ENGLISH 10 POEMS
Poetry Alive (Perspectives) Saliani,Dom. Copp Clark Pitman Ltd.,
Toronto, 1991. ISBN: 0-7730-5147-3
INNOCENCE PASSING WORDS
Irving Layton Susan Glickman
How does one tell Nothing is easy, that’s what we’re all saying,
one’s fourteen-year-old daughter the bruised lovers finding a laugh at the back
that the beautiful of anguish, the baffled parents muttering over how, how,
are the most vulnerable to say anything true
and that a rage to the small ones whose nightmares are less frightening
tears at the souls than the world they awake to.
of humans Trying to keep things clear. Trying to keep headlines
to corrupt innocence out of kitchens, to keep cancer from soup and bread,
and to smash butterflies bombs out of the bedroom. These
to see their wings only the big ones
flutter in the sun the ones so big they can’t be seen; fiery starts
pulling weeds and flowers obscured by daylight and the atmosphere of earth
from the soil: that startle us when night draws back
and that all, all its curtains.
go under the earth Usually it’s the ordinary problems that won’t let go,
to make room for more that heckle and jeer behind the day’s little triumphs –
weeds and flowers failure of work, failure of play, failure
- some more beautiful than others? of love. But we all keep going, nothing
is easy we say, we say it
Irving Layton was born on March 12, 1912, in Neamtz, Rumania. His family emigrated to Canada in 1913,
and Layton grew up in Montreal. Despite (or perhaps because of) his reputation for being a poet who
focuses on sexuality, violence and vulgarity, he is considered a major poet in the international scene. He
was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981, and has published close to twenty-five books of
poetry in the last fifty years.
Susan Glickman was born in 1953, and grew up in Montreal. She studied, worked and travelled throughout
Europe, Asia and the United States before settling down to teach English at the University of Toronto.
THE WORLD’S SHORTEST PESSIMISTIC POEM WISHES OF AN ELDERLY MAN AT A GARDEN PARTY
Robert Zend Sir Walter Raleigh
I wish I loved the Human Race;
Hope? I wish I loved its silly face;
Nope. I wish I liked the way it walks;
I wish I liked the way it talks;
And when I’m introduced to one
I wish I thought “What Jolly Fun!”
Robert Zend, born in 1929, was a Hungarian writer who moved to Canada and graduated from the
University of Toronto in 1953, and is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. At various times in his
career, he has been a freelance writer of children`s literature, an editor, producer and author of more than
a hundred programs for the CBC’s Ideas. He was by all accounts a remarkably free spirit and contributor to
Toronto's experimental literary culture in the 1960s and 1970s, and by direct evidence a marvelous
Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh was born on September 5, 1861 in London, England. He was an essayist,
literary critic, poet and professor of English literature. Raleigh was knighted in 1911 as part of the
Coronation festivities for George V.
from THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
It’s really a wonder
that I haven’t dropped all my ideals,
because they seem so absurd
and impossible to carry out. FEE, FI, FO, FUM
Yet I keep them, Eve Merriam
because in spite of everything, Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum
I still believe I smell the blood of violence to come
that people are really good at heart. I smell the smoke that hangs in the air
I simply can’t build up my hopes Of buildings burning everywhere
on a foundation Even the rats abandon the city
consisting of confusion, misery, and death. The situation is being studied by a crisis committee
I see the ever approaching thunder,
which will destroy us too.
I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet,
if I look up into the heavens,
I think that it will all come right,
that this cruelty too will end,
and that peace and tranquility will return again.
In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals,
for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.
Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany in 1929. The Frank family fled from Germany to
Amsterdam in 1933, in an attempt to escape the Nazis. The diary deals with the period between 1942 and
1944 during which Anne, her parents, and several friends hid in an Amsterdam warehouse. The last entry
in the diary is dated three days before the Nazis discovered their hiding place. Anne died in the Bergen-
Belsen extermination camp in 1944. Note: This selection was, of course, written as prose, and has been
transcribed into this form by the anthologer.
Eve Merriam was born in Philadelphia in 1916. She has published a number of volumes of poetry for
children and for adults, and has also written for television. In addition, she has had two musicals produced
in New York, where she now resides.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, Sonnet #18
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind; William Shakespeare
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. -- And every fair from fair sometime declines,
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
In all my dreams before my helpless sight Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English
Bitter as the cud poet and playwright, widely regarded
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -- as the greatest writer in the English
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest language and the world's preeminent
To children ardent for some desperate glory, dramatist.
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Wilfred Owen was born the 18th of March 1893 in Oswestry (United Kingdom). He was the eldest of four
children and brought up in the Anglican religion of the evangelical school. For an evangelical, man is saved
not by the good he does; but by the faith he has in the redeeming power of Christ's sacrifice. Though he
had rejected much of his belief by 1913, the influence of his education remains visible in his poems and in
their themes: sacrifice, Biblical language, his description of Hell. He moved to Bordeaux (France) in 1913, as
a teacher of English in the Berlitz School of Languages; one year later he was a private teacher in a
prosperous family in the Pyrenees. He enlisted in the Artists' Rifles on 21st October 1915; there followed 14
months of training in England. He was drafted to France in 1917, the worst war winter. His total war
experience will be rather short: four months, from which only five weeks in the line. On this is based all his
war poetry. After battle experience, thoroughly shocked by horrors of war, he went to Craiglockhart War
Hospital near Edinburgh. In August 1918, after his friend, the other great War Poet, Siegfried Sassoon, had
been severely injured and sent back to England, Owen returned to France. War was still as horrid as before.
The butchery was ended on 11th November 1918 at 11 o'clock. Seven days before Owen had been killed in
one of the last vain battles of this war. http://users.fulladsl.be/spb1667/cultural/owen.html