Who’s Your Poet BFF?
Have you ever been asked which famous writer you would most like to spend an evening with, only to discover that you can’t make up your mind? In honor of National Poetry Month, we have created the perfect short quiz to help you find your poet soulmate and BFF. Find out which poet you were born to be best friends with, and have a happy #PoetryMonth!
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Like Poe, you aren’t afraid to entertain a darker side. You may consider yourself more thoughtful and reflective than those around you, which makes you a good match with this pensive American Romanticist. Together you could enjoy exploring the mysteries of human nature through discussion or thoughtfully written correspondence. Now, go make yourself a toasted sandwich, put on some ambient music, and check out this provocative poem by your bestie.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—
Anna Akhmatova was a Russian poet who wrote during the Stalin era. Like her, you may consider yourself a strong character capable of balancing sensitivity, passion, and reason. Together you could probably spend hours discussing everything from your mutual passion for justice and freedom to your love of peonies and spring. Now, lay down your bow and arrow, put on some Chopin or Rachmaninov, and check out this stirring poem by your bestie.
"You Will Hear Thunder"
You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.
That day in Moscow, it will all come true,
when, for the last time, I take my leave,
And hasten to the heights that I have longed for,
Leaving my shadow still to be with you.
Life is passion. That’s how you and your BFF see things, at least. You’re absorbed with living and, like Neruda, are in touch with all the sensations that life presents. A friendship between you and this Chilean revolutionary would be founded on your mutual passion for justice and freedom and cultivated by sharing your open and artistic perspectives on life and love. Take a break from writing your political manifesto, put on some sensual jazz, and check out one of your bestie’s most romantic explorations of love.
"If You Forget Me"
I want you to know
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
Life is a glorious spiritual journey for you. This is the common interest that lets you bond so well with your BFF, Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. Like your friend, you prioritize your spirit and are regularly seeking opportunities for peace—internally and externally (Tagore was an advocate of political progress and peace in his native India). Much of your time together would likely be built around patient discussion of your respective understandings of existence and truth. Pour yourself some light green tea, put on some gentle world music, and check out one of your bestie’s thoughtful poems on spiritual life.
"Brink of Eternity"
In desperate hope I go and search for her
in all the corners of my room;
I find her not.
My house is small
and what once has gone from it can never be regained.
But infinite is thy mansion, my lord,
and seeking her I have to come to thy door.
I stand under the golden canopy of thine evening sky
and I lift my eager eyes to thy face.
I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can vanish
—no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through tears.
Oh, dip my emptied life into that ocean,
plunge it into the deepest fullness.
Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch
in the allness of the universe.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
What greater pleasure is there in life than studying classical cultures and deriving knowledge from our past? For you and English Victorian poet Tennyson, not much! After finishing an anthology of Greek mythology, you’d likely hunker down with Tennyson to discuss how the themes in ancient mythology still shape narratives in modern life. Only after some heady academic banter would you go for a leisurely stroll through the garden, near the pond. Take a break from planning your trip to Cambridge and check out one of your bestie's most famous poems.
"Crossing the Bar"
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
For you and your BFF, there are no greater pleasures in life than your garden, love, and quiet. Like Dickinson, you are an unconventional character, but it’s only because you have a fierce passion for the things that interest you. Time with your BFF would mostly include calm, airy moments spent observing the neighbors or trimming the violets. You would be perfectly comfortable with shared silence because when that quiet is broken it would likely be with a beautiful or poignant realization about life or the nature of love. Open the window to let the spring air in, turn on your favorite alternative album, and check out this endearing poem on garden visitors.
"A Bird came down the Walk"
A Bird, came down the Walk —
He did not know I saw —
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass —
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass —
He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad —
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,
He stirred his Velvet Head. —
Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers,
And rowed him softer Home —
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.
Like your BFF, you don’t hold back. If you think something, you say it. If you experience something, you share it. You and this modern American poet would likely spend most of your time swapping personal stories about everything from new love and fascinating business ideas to family betrayals and life’s disappointments. You are not threatened by the honesty and openness. So, take a break from planning your trip to New York City, pour yourself some coffee, and read this compelling confessional poem by your bestie.
"Music Swims Back to Me"
Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.
Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.
They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.
For you and your BFF, life is beautiful. Like Angelou, you have been through a lot but still radiate positivity and hope. You look for the good and don’t take yourself too seriously. Time with this modern American poet would be full of laughter, trying new things, and enjoying everything life can offer you—together. Water your daisies, turn on your favorite T-Swift track, and settle in to read this joyous anthem of personhood by your bestie.
"Still I Rise"
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.