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Best Famous Delmore Schwartz Poems

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

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Written by Delmore Schwartz |

America America!

 I am a poet of the Hudson River and the heights above it,
 the lights, the stars, and the bridges
I am also by self-appointment the laureate of the Atlantic
 -of the peoples' hearts, crossing it 
 to new America.
I am burdened with the truck and chimera, hope, acquired in the sweating sick-excited passage in steerage, strange and estranged Hence I must descry and describe the kingdom of emotion.
For I am a poet of the kindergarten (in the city) and the cemetery (in the city) And rapture and ragtime and also the secret city in the heart and mind This is the song of the natural city self in the 20th century.
It is true but only partly true that a city is a "tyranny of numbers" (This is the chant of the urban metropolitan and metaphysical self After the first two World Wars of the 20th century) --- This is the city self, looking from window to lighted window When the squares and checks of faintly yellow light Shine at night, upon a huge dim board and slab-like tombs, Hiding many lives.
It is the city consciousness Which sees and says: more: more and more: always more.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

The Ballad Of The Children Of The Czar


The children of the Czar
Played with a bouncing ball

In the May morning, in the Czar's garden,
Tossing it back and forth.
It fell among the flowerbeds Or fled to the north gate.
A daylight moon hung up In the Western sky, bald white.
Like Papa's face, said Sister, Hurling the white ball forth.
2 While I ate a baked potato Six thousand miles apart, In Brooklyn, in 1916, Aged two, irrational.
When Franklin D.
Roosevelt Was an Arrow Collar ad.
O Nicholas! Alas! Alas! My grandfather coughed in your army, Hid in a wine-stinking barrel, For three days in Bucharest Then left for America To become a king himself.
3 I am my father's father, You are your children's guilt.
In history's pity and terror The child is Aeneas again; Troy is in the nursery, The rocking horse is on fire.
Child labor! The child must carry His fathers on his back.
But seeing that so much is past And that history has no ruth For the individual, Who drinks tea, who catches cold, Let anger be general: I hate an abstract thing.
4 Brother and sister bounced The bounding, unbroken ball, The shattering sun fell down Like swords upon their play, Moving eastward among the stars Toward February and October.
But the Maywind brushed their cheeks Like a mother watching sleep, And if for a moment they fight Over the bouncing ball And sister pinches brother And brother kicks her shins, Well! The heart of man in known: It is a cactus bloom.
5 The ground on which the ball bounces Is another bouncing ball.
The wheeling, whirling world Makes no will glad.
Spinning in its spotlight darkness, It is too big for their hands.
A pitiless, purposeless Thing, Arbitrary, and unspent, Made for no play, for no children, But chasing only itself.
The innocent are overtaken, They are not innocent.
They are their father's fathers, The past is inevitable.
6 Now, in another October Of this tragic star, I see my second year, I eat my baked potato.
It is my buttered world, But, poked by my unlearned hand, It falls from the highchair down And I begin to howl And I see the ball roll under The iron gate which is locked.
Sister is screaming, brother is howling, The ball has evaded their will.
Even a bouncing ball Is uncontrollable, And is under the garden wall.
I am overtaken by terror Thinking of my father's fathers, And of my own will.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

The Poet

 The riches of the poet are equal to his poetry 
His power is his left hand
 It is idle weak and precious
His poverty is his wealth, a wealth which may destroy him
 like Midas Because it is that laziness which is a form of impatience 
And this he may be destroyed by the gold of the light
 which never was
On land or sea.
He may be drunken to death, draining the casks of excess That extreme form of success.
He may suffer Narcissus' destiny Unable to live except with the image which is infatuation Love, blind, adoring, overflowing Unable to respond to anything which does not bring love quickly or immediately.
The poet must be innocent and ignorant But he cannot be innocent since stupidity is not his strong point Therefore Cocteau said, "What would I not give To have the poems of my youth withdrawn from existence? I would give to Satan my immortal soul.
" This metaphor is wrong, for it is his immortal soul which he wished to redeem, Lifting it and sifting it, free and white, from the actuality of youth's banality, vulgarity, pomp and affectation of his early works of poetry.
So too in the same way a Famous American Poet When fame at last had come to him sought out the fifty copies of his first book of poems which had been privately printed by himself at his own expense.
He succeeded in securing 48 of the 50 copies, burned them And learned then how the last copies were extant, As the law of the land required, stashed away in the national capital, at the Library of Congress.
Therefore he went to Washington, therefore he took out the last two copies Placed them in his pocket, planned to depart Only to be halted and apprehended.
Since he was the author, Since they were his books and his property he was reproached But forgiven.
But the two copies were taken away from him Thus setting a national precedent.
For neither amnesty nor forgiveness is bestowed upon poets, poetry and poems, For William James, the lovable genius of Harvard spoke the terrifying truth: "Your friends may forget, God may forgive you, But the brain cells record your acts for the rest of eternity.
" What a terrifying thing to say! This is the endless doom, without remedy, of poetry.
This is also the joy everlasting of poetry.

More great poems below...

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

Occasional Poems

 I Christmas Poem for Nancy

Noel, Noel
We live and we die
Between heaven and hell
Between the earth and the sky
And all shall be well
And all shall be unwell
And once again! all shall once again!
 All shall be well
By the ringing and the swinging
 of the great beautiful holiday bell
Of Noel! Noel!

II Salute Valentine

I'll drink to thee only with my eyes
When two are three and four,
And guzzle reality's rise and cries
And praise the truth beyond surmise
When small shots shout: More! More! More! More!

III Rabbi to Preach

Rabbi Robert Raaba will preach
 on "An Eye for an Eye"
 (an I for an I?)
(Two weeks from this week: "On the Sacred Would")
At Temple Sholem on Lake Shore Drive
- Pavel Slavensky will chant the liturgical responses
And William Leon, having now thirteen years
 will thank his parents that he exists
To celebrate his birthday of manhood, his chocolate 
Bar Mitzvah, his yum-yum kippered herring, his Russian

Written by Delmore Schwartz |


 Is the spider a monster in miniature?
His web is a cruel stair, to be sure,
Designed artfully, cunningly placed,
A delicate trap, carefully spun
To bind the fly (innocent or unaware)
In a net as strong as a chain or a gun.
There are far more spiders than the man in the street supposes And the philosopher-king imagines, let alone knows! There are six hundred kinds of spiders and each one Differs in kind and in unkindness.
In variety of behavior spiders are unrivalled: The fat garden spider sits motionless, amidst or at the heart Of the orb of its web: other kinds run, Scuttling across the floor, falling into bathtubs, Trapped in the path of its own wrath, by overconfidence drowned and undone.
Other kinds - more and more kinds under the stars and the sun - Are carnivores: all are relentless, ruthless Enemies of insects.
Their methods of getting food Are unconventional, numerous, various and sometimes hilarious: Some spiders spin webs as beautiful As Japanese drawings, intricate as clocks, strong as rocks: Others construct traps which consist only Of two sticky and tricky threads.
Yet this ambush is enough To bind and chain a crawling ant for long enough: The famished spider feels the vibration Which transforms patience into sensation and satiation.
The handsome wolf spider moves suddenly freely and relies Upon lightning suddenness, stealth and surprise, Possessing accurate eyes, pouncing upon his victim with the speed of surmise.
Courtship is dangerous: there are just as many elaborate and endless techniques and varieties As characterize the wooing of more analytic, more introspective beings: Sometimes the male Arrives with the gift of a freshly caught fly.
Sometimes he ties down the female, when she is frail, With deft strokes and quick maneuvres and threads of silk: But courtship and wooing, whatever their form, are informed By extreme caution, prudence, and calculation, For the female spider, lazier and fiercer than the male suitor, May make a meal of him if she does not feel in the same mood, or if her appetite Consumes her far more than the revelation of love's consummation.
Here among spiders, as in the higher forms of nature, The male runs a terrifying risk when he goes seeking for the bounty of beautiful Alma Magna Mater: Yet clearly and truly he must seek and find his mate and match like every other living creature!

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

Love And Marilyn Monroe

 (after Spillane)

Let us be aware of the true dark gods
Acknowledgeing the cache of the crotch
The primitive pure and pwerful pink and grey
 private sensitivites
Wincing, marvelous in their sweetness, whence rises
 the future.
Therefore let us praise Miss Marilyn Monroe.
She has a noble attitude marked by pride and candor She takes a noble pride in the female nature and torso She articualtes her pride with directness and exuberance She is honest in her delight in womanhood and manhood.
She is not a great lady, she is more than a lady, She continues the tradition of Dolly Madison and Clara Bow When she says, "any woman who claims she does not like to be grabbed is a liar!" Whether true or false, this colossal remark states a dazzling intention.
It might be the birth of a new Venus among us It atones at the very least for such as Carrie Nation For Miss Monroe will never be a blue nose, and perhaps we may hope That there will be fewer blue noses because she has flourished -- Long may she flourish in self-delight and the joy of womanhood.
A nation haunted by Puritanism owes her homage and gratitude.
Let us praise, to say it again, her spiritual pride And admire one who delights in what she has and is (Who says also: "A woman is like a motor car: She needs a good body.
" And: "I sun bathe in the nude, because I want to be blonde all over.
") This is spiritual piety and physical ebullience This is vivd glory, spiritual and physical, Of Miss Marilyn Monroe.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

Poem (Remember midsummer: the fragrance of box)

 Remember midsummer: the fragrance of box, of white
And of phlox.
And upon a honeysuckle branch Three snails hanging with infinite delicacy -- Clinging like tendril, flake and thread, as self-tormented And self-delighted as any ballerina, just as in the orchard, Near the apple trees, in the over-grown grasses Drunken wasps clung to over-ripe pears Which had fallen: swollen and disfigured.
For now it is wholly autumn: in the late Afternoon as I walked toward the ridge where the hills begin, There is a whir, a thrashing in the bush, and a startled pheasant, flying out and up, Suddenly astonished me, breaking the waking dream.
Last night Snatches of sleep, streaked by dreams and half dreams - So that, aloft in the dim sky, for almost an hour, A sausage balloon - chalk-white and lifeless looking-- floated motionless Until, at midnight, I went to New Bedlam and saw what I feared the most - I heard nothing, but it had all happened several times elsewhere.
Now, in the cold glittering morning, shining at the window, The pears hang, yellowed and over-ripe, sodden brown in erratic places, all bunched and dangling, Like a small choir of bagpipes, silent and waiting.
And I rise now, Go to the window and gaze at the fallen or falling country -- And see! -- the fields are pencilled light brown or are the dark brownness of the last autumn -- So much has shrunken to straight brown lines, thin as the bare thin trees, Save where the cornstalks, white bones of the lost forever dead, Shrivelled and fallen, but shrill-voiced when the wind whistles, Are scattered like the long abandoned hopes and ambitions Of an adolescence which, for a very long time, has been merely A recurrent target and taunt of the inescapable mockery of memory.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

A Dream Of Whitman Paraphrased Recognized And Made More Vivid By Renoir

 Twenty-eight naked young women bathed by the shore
Or near the bank of a woodland lake
Twenty-eight girls and all of them comely
Worthy of Mack Sennett's camera and Florenz Ziegfield's
Foolish Follies.
They splashed and swam with the wondrous unconsciousness Of their youth and beauty In the full spontaneity and summer of the fieshes of awareness Heightened, intensified and softened By the soft and the silk of the waters Blooded made ready by the energy set afire by the nakedness of the body, Electrified: deified: undenied.
A young man of thirty years beholds them from a distance.
He lives in the dungeon of ten million dollars.
He is rich, handsome and empty standing behind the linen curtains Beholding them.
Which girl does he think most desirable, most beautiful? They are all equally beautiful and desirable from the gold distance.
For if poverty darkens discrimination and makes perception too vivid, The gold of wealth is also a form of blindness.
For has not a Frenchman said, Although this is America.
What he has said is not entirely relevant, That a naked woman is a proof of the existence of God.
Where is he going? Is he going to be among them to splash and to laugh with them? They did not see him although he saw them and was there among them.
He saw them as he would not have seen them had they been conscious Of him or conscious of men in complete depravation: This is his enchantment and impoverishment As he possesses them in gaze only.
He felt the wood secrecy, he knew the June softness The warmth surrounding him crackled Held in by the mansard roof mansion He glimpsed the shadowy light on last year's brittle leaves fallen, Looked over and overlooked, glimpsed by the fall of death, Winter's mourning and the May's renewal.

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.
A bird Flew parallel with a singular will.
In daydream's moods and attitudes 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.
Looked out at the night, unable to distinguish Lights in the towns of passage from the yellow lights Numb on the ceiling.
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 looked 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 readers.
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.
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.
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.
The child, returning, looked over the shoulder Of a man reading until he annoyed the shoulder.
A fat woman yawned and felt the liquid drops Drip down the fleece of many dinners.
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.
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 knife 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 abyss.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

The Greatest Thing In North America

 This is the greatest thing in North America:
Europe is the greatest thing in North America!
High in the sky, dark in the heart, and always there
Among the natural powers of sunlight and of air,
Changing, second by second, shifting and changing the
Bring fresh rain to the stone of the library steps.
Under the famous names upon the pediment: Thales, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Scotus, Galileo, Joseph, Odysseus, Hamlet, Columbus and Spinoza, Anna Karenina, Alyosha Karamazov, Sherlock Holmes.
And the last three also live upon the silver screen Three blocks away, in moonlight's artificial day, A double bill in the darkened palace whirled, And the veritable glittering light of the turning world's Burning mind and blazing imagination, showing, day by day And week after week the desires of the heart and mind Of all the living souls yearning everywhere From Canada to Panama, from Brooklyn to Paraguay, From Cuba to Vancouver, every afternoon and every night.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

Poem (You my photographer you most aware)

 You, my photographer, you, most aware,
Who climbed to the bridge when the iceberg struck,
Climbed with your camera when the ship's hull broke,
And lighted your flashes and, standing passionate there,
Wound the camera in the sudden burst's flare,
Shot the screaming women, and turned and took
Pictures of the iceberg (as the ship's deck shook)
Dreaming like the moon in the night's black air!

You, tiptoe on the rail to film a child!
The nude old woman swimming in the sea
Looked up from the dark water to watch you there;
Below, near the ballroom where the band still toiled,
The frightened, in their lifebelts, watched you bitterly -
You hypocrite! My brother! We are a pair!

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me

 "the withness of the body" --Whitehead

The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy and lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city.
Breathing at my side, that heavy animal, That heavy bear who sleeps with me, Howls in his sleep for a world of sugar, A sweetness intimate as the water's clasp, Howls in his sleep because the tight-rope Trembles and shows the darkness beneath.
--The strutting show-off is terrified, Dressed in his dress-suit, bulging his pants, Trembles to think that his quivering meat Must finally wince to nothing at all.
That inescapable animal walks with me, Has followed me since the black womb held, Moves where I move, distorting my gesture, A caricature, a swollen shadow, A stupid clown of the spirit's motive, Perplexes and affronts with his own darkness, The secret life of belly and bone, Opaque, too near, my private, yet unknown, Stretches to embrace the very dear With whom I would walk without him near, Touches her grossly, although a word Would bare my heart and make me clear, Stumbles, flounders, and strives to be fed Dragging me with him in his mouthing care, Amid the hundred million of his kind, the scrimmage of appetite everywhere.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

Calmly We Walk Through This Aprils Day

 Calmly we walk through this April's day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn.
) Besides the photo and the memory? (.
that time is the fire in which we burn.
) (This is the school in which we learn.
) What is the self amid this blaze? What am I now that I was then Which I shall suffer and act again, The theodicy I wrote in my high school days Restored all life from infancy, The children shouting are bright as they run (This is the school in which they learn .
) Ravished entirely in their passing play! (.
that time is the fire in which they burn.
) Avid its rush, that reeling blaze! Where is my father and Eleanor? Not where are they now, dead seven years, But what they were then? No more? No more? From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day, Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume Not where they are now (where are they now?) But what they were then, both beautiful; Each minute bursts in the burning room, The great globe reels in the solar fire, Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!) What am I now that I was then? May memory restore again and again The smallest color of the smallest day: Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn.

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.
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!

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

In The Naked Bed In Platos Cave

 In the naked bed, in Plato's cave, 
Reflected headlights slowly slid the wall,
Carpenters hammered under the shaded window,
Wind troubled the window curtains all night long,
A fleet of trucks strained uphill, grinding,
Their freights covered, as usual.
The ceiling lightened again, the slanting diagram Slid slowly forth.
Hearing the milkman's clop, his striving up the stair, the bottle's chink, I rose from bed, lit a cigarette, And walked to the window.
The stony street Displayed the stillness in which buildings stand, The street-lamp's vigil and the horse's patience.
The winter sky's pure capital Turned me back to bed with exhausted eyes.
Strangeness grew in the motionless air.
The loose Film grayed.
Shaking wagons, hooves' waterfalls, Sounded far off, increasing, louder and nearer.
A car coughed, starting.
Morning softly Melting the air, lifted the half-covered chair From underseas, kindled the looking-glass, Distinguished the dresser and the white wall.
The bird called tentatively, whistled, called, Bubbled and whistled, so! Perplexed, still wet With sleep, affectionate, hungry and cold.
So, so, O son of man, the ignorant night, the travail Of early morning, the mystery of the beginning Again and again, while history is unforgiven.