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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.

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Written 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.<br>

Translated by Robert Hass

Old pond.<br>.<br>.<br>
a frog jumps in
water's sound.<br>

Translated by William J.<br> Higginson

An old silent pond.<br>.<br>.<br>
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.<br>

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.<br>

Translated by Dion O'Donnol

old pond
frog leaping

Translated by Cid Corman

Antic pond--
frantic frog jumps in--
gigantic sound.<br>

Translated by Bernard Lionel Einbond 


'Dere wasa dis frogg
Gone jumpa offa da logg
Now he inna bogg.<br>'

 -- Anonymous

Translated by George M.<br> Young, Jr.<br>

Old pond 
leap -- splash 
a frog.<br> 

Translated by Lucien Stryck

The old pond,
A frog jumps in:.<br>

Translated by Allan Watts

The old pond, yes, and
A frog is jumping into
The water, and splash.<br>

Translated by G.<br>S.<br> Fraser

Written by Anne Sexton |

Suicide Note

 "You speak to me of narcissism but I reply that it is 
a matter of my life" - Artaud

"At this time let me somehow bequeath all the leftovers 
to my daughters and their daughters" - Anonymous

despite the worms talking to 
the mare's hoof in the field; 
despite the season of young girls 
dropping their blood; 
better somehow 
to drop myself quickly 
into an old room.<br> 
Better (someone said) 
not to be born 
and far better 
not to be born twice 
at thirteen 
where the boardinghouse, 
each year a bedroom, 
caught fire.<br> 

Dear friend, 
I will have to sink with hundreds of others 
on a dumbwaiter into hell.<br> 
I will be a light thing.<br> 
I will enter death 
like someone's lost optical lens.<br> 
Life is half enlarged.<br> 
The fish and owls are fierce today.<br> 
Life tilts backward and forward.<br> 
Even the wasps cannot find my eyes.<br> 

eyes that were immediate once.<br> 
Eyes that have been truly awake, 
eyes that told the whole story 
poor dumb animals.<br> 
Eyes that were pierced, 
little nail heads, 
light blue gunshots.<br> 

And once with 
a mouth like a cup, 
clay colored or blood colored, 
open like the breakwater 
for the lost ocean 
and open like the noose 
for the first head.<br> 

Once upon a time 
my hunger was for Jesus.<br> 
O my hunger! My hunger! 
Before he grew old 
he rode calmly into Jerusalem 
in search of death.<br> 

This time 
I certainly 
do not ask for understanding 
and yet I hope everyone else 
will turn their heads when an unrehearsed fish jumps 
on the surface of Echo Lake; 
when moonlight, 
its bass note turned up loud, 
hurts some building in Boston, 
when the truly beautiful lie together.<br> 
I think of this, surely, 
and would think of it far longer 
if I were not if I were not 
at that old fire.<br> 

I could admit 
that I am only a coward 
crying me me me 
and not mention the little gnats, the moths, 
forced by circumstance 
to suck on the electric bulb.<br> 
But surely you know that everyone has a death, 
his own death, 
waiting for him.<br> 
So I will go now 
without old age or disease, 
wildly but accurately, 
knowing my best route, 
carried by that toy donkey I rode all these years, 
never asking, Where are we going? 
We were riding (if I'd only known) 
to this.<br> 

Dear friend, 
please do not think 
that I visualize guitars playing 
or my father arching his bone.<br> 
I do not even expect my mother's mouth.<br> 
I know that I have died before 
once in November, once in June.<br> 
How strange to choose June again, 
so concrete with its green breasts and bellies.<br> 
Of course guitars will not play! 
The snakes will certainly not notice.<br> 
New York City will not mind.<br> 
At night the bats will beat on the trees, 
knowing it all, 
seeing what they sensed all day.<br>

Written 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.<br>

For all these present,
before that wandering ghost,
that yellow moth of my summer bed,
I say: this small event
is not.<br> So I prepare, am dosed
in ether and will not cry what stays unsaid.<br>

I was brown with August,
the clapping waves at my thighs
and a storm riding into the cove.<br> 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.<br>
Black arms of thunder strapped
upon us, squalled out, we breathed in rain
and stroked past the boat.<br>
We thrashed for shore as if we were trapped
in green and that suddenly inadequate stain

of lightning belling around
our skin.<br> Bodies in air
we raced for the empty lobsterman-shack.<br>
It was yellow inside, the sound
of the underwing of the sun.<br> I swear,
I most solemnly swear, on all the bric-a-brac

of summer loves, I know
you not.<br>

More great poems below...

Written by Anne Sexton |


 A young man is afraid of his demon and puts his hand
over the demon's mouth sometimes.<br>.<br>.<br>-- D.<br> H.<br> 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.<br>
I pawned him years ago.<br>"

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.<br>

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.<br>.<br>.<br>

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.<br>
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?

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.<br> 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.<br>
I accept you, demon.<br>
I will not cover your mouth.<br>
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.<br>

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.<br>
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.<br>

Written by Billy Collins |


 Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.<br>
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.<br>

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense.<br>" "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.<br>
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.<br>

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.<br>
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.<br>
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.<br>

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.<br>
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.<br>
"Yes.<br>" "Bull's-eye.<br>" "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.<br>

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs.<br> Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.<br>

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.<br>

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.<br>

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.<br>

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.<br>
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.<br>"

Written 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.<br> 

For there is no manufacturer competes 
With her in the mass production of shapes and things.<br> 
Over and over she gathers and repeats 
The cast of a face, a million butterfly wings.<br> 

She does not tire of the pattern of a rose.<br> 
Her oldest tricks still catch us with surprise.<br> 
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.<br> 

She has standardized his ultimate needs and pains.<br> 
Lost tribes in a lost language mutter in 
His dreams: his science is tethered to their brains, 
His guilt merely repeats Original Sin.<br> 

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.<br>

Written 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.<br>
Already the animal's nostrils widen with rage or fear.<br>
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.<br>
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.<br>
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.<br>

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

All Night All Night

 "I have been one acquainted with the night" - Robert Frost

Rode in the train all night, in the sick light.<br> A bird
Flew parallel with a singular will.<br> In daydream's moods and
The other passengers slumped, dozed, slept, read,
Waiting, and waiting for place to be displaced
On the exact track of safety or the rack of accident.<br>

Looked out at the night, unable to distinguish
Lights in the towns of passage from the yellow lights
Numb on the ceiling.<br> And the bird flew parallel and still
As the train shot forth the straight line of its whistle,
Forward on the taut tracks, piercing empty, familiar --

The bored center of this vision and condition looked and
Down through the slick pages of the magazine (seeking
The seen and the unseen) and his gaze fell down the well
Of the great darkness under the slick glitter,
And he was only one among eight million riders and

And all the while under his empty smile the shaking drum
Of the long determined passage passed through him
By his body mimicked and echoed.<br> And then the train
Like a suddenly storming rain, began to rush and thresh--
The silent or passive night, pressing and impressing
The patients' foreheads with a tightening-like image
Of the rushing engine proceeded by a shaft of light
Piercing the dark, changing and transforming the silence
Into a violence of foam, sound, smoke and succession.<br>

A bored child went to get a cup of water,
And crushed the cup because the water too was
Boring and merely boredom's struggle.<br>
The child, returning, looked over the shoulder
Of a man reading until he annoyed the shoulder.<br>
A fat woman yawned and felt the liquid drops
Drip down the fleece of many dinners.<br>

And the bird flew parallel and parallel flew
The black pencil lines of telephone posts, crucified,
At regular intervals, post after post
Of thrice crossed, blue-belled, anonymous trees.<br>

And then the bird cried as if to all of us:

 0 your life, your lonely life
 What have you ever done with it,
 And done with the great gift of consciousness?
 What will you ever do with your life before death's
 Provides the answer ultimate and appropriate?

As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls,
Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feel the vast
Draft of the abyss sucking him down and down, 
An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown:

This is the way that night passes by, this 
Is the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable

Written 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.<br>
Staring, empty, and without thought
Beyond the rising mists of the emotion of causeless
How suddenly all consciousness leaped in spontaneous
Knowing without thinking how the falling rain (outside, all
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!

Written 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.<br>"
Whe he who strggles for breath can struggle less strongly:
This is the time of day which is worse than night.<br>

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.<br>

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.<br> It can't be long till the end.<br>"

This is the time of day when the weight of bedclothes
Is harder to bear than a sharp incision of steel.<br>
The endless anonymous croak of a cheap transistor
Intesifies the lonely terror I feel.<br>

Written by Philip Levine |

Ode For Mrs. William Settle

 In Lake Forest, a suburb of Chicago,
a woman sits at her desk to write
me a letter.<br> She holds a photograph
of me up to the light, one taken
17 years ago in a high school class
in Providence.<br> She sighs, and the sigh
smells of mouthwash and tobacco.<br>
If she were writing by candlelight
she would now be in the dark, for
a living flame would refuse to be fed
by such pure exhaustion.<br> Actually
she is in the dark, for the man
she's about to address in her odd prose
had a life span of one 125th of a second
in the eye of a Nikon, and then he
politely asked the photographer to
get lost, whispering the request so as
not to offend the teacher presiding.<br>
Those students are now in their thirties,
the Episcopal girls in their plaid skirts
and bright crested blazers have gone
unprepared, though French-speaking, into
a world of liars, pimps, and brokers.<br>
2.<br>7% have died by their own hands,
and all the others have considered
the act at least once.<br> Not one now
remembers my name, not one recalls
the reading I gave of César Vallejo's
great "memoriam" to his brother Miguel,
not even the girl who sobbed and
had to be escorted to the school nurse,
calmed, and sent home in a cab.<br> Evenings
in Lake Forest in mid-December drop
suddenly; one moment the distant sky
is a great purple canvas, and then it's
gone, and no stars emerge; however,
not the least hint of the stockyards
or slaughterhouses is allowed to drift
out to the suburbs, so it's a deathless
darkness with no more perfume than
cellophane.<br> "Our souls are mingling
now somewhere in the open spaces
between Illinois and you," she writes.<br>
When I read the letter, two weeks
from now, forwarded by my publisher,
I will suddenly discover a truth
of our lives on earth, and I'll bless
Mrs.<br> William Settle of Lake Forest
for giving me more than I gave
her, for addressing me as Mr.<br> Levine,
the name my father bore, a name
a man could take with courage
and pride into the empire of death.<br>
I'll read even unto the second page,
unstartled by the phrase "By now
you must have guessed, I am
a dancer.<br>" Soon snow will fall
on the Tudor houses of the suburbs,
turning the elegant parked sedans
into anonymous mounds; the winds
will sweep in over the Rockies
and across the great freezing plains
where America first died, winds
so fierce boys and men turn their backs
to them and simply weep, and yet
in all that air the soul of Mrs.<br> William
Settle will not release me, not even
for one second.<br> Male and female,
aged and middle-aged, we ride it out
blown eastward toward our origins,
one impure being become wind.<br> Above
the Middle West, truth and beauty
are one though never meant to be.<br>

Written 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.<br>
-- John D.<br> MacDonald

You would not recognize me.<br>
Mine is the face which blooms in
The dank mirrors of washrooms
As you grope for the light switch.<br>

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.<br>
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.<br>

I speak seldom, and always
In a murmur as quiet
As that of crowds which surround
The victims of accidents.<br>

Shall I confess who I am?
My name is all names, or none.<br>
I am the used-car salesman,
The tourist from Syracuse,

The hired assassin, waiting.<br>
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.<br>

Written 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.<br>

Do memories plague their ears like flies?
They shake their heads.<br> Dusk brims the shadows.<br>
Summer by summer all stole away,
The starting-gates, the crowd and cries -
All but the unmolesting meadows.<br>
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.<br>

Written 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.<br>"
Thereby also living the life of a sneak-thief,
Poisoned with the anonymous words
Of your clandestine soul.<br>
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.<br>
To glory in demoniac power, ditching civilization,
As a paranoiac boy puts a log on the track
And derails the express train.<br>
To be an editor, as I was.<br>
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.<br>

Written 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.<br>

Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.<br>