Poetic Lines We Wish We’d Written

poem literary lines

Sometimes when reading, certain lines just resonate with me. Forming them slowly, as if allowing their shape to slip from my tongue, lets me think I’d thought of them first.

In the spirit of changing seasons, we asked our writers to choose literary lines they wish they’d written. As the leaves change and snow falls, we encourage you to be just as dreamy in your aspirations.

1. Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume has Hannah all aflutter.

2. I’ve fallen for another line from Ada Limón‘s Sharks in the Rivers — can’t seem to get enough!

3. Newest addition to our writing team, Laura Beth, wishes upon the stars she’d written Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s line from At The Drive-in Volcano.

4. Anna adores Frank O’Hara’s city-inspired scripting from Poems from the Tibor de Nagy Editions, 1952-1966.

Have your own favorite one-liner? Let us know what it is, so we can swoon over yours, too.

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Laura Vrcek

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19 Responses to Poetic Lines We Wish We’d Written

  1. eyeblinkfashion 10/14/2011 at 7:12 am #

    Michael Tolleno’s “Bringing Home the Birkin” contains a decription of Barcelona that has stood out in my mind for half a decade now, It’s a great read and his words are true poetry! Another fave of mine is “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” -Ben Franklin

    -Lauren

  2. Cherie 10/14/2011 at 8:36 am #

    Excellent post. One of my favorite poetic lines comes from American poet Adrienne Rich’s “North American Time.” She says “Everything we write will be used against us or against those we love” or even more descriptively, “We move but our words stand, become responsibly for more than we intended and this is verbal privilege.”

    I love the image it paints for me of a graffiti-ridden wall standing throughout time as the decades move on, only to be covered by a layer of paint if someone so wishes. How does the meaning of those words change over the years? Think about that!

    Laura – check out our post on your clothes today: http://eyeblinkfashion.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/modcloth-fashion/

    - Cher

  3. Angela (ModCloth) 10/14/2011 at 10:30 am #

    Every so often I reread Wallace Stevens’ “Sunday Morning.” I have some of the lines written on the side of a bookshelf of mine. For example:

    “Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
    Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
    Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
    Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights…”

    I love it so much.

    • Laura (ModCloth) 10/14/2011 at 10:36 am #

      That’s so lovely, Angela! You’re making me want to hermit with some tea and books this weekend. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could hunt for favorite lines for a good 48 hours straight. :)

  4. Emily Zach 10/14/2011 at 11:02 am #

    Sometimes a piece of sun / burned like a coin in my hand.

    Pablo Neruda, from “Clenched Soul”

    http://curativemind.blogspot.com/2011/10/clenched-soul.html

    Makes me swoon every time.

  5. Charlotte 10/14/2011 at 12:44 pm #

    For me it’s got to be;

    “She walks in beauty, like the night, in cloudless climes and starry skies, and all that’s dark and all that’s bright, meet in her aspect and in her eyes.”

    From ‘She Walks In Beauty’ by Lord Byron.

  6. Grace 10/14/2011 at 1:58 pm #

    “Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”
    -Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem Marmion

    “For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.”
    -William Wordsworth’s Daffodils

    Also, when I read L.M. Montgomery books, her descriptions make me stop reading and then read them over and over!! But, I wrote this particular quote from Emily of New Moon in the back of my poem book for inspiration:
    “Everybody who has ever lived in the world and could string two rhymes together has written a poem on spring. It is the most berhymed subject in the world-and always will be, because it is poetry incarnate itself. You can never be a real poet if you haven’t made at least one poem about spring.”

    I love reading old books that describe exactly how I feel about something. Not only am I the only one that thinks that, but someone thought that same thought over 100 years ago!

  7. Susan (ModCloth) 10/14/2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Not a poem, but a song lyric:

    “When I’m thirsty, you are the fountain/In the face of danger, I’m unafraid” from the song Little Bird Courage by Old Canes. There’s just something about it that I love…

  8. Carrie 10/14/2011 at 3:04 pm #

    “The Summer had died peacefully in its sleep, and Autumn, as soft-spoken executrix, was locking life up safely until Spring came to claim it.”

    -Kurt Vonnegut.

  9. Jenn (ModCloth) 10/14/2011 at 4:42 pm #

    I’m a sucker for Eliot, and just about any line from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” will do me in.

    One of my friends also introduced me to Mary Barnard’s translation of Sappho, and this line has always been a favorite:

    “You may forget but
    Let me tell you
    this: someone in
    some future time
    will think of us.”

  10. Lee 10/14/2011 at 4:53 pm #

    “What Do Women Want?” by Kim Addonizio was recommended to me by a friend:

    When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
    from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
    to carry me into this world, through
    the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
    and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
    it’ll be the goddamned
    dress they bury me in.

    Loooove.

    • Laura (ModCloth) 10/14/2011 at 5:08 pm #

      Swoon! The last line gave me chills. What more could you want?

    • Laura Beth (ModCloth) 10/18/2011 at 5:53 pm #

      Lee! This is one of my favorite poems ever! What a great one to share here too.

  11. Rachel 10/14/2011 at 5:24 pm #

    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)/
    nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands

    e.e. cummings “somewhere i have never travelled”

    love this poem.

  12. Mindy Zuckerman 10/15/2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Jitterbug Perfume is my absolute favorite book. Nice choice <3

  13. Hayley 10/17/2011 at 10:33 am #

    Also a song lyric;

    “And if I’m walking through the rain and I hear you call my name, I will break into a run without a pause.” from The Salvation Song by The Avett Brothers.

  14. Jessica 10/18/2011 at 6:30 pm #

    There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning, the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom. Annie Dillard

  15. Olivia 10/18/2011 at 6:56 pm #

    From Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
    “The three houses across the creek put on white shawls and burning lights squinted golden from the windows.”

  16. Hannah 10/20/2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Mary Elizabeth Frye’s poem, “Do not stand at my grave and weep” has always hit me quite profoundly. I love the opening and closing lines best,

    “Do not stand at my grave and weep;
    I am not there. I do not sleep.

    ….

    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.”

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