Poetry’s perfect lines

PoetryThe Guardian is my favourite literary pitstop in the newspaper world. As well as excellent reviews, they have some fascinating book blogs. I am taken by today’s discussion: What’s a ‘perfect line’ in poetry?

Donne features strongly, with many readers commenting on the “bracelet of bright hair about the bone”. Other poets mentioned include Sylvia Plath, Yeats, Byron, Dylan Thomas … and Shakespeare of course …

I felt compelled to fling a few of my favourites in – included because they are lines and images that jangle round in my subconscious (as the best poetry does):

I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move
(Ulysses, Tennyson)

I want to do with you what spring does to cherry trees
(Pablo Neruda)

You’re a serious mistake in a nightie,
You’re a grave disappointment all round
(God, a poem – James Fenton)

What are the poetry lines that stick in YOUR head?

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