Being a teenager is a complicated business. You learn very deep feelings, love, hate and sometimes you seek harmony.
This compilation of five poems will help you or your child to go through this tornado of feelings. Now read and enjoy.
1. Friendly advice to a lot of young men by Charles Bukowski
Go to Tibet. Ride a camel. Read the Bible. Dye your shoes blue. Grow a Beard. Circle the world in a paper canoe. Subscribe to “The Saturday Evening Post.” Chew on the left side of your mouth only. Marry a woman with one leg and shave with a straight razor. And carve your name in her arm.
Brush your teeth with gasoline. Sleep all day and climb trees at night. Be a monk and drink buckshot and beer. Hold your head under water and play the violin. Do a belly dance before pink candles. Kill your dog. Run for Mayor. Live in a barrel. Break your head with a hatchet. Plant tulips in the rain. But don’t write poetry.
2. Poem About Your Laugh by Susan Glickman
When you laugh it is all the unsynchronized clocks
in the watchmaker’s shop
striking their dissident hours.
It is six blind kittens having the nipples plucked
from their mouths.
It is the ecstatic susurrus of prayer wheels.
When you laugh innumerable
pine trees shed their needles at once on one side
of the forest, indefinably altering the ecosystem.
A thousand miles away
two sharks lose their taste for blood,
mate, start a new species.
When you laugh your mouth
is the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky
and I can curl up there among the bats
intercepting their sonar.
Oh, your mouth is a diver’s bell;
it takes me down untold fathoms.
And when you laugh, old dogs limp
to new patches of sunlight
which they bury for later, knowing something
3. A Boat By Richard Brautigan
was the werewolf
in his evil forest.
We took him
to the carnival
and he started
when he saw
the Ferris wheel.
green and red tears
his furry cheeks.
like a boat
out on the dark
4. Introduction to Poetry By Billy Collins
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
5. A Martian Sends a Postcard Home by Craig Raine
Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings–
they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.
I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.
Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on the ground:
then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.
Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the properites of making colours darker.
Model T is a room with the lock inside —
a key is turned to free the world
for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.
But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.
In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.
If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep
with sounds. And yet, they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.
Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room
with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises
alone. No one is exempt
and everyone’s pain has a different smell.
At night, when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs
and read about themselves —
in colour, with their eyelids shut.
6. Trees by Mark Haddon
They stand in parks and graveyards and gardens.
Some of them are taller than department stores,
yet they do not draw attention to themselves.
You will be fitting a heated towel rail one day
and see, through the louvre window,
a shoal of olive-green fish changing direction
in the air that swims above the little gardens.
Or you will wake at your aunt’s cottage,
your sleep broken by a coal train on the empty hill
as the oaks roar in the wind off the channel.
Your kindness to animals, your skill at the clarinet,
these are accidental things.
We lost this game a long way back.
Look at you. You’re reading poetry.
Outside the spring air is thick
With the seeds of their children.