Category Archives: Favorite Poem

Kara Arguello: A last favorite poem entry

When You Are Old
William Butler Yeats

A family friend gave me a book of Irish poetry when I was in my teens.  Yeats quickly became a favorite poet of mine.  I love this poem for its immediate effect of placing the reader in her own future, drowsy by the fire’s warmth, and then looking back; and for its personification of Love and the beautiful images about where he fled.  Although the poem is often interpreted as a rejected lover’s bitter warning, for me it has always reiterated the importance of aspiring to be truly loved –not for one’s beauty, but for one’s “pilgrim Soul.”

Kara Arguello, 34
Attorney
San Jose



When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats


(Note from Poet Laureate: This really is the LAST of the formal submissions to the Santa Clara County’s Favorite Poems Project. Janice Dabney’s submission of “The Blessing” was one good way to end; so too this moving poem by Yeats)

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Janice Dabney: A favorite poem entry

A Blessing
James Wright

This was one of the first poems I appreciated when I started reading poetry seriously in college. I gasped at the last two lines – in recognition because I had felt that emotion when experiencing special moments, especially in nature; in fact the scene always brings to mind the covered bridge area in Felton (Santa Cruz mountains) where I spent many fun hours on childhood vacations.  Since then, the poem continues to give me peace, reminding me to stop and appreciate even the smallest “blossom moments” in life.

Janice Dabney
Documentation Specialist,  Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Mountain View



A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

James Wright


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Paul McNamara: A favorite poem

Grandfather’s Poem
from the film, “Night of the Iguana”
Tennessee Williams

I love this poem for its context, which illustrates the Reverend Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon’s (Richard Burton) struggle between spirit and flesh.  It’s also the culmination of the grandfather’s life, which speaks to our shared humanity in coming to terms with spirit living in a human body, and the underlying emotion of continuous reconciliation.

Paul McNamara
Fundraiser, SJSU
San Jose


Poem from “Night of the Iguana”

How calmly does the olive branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair

Some time while light obscures the tree
The zenith of its life will be
Gone past forever
And from thence
A second history will commence

A chronicle no longer gold
A bargaining with mist and mold
And finally the broken stem
The plummeting to earth, and then

And intercourse not well designed
For beings of a golden kind
Whose native green must arch above
The earth’s obscene corrupting love

And still the ripe fruit and the branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair

Oh courage! Could you not as well
Select a second place to dwell
Not only in that golden tree
But in the frightened heart of me

Tennessee Williams

(Note from Poet Laureate: Sounds like a good summer flick!)

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Tiana Corona: A favorite poem

A Better Tomorrow
Yvonne Warren

This poem is special to me because it reminds me how my family and loved ones have had such a positive impact on my life. Every time I read this poem I feel the passion and heart that Warren illustrates through words. Although I have never had a desire to write my own poems I thoroughly enjoy reading beautiful poems and appreciate the time and work put into them.

Tiana Corona
High School Student
San Jose



A Better Tomorrow

I never knew there would be a better tomorrow
But you’ve come into my life and taken away all my sorrow
My days of sadness are a thing of the past
Because I have found true love at last
My days of emptiness are gone for good
Because you fill a void in my heart that you should
You’ve opened a window
You’ve shown me the light
And my love for you will continue to burn bright.

Yvonne Warren


(Note from Poet Laureate: My bad to get this offering alphabetically out of order. I was looking at the “Y”. . .enjoy!)


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Vicki L. Harvey: A favorite poem

Sweet Darkness
David Whyte

Years ago a friend took me to a workshop with David Whyte. He was such an inspiration to me and it was in a time of my life when I was searching for deeper meaning and had a feeling of despair. I was staying in a life that made me feel very small.  He was one of many poets that have inspired me to write poetry. I love the way he reads his poetry…the way he repeats lines…it is hypnotic.

Vicki L. Harvey
Accounts Payable Specialist

Santa Clara


Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing,
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and
the sweet confinement of your
aloneness to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

David Whyte

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Christine Richardson: A favorite poem

Here, Bullet
Brian Turner

So many poets, so many poems. It was hard to decide, like having to pick your favorite child. I finally chose this poem by poet-soldier Brian Turner because in 16 lines he speaks of a reality that occurred repeatedly in a decade of inexcusable tragedy, because like Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid,” and because this is what poetry can do at its unflinching best: take you where you never want to go.

Christine Richardson
Poet, Retired Teacher
San Jose


Here, Bullet

If a body is what you want,
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta’s opened valve, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.

Brian Turner

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Dennis Noren: A favorite poem

Poem in October
Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas took a morning walk above a seaside town in his native Wales, tasting the first 30 years of his life.  I love the music and the play of sound that Thomas wove into the poem.  It seems to be discovery of how much he had carried with him from his youth.  He recognized the quiet power of nature, the changes he had experienced, and the mysteries that his mother showed him as a child.  The images are powerful – the rising, the growing distance of the town and harbor, the birdlife, the rain, the orchards.

Dennis Noren
Software Engineer
Board Member, Poetry Center San Jose
Campbell


Poem in October

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
      And the mussel pooled and the heron
                  Priested shore
            The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
            Myself to set foot
                  That second
      In the still sleeping town and set forth.
      My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
      Above the farms and the white horses
                  And I rose
            In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
            Over the border
                  And the gates
      Of the town closed as the town awoke.
      A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
      Blackbirds and the sun of October
                  Summery
            On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
            To the rain wringing
                  Wind blow cold
      In the wood faraway under me. Continue reading

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