Here's a selection of poems that represent Quality:

(Put the poem you have selected at the bottom of the page. Make the title bold and the author name italic, as in the example. Put your name in parentheses at the bottom, and then click on the horizonal line button (the one underneath the "ss" in the discussion tab at the top of the page.)

(If you want to see what a project like this looks like when you've got a lot of time, expertise, and technological resources, check out the Favorite Poems Project initiated by Robert Pinsky when he was Poet Laureate. It includes video interviews with many of the people who recommended poems.)


Search Party
W. S. Merwin

By now I know most of the faces
that will appear beside me as
long as there are still images
I know at last what I would choose
the next time if there ever was
a time again I know the days
that open in the dark like this
I do not know where Maoli is

I know the summer surfaces
of bodies and the tips of voices
like stars out of their distances
and where the music turns to noise
I know the bargains in the news
rules whole languages formulas
wisdom that I will never use
I do not know where Maoli is

I know whatever one may lose
somebody will be there who says
what it will be all right to miss
and what is verging on excess
I know the shadows of the house
routes that lead out to no traces
many of his empty places
I do not know where Maoli is

You that see now with your own eyes
all that there is as you suppose
though I could stare through broken glass
and show you where the morning goes
though I could follow to their close
the sparks of an exploding species
and see where the world ends in ice
I would not know where Maoli is

(Mr. Schauble)

The Arrow And The Song
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly if flew, the sight
Could not follow in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so skeen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from the beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

(Stephanie Burns)

Famous Funny Poem
by Alfred Noyes

Everyone grumbled. The sky was grey.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And then there seemed to be nothing beyond,
Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone's face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
"Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He's crawling out of the duckweed!" Click!

Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft,
And it sounded as if the old drake laughed.
Oh, there wasn't a thing that didn't respond
Daddy Fell into the pond!

(Tyler Young)

Fire and Ice
Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say thay for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

(Fanny Yeung)

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

(Mark Fasi Allison)

Bear In There
Shel Silverstein

There's a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire--
He likes it 'cause it's cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He's nibbling the noodles,
He's munching the rice,
He's slurping the soda,
He's licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he's in there--
That Polary Bear

(Kai Golden)

i carry your heart with me
E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

(Tiana Fontanilla)

You will remember...
Pablo Neruda

You will remember that leaping stream
where sweet aromas rose and trembled,
and sometimes a bird, wearing water and slowness,
its winter feathers.
You will remember those gifts from the earth:
indelible scents, gold clay,
weeds in the thicket and crazy roots,
magical thorns like swords.
You'll remember the bouquet you picked,
shadows and silent water,
bouquet like a foam-covered stone.
That time was like never, and like always.
So we go there, where nothing is waiting;
we find everything waiting there.

(Chloe Liu)

Shall I compare thee to a summers day (Sonnet 18)
William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

(Eric Wong)

Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
one from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if the were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the all.

(Megan Wong)

I Many Times Thought
Emily Dickinson, Henry Gibson

I many times thought peace had come
When peace was far away,
As wrecked men deem they sight the land
When far at sea they stay.

And struggle slacker, but to prove,
As hopelessly as I,
That many the fictitious shores
Before the harbor lie.

(Lauren Ing)

A Word Is Dead
Emily Dickinson
A WORD is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live That day.

(Charles Sonido)

Magic Island
Cathy Song

A collar of water
surrounds the park
peninsula at noon.

Voices are lost in
waves of wind
that catch a kite and keep
it there in the air
above the trees.

If the day has one color,
it is this:
the blue emersion of horizons,
the sea taking the sky like a swimmer.
The picnickers have come
to rest their bicycles
in the sprawling shade.
Under each tree,
a study in small pleasures:
a boy,
half in sunlight
naps with his dog;
a woman,
marking a page with a leaf,
squints up
to bite into an apple.

It is a day an immigrant
and his family might remember,
the husband taking off his shirt
to sit like an Indian
before the hot grill.
He would not in his own language
call it work, to cook
the sticks of marinated meat
for his sons circling a yarn
of joy around the chosen tree
a bit of luck has made him generous.
At this moment in his life,
with the sun shifting through
the leaves in panes of light,
he can easily say he loves his wife.
She lifts an infant
onto her left shoulder as if
the child is a treasured sack of rice.
He cannot see her happiness
hidden in a thicket of blanket
and shining hair.
On the grass beside their straw mat,
a black umbrella,
blooming like an ancient flower,
betrays their recent arrival.
Suspicious of so much sunshine,
they keep expecting rain.

(Dee Mosher)

The Manager
Brian Bell

"I'd like to see the manager".
I heard the farmer say
While I was working in a bank,
Out Oodnadatta way.
Silence, as the clerk in charge
Respectfully replied
"He's recently been sick,
and yesterday, he died".
"Thank you", said the farmer,
as he calmly wandered out.
But next day he came back again,
And as he looked about,
He said, "I'd like to see the manager",
More quietly than before.
With practiced patience, reverently,
The clerk replied once more -
"The manager died Tuesday,
from a heart attack at dawn".
The farmer thanked him, went on home,
But strolled back in next morn.
"I'd like to see the manager"
made everybody stop.
So silent was the bank,
You could have heard a penny drop.
Until that clerk lost all control,
And really did his block.
"I told you Wednesday morning,
and on Thursday, three o'clock -
the manager has died", he said
"so why prolong our tears?"
The farmer said "To hear those words
Is music to my ears."

(Nainoa Watson)


-Carl Sandburg

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches

and then moves on.

(Ruddy Kiessling)

A Hero

-Nicola Burkett

A hero thinks of others before they think of themselves
A hero will die to protect
A hero can be of any age, any colour
A hero can be a man, woman or child
A hero is courageous, loving and brave
A hero will never complain
A hero can be made in one act of compassion
Or years of tender loving care
Some heroes are remembered, whilst many are left forgotten
Heroes are angels in disguise, saving precious innocent lives

(Dedicated to the memory of Pvt, Steven Freund & All Fallen Men of Iraq)

(Chelaine Eliazar)

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(Marissa Sia)