The first and second lines of a poem set the tone for what lies ahead, so they’re always very important. Below are ten opening two-liners.
Which of them (maximum of three) make you want to read on most?
Would any of them put you off reading further?
Reasons for your choices are welcome but not compulsory. If you know who wrote any of them, don’t give it away (I will reveal the authors - all well known writers - at some point).
1. Today, this insect, and the world I breathe,
Now that my symbols have outelbowed space,
2. Covenants, yes; outcries, yes; systemic
disorders like the names of rock-plants, yes;
3. I found the words at the back of a drawer
wrapped in black cloth, like three rings
4. Unsnack your snood, madanna, for the stars
Are shining on all brows of Neversink.
5. there’s nothing like being young
6. What innocence? Whose guilt? What eyes? Whose breast?
Crumpled orphan, nembutal bed,
7. I sat in the cold limbs of a tree.
I wore no clothes and the wind was blowing.
8. Not you, lean quarterlies and swarthy periodicals
with your studious incursions toward the pomposity of ants,
9. It’s told like this:
the five of them, up with the lark
10. We alone can devalue gold
by not caring