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Best Famous Dance Poems

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

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Maya Angelou | |

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise I rise I rise.


by Christopher Marlowe | |

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks And see the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull, Fair linèd slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my Love.
Thy silver dishes for thy meat As precious as the gods do eat, Shall on an ivory table be Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my Love.


by William Wordsworth | |

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud 
That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils; 
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed - and gazed - but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.


More great poems below...

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Footsteps of Angels

WHEN the hours of Day are numbered  
And the voices of the Night 
Wake the better soul that slumbered  
To a holy calm delight; 

Ere the evening lamps are lighted 5 
And like phantoms grim and tall  
Shadows from the fitful firelight 
Dance upon the parlor wall; 

Then the forms of the departed 
Enter at the open door; 10 
The beloved the true-hearted  
Come to visit me once more; 

He the young and strong who cherished 
Noble longings for the strife  
By the roadside fell and perished 15 
Weary with the march of life! 

They the holy ones and weakly  
Who the cross of suffering bore  
Folded their pale hands so meekly  
Spake with us on earth no more! 20 

And with them the Being Beauteous  
Who unto my youth was given  
More than all things else to love me  
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep 25 Comes that messenger divine Takes the vacant chair beside me Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me With those deep and tender eyes 30 Like the stars so still and saint-like Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not yet comprehended Is the spirit's voiceless prayer Soft rebukes in blessings ended 35 Breathing from her lips of air.
Oh though oft depressed and lonely All my fears are laid aside If I but remember only Such as these have lived and died! 40


by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |

Anyone Lived In A Pretty How Town

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and samll)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their
same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by moe they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april

wish by spirit and if by yes

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer sutumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain


by Wang Wei | |

A SONG OF A GIRL FROM LOYANG

There's a girl from Loyang in the door across the street, 
She looks fifteen, she may be a little older.
.
.
.
While her master rides his rapid horse with jade bit an bridle, Her handmaid brings her cod-fish in a golden plate.
On her painted pavilions, facing red towers, Cornices are pink and green with peach-bloom and with willow, Canopies of silk awn her seven-scented chair, And rare fans shade her, home to her nine-flowered curtains.
Her lord, with rank and wealth and in the bud of life, Exceeds in munificence the richest men of old.
He favours this girl of lowly birth, he has her taught to dance; And he gives away his coral-trees to almost anyone.
The wind of dawn just stirs when his nine soft lights go out, Those nine soft lights like petals in a flying chain of flowers.
Between dances she has barely time for singing over the songs; No sooner is she dressed again than incense burns before her.
Those she knows in town are only the rich and the lavish, And day and night she is visiting the hosts of the gayest mansions.
.
.
.
Who notices the girl from Yue with a face of white jade, Humble, poor, alone, by the river, washing silk?


by Wallace Stevens | |

Six Significant Landscapes

I
An old man sits
In the shadow of a pine tree
In China.
He sees larkspur, Blue and white, At the edge of the shadow, Move in the wind.
His beard moves in the wind.
The pine tree moves in the wind.
Thus water flows Over weeds.
II The night is of the colour Of a woman's arm: Night, the female, Obscure, Fragrant and supple, Conceals herself.
A pool shines, Like a bracelet Shaken in a dance.
III I measure myself Against a tall tree.
I find that I am much taller, For I reach right up to the sun, With my eye; And I reach to the shore of the sea With my ear.
Nevertheless, I dislike The way ants crawl In and out of my shadow.
IV When my dream was near the moon, The white folds of its gown Filled with yellow light.
The soles of its feet Grew red.
Its hair filled With certain blue crystallizations From stars, Not far off.
V Not all the knives of the lamp-posts, Nor the chisels of the long streets, Nor the mallets of the domes And high towers, Can carve What one star can carve, Shining through the grape-leaves.
VI Rationalists, wearing square hats, Think, in square rooms, Looking at the floor, Looking at the ceiling.
They confine themselves To right-angled triangles.
If they tried rhomboids, Cones, waving lines, ellipses -- As, for example, the ellipse of the half-moon -- Rationalists would wear sombreros.


by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

Come down O Maid

COME down, O maid, from yonder mountain height: 
What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang), 
In height and cold, the splendour of the hills? 
But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease 
To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine, 5 
To sit a star upon the sparkling spire; 
And come, for Love is of the valley, come, 
For Love is of the valley, come thou down 
And find him; by the happy threshold, he, 
Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize, 10 
Or red with spirted purple of the vats, 
Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk 
With Death and Morning on the silver horns, 
Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine, 
Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice, 15 
That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls 
To roll the torrent out of dusky doors: 
But follow; let the torrent dance thee down 
To find him in the valley; let the wild 
Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave 20 
The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill 
Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke, 
That like a broken purpose waste in air: 
So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales 
Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth 25 
Arise to thee; the children call, and I 
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound, 
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet; 
Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn, 
The moan of doves in immemorial elms, 30 
And murmuring of innumerable bees.


by Wang Wei | |

SONG OF AN OLD GENERAL

When he was a youth of fifteen or twenty, 
He chased a wild horse, he caught him and rode him, 
He shot the white-browed mountain tiger, 
He defied the yellow-bristled Horseman of Ye.
Fighting single- handed for a thousand miles, With his naked dagger he could hold a multitude.
.
.
.
Granted that the troops of China were as swift as heaven's thunder And that Tartar soldiers perished in pitfalls fanged with iron, General Wei Qing's victory was only a thing of chance.
And General Li Guang's thwarted effort was his fate, not his fault.
Since this man's retirement he is looking old and worn: Experience of the world has hastened his white hairs.
Though once his quick dart never missed the right eye of a bird, Now knotted veins and tendons make his left arm like an osier.
He is sometimes at the road-side selling melons from his garden, He is sometimes planting willows round his hermitage.
His lonely lane is shut away by a dense grove, His vacant window looks upon the far cold mountains But, if he prayed, the waters would come gushing for his men And never would he wanton his cause away with wine.
.
.
.
War-clouds are spreading, under the Helan Range; Back and forth, day and night, go feathered messages; In the three River Provinces, the governors call young men -- And five imperial edicts have summoned the old general.
So he dusts his iron coat and shines it like snow- Waves his dagger from its jade hilt in a dance of starry steel.
He is ready with his strong northern bow to smite the Tartar chieftain -- That never a foreign war-dress may affront the Emperor.
.
.
.
There once was an aged Prefect, forgotten and far away, Who still could manage triumph with a single stroke.


by William Cullen Bryant | |

The Crowded Street

LET me move slowly through the street  
Filled with an ever-shifting train  
Amid the sound of steps that beat 
The murmuring walks like autumn rain.
How fast the flitting figures come! 5 The mild the fierce the stony face; Some bright with thoughtless smiles and some Where secret tears have left their trace.
They pass¡ªto toil to strife to rest; To halls in which the feast is spread; 10 To chambers where the funeral guest In silence sits beside the dead.
And some to happy homes repair Where children pressing cheek to cheek With mute caresses shall declare 15 The tenderness they cannot speak.
And some who walk in calmness here Shall shudder as they reach the door Where one who made their dwelling dear Its flower its light is seen no more.
20 Youth with pale cheek and slender frame And dreams of greatness in thine eye! Go'st thou to build an early name Or early in the task to die? Keen son of trade with eager brow! 25 Who is now fluttering in thy snare? Thy golden fortunes tower they now Or melt the glittering spires in air? Who of this crowd to-night shall tread The dance till daylight gleam again? 30 Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead? Who writhe in throes of mortal pain? Some famine-struck shall think how long The cold dark hours how slow the light; And some who flaunt amid the throng 35 Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.
Each where his tasks or pleasures call They pass and heed each other not.
There is who heeds who holds them all In His large love and boundless thought.
40 These struggling tides of life that seem In wayward aimless course to tend Are eddies of the mighty stream That rolls to its appointed end.


by Sara Teasdale | |

The Years

 To-night I close my eyes and see
A strange procession passing me --
The years before I saw your face
Go by me with a wistful grace;
They pass, the sensitive, shy years,
As one who strives to dance, half blind with tears.
The years went by and never knew That each one brought me nearer you; Their path was narrow and apart And yet it led me to your heart -- Oh, sensitive, shy years, oh, lonely years, That strove to sing with voices drowned in tears.


by | |

A Melancholy Song


Trip upon trenchers,
And dance upon dishes,
My mother sent me for some barm, some barm;
She bid me go lightly,
And come again quickly,
For fear the young men should do me some harm.
Yet didn't you see, yet didn't you see,
What naughty tricks they put upon me?
They broke my pitcher
And spilt the water,
And huffed my mother,
And chid her daughter,
And kissed my sister instead of me.


by | |

Cock-A-Doodle-Do!

 

Cock-a-doodle-do!
My dame has lost her shoe,
My master's lost his fiddle-stick
And knows not what to do.

Cock-a-doodle-do!
What is my dame to do?
Till master finds his fiddle-stick,
She'll dance without her shoe.


by | |

Dance To Your Daddie

 

Dance to your daddie,
My bonnie laddie;
Dance to your daddie, my bonnie lamb;
You shall get a fishy,
On a little dishy;
You shall get a fishy, when the boat comes home.


by | |

Dance, Little Baby


Dance, little Baby, dance up high!
Never mind, Baby, Mother is by.
Crow and caper, caper and crow,
There, little Baby, there you go!
Up to the ceiling, down to the ground,
Backwards and forwards, round and round;
Dance, little Baby and Mother will sing,
With the merry coral, ding, ding, ding!


by | |

The Old Woman From France


There came an old woman from France
Who taught grown-up children to dance;
    But they were so stiff,
    She sent them home in a sniff,
This sprightly old woman from France.


by Omer Tarin | |

Shandur Polo

Had I seen the ghosts of this place
They would dance their victory dance;
Glorious vale
Cup, chalice,
Basin;
The glacial streams
Empty into that lake
Quiet, ever so silent,
Rippling lyre, reflection;
Snows and rocks frame it —
I have no words
Only emotions
Which boil and rise
With the thunder of horses,
The sound of stick
And ball thudding
Across the turf;
The ghosts of this place,
Had I but seen them,
Pale as the snow
Cold as the lake
As vivid as the night-fires
That light the valley;
The whistle of wind
The throb of drum
The chant of song

Had I seen the ghosts dance
Their victory dance….
(Omer Tarin, from 'A Sad Piper' 1994)


by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

The Song Of The Jellicles

 Jellicle Cats come out tonight,
Jellicle Cats come one come all:
The Jellicle Moon is shining bright--
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.
Jellicle Cats are black and white, Jellicle Cats are rather small; Jellicle Cats are merry and bright, And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces, Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes; They like to practise their airs and graces And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.
Jellicle Cats develop slowly, Jellicle Cats are not too big; Jellicle Cats are roly-poly, They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.
Until the Jellicle Moon appears They make their toilette and take their repose: Jellicles wash behind their ears, Jellicles dry between their toes.
Jellicle Cats are white and black, Jellicle Cats are of moderate size; Jellicles jump like a jumping-jack, Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.
They're quiet enough in the morning hours, They're quiet enough in the afternoon, Reserving their terpsichorean powers To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.
Jellicle Cats are black and white, Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small; If it happens to be a stormy night They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
If it happens the sun is shining bright You would say they had nothing to do at all: They are resting and saving themselves to be right For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.


by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

A Cooking Egg

 En l’an trentiesme do mon aage
Que toutes mes hontes j’ay beues.
.
.
PIPIT sate upright in her chair Some distance from where I was sitting; Views of the Oxford Colleges Lay on the table, with the knitting.
Daguerreotypes and silhouettes, Here grandfather and great great aunts, Supported on the mantelpiece An Invitation to the Dance.
.
.
.
.
.
I shall not want Honour in Heaven For I shall meet Sir Philip Sidney And have talk with Coriolanus And other heroes of that kidney.
I shall not want Capital in Heaven For I shall meet Sir Alfred Mond.
We two shall lie together, lapt In a five per cent.
Exchequer Bond.
I shall not want Society in Heaven, Lucretia Borgia shall be my Bride; Her anecdotes will be more amusing Than Pipit’s experience could provide.
I shall not want Pipit in Heaven: Madame Blavatsky will instruct me In the Seven Sacred Trances; Piccarda de Donati will conduct me.
.
.
.
.
.
But where is the penny world I bought To eat with Pipit behind the screen? The red-eyed scavengers are creeping From Kentish Town and Golder’s Green; Where are the eagles and the trumpets? Buried beneath some snow-deep Alps.
Over buttered scones and crumpets Weeping, weeping multitudes Droop in a hundred A.
B.
C.
’s.


by Chris Abani | |

Blue

Africans in the hold fold themselves
to make room for hope.
In the afternoon’s ferocity, tar, grouting the planks like the glue of family, melts to the run of a child’s licorice stick.
Wet decks crack, testing the wood’s mettle.
Distilled from evaporating brine, salt dusts the floor, tickling with the measure into time and the thirst trapped below.
II The captain’s new cargo of Igbos disturbs him.
They stand, computing the swim back to land.
Haitians still say: Igbo pend’c or’ a ya! But we do not hang ourselves in cowardice.
III Sold six times on the journey to the coast, once for a gun, then cloth, then iron manilas, her pride was masticated like husks of chewing sticks, spat from morning-rank mouths.
Breaking loose, edge of handcuffs held high like the blade of a vengeful axe, she runs across the salt scratch of deck, pain deeper than the blue inside a flame.
IV The sound, like the break of bone could have been the Captain’s skull or the musket shot dropping her over the side, her chains wrapped around his neck in dance.


by William Cullen Bryant | |

The Gladness of Nature

 Is this a time to be cloudy and sad, 
When our mother Nature laughs around; 
When even the deep blue heavens look glad, 
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground? 

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren, 
And the gossip of swallows through all the sky; 
The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den, 
And the wilding bee hums merrily by.
The clouds are at play in the azure space, And their shadows at play on the bright green vale, And here they stretch to the frolic chase, And there they roll on the easy gale.
There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower, There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree, There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower, And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.
And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray, On the leaping waters and gay young isles; Ay, look, and he'll smile thy gloom away.


by Robert Seymour Bridges | |

Spirits

 Angel spirits of sleep, 
White-robed, with silver hair, 
In your meadows fair, 
Where the willows weep, 
And the sad moonbeam 
On the gliding stream 
Writes her scatter'd dream: 

Angel spirits of sleep, 
Dancing to the weir 
In the hollow roar 
Of its waters deep; 
Know ye how men say 
That ye haunt no more 
Isle and grassy shore 
With your moonlit play; 
That ye dance not here, 
White-robed spirits of sleep, 
All the summer night 
Threading dances light?


by Stephen Vincent Benet | |

Before an Examination

 The little letters dance across the page, 
Flaunt and retire, and trick the tired eyes; 
Sick of the strain, the glaring light, I rise 
Yawning and stretching, full of empty rage 
At the dull maunderings of a long dead sage, 
Fling up the windows, fling aside his lies; 
Choosing to breathe, not stifle and be wise, 
And let the air pour in upon my cage.
The breeze blows cool and there are stars and stars Beyond the dark, soft masses of the elms That whisper things in windy tones and light.
They seem to wheel for dim, celestial wars; And I -- I hear the clash of silver helms Ring icy-clear from the far deeps of night.


by Paul Laurence Dunbar | |

To Dan

 STEP me now a bridal measure, 
Work give way to love and leisure, 
Hearts be free and hearts be gay -- 
Doctor Dan doth wed to-day.
Diagnosis, cease your squalling -- Check that scalpel's senseless bawling, Put that ugly knife away -- Doctor Dan doth wed to-day.
'Tis no time for things unsightly, Life's the day and life goes lightly; Science lays aside her sway-- Love rules Dr.
Dan to-day.
Gather, gentlemen and ladies, For the nuptial feast now made is, Swing your garlands, chant your lay For the pair who wed to-day.
Wish them happy days and many, Troubles few and griefs not any, Lift your brimming cups and say God bless them who wed to-day.
Then a cup to Cupid daring, Who for conquest ever faring, With his arrows dares assail E'en a doctor's coat of mail.
So with blithe and happy hymning And with harmless goblets brimming, Dance a step -- musicians play -- Doctor Dan doth wed to-day.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Chorus

 Give away her gowns,
Give away her shoes;
She has no more use
For her fragrant gowns;
Take them all down,
Blue, green, blue,
Lilac, pink, blue,
From their padded hangers;
She will dance no more
In her narrow shoes;
Sweep her narrow shoes
From the closet floor.