20 November 2018

25 great first lines of poetry

  1. Mexico rises into view like a textbook description of a dead civilization;
    from the poem Roadside, by Esteban Rodriguez
  3. O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done;
    from the poem O Captain! My Captain!, by Walt Whitman
  5. I saw the best minds of my generation, destroyed by madness
    from the poem Howl, by Allen Ginsberg
  7. The first boy to kiss your mother later raped women
    from the poem Your mother's first kiss, by Warsan Shire
  9. All you violated ones with gentle hearts;
    from the poem For Malcolm X, by Margaret Abigail Walker
  11. All night long I hear the sleepers toss
    from the poem Such simple love, by Thomas McGrath
  13. You chose to leave, that's fine by me
    from the poem Choices, by Edward Baugh
  15. All day the stars watch from long ago
    from the poem Rain light, by W. S. Merwin
  17. Your hands have no more worth than tree stumps at harvest.
    from the poem A sestina for a black girl who does not know..., by Rachel Jackson
  19. I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    from the poem Sea fever, by John Masefield
  21. There I was, all spread out for the taking,
    from the poem From “Lacing”, by Tacey M. Atsitty
  23. Ay, ay, ay, I am black, pure black;
    from the poem Ay ay ay de la grifa negra, by Julia de Burgos
  25. Has it turned out we’ve wasted our time?
    from the poem The end game of bloom, by Deborah Landau
  27. We ate alone in the immense dining room.
    from the poem The nowhere water, by Mark Rudman
  29. The planets whirled across the blackboard all morning,
    from the poem Learning the Planets, by Len Roberts
  31. Listen
    from the poem Thanks, by W. S. Merwin
  33. It was many and many a year ago, [Thank you, Terry K.]
    from the poem Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan poe
  35. Do not stand at my grave and weep, [Thank you, Diane M.]
    from the poem Do not stand at my grave and weep, by Mary Elizabeth Frye
  37. Where dips the rocky highland [Thank you, David R.]
    from the poem Stolen child, by W. B. Yeats
  39. Do not go gentle into that good night [Thank you, Robert W.]
    from the poem Do not go gentle into that good night, by Dylan Thomas
  41. My son’s head is a fist
    from the poem Knuckle head, by Terri Ellen Cross Davis
  43. When despair for the world grows in me
    from the poem The peace of wild things, by Wendell Berry
  45. Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
    from the poem Morning song, by Sylvia Plath
  47. On my desk there is a stone with the word "Amen" on it,
    from the poem The amen stone, by Yehuda Amichai
  49. I know the truth—give up all other truths!
    from the poem I know the truth—give up all other truths!, by Marina Tsvetayeva

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