Ten Best Poems Ever

 

Vocation

By RABINDRANATH TAGORE Ritika Nahata
When the gong sounds ten in the morning and I walk to school by our
lane.
Every day I meet the hawker crying, “Bangles, crystal
bangles!”
There is nothing to hurry him on, there is no road he must
take, no place he must go to, no time when he must come home.
I wish I were a hawker, spending my day in the road, crying,
“Bangles, crystal bangles!”
When at four in the afternoon I come back from the school, 
I can see through the gate of that house the gardener digging
the ground.
He does what he likes with his spade, he soils his clothes
with dust, nobody takes him to task if he gets baked in the sun or
gets wet.
I wish I were a gardener digging away at the garden with
nobody to stop me from digging.
 
Just as it gets dark in the evening and my mother sends me to
bed,
I can see through my open window the watchman walking up and
down.
The lane is dark and lonely, and the street-lamp stands like
a giant with one red eye in its head.
The watchman swings his lantern and walks with his shadow at
his side, and never once goes to bed in his life.
I wish I were a watchman walking the streets all night,
chasing the shadows with my lantern.
Oh Man! This poem hit so hard in my head, when first read it and my age was still in single digits. I still wanna be that night watchman. Even the career of a president doesn’t fascinate me as much as that of a night watchman, till date.

The Muddlehead

By OGDEN NASHRitika Nahata
I knew a man from Petushkee
As muddleheaded as could be.
 
He always got mixed up with clothes;
He wore his mittens on his toes,
Forgot his collar in his haste,
And tied his tie around his waist.
 
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
 
They told him as he went about:
“You’ve got u’r coat on inside out!”
And when they saw his hat, they said:
“You’ve put a saucepan on your head!
 
“What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
 
At lunch he scratched a piece of bread,
And spread some butter on his head.
He put his walking stick to bed,
And he stood in the rack instead.
 
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
 
He walked upto a tram one day
And climbed in very sprightly;
Conductor thought that he would pay,
Instead he said politely:
 
“Parding your beggon,
Kister Monductor,
I’m off for a week’s vacation;
I stop you to beg your cramway tar
As soon as we reach the station.
“Conductor got a fright
And didn’t sleep that nite.
 
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
 
He rushed into the first café:
“A railway ticket please, One way.”
And at the ticket office said:
“A slice of tea and a cup of bread.”
 
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
 
He passed the man collecting thefares,
And entered a carriage awaiting repairs,
That stood on a siding, all by itself.
Half of his luggage, he put on a shelf,
The rest on the floor, his coat on his lap
And settled himself for a bit of a nap.
 
All at once he raised his head,
“I must have been asleep”- he said.
“Hey, what stop is this?” he cried”
Petushkee,” a voice replied.
 
Once again he closed his eyes
And dreamt he was in Paradise.
When he woke, he looked about,
Raised the window and leaned out.
 
“I’ve seen this place before, I believe,
Is it Kharkov or is it Kiev?
Tell me where I am,” he cried.
“In Petushkee”, a voice replied.
 
And so again he settled down
And dreamt the world was upside down
When he woke, he looked about,
Raised the window and looked out.
 
“I seem to know this station too,
Is it Nalchik or Baku?
Tell me what its called,” he cried.
“Petushkee’ a voice replied.
 
Up he jumped: “It’s a crime!
I’ve been riding all this time,
And here I am where I began!
That’s no way to treat a man!’
 
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
This poem is so funny, I can’t still stop laughing like crazy, every time I read it. So, the first time I read this poem, we were still kids, and every question would have a line from this poem as answer. For example, my mother asked me: “Who gave you this money?” I answered, “That man who lived in Petushkee” and laughed for next five minutes with my brother, till we got scolded and had to tell that it was father.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

BY ROBERT FROSTRitika Nahata
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.
I just can’t describe in words, what Robert Frost’s work is for me. His barely four paragraph poems are so descriptive that I can visualize in my head those roads, those woods, that horse, winters and what not. I mean, I am such a big fan of this man, that it became so difficult for me to put other eight poems of other writers on this list.

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face

By JACK PRELUTSKYRitika Nahata
Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.
 
Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.
 
Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.
 
Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.
 
Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place–
be glad your nose is on your face!
This is so cute, and I am glad that my nose is on my face 😛

Character of  the Happy Warrior

By WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
Ritika nahata
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?
–It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought
Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:
Whose high endeavours are an inward light
That makes the path before him always bright;
Who, with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;
Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,
But makes his moral being his prime care;
Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train!
Turns his necessity to glorious gain;
In face of these doth exercise a power
Which is our human nature’s highest dower:
Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves
Of their bad influence, and their good receives:
By objects, which might force the soul to abate
Her feeling, rendered more compassionate;
Is placable–because occasions rise
So often that demand such sacrifice;
More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure,
As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
–‘Tis he whose law is reason; who depends
Upon that law as on the best of friends;
Whence, in a state where men are tempted still
To evil for a guard against worse ill,
And what in quality or act is best
Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
He labours good on good to fix, and owes
To virtue every triumph that he knows:
–Who, if he rise to station of command,
Rises by open means; and there will stand
On honourable terms, or else retire,
And in himself possess his own desire;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim;
And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait
For wealth, or honours, or for worldly state;
Whom they must follow; on whose head must fall,
Like showers of manna, if they come at all:
Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
A constant influence, a peculiar grace;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined
Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a Lover; and attired
With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired;
And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law
In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw;
Or if an unexpected call succeed,
Come when it will, is equal to the need:
–He who, though thus endued as with a sense
And faculty for storm and turbulence,
Is yet a Soul whose master-bias leans
To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes;
Sweet images! which, wheresoe’er he be,
Are at his heart; and such fidelity
It is his darling passion to approve;
More brave for this, that he hath much to love:–
‘Tis, finally, the Man, who, lifted high,
Conspicuous object in a Nation’s eye,
Or left unthought-of in obscurity,–
Who, with a toward or untoward lot,
Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not–
Plays, in the many games of life, that one
Where what he most doth value must be won:
Whom neither shape or danger can dismay,
Nor thought of tender happiness betray;
Who, not content that former worth stand fast,
Looks forward, persevering to the last,
From well to better, daily self-surpast:
Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth
For ever, and to noble deeds give birth,
Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame,
And leave a dead unprofitable name–
Finds comfort in himself and in his cause;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven’s applause:
This is the happy Warrior; this is he
That every man in arms should wish to be.
This poem somehow injects the spirit of the happy warrior in you. It makes you yearn to be the one.  One of the most inspiring poems.

A Dream Within a Dream

By EDGAR ALLAN POERitika Nahata
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?
What if all what we see is nothing but a ‘dream’ or a ‘dream within a dream’? This poem is just beautiful.

The Road Not Taken

By ROBERT FROST Ritika Nahata
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
When it is Robert Frost, I freeze. I can only admire the beauty of this poem.

“Hope” is the thing with Feathers

By EMILY DICKINSONRitika Nahata
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
 
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
 
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
Emily Dickinson’s small but really heavy work makes it really a delight to read. This one is especially for all the optimists.

Laughing Song

By WILLIAM BLAKERitika Nahata
When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

when the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, ha he!”
When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!”
“Ha, ha, he!” This poem has woods, roads, merry, laughter, and everything we all have, and everything we need. So yes! This poem is in my list indeed.

The Brook

By ALFRED LORD TENNYSONRitika Nahata
I come from haunts of coot and hern, 
I make a sudden sally
 
And sparkle out among the fern,
 
To bicker down a valley.
 
By thirty hills I hurry down, 
Or slip between the ridges,
 
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
 
And half a hundred bridges.
 
Till last by Philip’s farm I flow 
To join the brimming river,
 
For men may come and men may go,
 
But I go on for ever.
 
I chatter over stony ways, 
In little sharps and trebles,
 
I bubble into eddying bays,
 
I babble on the pebbles.
 
With many a curve my banks I fret 
By many a field and fallow,
 
And many a fairy foreland set
 
With willow-weed and mallow.
 
I chatter, chatter, as I flow 
To join the brimming river,
 
For men may come and men may go,
 
But I go on for ever.
 
I wind about, and in and out, 
With here a blossom sailing,
 
And here and there a lusty trout,
 
And here and there a grayling,
 
And here and there a foamy flake 
Upon me, as I travel
 
With many a silvery waterbreak
 
Above the golden gravel,
 
And draw them all along, and flow 
To join the brimming river
 
For men may come and men may go,
 
But I go on for ever.
 
I steal by lawns and grassy plots, 
I slide by hazel covers;
 
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
 
That grow for happy lovers.
 
I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance, 
Among my skimming swallows;
 
I make the netted sunbeam dance
 
Against my sandy shallows.
 
I murmur under moon and stars 
In brambly wildernesses;
 
I linger by my shingly bars;
 
I loiter round my cresses;
 
And out again I curve and flow 
To join the brimming river,
 
For men may come and men may go,
 
But I go on for ever.

This is the perfect personification of a river. As beautiful as it could be….
 
Hello Folks! I know I missed out many greatest works ever. Like some of the greatest writings by the likes of Walt Whitman, William Blake, Oscar Wilde, Roald Dahl,  Rudyard Kipling, and many other favorites of mine. But this is my list of top ten poems that fascinates me the most. Though this list pretty much keeps changing as well.
Tell me which one is your favorite. It may be on the list, or may not be here. But do mention it in the comments below.
P.S.: Since I have read ‘The Muddlehead’ once again (∞th time) while writing this blog. I just can’t stop myself from laughing.
Do tell me your favorite.

14 Comments

  1. Lady D the poet May 17, 2019
    • Ritika Nahata May 17, 2019
  2. Anonymous May 17, 2019
    • Ritika Nahata May 17, 2019
  3. Ash May 15, 2019
    • Ritika Nahata May 15, 2019
  4. Firdaus April 28, 2019
    • Ritika Nahata April 28, 2019
  5. Himanshu Purohit August 28, 2017
  6. Anonymous April 3, 2017
  7. Your Admirer March 26, 2017
  8. Anonymous March 26, 2017
  9. Diksha March 26, 2017
  10. Abhishek Jain March 25, 2017

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