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Famous Poems: Poetry Competition

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2014 Category: Arts
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,119 times Debate No: 67325
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)





This is a poetry debate. You can post your own poems, though you're free to post any famous/infamous work so long as you give a citation.

Though that is not all you also need to provide an explanation of the poem, a critical examination if you will in favor of your poem. You are not allowed to adress the poem of the opponent, simply write an exposition of the poem that you have chosen.

The poem should not be too long, and must be completely typed out over here. If your poem is too long you restrict your space for the critical exposition which is nearly as important. The order of the debate has 3 rounds to post substantiated material, with 24 hr/round, with a maximum of 8, 000 words.


Poetry competition accepted.
Debate Round No. 1



I thank my opponent for accepting. I wish him the best of luck!

I shall then start with a poem of my favorite lyrical poet: William Butler Yeats. The poem uses extensive metaphor, and allusions alongside powerful imagery combined with powerful verse.

Aedh Wishes For The Cloth of Heaven

Had I the Heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue, and the dim, and the dark cloths
Of night, and light, and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I am tempted to leave this poem without any analysis, so well does it speak for itself, and yet I find myself writing out what is surely blasphemous with regards to this poem. Let us then start with the title of this poem; by the title we may determine that the narrator of this poem is Aedh. This is significant, since we know that W. B. Yeats was Irish[1], and Aedh is a god in Irish mythology.[2] In fact Aedh is the god of death, and it is said that anyone who should hear him play his harp shall be doomed.[3]

Why would then Yeats use Aedh to narrate this love poem? Does it seem right that death itself is narrating a poem? Well firstly the allusion is rather deeply rooted in Irish mythology. Aedh's mother, angry at Lir (his father) turned him, and his siblings into swans who shall roman the English Channell, here it is said that Aedh picked up on all the lanuguages of Ireland, as well as learnt the Arts, so much so that he created the harp.[4] Yeats then uses Aedh to attempt to show to us the personality of the narrator (which Yeats himself identifies himself). The narrator is perceived as cold, and is yet passionate: he is pale, lovelorn, in the thrall of "la belle dams sans merci".

For one who would be Aedh how great would the cloths of Heaven be? Connection it with the allusion, Yeats moves on to use powerful imagery. The poem begins by the narrator wishing for the "cloths of the Heavens" note how it uses the word "Heavens" instead of "Heaven" once more reinforcing the universality. This "cloth" is a symbol which could mean many different things, but since its comparison is with "dreams" later on, it would suggest that this cloth is the aspiration of Heaven itself. I take this to mean that Aedh says had I been so great, not so forlorn, not so pale, that I had the aspirations, the "cloths" of Heaven, which would have the majesty of the Heavens, for the cloth is "enwrought with golden and silver light", and would yet be universal, and without pretense, for they would have not only the majesty, also symbolized by the color blue, but would be "universal" with the "night, and light", and of twilight. This imagery has been used to show the cloths to be the most precious things in existence, majestic, universal, without pretense and with grand beauty.

This was the first of three parts of the poem. It starts of with a wish, it starts off by contrasting the dead, cold appearence that Aedh might have by showing him in the light of ardent desire and passion. It then moves on, and becomes an offer. Here the beauty of the beloved is emphasized, for they are taken to be even more precious than what the narrator originally wished for, so much so that Aedh would have been willing to "spread the cloths under your [the beloved's] feet". Again the passion even in one who is supposedly emotionless is shown. Aedh proudly declares that should he have that which is most precious he would not hesitate to put it under his beloved's feet.

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams"

How can I explain it any better than it explains itself? The emotion, the passion, the bitter-sweet tone. At once Aedh affirms his own poverty in such matters. He affirms that he does not possess what is worthy of the beloved, that he is poor when it comes to all such things, for he was cursed. He does however has his dreams. By this for him, his dreams are as important as the cloths of Heaven. He says he has laid his dreams under his beloved's feet.

The last part of the poem is a request, now that the poet has given all he had of value to his beloved, he begs that they be careful.

"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."



I will use one of the great poems of history, often forgotten but very noteworthy. I chose a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson. Tennyson uses allegory and personification. The Tennyson poem is a bit more direct in terms of its' meaning compared to my opponent's poem.

The Charge of the Light Brigade by Lord Alfred Tennyson[1]

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns! he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Forward, the Light Brigade!
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!


The poem is about a moment during the Battle of Balaclava. The poem is about a British cavalry unit charging the Russian lines while taking severe artillery fire. Ultimately it was a losing battle with significant casualties and the cavalry was routed by the Russian forces[2]. The theme of the poem is bravery and courage in the face of danger.


The metaphors include "the valley of Death," "the mouth of hell," and "the jaws of Death." Tennyson uses powerful imagery when he uses words as "charge," "forward," and "blundered." Tennyson is showing the intentsity in the face of guns of being fired upon the Light Brigade while advancing when he uses words like "charge" and "forward." We especially see the most dangerous imagery when he mentions the light Brigade being surrounded by cannons.

I am truly upset with my opponent that he would limit this to four rounds. I wish there were five. I may have to flip coin in order to figure out my last two posts in this competition.

Debate Round No. 2


Ajabi forfeited this round.


Well since my opponent forfeited a round, I will keep this poem short.

A Japanese death poem by Senryu in 1827[1]

"Empty-handed I entered
the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going --
Two simple happenings
That got entangled."


A Japanese death poem of this style is often done by a samurai who has prepared for his death. Senryu the author of the poem has prepared for his death. He came into the world with nothing and shall leave the same world with nothing.

The theme is death. The poem uses imagery when he mentions "barefoot," "empty-handed," and "coming" and "going." The poem has a hyperbole in the last line, "that got entangled."
Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for being gracious enough to allow me to post both my rounds this turn. I ran out of time in the previous round, and I apologize for forfeiting. Once more Darth is a most fair competitor that he allowed me to post both my rounds. My third round is on the link, and it is within the 8, 000 character limit.

Link for round 3:

For my last round I shall post a most wonderful poem. This poem is not one most will be familiar with, its a poem which was originally writted in Punjabi by a writer named Baba Bulleh Shah. The poem embodies Sufi thought, alongside mysticism, and preaches an open love. It also asks an important existential question, and seeks to determne "what we are". More analysis later to come, allow me to post the poem. Once more I shall explain later, but Baba Bulleh Shah is one of the most esteemed Muslim saints, he is given great respect throughout the Muslim world, and his poetry is praised throughout for its mental indepth.

Bulleh Ki Jana Mein Kon? (Bulleh Who Knows Who Am I?) by Baba Bulleh Shah translated by Mahmood Jamal

Bulleh, Who knows who I am?

Not a believer in the mosque am I,
Nor a disbeliever with his rites am I.
I am not the pure amongst the impure,
Neither Moses nor Pharaoh am I.

Bulleh, Who knows who I am?

Not in the Holy Books am I,
Nor do I dwell in bhang or wine,
Nor do I live in a drunken haze,
Nor in sleep, nor waking knwon.

Bulleh, Who knows who I am?

Not in happiness or in sorrow am I found.
I am neither pure nor mired in filthy ground.
Neither made from earth or water,
Nor am I in air or fire to be found.

Bulleh, Who knows who I am?

Not an Arab, nor Lahori
Not a Hindi or Naghouri,
Nor a Muslim, or a Peshawari,
Not a Buddhist or a Christian.

Bulleh, Who knows who I am?

Secrets of religion I have not unravelled,
Nor have I fathomed Eve, and Adam.
Neither still nor moving on,
I have not chosen my own name!

Bulleh, Who knows who I am?

From first to last, I searched myself,
None other did I succeed in knwoing.
Not some great thinker am I,
Who is standing in my shoes, alone?

Bulleh, Who knows who I am?

Here is an audio:

It really is a beautiful poem. For those confused, Bulleh does not mean anything here, it is the poet addressing himself. Bulleh Shah wrote in the classic kafi style of poetry which was both exciting, and original. He is one of the foremost Punjabi poets, and his works on the Quran, Hadith, and mystic ideology is revered throughout Pakistan. He is also knows for his criticism of classic Muslim dogmatists, where in another poem he urges them to "read your Self" even if you "have read a thousand books".

He marks an important point in metaphysical thought. The entire poem asks who one is? It questions how one ought to define oneself. In the end who is one from the inside? Bulleh Shah acquired many disciples many of whom were Hindus, he preached love for everyone through his poetry and his sermons.

He also uses many metaphors like "fire" to refer to angery, hatred, and distrust, and "water" to show flow, happiness, contentment. The motif that no one is perfect, that each person has their flaws, and that we are all in between somewhere is evident. In the end when we must unite in Spirit then we must not consider which country we are from, or anything such.

Bulleh Shah wasa firm believer that humans are not to be held how they are born, but who they choose to be. He was vehemently opposed to the cast system, and chose to walk around barefoot. Bulleh Shah was also a descendnt of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). In that age there was a custom that any person who is a descendent of the Prophet will not be taught by an ordinary man, no matter how pious.

Bulleh Shah broke this custom and took Hadhrat Inayat Shah Qadri, a great man, but not a descendent of the Prophet as his mentor. He constantly preached that how or what we are born is, is not us, but we choose to be one or the other. He humbly admits that he is more of a mystic that a scholar, and that his focus is in "loving the Divine, and fearing that my eyes should ever turn anywhere else".

Through out the poem the message of universal love is preached, the lesson that we choose to be who we are, and that we must analyze ourselves before anything else. Just as Socrates says: 'the unexamined life is not worth living", Bulleh Shah speaks to us for understanding Ourselves. In that there is the annihilation which Sufis are obsessed with, to reach a point where we forget who we are, or what we are.

"It is you alone,
Not I, my love.
You are; I'm not"

As the above excerpt from another poem exemplifies the meaning of this poem, we must annihilate ourselves after identifying who we appear to be. We must become lost in the Divine, in Love and in nothing else. This poem is a summary of that entire message and more, it is a guide to the path, and an argument, it is beauty, it is simply Divine.

I hope you enjoyed.



The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling[1]

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!


The poem's title relates to how British children in the 1800s wrote proverbs and Christian virtues at the top of headings in notebooks. Kipling's poem related to these virtues. My personal favorite is "If you don't work you die."

The theme is apocalyptic since it is a warning. The entire poem is riddled with metaphors on almost every line.

I would like to thank my opponent for hosting this debate. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by debatability 2 years ago
I'll vote if I get the time, but I'm not that into poetry :(. Looks interesting though.
Posted by debatability 2 years ago
I'll vote if I get the time, but I'm not that into poetry :(. Looks interesting though.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
If you guys are desperate for a vote with 24 hours remaining let me know but poetry isn't my thing.
Posted by Ajabi 2 years ago
Or can I post both my rounds next round. I can post round 3 as a
Posted by Ajabi 2 years ago
damn it can you please skip a round
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: R1: Tie. Pro wins on analysis, Con on choice of poem. R2: Pro. Win both on poem choice and analysis. R3: Pro. Tie on the poem choice, win on the analysis. Hence, arguments go to Pro, conduct goes to Con for the forfeit.
Vote Placed by TN05 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct points go to Con, as Pro forfeited a round. Arguments go to Pro - this is not just a debate to copy and post poetry, but rather to examine it, and it is here that Pro excels while Con, unfortunately, falters. To give an example, I think Con's choice of "Charge of the Light Brigade" is the best poem of the bunch here - it is classic, and looks at a tragic accident (the Light Brigade was not supposed to charge directly at such a heavily-defensed battery, but rather a different retreating one) in both a mournful and patriotic light. However, Con explains so little here that such a great poem is wasted. Pro's examinations are so thoroughly excellent and insightful as to warrant him winning the points, even with 1 less poem. Ultimately, this is a fairly clear win for Pro. Still, I would like to congratulate both sides on an excellent debate, and especially Con for his excellent conduct.