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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 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 Allen Ginsberg |

Feb. 29 1958

 Last nite I dreamed of T.
Eliot welcoming me to the land of dream Sofas couches fog in England Tea in his digs Chelsea rainbows curtains on his windows, fog seeping in the chimney but a nice warm house and an incredibly sweet hooknosed Eliot he loved me, put me up, gave me a couch to sleep on, conversed kindly, took me serious asked my opinion on Mayakovsky I read him Corso Creeley Kerouac advised Burroughs Olson Huncke the bearded lady in the Zoo, the intelligent puma in Mexico City 6 chorus boys from Zanzibar who chanted in wornout polygot Swahili, and the rippling rythyms of Ma Rainey and Vachel Lindsay.
On the Isle of the Queen we had a long evening's conversation Then he tucked me in my long red underwear under a silken blanket by the fire on the sofa gave me English Hottie and went off sadly to his bed, Saying ah Ginsberg I am glad to have met a fine young man like you.
At last, I woke ashamed of myself.
Is he that good and kind? Am I that great? What's my motive dreaming his manna? What English Department would that impress? What failure to be perfect prophet's made up here? I dream of my kindness to T.
Eliot wanting to be a historical poet and share in his finance of Imagery- overambitious dream of eccentric boy.
God forbid my evil dreams come true.
Last nite I dreamed of Allen Ginsberg.
Eliot would've been ashamed of me.

More great poems below...

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 |

The Angel and the Clown

 I saw wild domes and bowers 
And smoking incense towers 
And mad exotic flowers 
In Illinois.
Where ragged ditches ran Now springs of Heaven began Celestial drink for man In Illinois.
There stood beside the town Beneath its incense-crown An angel and a clown In Illinois.
He was as Clowns are: She was snow and star With eyes that looked afar In Illinois.
I asked, "How came this place Of antique Asian grace Amid our callow race In Illinois?" Said Clown and Angel fair: "By laughter and by prayer, By casting off all care In Illinois.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Mysterious Cat

 A chant for a children's pantomime dance, suggested by a picture painted by George Mather Richards.
I saw a proud, mysterious cat, I saw a proud, mysterious cat Too proud to catch a mouse or rat— Mew, mew, mew.
But catnip she would eat, and purr, But catnip she would eat, and purr.
And goldfish she did much prefer— Mew, mew, mew.
I saw a cat—'twas but a dream, I saw a cat—'twas but a dream Who scorned the slave that brought her cream— Mew, mew, mew.
Unless the slave were dressed in style, Unless the slave were dressed in style And knelt before her all the while— Mew, mew, mew.
Did you ever hear of a thing like that? Did you ever hear of a thing like that? Did you ever hear of a thing like that? Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.
Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.
Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.
Mew .
mew .

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

This Section is a Christmas Tree

 THIS section is a Christmas tree: 
Loaded with pretty toys for you.
Behold the blocks, the Noah's arks, The popguns painted red and blue.
No solemn pine-cone forest-fruit, But silver horns and candy sacks And many little tinsel hearts And cherubs pink, and jumping-jacks.
For every child a gift, I hope.
The doll upon the topmost bough Is mine.
But all the rest are yours.
And I will light the candles now.

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.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

Our Mother Pocahontas

 (Note: — Pocahontas is buried at Gravesend, England.
) "Pocahontas' body, lovely as a poplar, sweet as a red haw in November or a pawpaw in May — did she wonder? does she remember — in the dust — in the cool tombs?" CARL SANDBURG.
I Powhatan was conqueror, Powhatan was emperor.
He was akin to wolf and bee, Brother of the hickory tree.
Son of the red lightning stroke And the lightning-shivered oak.
His panther-grace bloomed in the maid Who laughed among the winds and played In excellence of savage pride, Wooing the forest, open-eyed, In the springtime, In Virginia, Our Mother, Pocahontas.
Her skin was rosy copper-red.
And high she held her beauteous head.
Her step was like a rustling leaf: Her heart a nest, untouched of grief.
She dreamed of sons like Powhatan, And through her blood the lightning ran.
Love-cries with the birds she sung, Birdlike In the grape-vine swung.
The Forest, arching low and wide Gloried in its Indian bride.
Rolfe, that dim adventurer Had not come a courtier.
John Rolfe is not our ancestor.
We rise from out the soul of her Held in native wonderland, While the sun's rays kissed her hand, In the springtime, In Virginia, Our Mother, Pocahontas.
II She heard the forest talking, Across the sea came walking, And traced the paths of Daniel Boone, Then westward chased the painted moon.
She passed with wild young feet On to Kansas wheat, On to the miners' west, The echoing cañons' guest, Then the Pacific sand, Waking, Thrilling, The midnight land.
On Adams street and Jefferson — Flames coming up from the ground! On Jackson street and Washington — Flames coming up from the ground! And why, until the dawning sun Are flames coming up from the ground? Because, through drowsy Springfield sped This red-skin queen, with feathered head, With winds and stars, that pay her court And leaping beasts, that make her sport; Because, gray Europe's rags august She tramples in the dust; Because we are her fields of corn; Because our fires are all reborn From her bosom's deathless embers, Flaming As she remembers The springtime And Virginia, Our Mother, Pocahontas.
III We here renounce our Saxon blood.
Tomorrow's hopes, an April flood Come roaring in.
The newest race Is born of her resilient grace.
We here renounce our Teuton pride: Our Norse and Slavic boasts have died: Italian dreams are swept away, And Celtic feuds are lost today.
She sings of lilacs, maples, wheat, Her own soil sings beneath her feet, Of springtime And Virginia, Our Mother, Pocahontas.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Knight in Disguise

 [Concerning O.
Henry (Sidney Porter)] "He could not forget that he was a Sidney.
" Is this Sir Philip Sidney, this loud clown, The darling of the glad and gaping town? This is that dubious hero of the press Whose slangy tongue and insolent address Were spiced to rouse on Sunday afternoon The man with yellow journals round him strewn.
We laughed and dozed, then roused and read again, And vowed O.
Henry funniest of men.
He always worked a triple-hinged surprise To end the scene and make one rub his eyes.
He comes with vaudeville, with stare and leer.
He comes with megaphone and specious cheer.
His troupe, too fat or short or long or lean, Step from the pages of the magazine With slapstick or sombrero or with cane: The rube, the cowboy or the masher vain.
They over-act each part.
But at the height Of banter and of canter and delight The masks fall off for one queer instant there And show real faces: faces full of care And desperate longing: love that's hot or cold; And subtle thoughts, and countenances bold.
The masks go back.
'Tis one more joke.
Laugh on! The goodly grown-up company is gone.
No doubt had he occasion to address The brilliant court of purple-clad Queen Bess, He would have wrought for them the best he knew And led more loftily his actor-crew.
How coolly he misquoted.
'Twas his art — Slave-scholar, who misquoted — from the heart.
So when we slapped his back with friendly roar Æsop awaited him without the door, — Æsop the Greek, who made dull masters laugh With little tales of fox and dog and calf .
And be it said, mid these his pranks so odd With something nigh to chivalry he trod And oft the drear and driven would defend — The little shopgirls' knight unto the end.
Yea, he had passed, ere we could understand The blade of Sidney glimmered in his hand.
Yea, ere we knew, Sir Philip's sword was drawn With valiant cut and thrust, and he was gone.

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 |

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.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

An Argument

THE VOICE OF THE MAN IMPATIENT WITH VISIONS AND UTOPIAS We find your soft Utopias as white As new-cut bread, and dull as life in cells, O, scribes who dare forget how wild we are How human breasts adore alarum bells.
You house us in a hive of prigs and saints Communal, frugal, clean and chaste by law.
I'd rather brood in bloody Elsinore Or be Lear's fool, straw-crowned amid the straw.
Promise us all our share in Agincourt Say that our clerks shall venture scorns and death, That future ant-hills will not be too good For Henry Fifth, or Hotspur, or Macbeth.
Promise that through to-morrow's spirit-war Man's deathless soul will hack and hew its way, Each flaunting Caesar climbing to his fate Scorning the utmost steps of yesterday.
Never a shallow jester any more! Let not Jack Falstaff spill the ale in vain.
Let Touchstone set the fashions for the wise And Ariel wreak his fancies through the rain.
INCENSE AND SPLENDOR Incense and Splendor haunt me as I go.
Though my good works have been, alas, too few, Though I do naught, High Heaven comes down to me, And future ages pass in tall review.
I see the years to come as armies vast, Stalking tremendous through the fields of time.
MAN is unborn.
To-morrow he is born, Flame-like to hover o'er the moil and grime, Striving, aspiring till the shame is gone, Sowing a million flowers, where now we mourn— Laying new, precious pavements with a song, Founding new shrines, the good streets to adorn.
I have seen lovers by those new-built walls Clothed like the dawn in orange, gold and red.
Eyes flashing forth the glory-light of love Under the wreaths that crowned each royal head.
Life was made greater by their sweetheart prayers.
Passion was turned to civic strength that day— Piling the marbles, making fairer domes With zeal that else had burned bright youth away.
I have seen priestesses of life go by Gliding in samite through the incense-sea— Innocent children marching with them there, Singing in flowered robes, "THE EARTH IS FREE": While on the fair, deep-carved unfinished towers Sentinels watched in armor, night and day— Guarding the brazier-fires of hope and dream— Wild was their peace, and dawn-bright their array!

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 |

The Jingo and the Minstrel


Glossary for the uninstructed and the hasty: Jimmu Tenno, ancestor of all the Japanese Emperors; Nikko, Japan's loveliest shrine; Iyeyasu, her greatest statesman; Bushido, her code of knighthood; The Forty-seven Ronins, her classic heroes; Nogi, her latest hero; Fuji, her most beautiful mountain.
"Now do you know of Avalon That sailors call Japan? She holds as rare a chivalry As ever bled for man.
King Arthur sleeps at Nikko hill Where Iyeyasu lies, And there the broad Pendragon flag In deathless splendor flies.
" "Nay, minstrel, but the great ships come From out the sunset sea.
We cannot greet the souls they bring With welcome high and free.
How can the Nippon nondescripts That weird and dreadful band Be aught but what we find them here:— The blasters of the land?" "First race, first men from anywhere To face you, eye to eye.
For that do you curse Avalon And raise a hue and cry? These toilers cannot kiss your hand, Or fawn with hearts bowed down: Be glad for them, and Avalon, And Arthur's ghostly crown.
"No doubt your guests, with sage debate In grave things gentlemen Will let your trade and farms alone And turn them back again.
But why should brawling braggarts rise With hasty words of shame To drive them back like dogs and swine Who in due honor came?" "We cannot give them honor, sir.
We give them scorn for scorn.
And Rumor steals around the world All white-skinned men to warn Against this sleek silk-merchant here And viler coolie-man And wrath within the courts of war Brews on against Japan!" "Must Avalon, with hope forlorn, Her back against the wall, Have lived her brilliant life in vain While ruder tribes take all? Must Arthur stand with Asian Celts, A ghost with spear and crown, Behind the great Pendragon flag And be again cut down? "Tho Europe's self shall move against High Jimmu Tenno's throne The Forty-seven Ronin Men Will not be found alone.
For Percival and Bedivere And Nogi side by side Will stand,—with mourning Merlin there, Tho all go down in pride.
"But has the world the envious dream— Ah, such things cannot be,— To tear their fairy-land like silk And toss it in the sea? Must venom rob the future day The ultimate world-man Of rare Bushido, code of codes, The fair heart of Japan? "Go, be the guest of Avalon.
Believe me, it lies there Behind the mighty gray sea-wall Where heathen bend in prayer: Where peasants lift adoring eyes To Fuji's crown of snow.
King Arthur's knights will be your hosts, So cleanse your heart, and go.
"And you will find but gardens sweet Prepared beyond the seas, And you will find but gentlefolk Beneath the cherry-trees.
So walk you worthy of your Christ Tho church bells do not sound, And weave the bands of brotherhood On Jimmu Tenno's ground.