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Best Famous Robert Graves Poems


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

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by Robert Graves |

Dew-drop and Diamond

 The difference between you and her
(whom I to you did once prefer)
Is clear enough to settle:
She like a diamond shone, but you
Shine like an early drop of dew
Poised on a red rose petal.

The dew-drop carries in its eye
Mountain and forest, sea and sky,
With every change of weather;
Contrariwise, a diamond splits
The prospect into idle bits
That none can piece together.


by Robert Graves |

When Im Killed

 When I’m killed, don’t think of me
Buried there in Cambrin Wood,
Nor as in Zion think of me
With the Intolerable Good.
And there’s one thing that I know well,
I’m damned if I’ll be damned to Hell!

So when I’m killed, don’t wait for me,
Walking the dim corridor;
In Heaven or Hell, don’t wait for me,
Or you must wait for evermore.
You’ll find me buried, living-dead
In these verses that you’ve read.

So when I’m killed, don’t mourn for me,
Shot, poor lad, so bold and young,
Killed and gone — don’t mourn for me.
On your lips my life is hung:
O friends and lovers, you can save
Your playfellow from the grave.


by Robert Graves |

Dead Cow Farm

 An ancient saga tells us how
In the beginning the First Cow 
(For nothing living yet had birth 
But Elemental Cow on earth) 
Began to lick cold stones and mud:
Under her warm tongue flesh and blood 
Blossomed, a miracle to believe: 
And so was Adam born, and Eve. 
Here now is chaos once again, 
Primeval mud, cold stones and rain.
Here flesh decays and blood drips red, 
And the Cow’s dead, the old Cow’s dead.


by Robert Graves |

A Pinch of Salt

 When a dream is born in you
With a sudden clamorous pain,
When you know the dream is true
And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.

Dreams are like a bird that mocks,
Flirting the feathers of his tail.
When you seize at the salt-box,
Over the hedge you'll see him sail.
Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff:
They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.

Poet, never chase the dream.
Laugh yourself, and turn away.
Mask your hunger; let it seem
Small matter if he come or stay;
But when he nestles in your hand at last,
Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.


by Robert Graves |

Not Dead

 Walking through trees to cool my heat and pain, 
I know that David’s with me here again. 
All that is simple, happy, strong, he is. 
Caressingly I stroke 
Rough bark of the friendly oak.
A brook goes bubbling by: the voice is his. 
Turf burns with pleasant smoke; 
I laugh at chaffinch and at primroses. 
All that is simple, happy, strong, he is. 
Over the whole wood in a little while
Breaks his slow smile.


by Robert Graves |

Symptoms of Love

 Love is universal migraine,
A bright stain on the vision
Blotting out reason. 

Symptoms of true love
Are leanness, jealousy,
Laggard dawns; 

Are omens and nightmares -
Listening for a knock,
Waiting for a sign: 

For a touch of her fingers
In a darkened room,
For a searching look. 

Take courage, lover!
Could you endure such pain
At any hand but hers?


by Robert Graves |

On Giving

 Those who dare give nothing
Are left with less than nothing;
Dear heart, you give me everything,
Which leaves you more than everything-
Though those who dare give nothing
Might judge it left you less than nothing.

Giving you everything,
I too, who once had nothing,
Am left with more than everything
As gifts for those with nothing
Who need, if not our everything,
At least a loving something.


by Robert Graves |

In Broken Images

 He is quick, thinking in clear images;
I am slow, thinking in broken images.

He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images;
I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images.

Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance;
Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance.

Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact;
Questioning their relevance, I question their fact.

When the fact fails him, he questions his senses;
when the fact fails me, I approve my senses.

He continues quick and dull in his clear images;
I continue slow and sharp in my broken images.

He in a new confusion of his understanding;
I in a new understanding of my confusion.


by Robert Graves |

The Naked And The Nude

 For me, the naked and the nude 
(By lexicographers construed 
As synonyms that should express 
The same deficiency of dress 
Or shelter) stand as wide apart 
As love from lies, or truth from art. 

Lovers without reproach will gaze 
On bodies naked and ablaze; 
The Hippocratic eye will see 
In nakedness, anatomy; 
And naked shines the Goddess when 
She mounts her lion among men. 

The nude are bold, the nude are sly 
To hold each treasonable eye. 
While draping by a showman's trick 
Their dishabille in rhetoric, 
They grin a mock-religious grin 
Of scorn at those of naked skin. 

The naked, therefore, who compete 
Against the nude may know defeat; 
Yet when they both together tread 
The briary pastures of the dead, 
By Gorgons with long whips pursued, 
How naked go the sometime nude!


by Robert Graves |

Wild Strawberries

 Strawberries that in gardens grow 
 Are plump and juicy fine, 
But sweeter far as wise men know 
 Spring from the woodland vine. 

No need for bowl or silver spoon, 
 Sugar or spice or cream, 
Has the wild berry plucked in June 
 Beside the trickling stream. 

One such to melt at the tongue's root, 
 Confounding taste with scent, 
Beats a full peck of garden fruit: 
 Which points my argument. 

May sudden justice overtake 
 And snap the froward pen, 
That old and palsied poets shake 
 Against the minds of men. 

Blasphemers trusting to hold caught 
 In far-flung webs of ink, 
The utmost ends of human thought 
 Till nothing's left to think. 

But may the gift of heavenly peace 
 And glory for all time 
Keep the boy Tom who tending geese 
 First made the nursery rhyme.