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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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Written 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!

Written by Robert Francis |


 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.

Written by Robert Francis |


 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.

More great poems below...

Written 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

Written by Robert Francis |

Thoreau in Italy

 Lingo of birds was easier than lingo of peasants-
they were elusive, though, the birds, for excellent reasons.
He thought of Virgil, Virgil who wasn't there to chat with.
History he never forgave for letting Latin lapse into Italian, a renegade jabbering musical enough but not enough to call music So he conversed with stones, imperial and papal.
Even the preposterous popes he could condone a moment for the clean arrogance of their inscriptions.
He asked the Italians only to leave him in the past alone, but this was what they emphatically never did.
Being the present, they never ceased to celebrate it.
Something was always brushing him on the street, satyr or saint-impossible to say which the more foreign.
At home he was called touchy; here he knew he was.
Impossible to say.
The dazzling nude with sex lovingly displayed like carven fruit, the black robe sweeping a holy and unholy dust.
Always the flesh whether to lacerate of kiss- Conspiracy of fauns and clerics smiling back and forth at each other acquiescently through leaves.
Caught between wan monastic mountains wearing the tonsure and the all-siren, ever-dimpling sea, he saw (how could he fail?) at heart geography to blame.
So home to Concord where (as he might have known he would) he found the Italy he wanted to remember.
Why had he sailed if not for the savour of returning? An Italy distilled of all extreme, conflict, Collusion-an Italy without the Italians- in whose green context he could con again his Virgil.
In cedar he read cypress, in the wild apple, olive.
His hills would stand up favorably to the hills of Rome.
His arrowheads could hold their own with are Etruscan.
And Walden clearly was his Mediterranean whose infinite colors were his picture gallery.
How far his little boat transported him-how far.
He coughed discreetly and we likewise coughed; we waited and we heard him clear his throat.
How to be perfect prisoners of the past this was the thing but now he too is past.
Shall we go sit beside the Mississippi and watch the riffraft driftwood floating by?

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written by Robert Francis |


 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.

Written by Robert Francis |


 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.

Written by Robert Francis |


 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.

Written 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.

Written by Robert Francis |

In Memoriam: Four Poets


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.