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Best Famous Robert Graves Poems

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

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by Robert Graves | |

Dew-drop and Diamond

 The difference between you and her
(whom I to you did once prefer)
Is clear enough to settle:
She like a diamond shone, but you
Shine like an early drop of dew
Poised on a red rose petal.
The dew-drop carries in its eye Mountain and forest, sea and sky, With every change of weather; Contrariwise, a diamond splits The prospect into idle bits That none can piece together.


by Robert Graves | |

When Im Killed

 When I’m killed, don’t think of me
Buried there in Cambrin Wood,
Nor as in Zion think of me
With the Intolerable Good.
And there’s one thing that I know well, I’m damned if I’ll be damned to Hell! So when I’m killed, don’t wait for me, Walking the dim corridor; In Heaven or Hell, don’t wait for me, Or you must wait for evermore.
You’ll find me buried, living-dead In these verses that you’ve read.
So when I’m killed, don’t mourn for me, Shot, poor lad, so bold and young, Killed and gone — don’t mourn for me.
On your lips my life is hung: O friends and lovers, you can save Your playfellow from the grave.


by Robert Graves | |

Dead Cow Farm

 An ancient saga tells us how
In the beginning the First Cow 
(For nothing living yet had birth 
But Elemental Cow on earth) 
Began to lick cold stones and mud:
Under her warm tongue flesh and blood 
Blossomed, a miracle to believe: 
And so was Adam born, and Eve.
Here now is chaos once again, Primeval mud, cold stones and rain.
Here flesh decays and blood drips red, And the Cow’s dead, the old Cow’s dead.


by Robert Graves | |

A Pinch of Salt

 When a dream is born in you
With a sudden clamorous pain,
When you know the dream is true
And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.
Dreams are like a bird that mocks, Flirting the feathers of his tail.
When you seize at the salt-box, Over the hedge you'll see him sail.
Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff: They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.
Poet, never chase the dream.
Laugh yourself, and turn away.
Mask your hunger; let it seem Small matter if he come or stay; But when he nestles in your hand at last, Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.


by Robert Graves | |

Not Dead

 Walking through trees to cool my heat and pain, 
I know that David’s with me here again.
All that is simple, happy, strong, he is.
Caressingly I stroke Rough bark of the friendly oak.
A brook goes bubbling by: the voice is his.
Turf burns with pleasant smoke; I laugh at chaffinch and at primroses.
All that is simple, happy, strong, he is.
Over the whole wood in a little while Breaks his slow smile.


by Robert Graves | |

Symptoms of Love

 Love is universal migraine,
A bright stain on the vision
Blotting out reason.
Symptoms of true love Are leanness, jealousy, Laggard dawns; Are omens and nightmares - Listening for a knock, Waiting for a sign: For a touch of her fingers In a darkened room, For a searching look.
Take courage, lover! Could you endure such pain At any hand but hers?


by Robert Graves | |

On Giving

 Those who dare give nothing
Are left with less than nothing;
Dear heart, you give me everything,
Which leaves you more than everything-
Though those who dare give nothing
Might judge it left you less than nothing.
Giving you everything, I too, who once had nothing, Am left with more than everything As gifts for those with nothing Who need, if not our everything, At least a loving something.


by Robert Graves | |

In Broken Images

 He is quick, thinking in clear images;
I am slow, thinking in broken images.
He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images; I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images.
Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance; Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance.
Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact; Questioning their relevance, I question their fact.
When the fact fails him, he questions his senses; when the fact fails me, I approve my senses.
He continues quick and dull in his clear images; I continue slow and sharp in my broken images.
He in a new confusion of his understanding; I in a new understanding of my confusion.


by Robert Graves | |

The Naked And The Nude

 For me, the naked and the nude 
(By lexicographers construed 
As synonyms that should express 
The same deficiency of dress 
Or shelter) stand as wide apart 
As love from lies, or truth from art.
Lovers without reproach will gaze On bodies naked and ablaze; The Hippocratic eye will see In nakedness, anatomy; And naked shines the Goddess when She mounts her lion among men.
The nude are bold, the nude are sly To hold each treasonable eye.
While draping by a showman's trick Their dishabille in rhetoric, They grin a mock-religious grin Of scorn at those of naked skin.
The naked, therefore, who compete Against the nude may know defeat; Yet when they both together tread The briary pastures of the dead, By Gorgons with long whips pursued, How naked go the sometime nude!


by Robert Graves | |

Wild Strawberries

 Strawberries that in gardens grow 
 Are plump and juicy fine, 
But sweeter far as wise men know 
 Spring from the woodland vine.
No need for bowl or silver spoon, Sugar or spice or cream, Has the wild berry plucked in June Beside the trickling stream.
One such to melt at the tongue's root, Confounding taste with scent, Beats a full peck of garden fruit: Which points my argument.
May sudden justice overtake And snap the froward pen, That old and palsied poets shake Against the minds of men.
Blasphemers trusting to hold caught In far-flung webs of ink, The utmost ends of human thought Till nothing's left to think.
But may the gift of heavenly peace And glory for all time Keep the boy Tom who tending geese First made the nursery rhyme.


by Robert Graves | |

Like Snow

 She, then, like snow in a dark night,
Fell secretly.
And the world waked With dazzling of the drowsy eye, So that some muttered 'Too much light', And drew the curtains close.
Like snow, warmer than fingers feared, And to soil friendly; Holding the histories of the night In yet unmelted tracks.


by Robert Graves | |

Down Wanton Down!

 Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame 
That at the whisper of Love's name, 
Or Beauty's, presto! up you raise 
Your angry head and stand at gaze? 

Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach 
The ravelin and effect a breach-- 
Indifferent what you storm or why, 
So be that in the breach you die! 

Love may be blind, but Love at least 
Knows what is man and what mere beast; 
Or Beauty wayward, but requires 
More delicacy from her squires.
Tell me, my witless, whose one boast Could be your staunchness at the post, When were you made a man of parts To think fine and profess the arts? Will many-gifted Beauty come Bowing to your bald rule of thumb, Or Love swear loyalty to your crown? Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!


by Robert Graves | |

Id Love To Be A Fairys Child

 Children born of fairy stock
Never need for shirt or frock,
Never want for food or fire,
Always get their hearts desire:
Jingle pockets full of gold,
Marry when they're seven years old.
Every fairy child may keep Two ponies and ten sheep; All have houses, each his own, Built of brick or granite stone; They live on cherries, they run wild-- I'd love to be a Fairy's child.


by Robert Graves | |

Counting The Beats

 You, love, and I,
(He whispers) you and I,
And if no more than only you and I
What care you or I?

Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.
Cloudless day, Night, and a cloudless day; Yet the huge storm will burst upon their heads one day From a bitter sky.
Where shall we be, (She whispers) where shall we be, When death strikes home, O where then shall we be Who were you and I? Not there but here, (He whispers) only here, As we are, here, together, now and here, Always you and I.
Counting the beats, Counting the slow heart beats, The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats, Wakeful they lie.


by Robert Graves | |

Call It a Good Marriage

 Call it a good marriage - 
For no one ever questioned 
Her warmth, his masculinity,
Their interlocking views;
Except one stray graphologist
Who frowned in speculation 
At her h's and her s's, 
His p's and w's.
Though few would still subscribe To the monogamic axiom That strife below the hip-bones Need not estrange the heart, Call it a good marriage: More drew those two together, Despite a lack of children, Than pulled them apart.
Call it a good marriage: They never fought in public, They acted circumspectly And faced the world with pride; Thus the hazards of their love-bed Were none of our damned business - Till as jurymen we sat on Two deaths by suicide.


by Robert Graves | |

A Dead Boche

 To you who’d read my songs of War 
And only hear of blood and fame, 
I’ll say (you’ve heard it said before) 
”War’s Hell!” and if you doubt the same, 
Today I found in Mametz Wood
A certain cure for lust of blood: 

Where, propped against a shattered trunk, 
In a great mess of things unclean, 
Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk 
With clothes and face a sodden green,
Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired, 
Dribbling black blood from nose and beard.


by Robert Graves | |

Lost Love

 His eyes are quickened so with grief, 
He can watch a grass or leaf 
Every instant grow; he can 
Clearly through a flint wall see, 
Or watch the startled spirit flee 
From the throat of a dead man.
Across two counties he can hear And catch your words before you speak.
The woodlouse or the maggot's weak Clamour rings in his sad ear, And noise so slight it would surpass Credence--drinking sound of grass, Worm talk, clashing jaws of moth Chumbling holes in cloth; The groan of ants who undertake Gigantic loads for honour's sake (Their sinews creak, their breath comes thin); Whir of spiders when they spin, And minute whispering, mumbling, sighs Of idle grubs and flies.
This man is quickened so with grief, He wanders god-like or like thief Inside and out, below, above, Without relief seeking lost love.


by Robert Graves | |

The Cool Web

 Children are dumb to say how hot the day is,
How hot the scent is of the summer rose,
How dreadful the black wastes of evening sky,
How dreadful the tall soldiers drumming by.
But we have speech, to chill the angry day, And speech, to dull the rose's cruel scent.
We spell away the overhanging night, We spell away the soldiers and the fright.
There's a cool web of language winds us in, Retreat from too much joy or too much fear: We grow sea-green at last and coldly die In brininess and volubility.
But if we let our tongues lose self-possession, Throwing off language and its watery clasp Before our death, instead of when death comes, Facing the wide glare of the children's day, Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums, We shall go mad no doubt and die that way.


by Robert Graves | |

To Lucasta on Going to the War - For the Fourth Time

 It doesn’t matter what’s the cause, 
What wrong they say we’re righting, 
A curse for treaties, bonds and laws, 
When we’re to do the fighting! 
And since we lads are proud and true,
What else remains to do? 
Lucasta, when to France your man 
Returns his fourth time, hating war, 
Yet laughs as calmly as he can 
And flings an oath, but says no more,
That is not courage, that’s not fear— 
Lucasta he’s a Fusilier, 
And his pride sends him here.
Let statesmen bluster, bark and bray, And so decide who started This bloody war, and who’s to pay, But he must be stout-hearted, Must sit and stake with quiet breath, Playing at cards with Death.
Don’t plume yourself he fights for you; It is no courage, love, or hate, But let us do the things we do; It’s pride that makes the heart be great; It is not anger, no, nor fear— Lucasta he’s a Fusilier, And his pride keeps him here.


by Robert Graves | |

Love Without Hope

 Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher
Swept off his tall hat to the Squire's own daughter,
So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly
Singing about her head, as she rode by.