poetry contest

Recently I was reading something where the main character was supposed to be a talented poet. Only problem is, the author … is not. (It’s a decent book otherwise and isn’t pretending to undue literary merit, so I won’t link it here.) That got me thinking about the following challenge. All of the bits of poems and songs below are important to the book they’re in. Your challenge, shoulthinkd you choose to accept it, is to identify the book each appears in. Your reward is honor and glory and the respect of your peers, or at least of me. (I thought about offering a small gift-certificate prize, but I think the real fun here is the joy of recognition, not tracking it down on Google.) Have at it, and if you can think of poems in books that I should have included, feel free to include them in the comments.

All but one poem below are from fantasy books, either adult or juvenile. Some are ridiculously obvious, while others are a bit obscure. They’re all ones I know well enough to either be able to type by heart or at least know they’re there to look them up. Words in italics are my comments.

  1. The fickle wind’s my foe,
    With tide her keen ally.
    They’re jealous of my sea’s love,
    And rouse her with their lie.
  2. Roads go ever ever on,
    Over rock and under tree,
    By caves where never sun has shone,
    By streams that never find the sea;
    Over snow by winter sown,
    And through the merry flowers of June,
    Over grass and over stone,
    And under mountains in the moon.
  3. Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold
    Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;
    Power from the greenwitch, lost beneath the sea;
    All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.
  4. Did you blow me a kiss, or was that just tape hiss?
    When I hang up, will you grieve?
    Have pity, now, what’s signal and what’s noise?
  5. Hear, O badge of Arden’s House,
    The spell my little age allows.
    Arden speaks it without fear;
    Badge of Arden’s House, draw near.
    Teach me where the treasure lies,
    And make me brave and kind and wise.
  6. We are the Little Folk—we!
    Too little to love or to hate.
    Leave us alone and you’ll see
    How we can drag down the State!
  7. East of Agamemnon was a city he had sacked,
    West of him his heart went home to Greece.
    Good and ill wear each a mask that never can be cracked;
    He raced from what he thought was war to what he thought was peace.
    (Bonus points if you know why this is my favorite song in the book)
  8. Some day the Piper will come again
    To pipe to the sons of the maple tree!
    You and I will follow from door to door,
    Many of us will come back no more
    What matter that if Freedom still
    Be the crown of each native hill?
    (I’m cheating a little here. The poem is an important plot element in one book, but is only given in full in another by the same author.)
  9. When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone
    Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,
    The evil time will be over and done
  10. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches …
    Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies …
    And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not …
    And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…
  11. In the pines, in the pines,
    Where the sun never shines,
    And I shiver when the wind blows cold . . ..
    (Old bluegrass song, but sung several times in a certain fantasy classic)
  12. We are the men of the great black cock
    With inky feathers and sable crest
    Crying cock-a-doodle, a-doodle,
    Do! Do! Black cock with the sable crest.
  13. Hints of a woman early old,
    A woman in a lonely home,
    Hearing, like a sad refrain
    Be worthy, love, and love will come,
    In the falling summer rain.
  14. At Tara in this fateful hour,
    I place all Heaven with its power,
    And the sun with its brightness,
    And the snow with its whiteness,
    And the fire with all the strength it hath,
    And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
    (Another with roots in a real song)
  15. If you’re off to Philadelphia this morning,
    And wish to prove the truth of what I say,
    I pledge my word you’ll find the pleasant land behind
    Unaltered since Red Jacket rode that way.
    Still the pine-woods scent the noon; still the catbird sings his tune;
    Still autumn sets the maple-forest blazing.
    Still the grape-vine through the dusk flings her soul-compelling musk;
    Still the fire-flies in the corn make night amazing!
    (I had to include this, in honor of my hometown and a certain summer when I was 16 – that line about the fireflies is true.)
  16. Silver hidden in the gold,
    Young man hidden in the old.
    Laughing lord with weeping eyes,
    Bring King and ring before sunrise.
  17. Seven half-bloods shall answer the call
    To storm or fire, the world must fall
    An oath to keep with a final breath,
    And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death
  18. A girl with a voice and a girl with a name,
    A girl with strong hands and eyes like the rain,
    A girl who’s to young and too easy to bruise.
    A girl with nothing to lose, oh,
    A girl with nothing to lose.
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1 Response to poetry contest

  1. hobbitbabe says:

    But wherever I wander, by night or by day,
    Where water runs swiftly or high trees sway,
    My heart will carry me back and away
    To a dream of the towers of Avalle.
    A dream of my home in Avalle.

    This winter shrills its dirge self-satisfied,
    And all is black, or grey, or ragged brown,
    And all the world in rags its bread has cried,
    And begged the gates of that unheeding town
    Men once called heaven. Such a time as this
    Must make our reasoned doubt a certainty:

    We see the universe just as it is,
    Not veiled by miracle of bud or tree.
    But even while I watch the senseless sky
    Cracked hideous in the water at my feet,
    Dread rumors crowd me, dark forebodings; I
    Remember, as improbable as spring
    To this abyss where Night and Chaos meet,
    The star, the cup, the cross: that tale’s ending. ”

    When the wandering fire
    Strikes the heart of stone
    Will you follow?
    Will you leave your home?
    Will you leave your life?
    Will you take … the longest road?

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