These are my current top five favorite quatrains (first edition) along with my comments. The top three have stuck in my memory for a long time now, and the other two stood out to me recently so they took their spots. I imagine I might add to this list or tweak it at some point.
I'm not as fond of the religious aspects of this quatrain, but the first two lines hit me hard and remind me, I think, of this old Japanese poem about wearing the same hat through the years.
Now the New Year reviving old Desires, The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires, Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.
It's intense and complex. It seems stark and yet...hopeful. Two-faced. Fleeting. Epic.
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon Turns Ashes—or it prospers; and anon, Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face Lighting a little Hour or two—is gone.
This entire section of quatrains is fascinating to me but the question at the end just clung to me.
And strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot Some could articulate, while others not: And suddenly one more impatient cried— "Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?"
The next two quatrains after this are also excellent, but this quatrain starts it off so profoundly so it takes the spot. The last line hits me hard, especially after it's usage in the eulogy I posted about here.
It's just sublime.
With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow, And with my own hand labour'd it to grow: And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd— "I came like Water, and like Wind I go."
This is the quatrain that is on the homepage. It's just so fluid, so...mysteriously perfect and has such rhythm to it. I think of it randomly sometimes. It was tough choosing between this one and the runner-up, but I went with this one because I believe I have thought of it more often.
There was a Door to which I found no Key: There was a Veil past which I could not see: Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE There seemed—and then no more of THEE and ME.