Homer’s epic poems tell of rage and war, shipwreck and conquest, friendship and home. The Aeneid, Beowulf, The Song of Roland, and more all tell of brave heroes, fierce battles, and even gruesome monsters. Yet, now, in the minds of too many young men, poetry conjures up images of bongos and greeting cards, with sappy verses, and sentimental gushing. Poetry, they think, falls outside the realm of manly pursuits.
The reasons for such attitudes are many, but regardless of the culprit, it is tragic. Poetry has been written, read, and loved by men for millennia – encouraging, inspiring, and providing powerful pictures of true manhood.
Here, in no particular order, are 11 poems every young man should know.
- If by Rudyard Kipling
- The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Sir Gawain & the Green Knight by Anonymous
- The Song of Roland by Anonymous
- Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry
- The Legende of the Knight of the Red Crosse by Edmund Spenser
- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
- Invictus by W.E. Henley
- How Soon Hath Time by John Milton
- The Country of Marriage by Wendell Berry
What do you think? What poems would you add to the list?