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Best Famous Joyce Kilmer Poems

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

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by Joyce Kilmer | |

Waverley

 1814-1914

When, on a novel's newly printed page
We find a maudlin eulogy of sin,
And read of ways that harlots wander in,
And of sick souls that writhe in helpless rage;
Or when Romance, bespectacled and sage,
Taps on her desk and bids the class begin
To con the problems that have always been
Perplexed mankind's unhappy heritage;
Then in what robes of honor habited
The laureled wizard of the North appears!
Who raised Prince Charlie's cohorts from the dead,
Made Rose's mirth and Flora's noble tears,
And formed that shining legion at whose head
Rides Waverley, triumphant o'er the years!


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Madness

 (For Sara Teasdale)

The lonely farm, the crowded street,
The palace and the slum,
Give welcome to my silent feet
As, bearing gifts, I come.
Last night a beggar crouched alone, A ragged helpless thing; I set him on a moonbeam throne -- Today he is a king.
Last night a king in orb and crown Held court with splendid cheer; Today he tears his purple gown And moans and shrieks in fear.
Not iron bars, nor flashing spears, Not land, nor sky, nor sea, Nor love's artillery of tears Can keep mine own from me.
Serene, unchanging, ever fair, I smile with secret mirth And in a net of mine own hair I swing the captive earth.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

The Singing Girl

 (For the Rev.
Edward F.
Garesche, S.
J.
) There was a little maiden In blue and silver drest, She sang to God in Heaven And God within her breast.
It flooded me with pleasure, It pierced me like a sword, When this young maiden sang: "My soul Doth magnify the Lord.
" The stars sing all together And hear the angels sing, But they said they had never heard So beautiful a thing.
Saint Mary and Saint Joseph, And Saint Elizabeth, Pray for us poets now And at the hour of death.


More great poems below...

by Joyce Kilmer | |

Citizen of the World

 No longer of Him be it said
"He hath no place to lay His head.
" In every land a constant lamp Flames by His small and mighty camp.
There is no strange and distant place That is not gladdened by His face.
And every nation kneels to hail The Splendour shining through Its veil.
Cloistered beside the shouting street, Silent, He calls me to His feet.
Imprisoned for His love of me He makes my spirit greatly free.
And through my lips that uttered sin The King of Glory enters in.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

The Annunciation

 (For Helen Parry Eden)

"Hail Mary, full of grace," the Angel saith.
Our Lady bows her head, and is ashamed; She has a Bridegroom Who may not be named, Her mortal flesh bears Him Who conquers death.
Now in the dust her spirit grovelleth; Too bright a Sun before her eyes has flamed, Too fair a herald joy too high proclaimed, And human lips have trembled in God's breath.
O Mother-Maid, thou art ashamed to cover With thy white self, whereon no stain can be, Thy God, Who came from Heaven to be thy Lover, Thy God, Who came from Heaven to dwell in thee.
About thy head celestial legions hover, Chanting the praise of thy humility.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

In Memory of Rupert Brooke

 In alien earth, across a troubled sea,
His body lies that was so fair and young.
His mouth is stopped, with half his songs unsung; His arm is still, that struck to make men free.
But let no cloud of lamentation be Where, on a warrior's grave, a lyre is hung.
We keep the echoes of his golden tongue, We keep the vision of his chivalry.
So Israel's joy, the loveliest of kings, Smote now his harp, and now the hostile horde.
To-day the starry roof of Heaven rings With psalms a soldier made to praise his Lord; And David rests beneath Eternal wings, Song on his lips, and in his hand a sword.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Mount Houvenkopf

 Serene he stands, with mist serenely crowned,
And draws a cloak of trees about his breast.
The thunder roars but cannot break his rest And from his rugged face the tempests bound.
He does not heed the angry lightning's wound, The raging blizzard is his harmless guest, And human life is but a passing jest To him who sees Time spin the years around.
But fragile souls, in skyey reaches find High vantage-points and view him from afar.
How low he seems to the ascended mind, How brief he seems where all things endless are; This little playmate of the mighty wind This young companion of an ancient star.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Vision

 (For Aline)

Homer, they tell us, was blind and could not see the beautiful 
faces
Looking up into his own and reflecting the joy of his dream,
Yet did he seem
Gifted with eyes that could follow the gods to their holiest places.
I have no vision of gods, not of Eros with love-arrows laden, Jupiter thundering death or of Juno his white-breasted queen, Yet have I seen All of the joy of the world in the innocent heart of a maiden.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

To Certain Poets

 Now is the rhymer's honest trade
A thing for scornful laughter made.
The merchant's sneer, the clerk's disdain, These are the burden of our pain.
Because of you did this befall, You brought this shame upon us all.
You little poets mincing there With women's hearts and women's hair! How sick Dan Chaucer's ghost must be To hear you lisp of "Poesie"! A heavy-handed blow, I think, Would make your veins drip scented ink.
You strut and smirk your little while So mildly, delicately vile! Your tiny voices mock God's wrath, You snails that crawl along His path! Why, what has God or man to do With wet, amorphous things like you? This thing alone you have achieved: Because of you, it is believed That all who earn their bread by rhyme Are like yourselves, exuding slime.
Oh, cease to write, for very shame, Ere all men spit upon our name! Take up your needles, drop your pen, And leave the poet's craft to men!


by Joyce Kilmer | |

St. Laurence

 Within the broken Vatican
The murdered Pope is lying dead.
The soldiers of Valerian Their evil hands are wet and red.
Unarmed, unmoved, St.
Laurence waits, His cassock is his only mail.
The troops of Hell have burst the gates, But Christ is Lord, He shall prevail.
They have encompassed him with steel, They spit upon his gentle face, He smiles and bleeds, nor will reveal The Church's hidden treasure-place.
Ah, faithful steward, worthy knight, Well hast thou done.
Behold thy fee! Since thou hast fought the goodly fight A martyr's death is fixed for thee.
St.
Laurence, pray for us to bear The faith which glorifies thy name.
St.
Laurence, pray for us to share The wounds of Love's consuming flame.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Folly

 (For A.
K.
K.
) What distant mountains thrill and glow Beneath our Lady Folly's tread? Why has she left us, wise in woe, Shrewd, practical, uncomforted? We cannot love or dream or sing, We are too cynical to pray, There is no joy in anything Since Lady Folly went away.
Many a knight and gentle maid, Whose glory shines from years gone by, Through ignorance was unafraid And as a fool knew how to die.
Saint Folly rode beside Jehanne And broke the ranks of Hell with her, And Folly's smile shone brightly on Christ's plaything, Brother Juniper.
Our minds are troubled and defiled By study in a weary school.
O for the folly of the child! The ready courage of the fool! Lord, crush our knowledge utterly And make us humble, simple men; And cleansed of wisdom, let us see Our Lady Folly's face again.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Easter Week

 See the land, her Easter keeping, 
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping, Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices; Fields and gardens hail the spring; Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices, While the wild birds build and sing.
You, to whom your Maker granted Powers to those sweet birds unknown, Use the craft by God implanted; Use the reason not your own.
Here, while heaven and earth rejoices, Each his Easter tribute bring- Work of fingers, chant of voices, Like the birds who build and sing.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Memorial Day

 "Dulce et decorum est"

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet Of men-at-arms who come to pray.
The roses blossom white and red On tombs where weary soldiers lie; Flags wave above the honored dead And martial music cleaves the sky.
Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel, They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel They plunged for Freedom and the Right.
May we, their grateful children, learn Their strength, who lie beneath this sod, Who went through fire and death to earn At last the accolade of God.
In shining rank on rank arrayed They march, the legions of the Lord; He is their Captain unafraid, The Prince of Peace .
.
.
Who brought a sword.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Lionel Johnson

 (For the Rev.
John J.
Burke, C.
S.
P.
) There was a murkier tinge in London's air As if the honest fog blushed black for shame.
Fools sang of sin, for other fools' acclaim, And Milton's wreath was tossed to Baudelaire.
The flowers of evil blossomed everywhere, But in their midst a radiant lily came Candescent, pure, a cup of living flame, Bloomed for a day, and left the earth more fair.
And was it Charles, thy "fair and fatal King", Who bade thee welcome to the lovely land? Or did Lord David cease to harp and sing To take in his thine emulative hand? Or did Our Lady's smile shine forth, to bring Her lyric Knight within her choir to stand?


by Joyce Kilmer | |

To A Young Poet Who Killed Himself

 When you had played with life a space
And made it drink and lust and sing,
You flung it back into God's face
And thought you did a noble thing.
"Lo, I have lived and loved," you said, "And sung to fools too dull to hear me.
Now for a cool and grassy bed With violets in blossom near me.
" Well, rest is good for weary feet, Although they ran for no great prize; And violets are very sweet, Although their roots are in your eyes.
But hark to what the earthworms say Who share with you your muddy haven: "The fight was on -- you ran away.
You are a coward and a craven.
"The rug is ruined where you bled; It was a dirty way to die! To put a bullet through your head And make a silly woman cry! You could not vex the merry stars Nor make them heed you, dead or living.
Not all your puny anger mars God's irresistible forgiving.
"Yes, God forgives and men forget, And you're forgiven and forgotten.
You might be gaily sinning yet And quick and fresh instead of rotten.
And when you think of love and fame And all that might have come to pass, Then don't you feel a little shame? And don't you think you were an ass?"


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Queen Elizabeth Speaks

 My hands were stained with blood, my heart was 
proud and cold,
My soul is black with shame .
.
.
but I gave Shakespeare gold.
So after aeons of flame, I may, by grace of God, Rise up to kiss the dust that Shakespeare's feet have trod.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

The Visitation

 (For Louise Imogen Guiney)

There is a wall of flesh before the eyes
Of John, who yet perceives and hails his King.
It is Our Lady's painful bliss to bring Before mankind the Glory of the skies.
Her cousin feels her womb's sweet burden rise And leap with joy, and she comes forth to sing, With trembling mouth, her words of welcoming.
She knows her hidden God, and prophesies.
Saint John, pray for us, weary souls that tarry Where life is withered by sin's deadly breath.
Pray for us, whom the dogs of Satan harry, Saint John, Saint Anne, and Saint Elizabeth.
And, Mother Mary, give us Christ to carry Within our hearts, that we may conquer death.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Mid-ocean in War-time

 (For My Mother)

The fragile splendour of the level sea,
The moon's serene and silver-veiled face,
Make of this vessel an enchanted place
Full of white mirth and golden sorcery.
Now, for a time, shall careless laughter be Blended with song, to lend song sweeter grace, And the old stars, in their unending race, Shall heed and envy young humanity.
And yet to-night, a hundred leagues away, These waters blush a strange and awful red.
Before the moon, a cloud obscenely grey Rises from decks that crash with flying lead.
And these stars smile their immemorial way On waves that shroud a thousand newly dead!


by Joyce Kilmer | |

As Winds That Blow Against A Star

 (For Aline)

Now by what whim of wanton chance
Do radiant eyes know sombre days?
And feet that shod in light should dance
Walk weary and laborious ways?
But rays from Heaven, white and whole,
May penetrate the gloom of earth;
And tears but nourish, in your soul,
The glory of celestial mirth.
The darts of toil and sorrow, sent Against your peaceful beauty, are As foolish and as impotent As winds that blow against a star.


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Servant Girl and Grocers Boy

 Her lips' remark was: "Oh, you kid!"
Her soul spoke thus (I know it did):

"O king of realms of endless joy,
My own, my golden grocer's boy,
I am a princess forced to dwell
Within a lonely kitchen cell,
While you go dashing through the land
With loveliness on every hand.
Your whistle strikes my eager ears Like music of the choiring spheres.
The mighty earth grows faint and reels Beneath your thundering wagon wheels.
How keenly, perilously sweet To cling upon that swaying seat! How happy she who by your side May share the splendors of that ride! Ah, if you will not take my hand And bear me off across the land, Then, traveller from Arcady, Remain awhile and comfort me.
What other maiden can you find So young and delicate and kind?" Her lips' remark was: "Oh, you kid!" Her soul spoke thus (I know it did).


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Father Gerard Hopkins S. J.

 Why didst thou carve thy speech laboriously,
And match and blend thy words with curious art?
For Song, one saith, is but a human heart
Speaking aloud, undisciplined and free.
Nay, God be praised, Who fixed thy task for thee! Austere, ecstatic craftsman, set apart From all who traffic in Apollo's mart, On thy phrased paten shall the Splendour be! Now, carelessly we throw a rhyme to God, Singing His praise when other songs are done.
But thou, who knewest paths Teresa trod, Losing thyself, what is it thou hast won? O bleeding feet, with peace and glory shod! O happy moth, that flew into the Sun!


by Joyce Kilmer | |

St. Alexis Patron of Beggars

 We who beg for bread as we daily tread
Country lane and city street,
Let us kneel and pray on the broad highway
To the saint with the vagrant feet.
Our altar light is a buttercup bright, And our shrine is a bank of sod, But still we share St.
Alexis' care, The Vagabond of God.
They gave him a home in purple Rome And a princess for his bride, But he rowed away on his wedding day Down the Tiber's rushing tide.
And he came to land on the Asian strand Where the heathen people dwell; As a beggar he strayed and he preached and prayed And he saved their souls from hell.
Bowed with years and pain he came back again To his father's dwelling place.
There was none to see who this tramp might be, For they knew not his bearded face.
But his father said, "Give him drink and bread And a couch underneath the stair.
" So Alexis crept to his hole and slept.
But he might not linger there.
For when night came down on the seven-hilled town, And the emperor hurried in, Saying, "Lo, I hear that a saint is near Who will cleanse us of our sin," Then they looked in vain where the saint had lain, For his soul had fled afar, From his fleshly home he had gone to roam Where the gold-paved highways are.
We who beg for bread as we daily tread Country lane and city street, Let us kneel and pray on the broad highway To the saint with the vagrant feet.
Our altar light is a buttercup bright, And our shrine is a bank of sod, But still we share St.
Alexis' care, The Vagabond of God!


by Joyce Kilmer | |

The Apartment House

 Severe against the pleasant arc of sky
The great stone box is cruelly displayed.
The street becomes more dreary from its shade, And vagrant breezes touch its walls and die.
Here sullen convicts in their chains might lie, Or slaves toil dumbly at some dreary trade.
How worse than folly is their labor made Who cleft the rocks that this might rise on high! Yet, as I look, I see a woman's face Gleam from a window far above the street.
This is a house of homes, a sacred place, By human passion made divinely sweet.
How all the building thrills with sudden grace Beneath the magic of Love's golden feet!


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Martin

 When I am tired of earnest men,
Intense and keen and sharp and clever,
Pursuing fame with brush or pen
Or counting metal disks forever,
Then from the halls of Shadowland
Beyond the trackless purple sea
Old Martin's ghost comes back to stand
Beside my desk and talk to me.
Still on his delicate pale face A quizzical thin smile is showing, His cheeks are wrinkled like fine lace, His kind blue eyes are gay and glowing.
He wears a brilliant-hued cravat, A suit to match his soft grey hair, A rakish stick, a knowing hat, A manner blithe and debonair.
How good that he who always knew That being lovely was a duty, Should have gold halls to wander through And should himself inhabit beauty.
How like his old unselfish way To leave those halls of splendid mirth And comfort those condemned to stay Upon the dull and sombre earth.
Some people ask: "What cruel chance Made Martin's life so sad a story?" Martin? Why, he exhaled romance, And wore an overcoat of glory.
A fleck of sunlight in the street, A horse, a book, a girl who smiled, Such visions made each moment sweet For this receptive ancient child.
Because it was old Martin's lot To be, not make, a decoration, Shall we then scorn him, having not His genius of appreciation? Rich joy and love he got and gave; His heart was merry as his dress; Pile laurel wreaths upon his grave Who did not gain, but was, success!


by Joyce Kilmer | |

To a Blackbird and His Mate Who Died in the Spring

 (For Kenton)

An iron hand has stilled the throats
That throbbed with loud and rhythmic glee
And dammed the flood of silver notes
That drenched the world in melody.
The blosmy apple boughs are yearning For their wild choristers' returning, But no swift wings flash through the tree.
Ye that were glad and fleet and strong, Shall Silence take you in her net? And shall Death quell that radiant song Whose echo thrills the meadow yet? Burst the frail web about you clinging And charm Death's cruel heart with singing Till with strange tears his eyes are wet.
The scented morning of the year Is old and stale now ye are gone.
No friendly songs the children hear Among the bushes on the lawn.
When babies wander out a-Maying Will ye, their bards, afar be straying? Unhymned by you, what is the dawn? Nay, since ye loved ye cannot die.
Above the stars is set your nest.
Through Heaven's fields ye sing and fly And in the trees of Heaven rest.
And little children in their dreaming Shall see your soft black plumage gleaming And smile, by your clear music blest.