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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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by Delmore Schwartz | |

The Spring

 (After Rilke)


Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems.
.
.
.
Look, she has learned So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes! Teacher was strict.
We delighted in the white Of the old man's beard, bright like the snow's: Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right For "blue," for "apple," for "ripe.
" She knows, she knows! Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play Hide-and-seek with all the children every day: You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will! The happiest child will hold you.
She knows all the things You taught her: the word for "hope," and for "believe," Are still upon her tongue.
She sings and sings and sings.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Out Of The Watercolored Window When You Look

 When from the watercolored window idly you look
Each is but and clear to see, not steep:
So does the neat print in an actual book
Marching as if to true conclusion, reap
The illimitable blue immensely overhead,
The night of the living and the day of the dead.
I drive in an auto all night long to reach The apple which has sewed the sunlight up: My simple self is nothing but the speech Pleading for the overflow of that great cup, The darkened body, the mind still as a frieze: All else is merely means as complex as disease!


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Phoenix Lyrics

 I

If nature is life, nature is death:
It is winter as it is spring:
Confusion is variety, variety
And confusion in everything
Make experience the true conclusion
Of all desire and opulence,
All satisfaction and poverty.
II When a hundred years had passed nature seemed to man a clock Another century sank away and nature seemed a jungle in a rock And now that nature has become a ticking and hidden bomb how we must mock Newton, Democritus, the Deity The heart's ingenuity and the mind's infinite uncontrollable insatiable curiosity.
III Purple black cloud at sunset: it is late August and the light begins to look cold, and as we look, listen and look, we hear the first drums of autumn.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

By Circumstances Fed

 By circumstances fed
Which divide attention
Among the living and the dead,
Under the blooms of the blossoming sun,
The gaze which is a tower towers
Day and night, hour by hour,
Critical of all and of one,
Dissatisfied with every flower
With all that's been done or undone,
Converting every feature
Into its own and unknown nature;
So, once in the drugstore,
Amid all the poppy, salve and ointment,
I suddenly saw, estranged there,
Beyond all disappointment,
My own face in the mirror.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

O Love Sweet Animal

 O Love, dark animal,
With your strangeness go
Like any freak or clown:
Appease tee child in her
Because she is alone
Many years ago
Terrified by a look
Which was not meant for her.
Brush your heavy fur Against her, long and slow Stare at her like a book, Her interests being such No one can look too much.
Tell her how you know Nothing can be taken Which has not been given: For you time is forgiven: Informed by hell and heaven You are not mistaken


by Delmore Schwartz | |

To Helen

 (After Valery)


O Sea! .
.
.
'Tis I, risen from death once more To hear the waves' harmonious roar And see the galleys, sharp, in dawn's great awe Raised from the dark by the rising and gold oar.
My fickle hands sufficed to summon kings Their salt beards amused my fingers, deft and pure.
I wept.
They sang of triumphs now obscure: And the first abyss flooded the hull as if with falling wings.
I hear the profound horns and trumpets of war Matching the rhythm, swinging of the flying oars: The galleys' chant enchains the foam of sound; And the gods, exalted at the heroic prow, E'en though the spit of spray insults each smiling brow, Beckon to me, with arms indulgent, frozen, sculptured, and dead long long ago.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Sonnet On Famous And Familiar Sonnets And Experiences

 (With much help from Robert Good, William Shakespeare, 
John Milton, and little Catherine Schwartz) 


Shall I compare her to a summer play?
She is too clever, too devious, too subtle, too dark:
Her lies are rare, but then she paves the way
Beyond the summer's sway, within the jejune park
Where all souls' aspiration to true nobility
Obliges Statues in the Frieze of Death
And when this pantomime and Panama of Panorama Fails,
"I'll never speak to you agayne" -- or waste her panting breath.
When I but think of how her years are spent Deadening that one talent which -- for woman is -- Death or paralysis, denied: nature's intent That each girl be a mother -- whether or not she is Or has become a lawful wife or bride -- 0 Alma Magna Mater, deathless the living death of pride.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

What Curious Dresses All Men Wear

 What curious dresses all men wear!
The walker you met in a brown study,
The President smug in rotogravure,
The mannequin, the bathing beauty.
The bubble-dancer, the deep-sea diver, The bureaucrat, the adulterer, Hide private parts which I disclose To those who know what a poem knows.


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
 Corona.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Late Autumn In Venice

 (After Rilke)


The city floats no longer like a bait
To hook the nimble darting summer days.
The glazed and brittle palaces pulsate and radiate And glitter.
Summer's garden sways, A heap of marionettes hanging down and dangled, Leaves tired, torn, turned upside down and strangled: Until from forest depths, from bony leafless trees A will wakens: the admiral, lolling long at ease, Has been commanded, overnight -- suddenly --: In the first dawn, all galleys put to sea! Waking then in autumn chill, amid the harbor medley, The fragrance of pitch, pennants aloft, the butt Of oars, all sails unfurled, the fleet Awaits the great wind, radiant and deadly.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

At This Moment Of Time

 Some who are uncertain compel me.
They fear The Ace of Spades.
They fear Loves offered suddenly, turning from the mantelpiece, Sweet with decision.
And they distrust The fireworks by the lakeside, first the spuft, Then the colored lights, rising.
Tentative, hesitant, doubtful, they consume Greedily Caesar at the prow returning, Locked in the stone of his act and office.
While the brass band brightly bursts over the water They stand in the crowd lining the shore Aware of the water beneath Him.
They know it.
Their eyes Are haunted by water Disturb me, compel me.
It is not true That "no man is happy," but that is not The sense which guides you.
If we are Unfinished (we are, unless hope is a bad dream), You are exact.
You tug my sleeve Before I speak, with a shadow's friendship, And I remember that we who move Are moved by clouds that darken midnight.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Albert Einstein To Archibald Macleish

 I should have been a plumber fixing drains.
And mending pure white bathtubs for the great Diogenes (who scorned all lies, all liars, and all tyrannies), And then, perhaps, he would bestow on me -- majesty! (O modesty aside, forgive my fallen pride, O hidden majesty, The lamp, the lantern, the lucid light he sought for All too often -- sick humanity!)


by Delmore Schwartz | |

The Ballet Of The Fifth Year

 Where the sea gulls sleep or indeed where they fly
Is a place of different traffic.
Although I Consider the fishing bay (where I see them dip and curve And purely glide) a place that weakens the nerve Of will, and closes my eyes, as they should not be (They should burn like the street-light all night quietly, So that whatever is present will be known to me), Nevertheless the gulls and the imagination Of where they sleep, which comes to creation In strict shape and color, from their dallying Their wings slowly, and suddenly rallying Over, up, down the arabesque of descent, Is an old act enacted, my fabulous intent When I skated, afraid of policemen, five years old, In the winter sunset, sorrowful and cold, Hardly attained to thought, but old enough to know Such grace, so self-contained, was the best escape to know.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

The Beautiful American Word Sure

 The beautiful American word, Sure,
As I have come into a room, and touch
The lamp's button, and the light blooms with such
Certainty where the darkness loomed before,

As I care for what I do not know, and care
Knowing for little she might not have been,
And for how little she would be unseen,
The intercourse of lives miraculous and dear.
Where the light is, and each thing clear, separate from all others, standing in its place, I drink the time and touch whatever's near, And hope for day when the whole world has that face: For what assures her present every year? In dark accidents the mind's sufficient grace.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Sonnet: The Ghosts Of James And Peirce In Harvard Yard

 In memory of D.
W.
Prall The ghosts of James and Peirce in Harvard Yard At star-pierced midnight, after the chapel bell (Episcopalian! palian! the ringing soared!) Stare at me now as if they wish me well.
In the waking dream amid the trees which fall, Bar and bough of shadow, by my shadow crossed, They have not slept for long and they know all, Know time's exhaustion and the spirit's cost.
"We studied the radiant sun, the star's pure seed: Darkness is infinite! The blind can see Hatred's necessity and love's grave need Now that the poor are murdered across the sea, And you are ignorant, who hear the bell; Ignorant, you walk between heaven and hell.
"


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Yeats Died Saturday In France

 Yeats died Saturday in France.
Freedom from his animal Has come at last in alien Nice, His heart beat separate from his will: He knows at last the old abyss Which always faced his staring face.
No ability, no dignity Can fail him now who trained so long For the outrage of eternity, Teaching his heart to beat a song In which man's strict humanity, Erect as a soldier, became a tongue.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Poem (Old man in the crystal morning after snow)

 Old man in the crystal morning after snow,
Your throat swathed in a muffler, your bent
Figure building the snow man which is meant
For the grandchild's target,
 do you know
This fat cartoon, his eyes pocked in with coal
Nears you each time your breath smokes the air,
Lewdly grinning out of a private nightmare?
He is the white cold shadow of your soul.
You build his comic head, you place his comic hat; Old age is not so serious, and I By the window sad and watchful as a cat, Build to this poem of old age and of snow, And weep: you are my snow man and I know I near you, you near him, all of us must die.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

What Is To Be Given

 What is to be given,
Is spirit, yet animal,
Colored, like heaven,
Blue, yellow, beautiful.
The blood is checkered by So many stains and wishes, Between it and the sky You could not choose, for riches.
Yet let me now be careful Not to give too much To one so shy and fearful For like a gun is touch.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

The Sin Of Hamlet

 The horns in the harbor booming, vaguely,
Fog, forgotten, yesterday, conclusion,
Nostalgic, noising dim sorrow, calling
To sleep is it? I think so, and childhood,
Not the door opened and the stair descended,
The voice answered, the choice announced, the
Trigger touched in the sharp declaration!

And when it comes, escape is small; the door
Creaks; the worms of fear spread veins; the furtive
Fugitive, looking backward, sees his
Ghost in the mirror, his shameful eyes, his mouth diseased.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Tired And Unhappy You Think Of Houses

 Tired and unhappy, you think of houses
Soft-carpeted and warm in the December evening,
While snow's white pieces fall past the window,
And the orange firelight leaps.
A young girl sings That song of Gluck where Orpheus pleads with Death; Her elders watch, nodding their happiness To see time fresh again in her self-conscious eyes: The servants bring in the coffee, the children go to bed, Elder and younger yawn and go to bed, The coals fade and glow, rose and ashen, It is time to shake yourself! and break this Banal dream, and turn your head Where the underground is charged, where the weight Of the lean building is seen, Where close in the subway rush, anonymous In the audience, well-dressed or mean, So many surround you, ringing your fate, Caught in an anger exact as a machine!


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
 light,
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.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Archaic Bust Of Apollo

 (After Rilke)


We cannot know the indescribable face
Where the eyes like apples ripened.
Even so, His torso has a candelabra's glow, His gaze, contained as in a mirror's grace, Shines within it.
Otherwise his breast Would not be dazzling.
Nor would you recognize The smile that moves along his curving thighs, There where love's strength is caught within its nest.
This stone would not be broken, but intact Beneath the shoulders' flowing cataract, Nor would it glisten like a stallion's hide, Brimming with radiance from every side As a star sparkles.
Now it is dawn once more.
All places scrutinize you.
You must be reborn.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

This Is A Poem I Wrote At Night Before The Dawn

 This is a poem I wrote before I died and was reborn:
- After the years of the apples ripening and the eagles
 soaring,
After the festival here the small flowers gleamed like the
 first stars,
And the horses cantered and romped away like the 
 experience of skill; mastered and serene
Power, grasped and governed by reins, lightly held by
 knowing hands.
The horses had cantered away, far enough away So that I saw the horses' heads farther and farther away And saw that they had reached the black horizon on the dusk of day And were or seemed black thunderheads, massy and ominous waves in the doomed sky: And it was then, for the first time, then that I said as I must always say All through living death of night: It is always darkness before delight! The long night is always the beginning of the vivid blossom of day.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

From The Graveyard By The Sea

 (After Valery)


This hushed surface where the doves parade
Amid the pines vibrates, amid the graves;
Here the noon's justice unites all fires when
The sea aspires forever to begin again and again.
O what a gratification comes after long meditation O satisfaction, after long meditation or ratiocination Upon the calm of the gods Upon the divine serenity, in luxurious contemplation! What pure toil of perfect lightning enwombs, consumes, Each various manifold jewel of imperceptible foam, And how profound a peace appears to be begotten and begun When upon the abyss the sunlight seems to pause, The pure effects of an eternal cause: Time itself sparkles, to dream and to know are one.
.
.
.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Poem (In the morning when it was raining)

 In the morning, when it was raining,
Then the birds were hectic and loudy;
Through all the reign is fall's entertaining;
Their singing was erratic and full of disorder:
They did not remember the summer blue
Or the orange of June.
They did not think at all Of the great red and bursting ball Of the kingly sun's terror and tempest, blazing, Once the slanting rain threw over all The colorless curtains of the ceaseless spontaneous fall.