia plath. like her journals nad stuff, and the stuff on the twitter page someone made for her, because i feel like her thoughts kinda are on a similar wave length to mine. but then when i read her poems i feel weird and can only pick out specific phrases that i like or even understand. but i love reading analysises. (what's the the correct plural form of analysis, guys)

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