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Best Famous Elinor Wylie Poems

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

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Written by Elinor Wylie |

Wild Peaches


When the world turns completely upside down 
You say we'll emigrate to the Eastern Shore 
Aboard a river-boat from Baltimore; 
We'll live among wild peach trees, miles from town, 
You'll wear a coonskin cap, and I a gown 
Homespun, dyed butternut's dark gold colour.
Lost, like your lotus-eating ancestor, We'll swim in milk and honey till we drown.
The winter will be short, the summer long, The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot, Tasting of cider and of scuppernong; All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all.
The squirrels in their silver fur will fall Like falling leaves, like fruit, before your shot.
2 The autumn frosts will lie upon the grass Like bloom on grapes of purple-brown and gold.
The misted early mornings will be cold; The little puddles will be roofed with glass.
The sun, which burns from copper into brass, Melts these at noon, and makes the boys unfold Their knitted mufflers; full as they can hold Fat pockets dribble chestnuts as they pass.
Peaches grow wild, and pigs can live in clover; A barrel of salted herrings lasts a year; The spring begins before the winter's over.
By February you may find the skins Of garter snakes and water moccasins Dwindled and harsh, dead-white and cloudy-clear.
3 When April pours the colours of a shell Upon the hills, when every little creek Is shot with silver from the Chesapeake In shoals new-minted by the ocean swell, When strawberries go begging, and the sleek Blue plums lie open to the blackbird's beak, We shall live well -- we shall live very well.
The months between the cherries and the peaches Are brimming cornucopias which spill Fruits red and purple, sombre-bloomed and black; Then, down rich fields and frosty river beaches We'll trample bright persimmons, while you kill Bronze partridge, speckled quail, and canvasback.
4 Down to the Puritan marrow of my bones There's something in this richness that I hate.
I love the look, austere, immaculate, Of landscapes drawn in pearly monotones.
There's something in my very blood that owns Bare hills, cold silver on a sky of slate, A thread of water, churned to milky spate Streaming through slanted pastures fenced with stones.
I love those skies, thin blue or snowy gray, Those fields sparse-planted, rendering meagre sheaves; That spring, briefer than apple-blossom's breath, Summer, so much too beautiful to stay, Swift autumn, like a bonfire of leaves, And sleepy winter, like the sleep of death.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Sea Lullaby

 The old moon is tarnished 
With smoke of the flood, 
The dead leaves are varnished 
With colour like blood.
A treacherous smiler With teeth white as milk, A savage beguiler In sheathings of silk The sea creeps to pillage, She leaps on her prey; A child of the village Was murdered today.
She came up to meet him In a smooth golden cloak, She choked him and beat him to death, for a joke.
Her bright locks were tangled, She shouted for joy With one hand she strangled A strong little boy.
Now in silence she lingers Beside him all night To wash her long fingers In silvery light.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

The Puritans Ballad

 My love came up from Barnegat, 
The sea was in his eyes; 
He trod as softly as a cat 
And told me terrible lies.
His hair was yellow as new-cut pine In shavings curled and feathered; I thought how silver it would shine By cruel winters weathered.
But he was in his twentieth year, Ths time I'm speaking of; We were head over heels in love with fear And half a-feared of love.
My hair was piled in a copper crown -- A devilish living thing -- And the tortise-shell pins fell down, fell down, When that snake uncoiled to spring.
His feet were used to treading a gale And balancing thereon; His face was as brown as a foreign sail Threadbare against the sun.
His arms were thick as hickory logs Whittled to little wrists; Strong as the teeth of a terrier dog Were the fingers of his fists.
Within his arms I feared to sink Where lions shook their manes, And dragons drawn in azure ink Lept quickened by his veins.
Dreadful his strength and length of limb As the sea to foundering ships; I dipped my hands in love for him No deeper than the tips.
But our palms were welded by a flame The moment we came to part, And on his knuckles I read my name Enscrolled with a heart.
And something made our wills to bend, As wild as trees blown over; We were no longer friend and friend, But only lover and lover.
"In seven weeks or seventy years -- God grant it may be sooner! -- I'll make a hankerchief for you From the sails of my captain's schooner.
We'll wear our loves like wedding rings Long polished to our touch; We shall be busy with other things And they cannot bother us much.
When you are skimming the wrinkled cream And your ring clinks on the pan, You'll say to yourself in a pensive dream, 'How wonderful a man!' When I am slitting a fish's head And my ring clanks on the knife, I'll say with thanks as a prayer is said, 'How beautiful a wife!' And I shall fold my decorous paws In velvet smooth and deep, Like a kitten that covers up its claws To sleep and sleep and sleep.
Like a little blue pigeon you shall bow Your bright alarming crest; In the crook of my arm you'll lay your brow To rest and rest and rest.
Will he never come back from Barnegat With thunder in his eyes, Treading as soft as a tiger cat, To tell me terrible lies?

More great poems below...

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Pretty Words

 Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathred birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.
I love bright words, words up and singing early; Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing; Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees; I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly, Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees, Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Blood Feud

 Once, when my husband was a child, there came
To his father's table, one who called him kin,
In sunbleached corduroys paler than his skin.
His look was grave and kind; he bore the name Of the dead singer of Senlac, and his smile.
Shyly and courteously he smiled and spoke; "I've been in the laurel since the winter broke; Four months, I reckon; yes, sir, quite a while.
" He'd killed a score of foemen in the past, In some blood feud, a dark and monstrous thing; To him it seemed his duty.
At the last His enemies found him by a forest spring, Which, as he died, lay bright beneath his head, A silver shield that slowly turned to red.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Spring Pastoral

 Liza, go steep your long white hands 
In the cool waters of that spring 
Which bubbles up through shiny sands 
The colour of a wild-dove's wing.
Dabble your hands, and steep them well Until those nails are pearly white Now rosier than a laurel bell; Then come to me at candlelight.
Lay your cold hands across my brows, And I shall sleep, and I shall dream Of silver-pointed willow boughs Dipping their fingers in a stream.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

A Proud Lady

 Hate in the world's hand 
Can carve and set its seal 
Like the strong blast of sand 
Which cuts into steel.
I have seen how the finger of hate Can mar and mould Faces burned passionate And frozen cold.
Sorrowful faces worn As stone with rain, Faces writhing with scorn And sullen with pain.
But you have a proud face Which the world cannot harm, You have turned the pain to a grace And the scorn to a charm.
You have taken the arrows and slings Which prick and bruise And fashioned them into wings For the heels of your shoes.
From the world's hand which tries To tear you apart You have stolen the falcon's eyes And the lion's heart.
What has it done, this world, With hard finger-tips, But sweetly chiseled and curled Your inscrutable lips?

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Winter Sleep

 When against earth a wooden heel 
Clicks as loud as stone on steel, 
When stone turns flour instead of flakes, 
And frost bakes clay as fire bakes, 
When the hard-bitten fields at last 
Crack like iron flawed in the cast, 
When the world is wicked and cross and old, 
I long to be quit of the cruel cold.
Little birds like bubbles of glass Fly to other Americas, Birds as bright as sparkles of wine Fly in the nite to the Argentine, Birds of azure and flame-birds go To the tropical Gulf of Mexico: They chase the sun, they follow the heat, It is sweet in their bones, O sweet, sweet, sweet! It's not with them that I'd love to be, But under the roots of the balsam tree.
Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr Is lined within with the finest fur, So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house Of every squirrel and mole and mouse Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull's feather, Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together With balsam and juniper, dry and curled, Sweeter than anything else in the world.
O what a warm and darksome nest Where the wildest things are hidden to rest! It's there that I'd love to lie and sleep, Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!

Written by Elinor Wylie |


 Let us quarrel for these reasons: 
You detest the salt which seasons 
My speech .
and all my lights go out In the cold poison of your doubt.
I love Shelley .
you love Keats Something parts and something meets.
I love salads .
you love chops; Something goes and something stops.
Something hides its face and cries; Something shivers; something dies.
I love blue ribbons brought from fairs; You love sitting splitting hairs.
I love truth, and so do you .
Tell me, is it truly true?

Written by Elinor Wylie |

The Eagle and the Mole

 Avoid the reeking herd, 
Shun the polluted flock, 
Live like that stoic bird, 
The eagle of the rock.
The huddled warmth of crowds Begets and fosters hate; He keeps above the clouds His cliff inviolate.
When flocks are folded warm, And herds to shelter run, He sails above the storm, He stares into the sun.
If in the eagle's track Your sinews cannot leap, Avoid the lathered pack, Turn from the steaming sheep.
If you would keep your soul From spotted sight or sound, Live like the velvet mole: Go burrow underground.
And there hold intercourse With roots of trees and stones, With rivers at their source, And disembodied bones.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Cold-Blooded Creatures

 Man, the egregious egoist
(In mystery the twig is bent)
Imagines, by some mental twist,
That he alone is sentient

Of the intolerable load
That on all living creatures lies,
Nor stoops to pity in the toad
The speechless sorrow of his eyes.
He asks no questions of the snake, Nor plumbs the phosphorescent gloom Where lidless fishes, broad awake, Swim staring at a nightmare doom.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Les Lauriers Sont Coupée

 Ah, love, within the shadow of the wood 
The laurels are cut down; some other brows 
May bear the classic wreath which Fame allows 
And find the burden honorable and good.
Have we not passed the laurels as they stood-- Soft in the veil with which Spring endows The wintry glitter of their woven boughs-- Nor stopped to break the branches while we could? Ah, love, for other brows they are cut down.
Thornless and scentless are their stems and flowers, And cold as death their twisted coronal.
Sweeter to us the sharpness of this crown; Sweeter the wildest roses which are ours; Sweeter the petals, even when they fall.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Love Song

 Lovers eminent in love 
Ever diversities combine; 
The vocal chords of the cushat-dove, 
The snake's articulated spine.
Such elective elements Educate the eye and lip With one's refreshing innocence, The other's claim to scholarship.
The serpent's knowledge of the world Learn, and the dove's more naïve charm; Whether your ringlets should be curled, And why he likes his claret warm.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

A Crowded Trolley-Car

 The rain's cold grains are silver-gray 
Sharp as golden sands, 
A bell is clanging, people sway 
Hanging by their hands.
Supple hands, or gnarled and stiff, Snatch and catch and grope; That face is yellow-pale, as if The fellow swung from rope.
Dull like pebbles, sharp like knives, Glances strike and glare, Fingers tangle, Bluebeard's wives Dangle by the hair.
Orchard of the strangest fruits Hanging from the skies; Brothers, yet insensate brutes Who fear each other's eyes.
One man stands as free men stand, As if his soul might be Brave, unbroken; see his hand Nailed to an oaken tree.

Written by Elinor Wylie |


 I shall die hidden in a hut
In the middle of an alder wood,
With the back door blind and bolted shut,
And the front door locked for good.
I shall lie folded like a saint, Lapped in a scented linen sheet, On a bedstead striped with bright-blue paint, Narrow and cold and neat.
The midnight will be glassy black Behind the panes, with wind about To set his mouth against a crack And blow the candle out.