In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I would just list, in no particular order some favorite single lines from poems that have moved me or set me a thinkin' or just plain seemed great!
"And life is too much like a pathless wood" (Robert Frost, "Birches") -- The line is better understood in context. The speaker states that when he "is weary of considerations" that he wishes to again be "a swinger of birches." He wants, not so much to return to childhood, but to the play that makes one stronger, more focused. And I certainly understand that life is like pathless wood all too often. It is then I know I need such perspective.
"Progress is a comfortable disease" (E.E. Cummings, "[pity this busy monster,manunkind]")
"I should be glad of another death" (T.S. Eliot, "Journey of the Magi") -- This not my favorite Eliot poem, and I know it isn't fashionable to speak well of Eliot's post-conversion pieces, but this line is powerful. The speaker is one of the wise men who has come to visit the newborn Christ child and says that the birth was like death, "our death" he states. It isn't just about the death of the body, or even about the death of the old self, but about the death old order.
"Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God" (Gerard Manley Hopkins, "[Carrion Comfort]") -- Hopkins, I believe, earns our notice when he praises God, because he has done the sort of wrestling that brings about a real sense of awe.
"He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change" (Hopkins again, "Pied Beauty")
Okay, the list in hardly extensive, and I don't even comment enough. Perhaps that is something for another series of blogposts....tell me what you think.