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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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Written by Joyce Kilmer |


 (For Eleanor Rogers Cox)

For blows on the fort of evil
That never shows a breach,
For terrible life-long races
To a goal no foot can reach,
For reckless leaps into darkness
With hands outstretched to a star,
There is jubilation in Heaven
Where the great dead poets are.
There is joy over disappointment And delight in hopes that were vain.
Each poet is glad there was no cure To stop his lonely pain.
For nothing keeps a poet In his high singing mood Like unappeasable hunger For unattainable food.
So fools are glad of the folly That made them weep and sing, And Keats is thankful for Fanny Brawne And Drummond for his king.
They know that on flinty sorrow And failure and desire The steel of their souls was hammered To bring forth the lyric fire.
Lord Byron and Shelley and Plunkett, McDonough and Hunt and Pearse See now why their hatred of tyrants Was so insistently fierce.
Is Freedom only a Will-o'-the-wisp To cheat a poet's eye? Be it phantom or fact, it's a noble cause In which to sing and to die! So not for the Rainbow taken And the magical White Bird snared The poets sing grateful carols In the place to which they have fared; But for their lifetime's passion, The quest that was fruitless and long, They chorus their loud thanksgiving To the thorn-crowned Master of Song.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |


 (For Aline)

From what old ballad, or from what rich frame
Did you descend to glorify the earth?
Was it from Chaucer's singing book you came?
Or did Watteau's small brushes give you birth?
Nothing so exquisite as that slight hand
Could Raphael or Leonardo trace.
Nor could the poets know in Fairyland The changing wonder of your lyric face.
I would possess a host of lovely things, But I am poor and such joys may not be.
So God who lifts the poor and humbles kings Sent loveliness itself to dwell with me.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

In Memory

Serene and beautiful and very wise,
Most erudite in curious Grecian lore,
You lay and read your learned books, and bore
A weight of unshed tears and silent sighs.
The song within your heart could never rise Until love bade it spread its wings and soar.
Nor could you look on Beauty's face before A poet's burning mouth had touched your eyes.
Love is made out of ecstasy and wonder; Love is a poignant and accustomed pain.
It is a burst of Heaven-shaking thunder; It is a linnet's fluting after rain.
Love's voice is through your song; above and under And in each note to echo and remain.
II Because Mankind is glad and brave and young, Full of gay flames that white and scarlet glow, All joys and passions that Mankind may know By you were nobly felt and nobly sung.
Because Mankind's heart every day is wrung By Fate's wild hands that twist and tear it so, Therefore you echoed Man's undying woe, A harp Aeolian on Life's branches hung.
So did the ghosts of toiling children hover About the piteous portals of your mind; Your eyes, that looked on glory, could discover The angry scar to which the world was blind: And it was grief that made Mankind your lover, And it was grief that made you love Mankind.
III Before Christ left the Citadel of Light, To tread the dreadful way of human birth, His shadow sometimes fell upon the earth And those who saw it wept with joy and fright.
"Thou art Apollo, than the sun more bright!" They cried.
"Our music is of little worth, But thrill our blood with thy creative mirth Thou god of song, thou lord of lyric might!" O singing pilgrim! who could love and follow Your lover Christ, through even love's despair, You knew within the cypress-darkened hollow The feet that on the mountain are so fair.
For it was Christ that was your own Apollo, And thorns were in the laurel on your hair.

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Written by Joyce Kilmer |


 (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.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

The Proud Poet

 (For Shaemas O Sheel)

One winter night a Devil came and sat upon my bed,
His eyes were full of laughter for his heart was full of crime.
"Why don't you take up fancy work, or embroidery?" he said, "For a needle is as manly a tool as a pen that makes a rhyme!" "You little ugly Devil," said I, "go back to Hell For the idea you express I will not listen to: I have trouble enough with poetry and poverty as well, Without having to pay attention to orators like you.
"When you say of the making of ballads and songs that it is woman's work You forget all the fighting poets that have been in every land.
There was Byron who left all his lady-loves to fight against the Turk, And David, the Singing King of the Jews, who was born with a sword in his hand.
It was yesterday that Rupert Brooke went out to the Wars and died, And Sir Philip Sidney's lyric voice was as sweet as his arm was strong; And Sir Walter Raleigh met the axe as a lover meets his bride, Because he carried in his soul the courage of his song.
"And there is no consolation so quickening to the heart As the warmth and whiteness that come from the lines of noble poetry.
It is strong joy to read it when the wounds of the spirit smart, It puts the flame in a lonely breast where only ashes be.
It is strong joy to read it, and to make it is a thing That exalts a man with a sacreder pride than any pride on earth.
For it makes him kneel to a broken slave and set his foot on a king, And it shakes the walls of his little soul with the echo of God's mirth.
"There was the poet Homer had the sorrow to be blind, Yet a hundred people with good eyes would listen to him all night; For they took great enjoyment in the heaven of his mind, And were glad when the old blind poet let them share his powers of sight.
And there was Heine lying on his mattress all day long, He had no wealth, he had no friends, he had no joy at all, Except to pour his sorrow into little cups of song, And the world finds in them the magic wine that his broken heart let fall.
"And these are only a couple of names from a list of a thousand score Who have put their glory on the world in poverty and pain.
And the title of poet's a noble thing, worth living and dying for, Though all the devils on earth and in Hell spit at me their disdain.
It is stern work, it is perilous work, to thrust your hand in the sun And pull out a spark of immortal flame to warm the hearts of men: But Prometheus, torn by the claws and beaks whose task is never done, Would be tortured another eternity to go stealing fire again.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |


 (For the Rev.
James J.
Daly, S.
) Bright stars, yellow stars, flashing through the air, Are you errant strands of Lady Mary's hair? As she slits the cloudy veil and bends down through, Do you fall across her cheeks and over heaven too? Gay stars, little stars, you are little eyes, Eyes of baby angels playing in the skies.
Now and then a winged child turns his merry face Down toward the spinning world -- what a funny place! Jesus Christ came from the Cross (Christ receive my soul!) In each perfect hand and foot there was a bloody hole.
Four great iron spikes there were, red and never dry, Michael plucked them from the Cross and set them in the sky.
Christ's Troop, Mary's Guard, God's own men, Draw your swords and strike at Hell and strike again.
Every steel-born spark that flies where God's battles are, Flashes past the face of God, and is a star.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

A Blue Valentine

 (For Aline)

Right Reverend Bishop Valentinus,
Sometime of Interamna, which is called Ferni,
Now of the delightful Court of Heaven,
I respectfully salute you,
I genuflect
And I kiss your episcopal ring.
It is not, Monsignore, The fragrant memory of your holy life, Nor that of your shining and joyous martyrdom, Which causes me now to address you.
But since this is your august festival, Monsignore, It seems appropriate to me to state According to a venerable and agreeable custom, That I love a beautiful lady.
Her eyes, Monsignore, Are so blue that they put lovely little blue reflections On everything that she looks at, Such as a wall Or the moon Or my heart.
It is like the light coming through blue stained glass, Yet not quite like it, For the blueness is not transparent, Only translucent.
Her soul's light shines through, But her soul cannot be seen.
It is something elusive, whimsical, tender, wanton, infantile, wise And noble.
She wears, Monsignore, a blue garment, Made in the manner of the Japanese.
It is very blue -- I think that her eyes have made it more blue, Sweetly staining it As the pressure of her body has graciously given it form.
Loving her, Monsignore, I love all her attributes; But I believe That even if I did not love her I would love the blueness of her eyes, And her blue garment, made in the manner of the Japanese.
Monsignore, I have never before troubled you with a request.
The saints whose ears I chiefly worry with my pleas are the most exquisite and maternal Brigid, Gallant Saint Stephen, who puts fire in my blood, And your brother bishop, my patron, The generous and jovial Saint Nicholas of Bari.
But, of your courtesy, Monsignore, Do me this favour: When you this morning make your way To the Ivory Throne that bursts into bloom with roses because of her who sits upon it, When you come to pay your devoir to Our Lady, I beg you, say to her: "Madame, a poor poet, one of your singing servants yet on earth, Has asked me to say that at this moment he is especially grateful to you For wearing a blue gown.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

The New School

 (For My Mother)

The halls that were loud with the merry tread of 
young and careless feet
Are still with a stillness that is too drear to seem like holiday,
And never a gust of laughter breaks the calm of the dreaming street
Or rises to shake the ivied walls and frighten the doves away.
The dust is on book and on empty desk, and the tennis-racquet and balls Lie still in their lonely locker and wait for a game that is never played, And over the study and lecture-room and the river and meadow falls A stern peace, a strange peace, a peace that War has made.
For many a youthful shoulder now is gay with an epaulet, And the hand that was deft with a cricket-bat is defter with a sword, And some of the lads will laugh to-day where the trench is red and wet, And some will win on the bloody field the accolade of the Lord.
They have taken their youth and mirth away from the study and playing-ground To a new school in an alien land beneath an alien sky; Out in the smoke and roar of the fight their lessons and games are found, And they who were learning how to live are learning how to die.
And after the golden day has come and the war is at an end, A slab of bronze on the chapel wall will tell of the noble dead.
And every name on that radiant list will be the name of a friend, A name that shall through the centuries in grateful prayers be said.
And there will be ghosts in the old school, brave ghosts with laughing eyes, On the field with a ghostly cricket-bat, by the stream with a ghostly rod; They will touch the hearts of the living with a flame that sanctifies, A flame that they took with strong young hands from the altar-fires of God.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

The House with Nobody in It

 Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.
I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things; That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do; For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.
This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass, And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied; But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.
If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door, Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life, That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife, A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet, Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.
So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back, Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart, For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

Written 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!

Written 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.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |


 (For S.
) I take my leave, with sorrow, of Him I love so well; I look my last upon His small and radiant prison-cell; O happy lamp! to serve Him with never ceasing light! O happy flame! to tremble forever in His sight! I leave the holy quiet for the loudly human train, And my heart that He has breathed upon is filled with lonely pain.
O King, O Friend, O Lover! What sorer grief can be In all the reddest depths of Hell than banishment from Thee? But from my window as I speed across the sleeping land I see the towns and villages wherein His houses stand.
Above the roofs I see a cross outlined against the night, And I know that there my Lover dwells in His sacramental might.
Dominions kneel before Him, and Powers kiss His feet, Yet for me He keeps His weary watch in the turmoil of the street: The King of Kings awaits me, wherever I may go, O who am I that He should deign to love and serve me so?

Written by Joyce Kilmer |


 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!

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

The Snowman in the Yard

 (For Thomas Augustine Daly)

The Judge's house has a splendid porch, with pillars 
and steps of stone,
And the Judge has a lovely flowering hedge that came from across 
the seas;
In the Hales' garage you could put my house and everything I own,
And the Hales have a lawn like an emerald and a row of poplar trees.
Now I have only a little house, and only a little lot, And only a few square yards of lawn, with dandelions starred; But when Winter comes, I have something there that the Judge and the Hales have not, And it's better worth having than all their wealth -- it's a snowman in the yard.
The Judge's money brings architects to make his mansion fair; The Hales have seven gardeners to make their roses grow; The Judge can get his trees from Spain and France and everywhere, And raise his orchids under glass in the midst of all the snow.
But I have something no architect or gardener ever made, A thing that is shaped by the busy touch of little mittened hands: And the Judge would give up his lonely estate, where the level snow is laid For the tiny house with the trampled yard, the yard where the snowman stands.
They say that after Adam and Eve were driven away in tears To toil and suffer their life-time through, because of the sin they sinned, The Lord made Winter to punish them for half their exiled years, To chill their blood with the snow, and pierce their flesh with the icy wind.
But we who inherit the primal curse, and labour for our bread, Have yet, thank God, the gift of Home, though Eden's gate is barred: And through the Winter's crystal veil, Love's roses blossom red, For him who lives in a house that has a snowman in the yard.

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

The White Ships and the Red

 (For Alden March)

With drooping sail and pennant
That never a wind may reach,
They float in sunless waters
Beside a sunless beach.
Their mighty masts and funnels Are white as driven snow, And with a pallid radiance Their ghostly bulwarks glow.
Here is a Spanish galleon That once with gold was gay, Here is a Roman trireme Whose hues outshone the day.
But Tyrian dyes have faded, And prows that once were bright With rainbow stains wear only Death's livid, dreadful white.
White as the ice that clove her That unforgotten day, Among her pallid sisters The grim Titanic lay.
And through the leagues above her She looked aghast, and said: "What is this living ship that comes Where every ship is dead?" The ghostly vessels trembled From ruined stern to prow; What was this thing of terror That broke their vigil now? Down through the startled ocean A mighty vessel came, Not white, as all dead ships must be, But red, like living flame! The pale green waves about her Were swiftly, strangely dyed, By the great scarlet stream that flowed From out her wounded side.
And all her decks were scarlet And all her shattered crew.
She sank among the white ghost ships And stained them through and through.
The grim Titanic greeted her "And who art thou?" she said; "Why dost thou join our ghostly fleet Arrayed in living red? We are the ships of sorrow Who spend the weary night, Until the dawn of Judgment Day, Obscure and still and white.
" "Nay," said the scarlet visitor, "Though I sink through the sea, A ruined thing that was a ship, I sink not as did ye.
For ye met with your destiny By storm or rock or fight, So through the lagging centuries Ye wear your robes of white.
"But never crashing iceberg Nor honest shot of foe, Nor hidden reef has sent me The way that I must go.
My wound that stains the waters, My blood that is like flame, Bear witness to a loathly deed, A deed without a name.
"I went not forth to battle, I carried friendly men, The children played about my decks, The women sang -- and then -- And then -- the sun blushed scarlet And Heaven hid its face, The world that God created Became a shameful place! "My wrong cries out for vengeance, The blow that sent me here Was aimed in Hell.
My dying scream Has reached Jehovah's ear.
Not all the seven oceans Shall wash away that stain; Upon a brow that wears a crown I am the brand of Cain.
" When God's great voice assembles The fleet on Judgment Day, The ghosts of ruined ships will rise In sea and strait and bay.
Though they have lain for ages Beneath the changeless flood, They shall be white as silver, But one -- shall be like blood.