Think Poetry

Post original poems, as well as other poems that peak your interest.

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Latest Activity: Sep 7, 2015


A Song

Oh do not wanton with those eyes,
Lest I be sick with seeing;
Nor cast them down, but let them rise,
Lest shame destroy their being:
O, be not angry with those fires,
For then their threats will kill me;
Nor look too kind on my desires,
For then my hopes will spill me;
O, do not steep them in thy tears,
For so will sorrow slay me;
Nor spread them as distract with fears,
Mine own enough betray me.

-- Ben Jonson

Discussion Forum

My last hope

Started by Belle Rose Nov 29, 2014. 0 Replies

Fear Conquered

Started by Belle Rose. Last reply by Belle Rose Dec 31, 2013. 4 Replies

Hippopotamus by T.S. Elliot

Started by Tobie Barb Apr 16, 2012. 0 Replies

Lyrics for "The Note" and song (.MP3) attached

Started by Atheist Exile. Last reply by Atheist Exile Dec 6, 2011. 1 Reply

Two Songs and Lyrics (.MP3 files attached)

Started by Atheist Exile Dec 6, 2011. 0 Replies


Started by Paul-Michael Keichel Nov 10, 2011. 0 Replies

"The Built Wonder"

Started by Edmond Jan 18, 2011. 0 Replies

"The Lonely Bed"

Started by Edmond Jan 15, 2011. 0 Replies

A Girl on the Corner

Started by Matt Hossan Jan 13, 2011. 0 Replies

"Social Anxiety's Anthem"

Started by Edmond Jan 4, 2011. 0 Replies

Galway Kinnell: FIRST SONG

Started by Atheist Exile Dec 2, 2010. 0 Replies

Original - By the Waterfront

Started by Ryan E. Hoffman Dec 2, 2010. 0 Replies

Original - Dionysus Rest in Peace

Started by Matt Hossan. Last reply by Atheist Exile Nov 24, 2010. 1 Reply

Comment Wall


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Comment by Atheist Exile on October 4, 2010 at 6:28am
Yes, interesting, Ankou fits the poem almost perfectly. Thanks for the link, Buck.
Comment by Buck O'Roon on October 4, 2010 at 2:07am

I also enjoy that poem and - especially after reading this description - it reminds me of Ankou, the watcher of graveyards and henchman of Death, in Breton mythology. Wikipedia actually has a fairly accurate article on it:

A good friend of mine is currently sketching the outlines to a one-man play in which he will play Ankou on his last night as Death's cart-bearer. It will be a comedy, though with serious undertones, as the subject matter will involve the cultural history of death, from prehistory through what the future might hold.

Comment by Atheist Exile on October 3, 2010 at 11:46pm
Hi Buck,

You asked: "Tell us all about one of your poems of which you are particularly proud and how it came to be. "

The poem I'm proudest of is the one I posted a week or so ago: "The Gard'ner of Death".

I was Googling for images of the Grim Reaper (I forget why) and was also interested in poetry. I found myself wondering how the Grim Reaper would justify himself, if pressed to. I decided that he wouldn't feel accused . . . he would acknowledge an honest question with an honest answer.

Life and death are intertwined: like faith and doubt. But I was new to poetry as a formal art-form, so I opted to disguise the Grim Reaper as a paraphrase: the Gard'ner of Death. The central premise is simple: the Grim Reaper has a day job as the groundskeeper of a cemetery.

The poem doesn't justify his role so much as it explains a few facts of life. Death is natural and, therefor, indiscriminate.
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 3, 2010 at 11:45pm
I meant to delete my latest comment (to edit it) but deleted the original poem instead!! I'm reposting it, the I'll revise my latest comment as originally intended . . .


I oversee the land that grieves;
acres of lawn and fallen leaves,
prolific mounds of mother earth,
pregnant mementos of rebirth.

Manicured, undulating, hills
mask the role terra firma fills,
to swallow mortals in her loam,
their destiny and final home.

And as they slowly decompose,
their longing rests in He who rose
spurning death and burial shrouds
beatific, through parting clouds.

As for me, the gard’ner of death,
I prune old vines and baby’s breath
wielding the very pruning knife
I use to trim the tree of life.

Jim Ashby
Comment by Buck O'Roon on October 2, 2010 at 6:20am

I was inspired to write the poem after seeing an Ikea commercial in which 100 cats were loosed for an evening inside one of their stores. The manner with which the cats explored the place astounded me. They displayed equal parts nervousness and curiosity only to settle comfortably down to sleep among their new surroundings. Immediately, a vision came to mind, of our furry companions doing the same amid the quiet ruin of humanity's whimpering end. As often happens with my work, the key line, "Only the Cat will remember", just came out. With what I know of cats, it seemed fitting.

I jumped right in with finding rhymes to "remember", using a technique by which I start with each letter of the alphabet and find as many exact rhymes as possible without resorting to a rhyming dictionary. Finding only six, strong candidates (if there are others, they escape me), I decided I would complete the poem in six stanzas – no more, no less. However, I wanted to really paint the picture of the vacant shell of civilization being reclaimed by unbounded nature. That seemed a challenge to do in only six stanzas. So I slept on it.

Upon waking, I realized could construct large stanzas, but by using a different rhyme scheme for the main body and save the couplet for the end, I could maximize the dramatic effect. I chewed on the poem throughout the day and began writing it that evening. The form came almost immediately and I found that an evenly numbered meter balanced with the a/b rhyme scheme evoked an almost marching, dirge-like feel, which seemed appropriate to the subject matter. My intent was to post the poem on my WordPress blog and I have a soft rule of starting and finishing my blogs in no more than two sittings across two days. True to my rule, I managed to finish it the following day, with no further edits.

Beyond that, you may notice that the 1st five stanzas consist of one sentence each - compound and/or complex and not exactly conversational in tone, but still grammatically correct. Stanza one sets the stage. The next three give us a glimpse of suburbia, where our former pets react to our passing in quite different ways. The 5th stanza comments on the wider world, where overly domesticated animals have not fared as well as the wilder beasts, who celebrate our passing by feasting on crop and carrion alike.

In order to give a feel of closing remarks, the final stanza deliberately breaks from the single-sentence form of the others. I reference the entire biological spectrum, from largest to smallest, from warlike to peaceful. Then, I show how, more than any of them, cats are like humans, except in their lack of self-destructive tendencies.

That should just about cover the technical aspects of my dystopian rant. If there are more, I have either forgotten them or they came about through the efforts of my subconscious. I am glad you enjoy the poem and hope this glimpse into my modus operandi was helpful. Now, it is your turn.

Tell us all about one of your poems of which you are particularly proud and how it came to be.
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 2, 2010 at 3:22am

I really love your poem, "Only the Cat Will Remember". I see you're using 8-syllable (tetrameter) lines and that every stanza has an "a b a b a b a b a b c c" rhyming scheme. What else can you tell us about the technical aspects of this poem?
Comment by Buck O'Roon on October 2, 2010 at 1:54am
I just posted this old poem, which I've dubbed "Samhain Chant", at the end of my most recent blog here on ThinkAtheist and thought it would fit nicely on this page as well. I am unsure as to its origins. Since it has been passed down on the maternal side of my family, I suspect it is an English translation of an earlier Breton piece:


The cropped, black sow:

Seize the hindmost!

Above your grunts,

the swift may boast,

but you will boast

the louder when

the first, at last,

rots in your den.

The wise, black crow:

Pluck the first fruit!

Within your gaze,

the crops take root,

but you will root

the deeper ‘til

the farms are left

no fruit to mill.

The gaunt, black mare:

Stamp the bare soil!

Beside your tracks,

the masses toil,

but you will toil

the harder part,

bearing them all

in Ankou’s cart.

The tall, black man:

Reap the high stalks!

Upon your path,

the hale youth walks,

but you will walk

the taller, for

beyond your path

there is no more.
Comment by Buck O'Roon on October 2, 2010 at 1:48am

I really enjoyed your poem and its depiction of death as viewed from a non-Christian, war-is-holy standpoint. I think it could stand with a few final tweaks, as there are a few lines that feel forced - "His one final chance to live had failed", for instance. Overall, however, I find it effectively captures the pitilessness of the immediate aftermath of war.
Comment by Buck O'Roon on September 26, 2010 at 3:55pm
Jim ~ Alliteration is always a difficult technique to employ, especially when used to such a degree. It can easily cause a piece to fall into parody or project playfulness and whimsy where it is not otherwise intended. However, your choice of the hissing 's' and moaning 'm' seem to bolster the atmosphere the poem describes - one of approaching menace and madness.

I used a similar approach on a long form poem I wrote last year. The poem is about wayward wolves breaking from the spirit-numbing rigidity of pack-life and my use of alliteration in the middle of each stanza combines with careful phrasing to create a rhythm not unlike the relentless step of a prowling wolf. I recently recorded a reading of it by a good friend and talented orator and am in the process of producing an accompanying animation. It will be a while before it is done, but I will post the link as soon as I can.

As for inspiration and quality of output over the years, I have always been intrigued by the big questions of life: what is the nature of being, death, love, truth, etc. Though my opinions on these subjects changes constantly, there is a definite arc of growth that is captured in my body of work. As aging provides for more knowledge and experience, my mastery of technique tends to produce more keepers, but I still manage to write a stinker every now and again. Fortunately, I am hard enough on myself that most never see the light of day.

George ~ Of all you have posted, Tyrannosaurus is my favorite. However, I would have like seeing the connecting rhyme scheme of the first two stanzas carried throughout the poem. Also, the imagery and first person feel are so well delivered, I find I want more. It ends too soon!

Have you considered expanding this piece and giving us more of this mighty hunter's tale?
Comment by Atheist Exile on September 26, 2010 at 1:07pm

In Primus, you seem to be saying that life is not special or, perhaps, that it's as physical as the inanimate universe that preceded it and thus not momentous.

Is that the case? Am I way off track?

Members (46)


Discussion Forum

My last hope

Started by Belle Rose Nov 29, 2014. 0 Replies

Fear Conquered

Started by Belle Rose. Last reply by Belle Rose Dec 31, 2013. 4 Replies

Hippopotamus by T.S. Elliot

Started by Tobie Barb Apr 16, 2012. 0 Replies

Lyrics for "The Note" and song (.MP3) attached

Started by Atheist Exile. Last reply by Atheist Exile Dec 6, 2011. 1 Reply

Two Songs and Lyrics (.MP3 files attached)

Started by Atheist Exile Dec 6, 2011. 0 Replies

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