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Best Famous Willa Cather Poems


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

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by Willa Cather |

ARCADIAN WINTER

 WOE is me to tell it thee, 
Winter winds in Arcady! 
Scattered is thy flock and fled 
From the glades where once it fed, 
And the snow lies drifted white 
In the bower of our delight, 
Where the beech threw gracious shade 
On the cheek of boy and maid: 
And the bitter blasts make roar 
Through the fleshless sycamore. 

White enchantment holds the spring, 
Where thou once wert wont to sing, 
And the cold hath cut to death 
Reeds melodious of thy breath. 
He, the rival of thy lyre, 
Nightingale with note of fire, 
Sings no more; but far away, 
From the windy hill-side gray, 
Calls the broken note forlorn 
Of an aged shepherd's horn. 

Still about the fire they tell 
How it long ago befell 
That a shepherd maid and lad 
Met and trembled and were glad; 
When the swift spring waters ran, 
And the wind to boy or man 
Brought the aching of his sires-- 
Song and love and all desires. 
Ere the starry dogwoods fell 
They were lovers, so they tell. 

Woe is me to tell it thee, 
Winter winds in Arcady! 
Broken pipes and vows forgot, 
Scattered flocks returning not, 
Frozen brook and drifted hill, 
Ashen sun and song-birds still; 
Songs of summer and desire 
Crooned about the winter fire; 
Shepherd lads with silver hair, 
Shepherd maids no longer fair.


by Willa Cather |

THE HAWTHORN TREE

 ACROSS the shimmering meadows-- 
Ah, when he came to me! 
In the spring-time, 
In the night-time, 
In the starlight, 
Beneath the hawthorn tree. 

Up from the misty marsh-land-- 
Ah, when he climbed to me! 
To my white bower, 
To my sweet rest, 
To my warm breast, 
Beneath the hawthorn tree. 

Ask of me what the birds sang, 
High in the hawthorn tree; 
What the breeze tells, 
What the rose smells, 
What the stars shine-- 
Not what he said to me!


by Willa Cather |

LONDON ROSES

 "ROWSES, Rowses! Penny a bunch!" they tell you-- 
Slattern girls in Trafalgar, eager to sell you. 
Roses, roses, red in the Kensington sun, 
Holland Road, High Street, Bayswater, see you and smell you-- 
Roses of London town, red till the summer is done. 


Roses, roses, locust and lilac, perfuming 
West End, East End, wondrously budding and blooming 
Out of the black earth, rubbed in a million hands, 
Foot-trod, sweat-sour over and under, entombing 
Highways of darkness, deep gutted with iron bands. 

"Rowses, rowses! Penny a bunch!" they tell you, 
Ruddy blooms of corruption, see you and smell you, 
Born of stale earth, fallowed with squalor and tears-- 
North shire, south shire, none are like these, I tell you, 
Roses of London perfumed with a thousand years.


by Willa Cather |

PARADOX

 I KNEW them both upon Miranda's isle, 
Which is of youth a sea-bound seigniory: 
Misshapen Caliban, so seeming vile, 
And Ariel, proud prince of minstrelsy, 
Who did forsake the sunset for my tower 
And like a star above my slumber burned. 
The night was held in silver chains by power 
Of melody, in which all longings yearned-- 
Star-grasping youth in one wild strain expressed, 
Tender as dawn, insistent as the tide; 
The heart of night and summer stood confessed. 
I rose aglow and flung the lattice wide-- 
Ah, jest of art, what mockery and pang! 
Alack, it was poor Caliban who sang.


by Willa Cather |

POPPIES ON LUDLOW CASTLE

 THROUGH halls of vanished pleasure, 
And hold of vanished power, 
And crypt of faith forgotten, 
A came to Ludlow tower. 

A-top of arch and stairway, 
Of crypt and donjan cell, 
Of council hall, and chamber, 
Of wall, and ditch, and well, 

High over grated turrets 
Where clinging ivies run, 
A thousand scarlet poppies 
Enticed the rising sun, 

Upon the topmost turret, 
With death and damp below,-- 
Three hundred years of spoilage,-- 
The crimson poppies grow. 

This hall it was that bred him, 
These hills that knew him brave, 
The gentlest English singer 
That fills an English grave. 

How have they heart to blossom 
So cruel and gay and red, 
When beauty so hath perished 
And valour so hath sped? 

When knights so fair are rotten, 
And captains true asleep, 
And singing lips are dust-stopped 
Six English earth-feet deep? 

When ages old remind me 
How much hath gone for naught, 
What wretched ghost remaineth 
Of all that flesh hath wrought; 

Of love and song and warring, 
Of adventure and play, 
Of art and comely building, 
Of faith and form and fray-- 

I'll mind the flowers of pleasure, 
Of short-lived youth and sleep, 
That drunk the sunny weather 
A-top of Ludlow keep.


by Willa Cather |

THE TAVERN

 IN the tavern of my heart 
Many a one has sat before, 
Drunk red wine and sung a stave, 
And, departing, come no more. 
When the night was cold without, 
And the ravens croaked of storm, 
They have sat them at my hearth, 
Telling me my house was warm. 

As the lute and cup went round, 
They have rhymed me well in lay;-- 
When the hunt was on at morn, 
Each, departing, went his way. 
On the walls, in compliment, 
Some would scrawl a verse or two, 
Some have hung a willow branch, 
Or a wreath of corn-flowers blue. 

Ah! my friend, when thou dost go, 
Leave no wreath of flowers for me; 
Not pale daffodils nor rue, 
Violets nor rosemary. 
Spill the wine upon the lamps, 
Tread the fire, and bar the door; 
So despoil the wretched place, 
None will come forevermore.


by Lawrence Ferlinghetti |

Wild Dreams Of A New Beginning

 There's a breathless hush on the freeway tonight
Beyond the ledges of concrete
restaurants fall into dreams
with candlelight couples
Lost Alexandria still burns
in a billion lightbulbs
Lives cross lives
idling at stoplights
Beyond the cloverleaf turnoffs
'Souls eat souls in the general emptiness'
A piano concerto comes out a kitchen window
A yogi speaks at Ojai
'It's all taking pace in one mind'
On the lawn among the trees
lovers are listening
for the master to tell them they are one
with the universe
Eyes smell flowers and become them
There's a deathless hush
on the freeway tonight
as a Pacific tidal wave a mile high
sweeps in
Los Angeles breathes its last gas
and sinks into the sea like the Titanic all lights lit
Nine minutes later Willa Cather's Nebraska
sinks with it
The sea comes over in Utah
Mormon tabernacles washed away like barnacles
Coyotes are confounded & swim nowhere
An orchestra onstage in Omaha
keeps on playing Handel's Water Music
Horns fill with water
ans bass players float away on their instruments
clutching them like lovers horizontal
Chicago's Loop becomes a rollercoaster
Skyscrapers filled like water glasses
Great Lakes mixed with Buddhist brine
Great Books watered down in Evanston
Milwaukee beer topped with sea foam
Beau Fleuve of Buffalo suddenly become salt
Manhatten Island swept clean in sixteen seconds
buried masts of Amsterdam arise
as the great wave sweeps on Eastward
to wash away over-age Camembert Europe
manhatta steaming in sea-vines
the washed land awakes again to wilderness
the only sound a vast thrumming of crickets
a cry of seabirds high over
in empty eternity
as the Hudson retakes its thickets
and Indians reclaim their canoes