Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Anonymous Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Anonymous poems. This is a select list of the best famous Anonymous poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Anonymous poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Anonymous poems.

Search for the best famous Anonymous poems, articles about Anonymous poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Anonymous poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

by Alec Derwent (A D) Hope | |


 When, darkly brooding on this Modern Age, 
The journalist with his marketable woes 
Fills up once more the inevitable page 
Of fatuous, flatulent, Sunday-paper prose; 

Whenever the green aesthete starts to whoop 
With horror at the house not made with hands 
And when from vacuum cleaners and tinned soup 
Another pure theosophist demands 

Rebirth in other, less industrial stars 
Where huge towns thrust up in synthetic stone 
And films and sleek miraculous motor cars 
And celluloid and rubber are unknown; 

When from his vegetable Sunday School 
Emerges with the neatly maudlin phrase 
Still one more Nature poet, to rant or drool 
About the "Standardization of the Race"; 

I see, stooping among her orchard trees, 
The old, sound Earth, gathering her windfalls in, 
Broad in the hams and stiffening at the knees, 
Pause and I see her grave malicious grin.
For there is no manufacturer competes With her in the mass production of shapes and things.
Over and over she gathers and repeats The cast of a face, a million butterfly wings.
She does not tire of the pattern of a rose.
Her oldest tricks still catch us with surprise.
She cannot recall how long ago she chose The streamlined hulls of fish, the snail's long eyes, Love, which still pours into its ancient mould The lashing seed that grows to a man again, From whom by the same processes unfold Unending generations of living men.
She has standardized his ultimate needs and pains.
Lost tribes in a lost language mutter in His dreams: his science is tethered to their brains, His guilt merely repeats Original Sin.
And beauty standing motionless before Her mirror sees behind her, mile on mile, A long queue in an unknown corridor, Anonymous faces plastered with her smile.

by Philip Larkin | |

At Grass

 The eye can hardly pick them out
From the cold shade they shelter in,
Till wind distresses tail and main;
Then one crops grass, and moves about
- The other seeming to look on -
And stands anonymous again

Yet fifteen years ago, perhaps
Two dozen distances surficed
To fable them: faint afternoons
Of Cups and Stakes and Handicaps,
Whereby their names were artificed
To inlay faded, classic Junes -

Silks at the start: against the sky
Numbers and parasols: outside,
Squadrons of empty cars, and heat,
And littered grass : then the long cry
Hanging unhushed till it subside
To stop-press columns on the street.
Do memories plague their ears like flies? They shake their heads.
Dusk brims the shadows.
Summer by summer all stole away, The starting-gates, the crowd and cries - All but the unmolesting meadows.
Almanacked, their names live; they Have slipped their names, and stand at ease, Or gallop for what must be joy, And not a fieldglass sees them home, Or curious stop-watch prophesies: Only the grooms, and the grooms boy, With bridles in the evening come.

by Edgar Lee Masters | |

Editor Whedon

 To be able to see every side of every question;
To be on every side, to be everything, to be nothing long;
To pervert truth, to ride it for a purpose,
To use great feelings and passions of the human family
For base designs, for cunning ends,
To wear a mask like the Greek actors --
Your eight-page paper -- behind which you huddle,
Bawling through the megaphone of big type:
"This is I, the giant.
" Thereby also living the life of a sneak-thief, Poisoned with the anonymous words Of your clandestine soul.
To scratch dirt over scandal for money, And exhume it to the winds for revenge, Or to sell papers, Crushing reputations, or bodies, if need be, To win at any cost, save your own life.
To glory in demoniac power, ditching civilization, As a paranoiac boy puts a log on the track And derails the express train.
To be an editor, as I was.
Then to lie here close by the river over the place Where the sewage flows from the village, And the empty cans and garbage are dumped, And abortions are hidden.

More great poems below...

by Donald Justice | |

The Tourist From Syracuse

 One of those men who can be a car salesman or a tourist from Syracuse or a
hired assassin.
-- John D.
MacDonald You would not recognize me.
Mine is the face which blooms in The dank mirrors of washrooms As you grope for the light switch.
My eyes have the expression Of the cold eyes of statues Watching their pigeons return From the feed you have scattered, And I stand on my corner With the same marble patience.
If I move at all, it is At the same pace precisely As the shade of the awning Under which I stand waiting And with whose blackness it seems I am already blended.
I speak seldom, and always In a murmur as quiet As that of crowds which surround The victims of accidents.
Shall I confess who I am? My name is all names, or none.
I am the used-car salesman, The tourist from Syracuse, The hired assassin, waiting.
I will stand here forever Like one who has missed his bus -- Familiar, anonymous -- On my usual corner, The corner at which you turn To approach that place where now You must not hope to arrive.

by Donald Justice | |

Anonymous Drawing

 A delicate young Negro stands
With the reins of a horse clutched loosely in his hands;
So delicate, indeed, that we wonder if he can hold the spirited creature
beside him
Until the master shall arrive to ride him.
Already the animal's nostrils widen with rage or fear.
But if we imagine him snorting, about to rear, This boy, who should know about such things better than we, Only stands smiling, passive and ornamental, in a fantastic livery Of ruffles and puffed breeches, Watching the artist, apparently, as he sketches.
Meanwhile the petty lord who must have paid For the artist's trip up from Perugia, for the horse, for the boy, for everything here, in fact, has been delayed, Kept too long by his steward, perhaps, discussing Some business concerning the estate, or fussing Over the details of his impeccable toilet With a manservant whose opinion is that any alteration at all would spoil it.
However fast he should come hurrying now Over this vast greensward, mopping his brow Clear of the sweat of the fine Renaissance morning, it would be too late: The artist will have had his revenge for being made to wait, A revenge not only necessary but right and clever -- Simply to leave him out of the scene forever.

by Delmore Schwartz | |

Tired And Unhappy You Think Of Houses

 Tired and unhappy, you think of houses
Soft-carpeted and warm in the December evening,
While snow's white pieces fall past the window,
And the orange firelight leaps.
A young girl sings That song of Gluck where Orpheus pleads with Death; Her elders watch, nodding their happiness To see time fresh again in her self-conscious eyes: The servants bring in the coffee, the children go to bed, Elder and younger yawn and go to bed, The coals fade and glow, rose and ashen, It is time to shake yourself! and break this Banal dream, and turn your head Where the underground is charged, where the weight Of the lean building is seen, Where close in the subway rush, anonymous In the audience, well-dressed or mean, So many surround you, ringing your fate, Caught in an anger exact as a machine!

by Delmore Schwartz | |

The First Night Of Fall And Falling Rain

 The common rain had come again
Slanting and colorless, pale and anonymous,
Fainting falling in the first evening
Of the first perception of the actual fall,
The long and late light had slowly gathered up
A sooty wood of clouded sky, dim and distant more and
Until, at dusk, the very sense of selfhood waned, 
A weakening nothing halted, diminished or denied or set
Neither tea, nor, after an hour, whiskey,
Ice and then a pleasant glow, a burning,
And the first leaping wood fire
Since a cold night in May, too long ago to be more than
Merely a cold and vivid memory.
Staring, empty, and without thought Beyond the rising mists of the emotion of causeless sadness, How suddenly all consciousness leaped in spontaneous gladness, Knowing without thinking how the falling rain (outside, all over) In slow sustained consistent vibration all over outside Tapping window, streaking roof, running down runnel and drain Waking a sense, once more, of all that lived outside of us, Beyond emotion, for beyond the swollen distorted shadows and lights Of the toy town and the vanity fair of waking consciousness!

by Anne Sexton | |

For Johnny Pole On The Forgotten Beach

 In his tenth July some instinct
taught him to arm the waiting wave,
a giant where its mouth hung open.
He rode on the lip that buoyed him there and buckled him under.
The beach was strung with children paddling their ages in, under the glare od noon chipping its light out.
He stood up, anonymous and straight among them, between their sand pails and nursery crafts.
The breakers cartwheeled in and over to puddle their toes and test their perfect skin.
He was my brother, my small Johnny brother, almost ten.
We flopped down upon a towel to grind the sand under us and watched the Atlantic sea move fire, like night sparklers; and lost our weight in the festival season.
He dreamed, he said, to be a man designed like a balanced wave.
how someday he would wait, giant and straight.
Johnny, your dream moves summers inside my mind.
He was tall and twenty that July, but there was no balance to help; only the shells came straight and even.
This was the first beach of assault; the odor of death hung in the air like rotting potatoes, the junkyard of landing craft waited open and rusting.
The bodies were strung out as if they were still reaching for each other, where they lay to blacken, to burst through their perfect skin.
And Johnny Pole was one of them.
He gave in like a small wave, a sudden hole in his belly and the years all gone where the Pacific noon chipped its light out.
Like a bean bag, outflung, head loose and anonymous, he lay.
Did the sea move fire for its battle season? Does he lie there forever, where his rifle waits, giant and straight?.
I think you die again and live again, Johnny, each summer that moves inside my mind.

by Anne Sexton | |

The Exorcists

 And I solemnly swear
on the chill of secrecy
that I know you not, this room never,
the swollen dress I wear,
nor the anonymous spoons that free me,
nor this calendar nor the pulse we pare and cover.
For all these present, before that wandering ghost, that yellow moth of my summer bed, I say: this small event is not.
So I prepare, am dosed in ether and will not cry what stays unsaid.
I was brown with August, the clapping waves at my thighs and a storm riding into the cove.
We swam while the others beached and burst for their boarded huts, their hale cries shouting back to us and the hollow slam of the dory against the float.
Black arms of thunder strapped upon us, squalled out, we breathed in rain and stroked past the boat.
We thrashed for shore as if we were trapped in green and that suddenly inadequate stain of lightning belling around our skin.
Bodies in air we raced for the empty lobsterman-shack.
It was yellow inside, the sound of the underwing of the sun.
I swear, I most solemnly swear, on all the bric-a-brac of summer loves, I know you not.

by Anne Sexton | |


 A young man is afraid of his demon and puts his hand
over the demon's mouth sometimes.
-- D.
Lawrence I mentioned my demon to a friend and the friend swam in oil and came forth to me greasy and cryptic and said, "I'm thinking of taking him out of hock.
I pawned him years ago.
" Who would buy? The pawned demon, Yellowing with forgetfulness and hand at his throat? Take him out of hock, my friend, but beware of the grief that will fly into your mouth like a bird.
My demon, too often undressed, too often a crucifix I bring forth, too often a dead daisy I give water to too often the child I give birth to and then abort, nameless, nameless.
Oh demon within, I am afraid and seldom put my hand up to my mouth and stitch it up covering you, smothering you from the public voyeury eyes of my typewriter keys.
If I should pawn you, what bullion would they give for you, what pennies, swimming in their copper kisses what bird on its way to perishing? No.
I accept you, you come with the dead who people my dreams, who walk all over my desk (as in Mother, cancer blossoming on her Best & Co.
tits-- waltzing with her tissue paper ghost) the dead, who give sweets to the diabetic in me, who give bolts to the seizure of roses that sometimes fly in and out of me.
I accept you, demon.
I will not cover your mouth.
If it be man I love, apple laden and foul or if it be woman I love, sick unto her blood and its sugary gasses and tumbling branches.
Demon come forth, even if it be God I call forth standing like a carrion, wanting to eat me, starting at the lips and tongue.
And me wanting to glide into His spoils, I take bread and wine, and the demon farts and giggles, at my letting God out of my mouth anonymous woman at the anonymous altar.

by Don Paterson | |


 In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's -- boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.
Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.

by Erica Jong | |

The Artist as an Old Man

 If you ask him he will talk for hours--
how at fourteen he hammered signs, fingers
raw with cold, and later painted bowers
in ladies' boudoirs; how he played checkers
for two weeks in jail, and lived on dark bread;
how he fled the border to a country
which disappeared wars ago; unfriended
crossed a continent while this century
He seldom speaks of painting now.
Young men have time and theories; old men work.
He has painted countless portraits.
Sallow nameless faces, made glistening in oil, smirk above anonymous mantelpieces.
The turpentine has a familiar smell, but his hand trembles with odd, new palsies.
Perched on the maulstick, it nears the easel.
He has come to like his resignation.
In his sketch books, ink-dark cossacks hear the snorts of horses in the crunch of snow.
His pen alone recalls that years ago, one horseman set his teeth and aimed his spear which, poised, seemed pointed straight to pierce the sun.

by Matsuo Basho | |

The old pond

 Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:

Furuike ya 
kawazu tobikomu 
mizu no oto

 -- Basho

Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya, 
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into) 
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

 The old pond--
a frog jumps in,
 sound of water.
Translated by Robert Hass Old pond.
a frog jumps in water's sound.
Translated by William J.
Higginson An old silent pond.
A frog jumps into the pond, splash! Silence again.
Translated by Harry Behn There is the old pond! Lo, into it jumps a frog: hark, water's music! Translated by John Bryan The silent old pond a mirror of ancient calm, a frog-leaps-in splash.
Translated by Dion O'Donnol old pond frog leaping splash Translated by Cid Corman Antic pond-- frantic frog jumps in-- gigantic sound.
Translated by Bernard Lionel Einbond MAFIA HIT MAN POET: NOTE FOUND PINNED TO LAPEL OF DROWNED VICTIM'S DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT!!! 'Dere wasa dis frogg Gone jumpa offa da logg Now he inna bogg.
' -- Anonymous Translated by George M.
Young, Jr.
Old pond leap -- splash a frog.
Translated by Lucien Stryck The old pond, A frog jumps in:.
Plop! Translated by Allan Watts The old pond, yes, and A frog is jumping into The water, and splash.
Translated by G.

by John Berryman | |

The Curse

 Cedars and the westward sun.
The darkening sky.
A man alone Watches beside the fallen wall The evening multitudes of sin Crowd in upon us all.
For when the light fails they begin Nocturnal sabotage among The outcast and the loose of tongue, The lax in walk, the murderers: Our twilight universal curse.
Children are faultless in the wood, Untouched.
If they are later made Scandal and index to their time, It is that twilight brings for bread The faculty of crime.
Only the idiot and the dead Stand by, while who were young before Wage insolent and guilty war By night within that ancient house, Immense, black, damned, anonymous.

by John Betjeman | |

Five OClock Shadow

 This is the time of day when we in the Mens's ward
Think "one more surge of the pain and I give up the fight.
" Whe he who strggles for breath can struggle less strongly: This is the time of day which is worse than night.
A haze of thunder hangs on the hospital rose-beds, A doctors' foursome out of the links is played, Safe in her sitting-room Sister is putting her feet up: This is the time of day when we feel betrayed.
Below the windows, loads of loving relations Rev in the car park, changing gear at the bend, Making for home and a nice big tea and the telly: "Well, we've done what we can.
It can't be long till the end.
" This is the time of day when the weight of bedclothes Is harder to bear than a sharp incision of steel.
The endless anonymous croak of a cheap transistor Intesifies the lonely terror I feel.

by Sylvia Plath | |


 It happens.
Will it go on? ---- My mind a rock, No fingers to grip, no tongue, My god the iron lung That loves me, pumps My two Dust bags in and out, Will not Let me relapse While the day outside glides by like ticker tape.
The night brings violets, Tapestries of eyes, Lights, The soft anonymous Talkers: 'You all right?' The starched, inaccessible breast.
Dead egg, I lie Whole On a whole world I cannot touch, At the white, tight Drum of my sleeping couch Photographs visit me- My wife, dead and flat, in 1920 furs, Mouth full of pearls, Two girls As flat as she, who whisper 'We're your daughters.
' The still waters Wrap my lips, Eyes, nose and ears, A clear Cellophane I cannot crack.
On my bare back I smile, a buddha, all Wants, desire Falling from me like rings Hugging their lights.
The claw Of the magnolia, Drunk on its own scents, Asks nothing of life.

by Thomas Hardy | |

A Commonplace Day

 The day is turning ghost, 
And scuttles from the kalendar in fits and furtively, 
 To join the anonymous host 
Of those that throng oblivion; ceding his place, maybe, 
 To one of like degree.
I part the fire-gnawed logs, Rake forth the embers, spoil the busy flames, and lay the ends Upon the shining dogs; Further and further from the nooks the twilight's stride extends, And beamless black impends.
Nothing of tiniest worth Have I wrought, pondered, planned; no one thing asking blame or praise, Since the pale corpse-like birth Of this diurnal unit, bearing blanks in all its rays - Dullest of dull-hued Days! Wanly upon the panes The rain slides as have slid since morn my colourless thoughts; and yet Here, while Day's presence wanes, And over him the sepulchre-lid is slowly lowered and set, He wakens my regret.
Regret--though nothing dear That I wot of, was toward in the wide world at his prime, Or bloomed elsewhere than here, To die with his decease, and leave a memory sweet, sublime, Or mark him out in Time .
--Yet, maybe, in some soul, In some spot undiscerned on sea or land, some impulse rose, Or some intent upstole Of that enkindling ardency from whose maturer glows The world's amendment flows; But which, benumbed at birth By momentary chance or wile, has missed its hope to be Embodied on the earth; And undervoicings of this loss to man's futurity May wake regret in me.

by Emily Dickinson | |

Superfluous were the Sun

 Superfluous were the Sun
When Excellence be dead
He were superfluous every Day
For every Day be said

That syllable whose Faith
Just saves it from Despair
And whose "I'll meet You" hesitates
If Love inquire "Where"?

Upon His dateless Fame
Our Periods may lie
As Stars that drop anonymous
From an abundant sky.

by Emily Dickinson | |

I sometimes drop it for a Quick --

 I sometimes drop it, for a Quick --
The Thought to be alive --
Anonymous Delight to know --
And Madder -- to conceive --

Consoles a Woe so monstrous
That did it tear all Day,
Without an instant's Respite --
'Twould look too far -- to Die --