The best clothes poems
‘Clothes maketh the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.’ So Mark Twain is thought to have once opined; and yet poetry has been less concerned with the material features of our clothing than we might perhaps expect. How many classic poems about clothing can you name? In this post, we’ve tasked ourselves with choosing five of the very best poems about clothes.
John Donne, ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’. No sooner have we begun this rundown of some of the greatest clothes poems, and we’re taking them off. Not too hastily, though: Donne’s poem may be regarded as one long literary striptease, as a naked Donne undresses his mistress verbally, one item of clothing at a time. Donne concludes ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’ by leading by example: ‘Look, to show you how it’s done, I’ll take off my clothes first. See? And why would you need to have more covering than a man?’ Read the rest of this entry
The best poems about kissing
Love is, of course, a perennial theme of poetry, and even the erotic and the sensual are amply covered in the annals of English verse. But how about something like kissing? The task we’ve set ourselves this week is to find five classic poems about kissing, or sharing a kiss, or stealing a kiss, or ‘kisses’ of some kind or another. We hope you like them.
Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella Sonnet 79. ‘Sweet kiss, thy sweets I fain would sweetly indite, / Which even of sweetness sweetest sweet’ner art: / Pleasing’st consort, where each sense holds a part; / Which, coupling doves, guides Venus’ chariot right’. So Sir Philip Sidney begins this sonnet from his Astrophil and Stella, the first major sonnet sequence written in English. Here, ‘Astrophil’ – Sidney’s alter ego – seems to have set himself the challenge of seeing how many epithets for a kiss he can cram into a single fourteen-line poem. He does fairly well, and we love the description of a kiss as ‘Poor hope’s first wealth, hostage of promised weal’, although we’re not quite sure about ‘Breakfast of love’… Read the rest of this entry
The best village poems in English literature
Previously, we’ve offered some of the best poems about big cities like London and New York; now, it’s the humble village’s turn. Poets down the ages have often written about villages and rural communities, but they have often done so for very different reasons. Here are ten of the very best poems about village life.
Oliver Goldsmith, ‘The Deserted Village’. One of the best-known poems about villages, ‘The Deserted Village’ is dedicated to Joshua Reynolds, and exposes the corruption found within towns in the eighteenth century as well as decrying the depopulation of rural areas, hence the poem’s title. But the poem proved to be so popular partly because it could be read as social commentary or, alternatively, for its appealing and sympathetic descriptions of rural village life. Read the rest of this entry