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Best Famous Mark Van Doren Poems


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

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by Mark Van Doren |

Farewell and Thanksgiving

 Whatever I have left unsaid
When I am dead
O'muse forgive me.
You were always there, 
like light, like air.
Those great good things
of which the least bird sings,
So why not I?
Yet thank you even then,
Sweet muse, Amen.


by Mark Van Doren |

He Loves Me

 That God should love me is more wonderful 
Than that I so imperfectly love him. 
My reason is mortality, and dim 
Senses; his--oh, insupportable-- 
Is that he sees me. Even when I pull 
Dark thoughts about my head, each vein and limb 
Delights him, though remembrance in him, grim 
With my worst crimes, should prove me horrible. 

And he has terrors that he can release. 
But when he looks he loves me; which is why 
I wonder; and my wonder must increase 
Till more of it shall slay me. Yet I live, 
I live; and he has never ceased to give 
This glance at me that sweetens the whole sky.


by Mark Van Doren |

After Long Drought

 After long drought, commotion in the sky; 
After dead silence, thunder. Then it comes, 
The rain. It slashes leaves, and doubly drums 
On tin and shingle; beats and bends awry 
The flower heads; puddles dust, and with a sigh 
Like love sinks into grasses, where it hums 
As bees did once, among chrysanthemums 
And asters when the summer thought to die. 

The whole world dreamed of this, and has it now. 
Nor was the waking easy. The dull root 
Is jealous of its death; the sleepy brow 
Smiles in its slumber; and a heart can fear 
The very flood it longed for, roaring near. 
The spirit best remembers being mute.


by Mark Van Doren |

Born Brothers

 Equality is absolute or no. 
Nothing between can stand. We are the sons 
Of the same sire, or madness breaks and runs 
Through the rude world. Ridiculous our woe 
If single pity does not love it. So 
Our separate fathers love us. No man shuns 
His poorest child's embrace. We are the sons 
Of such, or ground and sky are soon to go. 

Nor do born brothers judge, as good or ill, 
Their being. Each consents and is the same, 
Or suddenly sweet winds turn into flame 
And floods are on us--fire, earth, water, air 
All hideously parted, as his will 
Withdraws, no longer fatherly and there.


by Mark Van Doren |

Dunce Songs : 9

 Love me little, love me long,
Then we neither can be wrong:
You in giving, I in taking;
There is nor a heart breaking
But remembers one touch,
Or maybe seven, of too much.

Love me more than halfway, though.
Let me think, then let me know.
And I promise you the same:
A little wild, a little tame;
Lest it ever seem long:
Tick, tock, ding, dong.


by Mark Van Doren |

Morning Worship

 I wake and hearing it raining.
Were I dead, what would I give
Lazily to lie here,
Like this, and live?

Or better yet: birdsong,
Brightening and spreading --
How far would I come then
To be at the world's wedding?

Now that I lie, though,
Listening, living,
(Oh, but not forever,
Oh, end arriving)

How shall I praise them:
All the sweet beings
Eternally that outlive
Me and my dying?

Mountains, I mean; wind, water, air;
Grass, and huge trees; clouds, flowers,
And thunder, and night.

Turtles, I mean, and toads; hawks, herons, owls;
Graveyards, and towns, and trout; roads, gardens,
Red berries, and deer.

Lightning, I mean, and eagles; fences; snow;
Sunrise, and ferns; waterfalls, serpents,
Green islands, and sleep.

Horses, I mean; butterflies, whales;
Mosses, and stars and gravelly
Rivers, and fruit.

Oceans, I mean; black valleys; corn;
Brambles, and cliffs; rock, dirt, dust, ice;
And warnings of flood.

How shall I name them?
And in what order?
Each would be first.
Omission is murder.

Maidens, I mean, and apples; needles; leaves;
Worms, and planers, and clover; whirlwinds; dew;
Bulls; geese --

Stop. Lie still.
You will never be done.
Leave them all there.
Old lover. Live on.


by Mark Van Doren |

Nothing Stays

 Nothing stays
not even change,
That can grow tired 
of it's own name;
The very thought
too much for it.

Somewhere in air
a stillness is, 
So far, so thin-
But let it alone.
Whoever we are
it is not for us


by Mark Van Doren |

Our Lady Peace

 How far is it to peace, the piper sighed,
The solitary, sweating as he paused.
Asphalt the noon; the ravens, terrified,
Fled carrion thunder that percussion caused.

The envelope of earth was powder loud;
The taut wings shivered, driven at the sun.
The piper put his pipe away and bowed.
Not here, he said. I hunt the love-cool one,

The dancer with the clipped hair. Where is she?
We shook our heads, parting for him to pass.
Our lady was of no such trim degree,
And none of us had seen her face, alas.

She was the very ridges that we must scale,
Securing the rough top. And how she smiled
Was how our strength would issue. Not to fail
Was having her, gigantic, undefiled,

For homely goddess, big as the world that burned,
Grandmother and taskmistress, frild and town.
We let the stranger go; but when we turned
Our lady lived, fierce in each other's frown.


by Mark Van Doren |

Spring Thunder

 Listen, The wind is still,
And far away in the night --
See! The uplands fill
With a running light.

Open the doors. It is warm;
And where the sky was clear--
Look! The head of a storm
That marches here!

Come under the trembling hedge--
Fast, although you fumble...
There! Did you hear the edge
of winter crumble


by Mark Van Doren |

The Deepest Dream

 The deepest dream is of mad governors, 
Down, down we feel it, till the very crust 
Of the world cracks, and where there was no dust, 
Atoms of ruin rise. Confusion stirs, 
And fear; and all our thoughts--dark scavengers-- 
Feed on the center's refuse. Hope is thrust 
Like wind away, and love sinks into lust 
For merest safety, meanest of levelers. 

And then we wake. Or do we? Sleep endures 
More than the morning can, when shadows lie 
Sharper than mountains, and the cleft is real 
Between us and our kings. What sun assures 
Our courage, and what evening by and by 
Descends to rest us, and perhaps to heal?