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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 |

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?

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 |

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.

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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 |

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 |

Love Song

 My own dear love, he is strong and bold 
And he cares not what comes after.
His words ring sweet as a chime of gold, And his eyes are lit with laughter.
He is jubilant as a flag unfurled -- Oh, a girl, she'd not forget him.
My own dear love, he is all my world, -- And I wish I'd never met him.
My love, he's mad, and my love, he's fleet, And a wild young wood-thing bore him! The ways are fair to his roaming feet, And the skies are sunlit for him.
As sharply sweet to my heart he seems As the fragrance of acacia.
My own dear love, he is all my dreams, -- And I wish he were in Asia.
My love runs by like a day in June, And he makes no friends of sorrows.
He'll tread his galloping rigadoon In the pathway of the morrows.
He'll live his days where the sunbeams start, Nor could storm or wind uproot him.
My own dear love, he is all my heart, -- And I wish somebody'd shoot him.

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 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 |


 My locks are shorn for sorrow 
Of love which may not be; 
Tomorrow and tomorrow 
Are plotting cruelty.
The winter wind tangles These ringlets half-grown, The sun sprays with spangles And rays like his own.
Oh, quieter and colder Is the stream; he will wait; When my curls touch my shoulder He will comb them straight.

Written by Elinor Wylie |


 This is the bricklayer; hear the thud 
Of his heavy load dumped down on stone.
His lustrous bricks are brighter than blood, His smoking mortar whiter than bone.
Set each sharp-edged, fire-bitten brick Straight by the plumb-line's shivering length; Make my marvelous wall so thick Dead nor living may shake its strength.
Full as a crystal cup with drink Is my cell with dreams, and quiet, and cool.
Stop, old man! You must leave a chink; How can I breathe? You can't, you fool!

Written by Elinor Wylie |

Poor Earth

 It is not heaven: bitter seed 
Leavens its entrails with despair 
It is a star where dragons breed: 
Devils have a footing there.
The sky has bent it out of shape; The sun has strapped it to his wheel; Its course is crooked to escape Traps and gins of stone and steel.
It balances on air, and spins Snared by strong transparent space; I forgive it all its sins; I kiss the scars upon its face.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

The Pekingese

 For a picture

This Pekingese, that makes the sand-grains spin, 
Is digging little tunnels to Pekin: 
Dream him emerging in a porcelain cave 
Where wounded dragons stain a pearly wave.

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 |


 My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,
And sweet's the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges.

Written by Elinor Wylie |

The Poor Old Cannon

 Upbroke the sun 
In red-gold foam; 
Thus spoke the gun 
At the Soldier's Home:

"Whenever I hear 
Blue thunder speak 
My voice sounds clear 
But little and weak.
"And when the proud Young cockerels crow My voice sounds loud, But gentle and low.
"When the mocking-bird Prolongs his note I cannot be heard Though I split my throat.