We’re all about adventuring, there’s no denying that. Typically, when we talk about adventuring, we’re talking about things like kayaking, helicopter rides, Escape the Room-type games. Real Vimbly stuff. But today, in honor of National Poetry Day, we’re going to spend some time adventuring deep into literature, into some of our favorite poems.

Get a taste of these Vimbos’ more *sensitive* and *poetic* sides with these staff-picked poems for National Poetry Day — October 8!

Mother To Son by Langston Hughes

[section background_image=”” text_color=”#666666″ background_color=”#eeeeee”]langston hughes is a great choice for national poetry day

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare.

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Stacy – Sales Associate

stacy loves to celebrate national poetry dayMy dad had this poem memorized and he used to say it to me sometimes. We kind of had the genders reversed, but still. I know that compared to lots of people in this country and across the world, oppressed people, our lives have been relatively easy, and I love this poem for reminding me of the everyday struggle that so many people undergo. And of course, even the most blessed, lucky people still have troubles. 

 

[Buffalo Bill’s] by e.e. cummings

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[Buffalo Bill ’s]e.e. cummings is a great choice for national poetry day

defunct

              who used to

              ride a watersmooth-silver

                                                                 stallion

and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

                                                                                                    Jesus

he was a handsome man

                                                 and what i want to know is

how do you like your blue-eyed boy

Mister Death

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Kym – Copywriter

kym loves to celebrate national poetry dayThis poem is an elegy to Buffalo Bill. I enjoy the way ee gets playful with spaces and caesuras to capture the drifting human mind. I love the way he forces you to speed up during the pigeon shooting line, and then slows you way down when you get to Jesus. Jesus is all by itself over there, and whether it’s an address or an exclamation (I vote for exclamation), it definitely gives off a spiritual, solitary vibe. Then, right when you think it’s going to go into some serious profound territory, you have a comment about Bill’s looks. Classic e.e.; he’s a funny guy. But it does get pretty heavy at the end there, doesn’t it?

The content matches the form nicely too — It’s about a cowboy, it acts like a cowboy, and even sounds like a cowboy. On a whole, this poem has everything that thrills the senses, just like an old western — mystery, action, sexuality, humor, and depth. And I really appreciate the way e e plays with the spaghetti western language. It’s a great choice for such a …self-made character. (I’m pretty sure Buffalo Bill wrote an autobiography that was one big tall tale.) 

Plus, it’s much better than this quick translation:

Buffalo Bill’s dead. The guy who used to ride a sweet horse and never missed a shot? Jesus, he was hot. I wonder how they like him in the underworld.

 

The Race by Wiz Khalifa

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I’m in a race, and taking the winner’s place.wiz khalifa is a good choice for national poetry day

No foot on the brakes,

one of the best,

homie that’s what they call me.

It’s lonely at the top,

ain’t no company so.

Now I just stunt on my own.

Now I just stunt on my own…

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Dave – User Engagement

dave loves to celebrate national poetry dayI really love this song. It’s awesome because it’s upbeat, positive, and has a great beat.  It really gets you going to get anything done and gets you pumped up. The lyrics, essentially poetry, are about being at the top of your game and doing your own thing, which is what I am doing. This song really speaks to me and I can definitely see a lot of myself in it. It inspires me to try my hardest, do my best, and keep doing my best.

 

 

 

Daddy by Sylvia Plath

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I made a model of you,sylvia plath is a great choice for national poetry day

A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.   

And I said I do, I do.

So daddy, I’m finally through.

The black telephone’s off at the root,   

The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two——

The vampire who said he was you   

And drank my blood for a year,

Seven years, if you want to know.

Daddy, you can lie back now.

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Jessica – Copywriter

I love this poem because it’s different, as far as Plath’s poetry goes. It’s pretty resentful — towjessica loves to celebrate national poetry dayards her father for dying, for the fact that she always found it difficult to talk to him when he was still alive, for the fact that Plath’s own husband reminded her of her father. This particular passage specifies how similar she finds her husband and her father to be, and she ponders on why her father can’t just leave once and for all. It’s a different tone as far as Sylvia Plath’s poems go — closer to bitterness than to depression and despair — and its detailed anger makes for an interesting read.

 

Long Live by Taylor Swift

[section background_image=”” text_color=”#666666″ background_color=”#eeeeee”]taylor swift is a great choice for national poetry day

Long live the walls we crashed through

How the kingdom lights shined just for me and you

I was screaming long live all the magic we made

And bring on all the pretenders

One day, we will be remembered

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Zach – Software Engineer

zack is happy to celebrate national poetry dayI originally liked this song because it was one of the only songs that Taylor hadn’t written about a guy.  Now she’s branched out a little bit more, but at the time that was about it.

I also like the message that it contains about friendship.  There’s this incredible inspirational message that a group of friends working together can do anything.  That sort of mentality can and should be applied to any situation.  It simultaneously showcases the strength of bonds within a team and the strength of a team itself.  

But I also like it because, you know, Taylor.

 

Howl by Allen Ginsburg

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who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot forallen ginsberg is a great choice for national poetry day
    Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads
    every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave
    up and were forced to open antique stores where they thought
    they were growing old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison
    Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of
    the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of
    the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister 
    intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs
    of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and
    walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of
    Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free
    beer,[/section]

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Melanie – Social Media

melanie loves to celebrate national poetry dayI love this poem, even though a lot of it seems like nonsense when you first start reading it.  I initially wanted to like this poem more than I actually liked it.  I thought that it was cool, and hip, and alternative enough to be edgy, but also popular enough for people to know that me liking it was edgy. There are numerous recordings of Ginsburg reading it out loud. He reads it in a very distinctive way, where each line goes up as if he’s about to say something more, but instead leaves you hanging. Every time I read Howl I hear it in Ginsburg’s voice.

Anyway, I now actually like it, instead of just wanting to like it, because it reminds me of a time in my life when I was so so worried about things like if people thought what I liked or was reading was cool or edgy. It’s cool to look back at my past self and think “it’s going to be ok — just chill a little bit.” I don’t know if that’s a normal thing to want to tell your past self, but anyway. This part of the poem is the specific portion that sticks out to me because it is also about change, but the fear of it, even when you know that you want something so much that it hurts. I also love how it warps the fear of death. I find the antique store line fascinating because of its dark comedy. It completely reverses accepted morals and values. The idea of not being able to kill yourself so instead opening a store where you sell dead people’s items and are miserably unhappy just has so much irony and so many layers to it. There’s so much you can do with that. I also really like how he interrupts himself in the Brooklyn bridge line with “this actually happened” because it makes you question everything else in the poem and skews the fluidity of the verse and breaks the fourth wall. 

 

 Before I Knocked by Dylan Thomas

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Before I knocked and flesh let enter,

With liquid hands tapped on the womb,

I who was as shapeless as the water

That shaped the Jordan near my home

Was brother to Mnetha’s daughter

And sister to the fathering worm.

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Patrick – Copy Editor

patrick loves to celebrate national poetry dayLike most Dylan Thomas poems, it’s hard to really say what it’s talking about. It’s got something to do with the soul’s journey to and from the body, like this timeless energy or spirit being forced into the mold of a body. It reminds me of the game “Spore”, which was briefly this big deal of a computer game, in which you start as a microbe and slowly evolve into this super customizable creature who can run around and do stuff — and then you start colonizing space. But what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Dylan Thomas.

I have really fond memories of reading this poem, and other Dylan Thomas poems, on the subway. It’s really perfect subway reading. You can read a line or two and let them rattle around in your head while you look around. It’s not like reading prose where you feel reluctant to break the flow of reading — poems (especially ones where the lines take a lot of thinking over) are great for that type of disjointed reading.

 

 

Vienna by Billy Joel

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Slow down you crazy child,

take the phone off the hook

and disappear for awhile.

It’s all right,

you can afford to lose a day or two

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Alex – Social Media

This whole song sounds like advice I’d normally roll my eyes at, but since it’s coming frolasker loves to celebrate national poetry daym the Piano Man instead of my mother, it’s wisdom instead of nagging. Really though, it’s true. Kids these days with the technology and the Facebook and the Apple– every once in awhile, we could all just use a day (or two) off the radar. God, I’m a hypocrite.

Plus, as a Long Island native, I’m contractually obligated to always select a Billy Joel song for any music related prompts (or something like that.) 

 

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

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Beyond this place of wrath and tearswilliam ernest henley is a great choice for national poetry day

     Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

     Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

     How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

     I am the captain of my soul.

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Ricky – Sales Executive

This isricky loves to celebrate national poetry day definitely my favorite poem. The song is featured in a Clint Eastwood film by the same name actually… maybe that’s where I first heard it a while back. I had it written on my mirror in college when I was still competing as a swimmer. It has proven itself to be such an inspiration to me and has, overall, meant a lot to me over the years. 

 

 

 

Happy Ending? by Shel Silverstein

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There are no happy endings

Endings are the saddest part

So just give me a happy middle

And a very happy start

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Adam -Business Development

ADAM LOVES NATIONAL POETRY DAYThis is really appropriate for emotional situations, because everything is going to end. I’m going to have a last day at Vimbly, I’m going to have my last day of college, and it’ll be like oh crap, but you know? Also I love how short this poem is — it’s easy to memorize. Also, its brevity seems to be perfectly aligned with what the poem is saying: Everything ends. Why belabor that point? 

 

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And there you have it — 10 poems that, depending on how quickly you read them and how deeply you dive into them, could keep you occupied anywhere from 5 minutes to the rest of your life. Happy National Poetry Day.

 

PS. If you have any favorite poems, let us know about them in the comments!