11 Favorite Lines of Poetry

I judge a poem’s quality in part by the ability of its lines to function collectively and disparately. In a notebook I’ve written many line fragments from poems that speak to me more powerfully because of their briefness. Here’s a few favorites.

Walt Whitman 

By the sea, under the yellow and sagging moon,

The messenger there arous’d – the fire, the sweet hell within,

The unknown want, the destiny of me.

Sherman Alexie

You were a stranger. You were dark and brief.

And I am humbled by the size of your grief.

Juliana Baggott

You hate me

so well –

so thoroughly

only because you have practiced

(rigorous scales, taskmaster metronome)

hating yourself.

Terrance Hayes

All species have a notion of emptiness, and yet the flowers don’t quit opening.

Edgar Lee Masters

And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,

And not a single regret.

Paul Hoover

You await a handsome savior,

but the plain man draws near…

Carl Sandburg

I have loved the prairie as a man with

a heart shot full of pain over love.

William Somerset Maugham

The tragedy of love is indifference.

Adam Lindsay Gordon

Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand like stone –

Kindness in another’s trouble,

Courage in our own.

Alice Meynell

I run, I run, I am gathered to thy heart.

Rupert Brooke 

Now, God be thanked, who has matched

us with this hour,

And caught our youth, and wakened us

from sleeping.

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