Paraphrasing Intro to Poetry

The Lake Isle of Innisfree (William Butler Yeats)
Guy sick of gray pavemented London, misses watery countryside Ireland

Those Winter Sundays (Robert Hayden)
Guy looks back and sees how he was unappreciative of his hard working father

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers (Adrienne Rich)
Aunt had bad marriage but at least the tigers she embroidered will prance unafraid after she dies

Ask Me (William Stafford)
guy compares himself to frozen river when considering how hate and love from others have affected him

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Out, Out– (Robert Frost)
saw cuts young boy’s hand, family turn to their affairs

My Last Duchess (Robert Browning)
guy shows how his previous flirty wife turned to a painting behind curtains, brags of art work to future wife’s messenger

Richard Cory (Edwin Arlington Robinson)
guy was admired by all, sparkled when he walked, then shot himself

Ulysses (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
speaker is a hero who is really old, looks on his son and his past and wants to travel again, and decides he will because his heroic adventurousness shall not die just because he’s old

My Papa’s Waltz (Theodore Roethke)
little boy waltzing with his drunken father and messing up the house and upsetting the mother

For a lady I know (Countee Cullen)
speaks to how white lady thinks in heaven their race can still be lazy while blacks will still have to do chores

For My Daughter (Weldon Kees)
speaker talks about how his daughter is about to die because of her foolish mistakes, then claims he doesn’t have one

Luke Havergal (Edwin Arlington Robinson)
guy hears voices telling him to go to the “western gate” in other words to suicide

White Lies (Natasha Trethewey)
girl lies to prevent classmates from finding out she’s poor and part black, mother scolds her harshly

The Unknown Citizen (W.H. Auden)
tale of guy working hard and following orders, but will forever remain mediocre and his happiness is of no importance

Rite of Passage (Sharon Olds)
mother plans birthday party for elementary son, notices loss of innocence amongst her son and his peers while they talk about beating others up

The Measures Taken (Erich Fried)
speaker sarcastically saying slaughtering the bad will bring forth the good

Down, Wanton, Down! (Robert Graves)
penis that gets hard to everything is compared to a stupid solider

Dog Haiku (Anonymous)
from viewpoint of dog licking it’s owner after he/she licks butts

Upon Julia’s Clothes (Robert Herrick)
speaker awes at chick’s liquefaction and glittering clothes

Blandeur (Kay Ryan)
speaker hopes for God to make Earth more bland, no ups and downs

Lonely Hearts (Wendy Cope)
(villanelle) advertisment in newspaper looking for “the one” but they also have to live in London

Carnation Milk (Anonymous)
speaker loves Carnation milk; no need for fuss, just open the damn can

English Con Salsa (Gina Valdes)
ESL class taught by teacher using mixed spanish words and using stereotypes

Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll)
nonsensical words describing a scene in which someone is stabbed at 4pm

Disillusionment of ten o’clock (Wallace Stevens)
boring town with boring people wearing white and sleeping early except for drunk sailor asleep in boots and dreaming colors and tigers

Fire and Ice (Robert Frost)
fire and ice are both equally destructive to the Earth

Tears, Idle Tears (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
guy contemplates about how seasons passed, good times passed, his friends died, and he’s getting old

In a Station of the Metro (Ezra Pound)
people in metro like black petals on flower

The piercing chill I feel (Taniguchi Buson)
man sits on the bed he shared with his wife and sees his deceased wife’s belongings, feels sad

The winter evening settles down (T.S. Eliot)
at the end of a day, worker coming back to his living area: apartments crammed together with smells, but feels homey as the lights flick on

Pied Beauty (Gerard Hopkins)
speaker loves spotted multicolored things/animals, think’s they’re beautiful

On the one-ton temple bell (Taniguchi Buson)
sleeping moth sits on heavy temple bell

Visitor’s Room (Lee Gurga)
someone visits someone else in psych ward

broken bowl (Penny Harter)
the pieces of a broken bowl still moves after it shadders

Not Waving but Drowning (Stevie Smith)
guy reflects on his death and life: always been drowning but people mistook him for waving

Shall I compare Thee To A Summer’s Day? (classic) (William Shakespeare)
speaker thinks chick is much more beautiful than a summer’s day for many reasons, satisfied that this poem will continue to praise her beauty after death

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? (Howard Moss)
shakespearean classic in normal people diction

To See a World In a Grain of Sand (William Blake)
seeing the world from diff creatures: everyone suffers and rejoices and have feelings

Metaphors (Sylvia Plath)
what it feels to be pregnant physically

The Heart (Jill Alexander Essbaum)
“you live in one of my heart chambers” says the speaker

You fit into me (Margaret Atwood)
speaker claims that “we are as good of a fit as fish hook into an eyeball”

Fog (Carl Sandburg)
describes fog: comes silently, sits still, then leaves quietly

Coward (A.R.


speaker puns by saying bravery “runs”

Turtle (Kay Ryan)
describes how it sucks to be a turtle, one’s only useful virtue is patience

We Real Cool (Gwendolyn Brooks)
live fast and you will die young

Break, Break, Break (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
speaker speaks of singing and playing boy now dead (because of sea) and body in the crags

resume (Dorothy Parker)
speaker thinks about dying, then get petty about not finding the perfect way; oh well, might as well not die today.

When I was One-and-twenty (A. E. Housman)
speaker tells tale of how someone once told him to give riches out but not one’s heart, now he regrets not listening

Smell! (William Carlos Williams)
speaker talking to his nose, asking it to stop smelling everything, especially rancid smelling things (mind your own business)

Beat! Beat! Drums! (Walt Whitman)
speaker bid drums to beat, ignoring the cries and requests of civilians, let no one have peace

Song of The Powers (David Mason)
speaker talks dramatically about the rules of rock paper scissors, concludes that life is like those rules and everyone will end up alone if you kill in a circle

Dream Boogie (Langston Hughes)
speaker tries to talk about boogieing, listener keeps interrupting asking if the underlying beat is happy

Recital (John Updike)
speaker talks about how good Roger Bobo is playing the tuba, everyone from everywhere listens to him Oompah.

All Day I hear (James Joyce)
speaker talks about hearing noises from the water paired with sad noises from the wind. cold, grey, and depressing.

On My Boat on Lake Cayuga (William Cole)
speaker on a lake named after a Native American tribe brags about how ethnic he is, having a traditional native american horn instead of a modern one

The Hippopotamus (Hilaire Belloc)
speaker says one must shoot hippos with platinum bullets because lead ones are too soft and will not work on a hippo’s thick skin

The Panther (Ogden Nash)
beware of panthers; stay quiet to avoid ouchies

God’s Grandeur (Gerard Hopkins)
God is in nature yet men stomp all over it; but fear not because nature will always revitalize itself

Epigram Engraved On the Collar of a Dog Which I gave to his Royal Highness (Alexander Pope)
no matter how high up you are, you will always be someone’s bitch

Treason (Sir John Harrington)
history is written by the winners

Epitaph On a Dentist (Anonymous)
dentist who fills cavities dies

Fatigue (Hilaire Belloc)
“I’m tired of love, just give me money”

Variation On Belloc’s “Fatigue” (Wendy Cope)
“I’m never tired of love, that’s why I’m so poor”

Tyger, Tyger (William Blake)
speaker awes at fearful tiger in the night, who could’ve created such a beautiful deadly thing

When You Are Old (William Butler Yeats)
speaker tells someone “amongst those who loved you, I am the truest because I still loved you when you got old and wrinkly”

Let Me not to the Marriage of True Minds (William Shakespeare)
love is unshaken and unmoved, it will pass the test of time, or else I didn’t even write this poem

Since there is no Help, Come let us kiss and part (Michael Drayton)
speaker and his/her lover must part, they’ll break up, be free, and when meeting again, have no indication of remaining past love

What Lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Edna Millay)
speaker talks about all the lovers she’s had and forgotten, only remembers how they made her feel, and knows that days like those are no more since she’s old

Acquainted With The Night (Robert Frost)
speaker is a creature of the night: ghostly.

observes all sad and depressing scenery

First Poem For you (Kim Addozioni)
speaker talks about loving this person with tattoos and wants their love to last forever, just like the tattoos

Sine Qua Non (A.E. Stallings)
speaker compares the absence of his/her father to the absence of certain sounds: the sounds heighten when they are absent. feels empty without daddy

Shakespearean Sonnet (R.S. Gwynn)
each line “paraphrases” a different shakespearean sonnet

How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the ways (Elizabeth Barret Browning)
speaker says all the ways he/she loves his/her other part, even in death. repeats “I love thee”

When In Disgrace with Fortune (William Shakespeare)
speaker hates his fate, is jealous of others, and hates his jealousy

Bonny Barbara Allan (Anonymous)
guy proclaims love for girl, but girl rejects him, and he dies.

then she regrets her rejection, and she dies. star crossed lovers.

Ballad of Birmingham (Dudley Randall)
mother tells child to go to the church instead of march in protest, child obeys but the church is bombed.

As I Walked Out One Night (W. H. Auden)
speaker taking an evening stroll, walking around and hears lovers talking about glorious life-long love, but time is ticking and life will eventually slip away, tick tok tick tok, lovers are gone and convo stops

The Times They Are a-Changing (Bob Dylan)
times are changing and to survive, one must adapt

Do not go gentle into that good night (Dylan Thomas)
go out with a bang

Triolet (Robert Bridges)
“who knew love could be so difficult” speaks of a love that is wearing out

We Wear the Mask (Paul Dunbar)
everyone pretends they’re ok and puts on masks

Rubai XII (Omar Khayyam)
wine, bread, book under bough.

once i have all this, then i shall be happy

Rubaiyat (E. Fitzgerald)
do whatever your heart desires, don’t wait to do it in the future