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Best Famous Vachel Lindsay Poems

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

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Written by Vachel Lindsay |

How a Little Girl Danced


(Being a reminiscence of certain private theatricals.
) Oh, cabaret dancer, I know a dancer, Whose eyes have not looked on the feasts that are vain.
I know a dancer, I know a dancer, Whose soul has no bond with the beasts of the plain: Judith the dancer, Judith the dancer, With foot like the snow, and with step like the rain.
Oh, thrice-painted dancer, vaudeville dancer, Sad in your spangles, with soul all astrain, I know a dancer, I know a dancer, Whose laughter and weeping are spiritual gain, A pure-hearted, high-hearted maiden evangel, With strength the dark cynical earth to disdain.
Flowers of bright Broadway, you of the chorus, Who sing in the hope of forgetting your pain: I turn to a sister of Sainted Cecilia, A white bird escaping the earth's tangled skein:— The music of God is her innermost brooding, The whispering angels her footsteps sustain.
Oh, proud Russian dancer: praise for your dancing.
No clean human passion my rhyme would arraign.
You dance for Apollo with noble devotion, A high cleansing revel to make the heart sane.
But Judith the dancer prays to a spirit More white than Apollo and all of his train.
I know a dancer who finds the true Godhead, Who bends o'er a brazier in Heaven's clear plain.
I know a dancer, I know a dancer, Who lifts us toward peace, from this earth that is vain: Judith the dancer, Judith the dancer, With foot like the snow, and with step like the rain.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Perfect Marriage


I hate this yoke; for the world's sake here put it on:
Knowing 'twill weigh as much on you till life is gone.
Knowing you love your freedom dear, as I love mine— Knowing that love unchained has been our life's great wine: Our one great wine (yet spent too soon, and serving none; Of the two cups free love at last the deadly one).
II We grant our meetings will be tame, not honey-sweet No longer turning to the tryst with flying feet.
We know the toil that now must come will spoil the bloom And tenderness of passion's touch, and in its room Will come tame habit, deadly calm, sorrow and gloom.
Oh, how the battle sears the best who enter life! Each soidier comes out blind or lame from the black strife.
Mad or diseased or damned of soul the best may come— It matters not how merrily now rolls the drum, The fife shrills high, the horn sings loud, till no steps lag— And all adore that silken flame, Desire's great flag.
III We will build strong our tiny fort, strong as we can— Holding one inner room beyond the sword of man.
Love is too wide, it seems to-day, to hide it there.
It seems to flood the fields of corn, and gild the air— It seems to breathe from every brook, from flowers to sigh— It seems a cataract poured down from the great sky; It seems a tenderness so vast no bush but shows Its haunting and transfiguring light where wonder glows.
It wraps us in a silken snare by shadowy streams, And wildering sweet and stung with joy your white soul seems A flame, a flame, conquering day, conquering night, Brought from our God, a holy thing, a mad delight.
But love, when all things beat it down, leaves the wide air, The heavens are gray, and men turn wolves, lean with despair.
Ah, when we need love most, and weep, when all is dark, Love is a pinch of ashes gray, with one live spark— Yet on the hope to keep alive that treasure strange Hangs all earth's struggle, strife and scorn, and desperate change.
IV Love? .
we will scarcely love our babes full many a time— Knowing their souls and ours too well, and all our grime— And there beside our holy hearth we'll hide our eyes— Lest we should flash what seems disdain without disguise.
Yet there shall be no wavering there in that deep trial— And no false fire or stranger hand or traitor vile— We'll fight the gloom and fight the world with strong sword-play, Entrenched within our block-house small, ever at bay— As fellow-warriors, underpaid, wounded and wild, True to their battered flag, their faith still undefiled!

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

Yankee Doodle

 This poem is intended as a description of a sort of Blashfield mural painting on the sky.
To be sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle, yet in a slower, more orotund fashion.
It is presumably an exercise for an entertainment on the evening of Washington's Birthday.
Dawn this morning burned all red Watching them in wonder.
There I saw our spangled flag Divide the clouds asunder.
Then there followed Washington.
Ah, he rode from glory, Cold and mighty as his name And stern as Freedom's story.
Unsubdued by burning dawn Led his continentals.
Vast they were, and strange to see In gray old regimentals:— Marching still with bleeding feet, Bleeding feet and jesting— Marching from the judgment throne With energy unresting.
How their merry quickstep played— Silver, sharp, sonorous, Piercing through with prophecy The demons' rumbling chorus— Behold the ancient powers of sin And slavery before them!— Sworn to stop the glorious dawn, The pit-black clouds hung o'er them.
Plagues that rose to blast the day Fiend and tiger faces, Monsters plotting bloodshed for The patient toiling races.
Round the dawn their cannon raged, Hurling bolts of thunder, Yet before our spangled flag Their host was cut asunder.
Like a mist they fled away.
Ended wrath and roaring.
Still our restless soldier-host From East to West went pouring.
High beside the sun of noon They bore our banner splendid.
All its days of stain and shame And heaviness were ended.
Men were swelling now the throng From great and lowly station— Valiant citizens to-day Of every tribe and nation.
Not till night their rear-guard came, Down the west went marching, And left behind the sunset-rays In beauty overarching.
War-god banners lead us still, Rob, enslave and harry Let us rather choose to-day The flag the angels carry— Flag we love, but brighter far— Soul of it made splendid: Let its days of stain and shame And heaviness be ended.
Let its fifes fill all the sky, Redeemed souls marching after, Hills and mountains shake with song, While seas roll on in laughter.

More great poems below...

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Proud Farmer

 [In memory of E.
Frazee, Rush County, Indiana] Into the acres of the newborn state He poured his strength, and plowed his ancient name, And, when the traders followed him, he stood Towering above their furtive souls and tame.
That brow without a stain, that fearless eye Oft left the passing stranger wondering To find such knighthood in the sprawling land, To see a democrat well-nigh a king.
He lived with liberal hand, with guests from far, With talk and joke and fellowship to spare, — Watching the wide world's life from sun to sun, Lining his walls with books from everywhere.
He read by night, he built his world by day.
The farm and house of God to him were one.
For forty years he preached and plowed and wrought — A statesman in the fields, who bent to none.
His plowmen-neighbors were as lords to him.
His was an ironside, democratic pride.
He served a rigid Christ, but served him well — And, for a lifetime, saved the countryside.
Here lie the dead, who gave the church their best Under his fiery preaching of the word.
They sleep with him beneath the ragged grass.
The village withers, by his voice unstirred.
And tho' his tribe be scattered to the wind From the Atlantic to the China sea, Yet do they think of that bright lamp he burned Of family worth and proud integrity.
And many a sturdy grandchild hears his name In reverence spoken, till he feels akin To all the lion-eyed who built the world — And lion-dreams begin to burn within.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Drunkards Funeral

 "Yes," said the sister with the little pinched face,
The busy little sister with the funny little tract: —
"This is the climax, the grand fifth act.
There rides the proud, at the finish of his race.
There goes the hearse, the mourners cry, The respectable hearse goes slowly by.
The wife of the dead has money in her purse, The children are in health, so it might have been worse.
That fellow in the coffin led a life most foul.
A fierce defender of the red bar-tender, At the church he would rail, At the preacher he would howl.
He planted every deviltry to see it grow.
He wasted half his income on the lewd and the low.
He would trade engender for the red bar-tender, He would homage render to the red bar-tender, And in ultimate surrender to the red bar-tender, He died of the tremens, as crazy as a loon, And his friends were glad, when the end came soon.
There goes the hearse, the mourners cry, The respectable hearse goes slowly by.
And now, good friends, since you see how it ends, Let each nation-mender flay the red bar-tender, — Abhor The transgression Of the red bar-tender, — Ruin The profession Of the red bar-tender: Force him into business where his work does good.
Let him learn how to plough, let him learn to chop wood, Let him learn how to plough, let him learn to chop wood.
"The moral, The conclusion, The verdict now you know:— 'The saloon must go, The saloon must go, The saloon, The saloon, The saloon, Must go.
'" "You are right, little sister," I said to myself, "You are right, good sister," I said.
"Though you wear a mussy bonnet On your little gray head, You are right, little sister," I said.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

A Sense of Humor

 NO man should stand before the moon 
To make sweet song thereon, 
With dandified importance, 
His sense of humor gone.
Nay, let us don the motley cap, The jester's chastened mien, If we would woo that looking-glass And see what should be seen.
O mirror on fair Heaven's wall, We find there what we bring.
So, let us smile in honest part And deck our souls and sing.
Yea, by the chastened jest alone Will ghosts and terrors pass, And fays, or suchlike friendly things, Throw kisses through the glass.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

What the Ghost of the Gambler Said

 WHERE now the huts are empty, 
Where never a camp-fire glows, 
In an abandoned cañon, 
A Gambler's Ghost arose.
He muttered there, "The moon's a sack Of dust.
" His voice rose thin: "I wish I knew the miner-man.
I'd play, and play to win.
In every game in Cripple-creek Of old, when stakes were high, I held my own.
Now I would play For that sack in the sky.
The sport would not be ended there.
'Twould rather be begun.
I'd bet my moon against his stars, And gamble for the sun.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

Sweethearts of the Year

 Sweetheart Spring

Our Sweetheart, Spring, came softly, 
Her gliding hands were fire, 
Her lilac breath upon our cheeks 
Consumed us with desire.
By her our God began to build, Began to sow and till.
He laid foundations in our loves For every good and ill.
We asked Him not for blessing, We asked Him not for pain — Still, to the just and unjust He sent His fire and rain.
Sweetheart Summer We prayed not, yet she came to us, The silken, shining one, On Jacob's noble ladder Descended from the sun.
She reached our town of Every Day, Our dry and dusty sod — We prayed not, yet she brought to us The misty wine of God.
Sweetheart Autumn The woods were black and crimson, The frost-bit flowers were dead, But Sweetheart Indian Summer came With love-winds round her head.
While fruits God-given and splendid Belonged to her domain: Baskets of corn in perfect ear And grapes with purple stain, The treacherous winds persuaded her Spring Love was in the wood Altho' the end of love was hers — Fruition, Motherhood.
Sweetheart Winter We had done naught of service To win our Maker's praise.
Yet Sweetheart Winter came to us To gild our waning days.
Down Jacob's winding ladder She came from Sunshine Town, Bearing the sparkling mornings And clouds of silver-brown; Bearing the seeds of Springtime.
Upon her snowy seas Bearing the fairy star-flowers For baby Christmas trees.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Black Hawk War of the Artists


To be given in the manner of the Indian Oration and the Indian War-Cry.
Hawk of the Rocks, Yours is our cause to-day.
Watching your foes Here in our war array, Young men we stand, Wolves of the West at bay.
Power, power for war Comes from these trees divine; Power from the boughs, Boughs where the dew-beads shine, Power from the cones Yea, from the breath of the pine! Power to restore All that the white hand mars.
See the dead east Crushed with the iron cars— Chimneys black Blinding the sun and stars! Hawk of the pines, Hawk of the plain-winds fleet, You shall be king There in the iron street, Factory and forge Trodden beneath your feet.
There will proud trees Grow as they grow by streams.
There will proud thoughts Walk as in warrior dreams.
There will proud deeds Bloom as when battle gleams! Warriors of Art, We will hold council there, Hewing in stone Things to the trapper fair, Painting the gray Veils that the spring moons wear, This our revenge, This one tremendous change: Making new towns, Lit with a star-fire strange, Wild as the dawn Gilding the bison-range.
All the young men Chanting your cause that day, Red-men, new-made Out of the Saxon clay, Strong and redeemed, Bold in your war-array!

Written by Vachel Lindsay |


The sun gives not directly The coal, the diamond crown; Not in a special basket Are these from Heaven let down.
The sun gives not directly The plough, man's iron friend; Not by a path or stairway Do tools from Heaven descend.
Yet sunshine fashions all things That cut or burn or fly; And corn that seems upon the earth Is made in the hot sky.
The gravel of the roadbed, The metal of the gun, The engine of the airship Trace somehow from the sun.
And so your soul, my lady— (Mere sunshine, nothing more)— Prepares me the contraptions I work with or adore.
Within me cornfields rustle, Niagaras roar their way, Vast thunderstorms and rainbows Are in my thought to-day.
Ten thousand anvils sound there By forges flaming white, And many books I read there, And many books I write; And freedom's bells are ringing, And bird-choirs chant and fly— The whole world works in me to-day And all the shining sky, Because of one small lady Whose smile is my chief sun.
She gives not any gift to me Yet all gifts, giving one.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

On the Road to Nowhere

 On the road to nowhere 
What wild oats did you sow 
When you left your father's house 
With your cheeks aglow? 
Eyes so strained and eager 
To see what you might see? 
Were you thief or were you fool 
Or most nobly free? 

Were the tramp-days knightly, 
True sowing of wild seed? 
Did you dare to make the songs 
Vanquished workmen need? 
Did you waste much money 
To deck a leper's feast? 
Love the truth, defy the crowd 
Scandalize the priest? 
On the road to nowhere 
What wild oats did you sow? 
Stupids find the nowhere-road 
Dusty, grim and slow.
Ere their sowing's ended They turn them on their track, Look at the caitiff craven wights Repentant, hurrying back! Grown ashamed of nowhere, Of rags endured for years, Lust for velvet in their hearts, Pierced with Mammon's spears, All but a few fanatics Give up their darling goal, Seek to be as others are, Stultify the soul.
Reapings now confront them, Glut them, or destroy, Curious seeds, grain or weeds Sown with awful joy.
Hurried is their harvest, They make soft peace with men.
Pilgrims pass.
They care not, Will not tramp again.
O nowhere, golden nowhere! Sages and fools go on To your chaotic ocean, To your tremendous dawn.
Far in your fair dream-haven, Is nothing or is all.
They press on, singing, sowing Wild deeds without recall!

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

Ghosts in Love

 "Tell me, where do ghosts in love 
Find their bridal veils?" 

"If you and I were ghosts in love 
We'd climb the cliffs of Mystery, 
Above the sea of Wails.
I'd trim your gray and streaming hair With veils of Fantasy From the tree of Memory.
'Tis there the ghosts that fall in love Find their bridal veils.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

At Mass

 No doubt to-morrow I will hide
My face from you, my King.
Let me rejoice this Sunday noon, And kneel while gray priests sing.
It is not wisdom to forget.
But since it is my fate Fill thou my soul with hidden wine To make this white hour great.
My God, my God, this marvelous hour I am your son I know.
Once in a thousand days your voice Has laid temptation low.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |


 OLD Euclid drew a circle 
On a sand-beach long ago.
He bounded and enclosed it With angles thus and so.
His set of solemn greybeards Nodded and argued much Of arc and circumference, Diameter and such.
A silent child stood by them From morning until noon Because they drew such charming Round pictures of the moon.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Potatoes Dance

 (A Poem Game.
) I "Down cellar," said the cricket, "Down cellar," said the cricket, "Down cellar," said the cricket, "I saw a ball last night, In honor of a lady, In honor of a lady, In honor of a lady, Whose wings were pearly-white.
The breath of bitter weather, The breath of bitter weather, The breath of bitter weather, Had smashed the cellar pane.
We entertained a drift of leaves, We entertained a drift of leaves, We entertained a drift of leaves, And then of snow and rain.
But we were dressed for winter, But we were dressed for winter, But we were dressed for winter, And loved to hear it blow In honor of the lady, In honor of the lady, In honor of the lady, Who makes potatoes grow, Our guest the Irish lady, The tiny Irish lady, The airy Irish lady, Who makes potatoes grow.
II "Potatoes were the waiters, Potatoes were the waiters, Potatoes were the waiters, Potatoes were the band, Potatoes were the dancers Kicking up the sand, Kicking up the sand, Kicking up the sand, Potatoes were the dancers Kicking up the sand.
Their legs were old burnt matches, Their legs were old burnt matches, Their legs were old burnt matches, Their arms were just the same.
They jigged and whirled and scrambled, Jigged and whirled and scrambled, Jigged and whirled and scrambled, In honor of the dame, The noble Irish lady Who makes potatoes dance, The witty Irish lady, The saucy Irish lady, The laughing Irish lady Who makes potatoes prance.
III "There was just one sweet potato.
He was golden brown and slim.
The lady loved his dancing, The lady loved his dancing, The lady loved his dancing, She danced all night with him, She danced all night with him.
Alas, he wasn't Irish.
So when she flew away, They threw him in the coal-bin, And there he is today, Where they cannot hear his sighs And his weeping for the lady, The glorious Irish lady, The beauteous Irish lady, Who Gives Potatoes Eyes.