Hello, hello! Since April is National Poetry Month, I thought I would share a list of five poems that have stuck with me through the years. They aren’t necessarily favorites, just ones that I keep coming back to for some reason. I think we all have at least one, even if we aren’t the biggest fans of poetry in general. It might be a nursery rhyme or song lyrics (because those totally count as poetry), but it’s there. I actually have a lot more than five, but I don’t want to bore anyone.
1. The first poem is called “The Suicide” by Ai (if the link doesn’t take you directly to the page, it’s on page 40 in that one). It was originally included in her collection, Cruelty. I found this poem in my Intro to Poetry Writing class an undergrad. The teacher gave us a list of poets and we had to pick three to read. I wanted to see what a woman whose name means love wrote about, and I wasn’t disappointed. I immediately fell in love with the way she made mundane things creepy and disturbing, but made the creepy and disturbing stuff beautiful. I don’t know why “The Suicide” has stuck with me, but I find myself drawn to rereading it every couple of years.
2. Next up is “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost, which appeared in West-Running Brook. Pretty sure I was still in high school when I was introduced to this one. I just remember feeling a kinship with the speaker of the poem. Someone who was awkward, lonely, and probably a little depressed. I still feel that strong connection to it whenever I read it. Maybe I’m just weird.
3. I can’t do a list like this without including John Donne. A lot of his poems have resonated with me, but the one that I undoubtedly come back to the most is “Holy Sonnet X: Death, be not proud.” I don’t remember how old I was when I came across this one, but I do know that I loved it from the start. The personification of Death has always interested me. The idea that it was a physical being that I could talk to was creepy and wonderful even as a kid. Then Donne goes and kills Death, which I fully admit I found a little sad. Why can’t Death join us in eternity? But yeah, this is one I’ll always hold dear.
4. The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck is another collection I discovered during that Intro to Poetry Writing class. While I related to a lot of the poems in this book, “Snowdrops” is the one I come back to every so often. I read it as someone breaking free of a long depression, feeling all of that weight disappear. It gave me hope during a dark period in my life. It still gives me the same feeling every time I read it.
5. And, of course, Poe is going to make an appearance on this list. While I am drawn more to his short stories, I do enjoy his poetry once in a while. For me, “A Dream Within a Dream” is the poem I come back to the most. I can take or leave the first half, but something about the second part just keeps calling me back to it. The fear and the lack of control is something I relate strongly to, so I suppose that’s why I keep going back to it.
What about you? What poem keeps pulling you back to it? Feel free to share your list here or on my social media pages.