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Best Famous Robert Francis Poems

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

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by Robert Francis | |

Waxwings

 Four Tao philosophers as cedar waxwings
chat on a February berry bush
in sun, and I am one.
Such merriment and such sobriety-- the small wild fruit on the tall stalk-- was this not always my true style? Above an elegance of snow, beneath a silk-blue sky a brotherhood of four birds.
Can you mistake us? To sun, to feast, and to converse and all together--for this I have abandoned all my other lives.


by Robert Francis | |

Symbol

 The winter apples have been picked, the garden turned.
Rain and wind have picked the maple leaves and gone.
The last of them now bank the house or have been burned.
None are left upon the trees or on the lawn.
Green and tall as ever it grew in spring the grass Grows not too tall, will not be cut again this year.
Geraniums in bloom behind the windowglass Are safe.
Fall has fallen yet winter is not yet here.
How warm the late November sun although how wan.
The white house stands a symbol of fulfillment there, Housing one old woman, a cat, and one old man After abundance but before the earth is bare.


by Robert Francis | |

Paper Men To Air Hopes And Fears

 The first speaker said
Fear fire.
Fear furnaces Incinerators, the city dump The faint scratch of a match.
The second speaker said Fear water.
Fear drenching rain Drizzle, oceans, puddles, a damp Day and the flush toilet.
The third speaker said Fear wind.
And it needn't be A hurricane.
Drafts, open Windows, electric fans.
The fourth speaker said Fear knives.
Fear any sharp Thing, machine, shears Scissors, lawnmowers.
The fifth speaker said Hope.
Hope for the best A smooth folder in a steel file.


More great poems below...

by Robert Francis | |

Silent Poem

 backroad leafmold stonewall chipmunk
underbrush grapevine woodchuck shadblow 

woodsmoke cowbarn honeysuckle woodpile
sawhorse bucksaw outhouse wellsweep 

backdoor flagstone bulkhead buttermilk
candlestick ragrug firedog brownbread 

hilltop outcrop cowbell buttercup
whetstone thunderstorm pitchfork steeplebush 

gristmill millstone cornmeal waterwheel
watercress buckwheat firefly jewelweed 

gravestone groundpine windbreak bedrock
weathercock snowfall starlight cockcrow


by Robert Francis | |

Farm Boy After Summer

 A seated statue of himself he seems.
A bronze slowness becomes him.
Patently The page he contemplates he doesn't see.
The lesson, the long lesson, has been summer.
His mind holds summer, as his skin holds sun.
For once the homework, all of it, was done.
What were the crops, where were the fiery fields Where for so many days so many hours The sun assaulted him with glittering showers.
Expect a certain absence in his presence.
Expect all winter long a summer scholar, For scarcely all its snows can cool that color.


by Robert Francis | |

Glass

 Words of a poem should be glass
But glass so simple-subtle its shape
Is nothing but the shape of what it holds.
A glass spun for itself is empty, Brittle, at best Venetian trinket.
Embossed glass hides the poem of its absence.
Words should be looked through, should be windows.
The best word were invisible.
The poem is the thing the poet thinks.
If the impossible were not, And if the glass, only the glass, Could be removed, the poem would remain.


by Robert Francis | |

Catch

 Two boys uncoached are tossing a poem together,
Overhand, underhand, backhand, sleight of hand, everyhand,
Teasing with attitudes, latitudes, interludes, altitudes,
High, make him fly off the ground for it, low, make him stoop,
Make him scoop it up, make him as-almost-as possible miss it,
Fast, let him sting from it, now, now fool him slowly,
Anything, everything tricky, risky, nonchalant,
Anything under the sun to outwit the prosy,
Over the tree and the long sweet cadence down,
Over his head, make him scramble to pick up the meaning,
And now, like a posy, a pretty one plump in his hands.


by Robert Francis | |

Fair And Unfair

 The beautiful is fair.
The just is fair.
Yet one is commonplace and one is rare, One everywhere, one scarcely anywhere.
So fair unfair a world.
Had we the wit To use the surplus for the deficit, We'd make a fairer fairer world of it.


by Robert Francis | |

Blue Winter

 Winter uses all the blues there are.
One shade of blue for water, one for ice, Another blue for shadows over snow.
The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice- Both different blues.
And hills row after row Are colored blue according to how for.
You know the bluejay's double-blur device Shows best when there are no green leaves to show.
And Sirius is a winterbluegreen star.


by Robert Francis | |

Squash in Blossom

 How lush, how loose, the uninhibited squash is.
If ever hearts (and these immoderate leaves Are vegetable hearts) were worn on sleeves, The squash's are.
In green the squash vine gushes.
The flowers are cornucopias of summer, Briefly exuberant and cheaply golden.
And if they make a show of being hidden, Are open promiscuously to every comer.
Let the squash be what it was doomed to be By the old Gardener with the shrewd green thumb.
Let it expand and sprawl, defenceless, dumb.
But let me be the fiber-disciplined tree Whose leaf (with something to say in wind) is small, Reduced to the ingenuity of a green splinter Sharp to defy or fraternize with winter, Or if not that, prepared in fall to fall.


by Robert Francis | |

The Bulldozer

 Bull by day
And dozes by night.
Would that the bulldozer Dozed all the time Would that the bulldozer Would rust in peace.
His watchword Let not a witch live His battle cry Better dead than red.
Give me if you must The bull himself But not the bulldozer No, not the bulldozer.


by Robert Francis | |

Hallelujah: A Sestina

 A wind's word, the Hebrew Hallelujah.
I wonder they never gave it to a boy (Hal for short) boy with wind-wild hair.
It means Praise God, as well it should since praise Is what God's for.
Why didn't they call my father Hallelujah instead of Ebenezer? Eben, of course, but christened Ebenezer, Product of Nova Scotia (hallelujah).
Daniel, a country doctor, was his father And my father his tenth and final boy.
A baby and last, he had a baby's praise: Red petticoats, red cheeks, and crow-black hair.
A boy has little to say about his hair And little about a name like Ebenezer Except that you can shorten either.
Praise God for that, for that shout Hallelujah.
Shout Hallelujah for everything a boy Can be that is not his father or grandfather.
But then, before you know it, he is a father Too and passing on his brand of hair To one more perfectly defenseless boy, Dubbing him John or James or Ebenezer But never, so far as I know, Hallelujah, As if God didn't need quite that much praise.
But what I'm coming to - Could I ever praise My father half enough for being a father Who let me be myself? Sing Hallelujah.
Preacher he was with a prophet's head of hair And what but a prophet's name was Ebenezer, However little I guessed it as a boy? Outlandish names of course are never a boy's Choice.
And it takes some time to learn to praise.
Stone of Help is the meaning of Ebenezer.
Stone of Help - what fitter name for my father? Always the Stone of Help however his hair Might graduate from black to Hallelujah.
Such is the old drama of boy and father.
Praise from a grayhead now with thinning hair.
Sing Ebenezer, Robert, sing Hallelujah!


by Robert Francis | |

Encounter

 Those who have touched it or been touched by it
Or brushed by something that the vine has brushed,
Or burning it, have stood where the sly smoke
Has touched them-Know the meaning of its name.
The leaf is smooth.
Its green is innocence.
A clean, unblemished leaf, glossy when young.
A leaf the unobserving might overlook And the observing find too prosperous.
I've seen a vine of it so old and crooked It held a hen-coop in its grip, the stalk Thick as a man's wrist.
There it had grown, Half out of sight, permitted, undisturbed.
Strangers to it, who on a autumn road Have found a vine that swept a tree like fire And gathered it barehanded and brought it home For color, seldom gathered it again.
Some are immune and some have thought they were And some, ever so cautiously with gloves, Finding that it grew to near their homes, Have tried to root it out and have succeeded Except that something from the vine fastened Upon their flesh and burned, and in a year Or two the vine itself was there again, Glossy and green and smooth and innocent.
My neighbor's cow grazing beside the road Munches with joy (and almost with a smile) The salad of its leaves, transmuting them Into sweet milk that I will drink tomorrow.


by Robert Francis | |

On a Theme by Frost

 Amherst never had a witch
O Coos or of Grafton

But once upon a time
There were three old women.
One wore a small beard And carried a big umbrella.
One stood in the middle Of the road hailing cars.
One drove an old cart All over the town collecting junk.
They were not weird sisters, No relation to one another.
A duly accredited witch I Never heard Amherst ever had But as I say there Were these three old women.
One was prone to appear At the door (not mine!): "I've got my nightgown on, I can stay all night.
" One went to a party At the president's house once Locked herself in the bathroom And gave herself a bath.
One had taught Latin, having Learned it at Mount Holyoke.
Of course Amherst may have Had witches I never knew.


by Robert Francis | |

Summons

 Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up.
Come any hour Of night.
Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch.
Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on And make me look.
Or tell me clouds Are doing something to the moon They never did before, and show me.
See that I see.
Talk to me till I'm half as wide awake as you And start to dress wondering why I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.


by Robert Francis | |

Sheep

 From where I stand the sheep stand still
As stones against the stony hill.
The stones are gray And so are they.
And both are weatherworn and round, Leading the eye back to the ground.
Two mingled flocks - The sheep, the rocks.
And still no sheep stirs from its place Or lifts its Babylonian face.


by Robert Francis | |

New England Mind

 My mind matches this understand land.
Outdoors the pencilled tree, the wind-carved drift, Indoors the constant fire, the careful thrift Are facts that I accept and understand.
I have brought in red berries and green boughs- Berries of black alder, boughs of pine.
They and the sunlight on them, both are mine.
I need no florist flowers in my house.
Having lived here the years that are my best, I call it home.
I am content to stay.
I have no bird's desire to fly away.
I envy neither north, east, south, nor west.
My outer world and inner make a pair.
But would the two be always of a kind? Another latitude, another mind? Or would I be New England anywhere?


by Robert Francis | |

In Memoriam: Four Poets

 1

Searock his tower above the sea,
Searock he built, not ivory.
Searock as well his haunted art Who gave to plunging hawks his hearts.
2 He loved to stand upon his head To demonstrate he was not dead.
Ah, if his poems misbehave 'Tis only to defy the grave.
3 This exquisite patrician bird Grooming a neatly folded wing Guarded for years the Sacred Word.
A while he sang then ceased to sing.
4 His head carved out of granite O, His hair a wayward drift of snow, He worshipped the great God of Flow By holding on and letting go.


by Robert Francis | |

Glass

 O Man! what Inspiration was thy Guide, 
Who taught thee Light and Air thus to divide; 
To let in all the useful Beams of Day, 
Yet force, as subtil Winds, without thy Shash to stay; 
T'extract from Embers by a strange Device, 
Then polish fair these Flakes of solid Ice; 
Which, silver'd o'er, redouble all in place, 
And give thee back thy well or ill-complexion'd Face.
To Vessels blown exceed the gloomy Bowl, Which did the Wine's full excellence controul, These shew the Body, whilst you taste the Soul.
Its colour sparkles Motion, lets thee see, Tho' yet th' Excess the Preacher warns to flee, Lest Men at length as clearly spy through Thee.