Graduate Poems

Popular Graduate Poems
Hallelujah: A Sestina
by Robert Francis

A wind's word, the Hebrew Hallelujah.
I wonder they never gave it to a boy
(Hal for short) boy with wind-wild hair.
It means Praise God, as well it should since praise
Is what God's for. Why didn't they call my father
Hallelujah instead of Ebenezer?

Eben, of course, but christened Ebenezer,
Product of Nova Scotia (hallelujah).
Daniel, a country doctor, was his father

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Ground Swell
by Mark Jarman

Is nothing real but when I was fifteen,
Going on sixteen, like a corny song?
I see myself so clearly then, and painfully--
Knees bleeding through my usher's uniform
Behind the candy counter in the theater
After a morning's surfing; paddling frantically
To top the brisk outsiders coming to wreck me,
Trundle me clumsily along the beach floor's
Gravel and sand; my knees aching with salt.
Is that all I have to write about?

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December 25
by David Lehman

Christmas defeated Chanukah
once again last night
by a margin of three billion dollars
or so, but every time I hear
a Yiddish word like bupkes
in a movie (L.A. Confidential)
or when Oleg Cassini in that new play Jackie
calls a garment a shmatta, it's "good
for the Jews," as our parents used to say.
Meanwhile some things have

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Marginalia
by Billy Collins

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -

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To The Genius Of Mr. John Hall. On His Exact Translation Of Hierocles His Comment Upon The Golden Verses Of Pythagoras.
by Richard Lovelace

Tis not from cheap thanks thinly to repay
Th' immortal grove of thy fair-order'd bay
Thou planted'st round my humble fane, that I
Stick on thy hearse this sprig of Elegie:
Nor that your soul so fast was link'd in me,
That now I've both, since't has forsaken thee:
That thus I stand a Swisse before thy gate,
And dare, for such another, time and fate.
Alas! our faiths made different essays,
Our Minds and Merits brake two several ways;

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Recent Graduate Poems
Come, Pretty School-Girl!
by Henry Clay Work

On this rolling planet ever have you seen
A home so like a palace waiting for its queen? --
A dwelling place so fair,
So fill'd with treasures rare,
As the little white cottage on Evergreen Square?

Come, pretty school girl! lay your books aside;
Yes graduate tomorrow -- tomorrow be my bride;
My fortune share,
And reign queen there,

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The Wife Of The Mind
by Charles Harper Webb

Sharecroppers' child, she was more schooled
In slaughtering pigs and coaxing corn out of
The ground than in the laws of Math, the rules
Of Grammar. Seventeen, she fell in love
With the senior quarterback, and nearly
Married him, but—the wedding just a week
Away—drove her trousseau back to Penney's,
Then drove on past sagging fences, flooding creeks,
And country bars to huge Washington State,
Where, feeling like a hick, she studied French to compensate.

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Oh, The Places You'Ll Go
by Theodor Seuss Geisel

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.

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A Dream Come True
by Shirley Ruth Caron

I graduated from high school when I was eighteen years old
I had received my diploma which was like a treasure of gold
I could not attend College because my family was down and out
My life was full of hardships - as for my future - I was always in doubt.

As I grew older, I could never keep a job because of problems with my health
I have grown up not knowing the meaning of the word - "wealth"
I struggle each day with the pains that I feel within
There are times that I wonder if I ever will win.


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Michel De Nostredame 1503-1566
by Ray Allan James

The Farmers Almanac is where it is all at,
from the stars above, and beyond the French
Riviera, to the lands of Provence,
was once a man named Rue Nostradamus.

His mystical knowledge was a gift from God,
as a young man he had studied from his
Grandfather: Kabbahah, astronomy, prophesies,
and graduated from medical school in 1522.


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