There is a maddening abundance of poetry in the world. To me, finding a poem that resonates with me feels like a pilgrimage. Once I’ve found one that I love, usually by accident, I never forget it. Reading someone’s favourite poems is a very definite way of understanding them deeply – so, I’m going to bare my soul for you on this post, and give you a few of my favourite poems (in no particular order). I’d love for you to send me yours in response!!
BELL-BIRDS by Henry Kendall
Bell-birds encapsulates perfectly what I love about nature and wildlife on Australia’s east coast. It reminds me of sitting by the waterfall near my house in Spring under the cool shade of the trees, savouring the sweet smell of wattle flowers and the music of the creek flowing and splashing over the rocks. If I ever move away, I’d keep this poem with me as a little piece of home to remind me of the little things that are so easily forgotten. If you’ve never been to Australia, immerse yourself in this poem and imagine yourself here, with the song of the bell-bird guiding you.
DRUNK AS DRUNK by Pablo Neruda
This poem by Neruda makes me think of salt and love and long summer days. It’s dizzying and passionate in the most subtle way. The original Spanish version called Poema IX is the one I fell in love with (read here). The translator took many liberties in writing the English version, and the result is almost a different poem entirely. However, he still retained the ‘feeling’ of the poem. So, if you can’t read it in Spanish, you can still enjoy the translation.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE by John Keats
I first read this poem in high school, when I was studying British Romanticism, and I loved it instantly. The dichotomy of life and death is expressed by flawless imagery, evoking scenes of light, trees, and celestial scenes. It pulls me in, hypnotising me with words. Keats’s fluctuating state of mind is reflected in the changes rhythm and imagery, a perfect window into his soul. I used this poem as a related text in so many essays and yet I never got tired of writing about it.
ODE TO THE ONION by Pablo Neruda
Evidently, I like Odes. And I love Neruda. In the Ode to the Onion he transforms a seemingly mundane thing into a beautiful, feminine jewel. In my family, the onion is the mother of all dishes; chopping onion is a daily ritual for me. In Chile, the onions are sweeter – my mum would chop them finely, drizzle them with olive oil and salt, and we’d devour them. I will never stop loving this poem and Neruda’s written magic.
Thank you so much for reading, and don’t forget to send me your favourite poems. x