Depressed by a Book of Bad Poetry, I Walk Toward an Unused Pasture and Invite the Insects to Join Me by James Wright

Relieved, I let the book fall behind a stone.
I climb a slight rise of grass.
I do not want to disturb the ants
Who are walking single file up the fence post,
Carrying small white petals,
Casting shadows so frail that I can see through them.
I close my eyes for a moment, and listen.
The old grasshoppers
Are tired, they leap heavily now,
Their thighs are burdened.
I want to hear them, they have clear sounds to make.
Then lovely, far off, a dark cricket begins
In the maple trees.

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The Tough Guy of London by Kojo Gyinye Kyei

Seen from within a heated room,
On a sunny February afternoon,
London looks like
Any other summer's day.

Step out in only
Your shirt and trousers
And, even, with a black belt in karate,
An invisible tough guy
With blimey cold hands and feet,
Punches you
Smack on the nose
Straight back in.

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All These Miles by Julia Copus

What can I tell you with all these miles pulled taut
between us and time split like fruit so everything

happens to me two whole hours before
it happens to you? Here, already, I can feel

the dumbstruck night disintegrate. Listen: it is
the hour of the dog - a thousand husk-throats hacking

a beach-long ache of sky. Beneath it someone
is walking me home, just inches from the quiet

shift and swell of the sea that takes us,
almost without sound, past the statue-white

chairs in the tea-garden crowding
the waterfront, facing seawards like ghosts.

My door is open; we climb into its shadow,
saying nothing, until only the moon is left

unchanged and familiar, and his face closer in, his
breathing like the sound of the whole sea in one, small

uninhabited shell; like the sighing of steam which starts
deep in the pistons, then shudders an engine into life.

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Penzance / London by WS Graham

From this point onward we become aware
Of valleys to the sea. Closed as they are
From passengers with intent they fly behind
Lost in their trees. I, myself, beyond
Everything fly lost forever looking
Out of my window. Was that you I saw
Making love on the embankment among the daisies?
The speed I travel you would not catch
Me seeing you. Nor would you be put off
What you were doing. You fly away behind
Beyond two bridges into the summer day.

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Love's Dog by Jen Hadfield

What I love about love is its diagnosis
What I hate about love is its prognosis

What I hate about love is its me me me
What I love about love is its Eat-me/Drink-me

What I love about love is its petting zoo
What I love about love is its zookeeper - you

What I love about love is its truth serum
What I hate about love is its shrinking potion

What I love about love is its doubloons
What I love about love is its bird-bones

What I hate about love is its boil-wash
What I love about love is its spin-cycle

What I loathe about love is its burnt toast and bonemeal
What I hate about love is its bent cigarette

What I love about love is its pirate
What I hate about love is its sick parrot

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Hopping Frog by Christina Rossetti

Hopping frog, hop here and be seen.
I'll not pelt you with stick or stone:
Your cap is laced and your coat is green;
Goodbye, we'll let each other alone.

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The Vastest Things Are Those We May Not Learn by Mervyn Peake

The vastest things are those we may not learn.
We are not taught to die, nor to be born,
Nor how to burn
With love.
How pitiful is our enforced return
To those small things we are the masters of.

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Window by Emma Jones

His sadness was double,
it had two edges.

One looked out -
onto skylines,
and streets with ice-cream
men, and cars,
and clouds
like cut cotton.

The other stayed in
to watch
his memories unbuckle
and his hairs
all repeat
in the washstand.

Both were impatient.
Sometimes they'd meet
and make a window.

"Look at the world!" said the glass.
"Look at the glass!" said the world.

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Two Poems by Adrian Mitchell

There are not enough of us

How much verse is magnificent?
Point oh oh oh oh one per cent.
How much poetry is second-rate?
Around point oh oh oh oh eight.
How much verse is a botched hotch potch?
Ninety-eight per cent by my watch.
How much poetry simply bores?
None of mine and all of yours.


There are too many of us

Most poets are bad poets, the poor creatures.
Much worse than that: most teachers are bad teachers.

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Greenwich Village, winter by Derek Walcott

A book is a life, and this
White paper death,
I roll it on the drum and write,
Rum-courage on my breath.
The truth is no less hard
Than it was years ago,
Than what Catullus, Villon heard,
Each word,
Black footprints in the blackening snow.

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Drought by Gwyneth Lewis

It needed torching, all that boring moor
above the village. I planted seeds
in several places till the spindly gorse

bore crimson flowers all around its own
of yellow, then collapsed in black.
Borders I planted with exotic blooms

then I watched as arson laid a smoky lawn
as far as the tree line. Beneath its grass
grew a snowdrop season of broken glass.

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Go, Burning Sighs by Thomas Wyatt

Go, burning sighs, unto the frozen heart,
Go break the ice which pity's painful dart
Might never pierce; and if mortal prayer
In heaven may be heard, at least yet I desire
That death or mercy be end of my smart.
Take with thee pain whereof I have my part,
And eke the flame from which I cannot start,
And leave me then in rest I you require.
Go, burning sighs.

I must go work I see by craft and art,
For truth and faith in her is laid apart.
Alas, I cannot therefore assail her,
With pitiful complaint and scalding fire,
That from my breast doth strainably start.
Go, burning sighs.

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Grown-up by Edna St Vincent Millay

Was it for this I uttered prayers,
And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
That now, domestic as a plate,
I should retire at half-past eight?

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