I can pretty well reveal my age by listing my favorite poets. I love all the old standards like Frost, Sandburg, and Browning. I do have a few favorites from later years. I have always considered the "I Have A Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr. to be more of a poem than a speech and it moves me every time I read it. I'm not much of a fan of modern poets because style usually seems more important than substance to them. Even when modern poets attempt to write substance over style, it seems shallow with little depth and even less understanding.
It is always hard for me to name favorite poems because it depends on the mood I am in at the time but I have many.
When I was a child or a young adult, cable television wasn't an option. All television was locally broadcast and most stations signed off at midnight only to return with a test pattern early the next morning. Many of the stations would sign off each night with a poem by John Gillespie McGee Jr. entitled "High Flight". To fully understand the poem, you need to understand the poet.
John McGee was an American who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at the age of 18. After training, he joined the British Air Force during the Battle Of Britain. This was before the United States entered World War II. He was assigned to a squadron flying Spitfire aircraft which could climb to altitudes in excess of 20,000 feet. He wrote this poem in his mind whole soaring over Britain in his spitfire. He wrote it on the back of a letter home after landing. He was killed in a mid air collision three months later at the age of 19.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941