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Best Famous Farewell Poems

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

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Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | Create an image from this poem

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star, 
And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 
When I put out to sea, 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep, 
Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For though from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.
Written by Anna Akhmatova | Create an image from this poem


 Not under foreign skies
 Nor under foreign wings protected -
 I shared all this with my own people
 There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
[1961] INSTEAD OF A PREFACE During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in Leningrad.
One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me, her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in her life heard my name.
Jolted out of the torpor characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear (everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe this?' And I answered - 'I can.
' It was then that something like a smile slid across what had previously been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957.
Leningrad] DEDICATION Mountains fall before this grief, A mighty river stops its flow, But prison doors stay firmly bolted Shutting off the convict burrows And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone, Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this, We are everywhere the same, listening To the scrape and turn of hateful keys And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass, Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed, We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun, Lower every day; the Neva, mistier: But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict.
Immediately a flood of tears, Followed by a total isolation, As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or, Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out, But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends, Captives of my two satanic years? What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard? What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon? I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
[March 1940] INTRODUCTION [PRELUDE] It happened like this when only the dead Were smiling, glad of their release, That Leningrad hung around its prisons Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang Short songs of farewell To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering, As they, in regiments, walked along - Stars of death stood over us As innocent Russia squirmed Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres Of the black marias.
I You were taken away at dawn.
I followed you As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God.
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold sweat On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather To wail with the wives of the murdered streltsy (1) Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
Moscow] II Silent flows the river Don A yellow moon looks quietly on Swanking about, with cap askew It sees through the window a shadow of you Gravely ill, all alone The moon sees a woman lying at home Her son is in jail, her husband is dead Say a prayer for her instead.
III It isn't me, someone else is suffering.
I couldn't.
Not like this.
Everything that has happened, Cover it with a black cloth, Then let the torches be removed.
IV Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling, The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2) If only you could have foreseen What life would do with you - That you would stand, parcel in hand, Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in line, Burning the new year's ice With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways With not a sound - how many innocent Blameless lives are being taken away.
[1938] V For seventeen months I have been screaming, Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever - I can no longer distinguish Who is an animal, who a person, and how long The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers, The chinking of the thurible, Tracks from somewhere into nowhere And, staring me in the face And threatening me with swift annihilation, An enormous star.
[1939] VI Weeks fly lightly by.
Even so, I cannot understand what has arisen, How, my son, into your prison White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn, Eyes that focus like a hawk, And, upon your cross, the talk Is again of death.
Spring] VII THE VERDICT The word landed with a stony thud Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared, I will manage with the rest.
I have a lot of work to do today; I need to slaughter memory, Turn my living soul to stone Then teach myself to live again.
But how.
The hot summer rustles Like a carnival outside my window; I have long had this premonition Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939.
Fontannyi Dom (4)] VIII TO DEATH You will come anyway - so why not now? I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish.
Burst in Like a shell of noxious gas.
Creep up on me Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation, Or, with a simple tale prepared by you (And known by all to the point of nausea), take me Before the commander of the blue caps and let me glimpse The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore.
The river Yenisey Swirls on.
The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939.
Fontannyi Dom] IX Madness with its wings Has covered half my soul It feeds me fiery wine And lures me into the abyss.
That's when I understood While listening to my alien delirium That I must hand the victory To it.
However much I nag However much I beg It will not let me take One single thing away: Not my son's frightening eyes - A suffering set in stone, Or prison visiting hours Or days that end in storms Nor the sweet coolness of a hand The anxious shade of lime trees Nor the light distant sound Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940.
Fontannyi Dom] X CRUCIFIXION Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour, The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!' But to his mother, 'Weep not for me.
' [1940.
Fontannyi Dom] 2.
Magdalena smote herself and wept, The favourite disciple turned to stone, But there, where the mother stood silent, Not one person dared to look.
Tashkent] EPILOGUE 1.
I have learned how faces fall, How terror can escape from lowered eyes, How suffering can etch cruel pages Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair Can suddenly turn white.
I've learned to recognise The fading smiles upon submissive lips, The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself But all of you who stood there with me Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat Under a towering, completely blind red wall.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you: The one who resisted the long drag to the open window; The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar soil beneath her feet; The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied, 'I arrive here as if I've come home!' I'd like to name you all by name, but the list Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
So, I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble words I overheard you use.
Everywhere, forever and always, I will never forget one single thing.
Even in new grief.
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth Through which one hundred million people scream; That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country Decides to raise a memorial to me, I give my consent to this festivity But only on this condition - do not build it By the sea where I was born, I have severed my last ties with the sea; Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me; Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear That I will forget the Black Marias, Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears From my immovable bronze eyelids And let the prison dove coo in the distance While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940.
Fontannyi Dom] FOOTNOTES 1 An elite guard which rose up in rebellion against Peter the Great in 1698.
Most were either executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

So Long

TO conclude—I announce what comes after me; 
I announce mightier offspring, orators, days, and then, for the present, depart.
I remember I said, before my leaves sprang at all, I would raise my voice jocund and strong, with reference to consummations.
When America does what was promis’d, When there are plentiful athletic bards, inland and seaboard, When through These States walk a hundred millions of superb persons, When the rest part away for superb persons, and contribute to them, When breeds of the most perfect mothers denote America, Then to me and mine our due fruition.
I have press’d through in my own right, I have sung the Body and the Soul—War and Peace have I sung, And the songs of Life and of Birth—and shown that there are many births: I have offer’d my style to everyone—I have journey’d with confident step; While my pleasure is yet at the full, I whisper, So long! And take the young woman’s hand, and the young man’s hand, for the last time.
2 I announce natural persons to arise; I announce justice triumphant; I announce uncompromising liberty and equality; I announce the justification of candor, and the justification of pride.
I announce that the identity of These States is a single identity only; I announce the Union more and more compact, indissoluble; I announce splendors and majesties to make all the previous politics of the earth insignificant.
I announce adhesiveness—I say it shall be limitless, unloosen’d; I say you shall yet find the friend you were looking for.
I announce a man or woman coming—perhaps you are the one, (So long!) I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate, compassionate, fully armed.
I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold; I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its translation; I announce myriads of youths, beautiful, gigantic, sweet-blooded; I announce a race of splendid and savage old men.
3 O thicker and faster! (So long!) O crowding too close upon me; I foresee too much—it means more than I thought; It appears to me I am dying.
Hasten throat, and sound your last! Salute me—salute the days once more.
Peal the old cry once more.
Screaming electric, the atmosphere using, At random glancing, each as I notice absorbing, Swiftly on, but a little while alighting, Curious envelop’d messages delivering, Sparkles hot, seed ethereal, down in the dirt dropping, Myself unknowing, my commission obeying, to question it never daring, To ages, and ages yet, the growth of the seed leaving, To troops out of me, out of the army, the war arising—they the tasks I have set promulging, To women certain whispers of myself bequeathing—their affection me more clearly explaining, To young men my problems offering—no dallier I—I the muscle of their brains trying, So I pass—a little time vocal, visible, contrary; Afterward, a melodious echo, passionately bent for—(death making me really undying;) The best of me then when no longer visible—for toward that I have been incessantly preparing.
What is there more, that I lag and pause, and crouch extended with unshut mouth? Is there a single final farewell? 4 My songs cease—I abandon them; From behind the screen where I hid I advance personally, solely to you.
Camerado! This is no book; Who touches this, touches a man; (Is it night? Are we here alone?) It is I you hold, and who holds you; I spring from the pages into your arms—decease calls me forth.
O how your fingers drowse me! Your breath falls around me like dew—your pulse lulls the tympans of my ears; I feel immerged from head to foot; Delicious—enough.
Enough, O deed impromptu and secret! Enough, O gliding present! Enough, O summ’d-up past! 5 Dear friend, whoever you are, take this kiss, I give it especially to you—Do not forget me; I feel like one who has done work for the day, to retire awhile; I receive now again of my many translations—from my avataras ascending—while others doubtless await me; An unknown sphere, more real than I dream’d, more direct, darts awakening rays about me—So long! Remember my words—I may again return, I love you—I depart from materials; I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.
Written by Robert Seymour Bridges | Create an image from this poem

From The Testament of Beauty

 'Twas at that hour of beauty when the setting sun
squandereth his cloudy bed with rosy hues, to flood
his lov'd works as in turn he biddeth them Good-night;
and all the towers and temples and mansions of men
face him in bright farewell, ere they creep from their pomp
naked beneath the darkness;- while to mortal eyes
'tis given, ifso they close not of fatigue, nor strain
at lamplit tasks-'tis given, as for a royal boon
to beggarly outcasts in homeless vigil, to watch
where uncurtain's behind the great windows of space
Heav'n's jewel'd company circleth unapproachably-
'Twas at sunset that I, fleeing to hide my soul
in refuge of beauty from a mortal distress,
walk'd alone with the Muse in her garden of thought,
discoursing at liberty with the mazy dreams
that came wavering pertinaciously about me; as when
the small bats, issued from their hangings, flitter o'erhead
thru' the summer twilight, with thin cries to and fro
hunting in muffled flight atween the stars and flowers.
Then fell I in strange delusion, illusion strange to tell; for as a man who lyeth fast asleep in his bed may dream he waketh, and that he walketh upright pursuing some endeavour in full conscience-so 'twas with me; but contrawise; for being in truth awake methought I slept and dreamt; and in thatt dream methought I was telling a dream; nor telling was I as one who, truly awaked from a true sleep, thinketh to tell his dream to a friend, but for his scant remembrances findeth no token of speech-it was not so with me; for my tale was my dream and my dream the telling, and I remember wondring the while I told it how I told it so tellingly.
And yet now 'twould seem that Reason inveighed me with her old orderings; as once when she took thought to adjust theology, peopling the inane that vex'd her between God and man with a hierarchy of angels; like those asteroids wherewith she later fill'd the gap 'twixt Jove and Mars.
Verily by Beauty it is that we come as WISDOM, yet not by Reason at Beauty; and now with many words pleasing myself betimes I am fearing lest in the end I play the tedious orator who maundereth on for lack of heart to make an end of his nothings.
Wherefor as when a runner who hath run his round handeth his staff away, and is glad of his rest, here break I off, knowing the goal was not for me the while I ran on telling of what cannot be told.
For not the Muse herself can tell of Goddes love; which cometh to the child from the Mother's embrace, an Idea spacious as the starry firmament's inescapable infinity of radiant gaze, that fadeth only as it outpasseth mortal sight: and this direct contact is 't with eternities, this springtide miracle of the soul's nativity that oft hath set philosophers adrift in dream; which thing Christ taught, when he set up a little child to teach his first Apostles and to accuse their pride, saying, 'Unless ye shall receive it as a child, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
' So thru'out all his young mental apprenticehood the child of very simplicity, and in the grace and beauteous attitude of infantine wonder, is apt to absorb Ideas in primal purity, and by the assimilation of thatt immortal food may build immortal life; but ever with the growth of understanding, as the sensible images are more and more corrupt, troubled by questioning thought, or with vainglory alloy'd, 'tis like enought the boy in prospect of his manhood wil hav cast to th' winds his Baptism with his Babyhood; nor might he escape the fall of Ev'ryman, did not a second call of nature's Love await him to confirm his Faith or to revoke him if he is whollylapsed therefrom.
And so mighty is this second vision, which cometh in puberty of body and adolescence of mind that, forgetting his Mother, he calleth it 'first Love'; for it mocketh at suasion or stubbornness of heart, as the oceantide of the omnipotent Pleasur of God, flushing all avenues of life, and unawares by thousandfold approach forestalling its full flood with divination of the secret contacts of Love,-- of faintest ecstasies aslumber in Nature's calm, like thought in a closed book, where some poet long since sang his throbbing passion to immortal sleep-with coy tenderness delicat as the shifting hues that sanctify the silent dawn with wonder-gleams, whose evanescence is the seal of their glory, consumed in self-becoming of eternity; til every moment as it flyeth, cryeth 'Seize! Seize me ere I die! I am the Life of Life.
' 'Tis thus by near approach to an eternal presence man's heart with divine furor kindled and possess'd falleth in blind surrender; and finding therewithal in fullest devotion the full reconcilement betwixt his animal and spiritual desires, such welcome hour of bliss standeth for certain pledge of happiness perdurable: and coud he sustain this great enthusiasm, then the unbounded promise would keep fulfilment; since the marriage of true minds is thatt once fabled garden, amidst of which was set the single Tree that bore such med'cinable fruit that if man ate thereof he should liv for ever.
Friendship is in loving rather than in being lov'd, which is its mutual benediction and recompense; and tho' this be, and tho' love is from lovers learn'd, it springeth none the less from the old essence of self.
No friendless man ('twas well said) can be truly himself; what a man looketh for in his friend and findeth, and loving self best, loveth better than himself, is his own better self, his live lovable idea, flowering by expansion in the loves of his life.
And in the nobility of our earthly friendships we hav al grades of attainment, and the best may claim perfection of kind; and so, since ther be many bonds other than breed (friendships of lesser motiv, found even in the brutes) and since our politick is based on actual association of living men, 'twil come that the spiritual idea of Friendship, the huge vastidity of its essence, is fritter'd away in observation of the usual habits of men; as happ'd with the great moralist, where his book saith that ther can be no friendship betwixt God and man because of their unlimited disparity.
From this dilemma of pagan thought, this poison of faith, Man-soul made glad escape in the worship of Christ; for his humanity is God's Personality, and communion with him is the life of the soul.
Of which living ideas (when in the struggle of thought harden'd by language they became symbols of faith) Reason builded her maze, wherefrom none should escape, wandering intent to map and learn her tortuous clews, chanting their clerkly creed to the high-echoing stones of their hand-fashion'd temple: but the Wind of heav'n bloweth where it listeth, and Christ yet walketh the earth, and talketh still as with those two disciples once on the road to Emmaus-where they walk and are sad; whose vision of him then was his victory over death, thatt resurrection which all his lovers should share, who in loving him had learn'd the Ethick of happiness; whereby they too should come where he was ascended to reign over men's hearts in the Kingdom of God.
Our happiest earthly comradeships hold a foretaste of the feast of salvation and by thatt virtue in them provoke desire beyond them to out-reach and surmount their humanity in some superhumanity and ultimat perfection: which, howe'ever 'tis found or strangeley imagin'd, answereth to the need of each and pulleth him instinctivly as to a final cause.
Thus unto all who hav found their high ideal in Christ, Christ is to them the essence discern'd or undeiscern'd of all their human friendships; and each lover of him and of his beauty must be as a bud on the Vine and hav participation in him; for Goddes love is unescapable as nature's environment, which if a man ignore or think to thrust it off he is the ill-natured fool that runneth blindly on death.
This Individualism is man's true Socialism.
This is the rife Idea whose spiritual beauty multiplieth in communion to transcendant might.
This is thatt excelent way whereon if we wil walk all things shall be added unto us-thatt Love which inspired the wayward Visionary in his doctrinal ode to the three christian Graces, the Church's first hymn and only deathless athanasian creed,--the which 'except a man believe he cannot be saved.
' This is the endearing bond whereby Christ's company yet holdeth together on the truth of his promise that he spake of his grat pity and trust in man's love, 'Lo, I am with you always ev'n to the end of the world.
' Truly the Soul returneth the body's loving where it hath won it.
and God so loveth the world.
and in the fellowship of the friendship of Christ God is seen as the very self-essence of love, Creator and mover of all as activ Lover of all, self-express'd in not-self, mind and body, mother and child, 'twixt lover and loved, God and man: but ONE ETERNAL in the love of Beauty and in the selfhood of Love.
Written by Spike Milligan | Create an image from this poem

Have A Nice Day

 'Help, help, ' said a man.
'I'm drowning.
' 'Hang on, ' said a man from the shore.
'Help, help, ' said the man.
'I'm not clowning.
' 'Yes, I know, I heard you before.
Be patient dear man who is drowning, You, see I've got a disease.
I'm waiting for a Doctor J.
So do be patient please.
' 'How long, ' said the man who was drowning.
'Will it take for the Doc to arrive? ' 'Not very long, ' said the man with the disease.
'Till then try staying alive.
' 'Very well, ' said the man who was drowning.
'I'll try and stay afloat.
By reciting the poems of Browning And other things he wrote.
' 'Help, help, ' said the man with the disease, 'I suddenly feel quite ill.
' 'Keep calm.
' said the man who was drowning, ' Breathe deeply and lie quite still.
' 'Oh dear, ' said the man with the awful disease.
'I think I'm going to die.
' 'Farewell, ' said the man who was drowning.
Said the man with the disease, 'goodbye.
' So the man who was drowning, drownded And the man with the disease past away.
But apart from that, And a fire in my flat, It's been a very nice day.
Written by William Blake | Create an image from this poem


THE sun descending in the west  
The evening star does shine; 
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
The moon like a flower 5 In heaven's high bower With silent delight Sits and smiles on the night.
Farewell green fields and happy grove Where flocks have took delight: 10 Where lambs have nibbled silent move The feet of angels bright; Unseen they pour blessing And joy without ceasing On each bud and blossom 15 And each sleeping bosom.
They look in every thoughtless nest Where birds are cover'd warm; They visit caves of every beast To keep them all from harm: 20 If they see any weeping That should have been sleeping They pour sleep on their head And sit down by their bed.
When wolves and tigers howl for prey 25 They pitying stand and weep Seeking to drive their thirst away And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful The angels most heedful 30 Receive each mild spirit New worlds to inherit.
And there the lion's ruddy eyes Shall flow with tears of gold: And pitying the tender cries 35 And walking round the fold: Saying 'Wrath by His meekness And by His health sickness Are driven away From our immortal day.
40 'And now beside thee bleating lamb I can lie down and sleep Or think on Him who bore thy name Graze after thee and weep.
For wash'd in life's river 45 My bright mane for ever Shall shine like the gold As I guard o'er the fold.
Written by Stephen Dunn | Create an image from this poem

Poem For People That Are Understandably Too Busy To Read Poetry

This won't last long.
Or if it does, or if the lines make you sleepy or bored, give in to sleep, turn on the T.
, deal the cards.
This poem is built to withstand such things.
Its feelings cannot be hurt.
They exist somewhere in the poet, and I am far away.
Pick it up anytime.
Start it in the middle if you wish.
It is as approachable as melodrama, and can offer you violence if it is violence you like.
Look, there's a man on a sidewalk; the way his leg is quivering he'll never be the same again.
This is your poem and I know you're busy at the office or the kids are into your last nerve.
Maybe it's sex you've always wanted.
Well, they lie together like the party's unbuttoned coats, slumped on the bed waiting for drunken arms to move them.
I don't think you want me to go on; everyone has his expectations, but this is a poem for the entire family.
Right now, Budweiser is dripping from a waterfall, deodorants are hissing into armpits of people you resemble, and the two lovers are dressing now, saying farewell.
I don't know what music this poem can come up with, but clearly it's needed.
For it's apparent they will never see each other again and we need music for this because there was never music when he or she left you standing on the corner.
You see, I want this poem to be nicer than life.
I want you to look at it when anxiety zigzags your stomach and the last tranquilizer is gone and you need someone to tell you I'll be here when you want me like the sound inside a shell.
The poem is saying that to you now.
But don't give anything for this poem.
It doesn't expect much.
It will never say more than listening can explain.
Just keep it in your attache case or in your house.
And if you're not asleep by now, or bored beyond sense, the poem wants you to laugh.
Laugh at yourself, laugh at this poem, at all poetry.
Come on: Good.
Now here's what poetry can do.
Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There's an awful shrug and, suddenly, You're beautiful for as long as you live.
Written by Sir Walter Raleigh | Create an image from this poem

A Farewell to False Love

Farewell false love, the oracle of lies, 
A mortal foe and enemy to rest, 
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise, 
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed, 
A way of error, a temple full of treason, 
In all effects contrary unto reason.
A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers, Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose, A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers As moisture lend to every grief that grows; A school of guile, a net of deep deceit, A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.
A fortress foiled, which reason did defend, A siren song, a fever of the mind, A maze wherein affection finds no end, A raging cloud that runs before the wind, A substance like the shadow of the sun, A goal of grief for which the wisest run.
A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear, A path that leads to peril and mishap, A true retreat of sorrow and despair, An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure's lap, A deep mistrust of that which certain seems, A hope of that which reason doubtful deems.
Sith* then thy trains my younger years betrayed, [since] And for my faith ingratitude I find; And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed*, [revealed] Whose course was ever contrary to kind*: [nature] False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew.
Written by John Dryden | Create an image from this poem

To the Memory of Mr. Oldham

Farewell, too little, and too lately known,
Whom I began to think and call my own:
For sure our souls were near allied, and thine
Cast in the same poetic mold with mine.
One common note on either lyre did strike, And knaves and fools we both abhorred alike.
To the same goal did both our studies drive; The last set out the soonest did arrive.
Thus Nisus fell upon the slippery place, While his young friend performed and won the race.
O early ripe! to thy abundant store What could advancing age have added more? It might (what nature never gives the young) Have taught the numbers of thy native tongue.
But satire needs not those, and wit will shine Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line: A noble error, and but seldom made, When poets are by too much force betrayed.
Thy generous fruits, though gathered ere their prime, Still showed a quickness, and maturing time But mellows what we write to the dull sweets of rhyme.
Once more, hail and farewell; farewell, thou young, But ah too short, Marcellus of our tongue; Thy brows with ivy, and with laurels bound; But fate and gloomy night encompass thee around.
Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | Create an image from this poem

All Things Will Die

 Clearly the blue river chimes in its flowing

 Under my eye;
Warmly and broadly the south winds are blowing

 Over the sky.
One after another the white clouds are fleeting; Every heart this May morning in joyance is beating Full merrily; Yet all things must die.
The stream will cease to flow; The wind will cease to blow; The clouds will cease to fleet; The heart will cease to beat; For all things must die.
All things must die.
Spring will come never more.
O, vanity! Death waits at the door.
See! our friends are all forsaking The wine and the merrymaking.
We are call'd—we must go.
Laid low, very low, In the dark we must lie.
The merry glees are still; The voice of the bird Shall no more be heard, Nor the wind on the hill.
O, misery! Hark! death is calling While I speak to ye, The jaw is falling, The red cheek paling, The strong limbs failing; Ice with the warm blood mixing; The eyeballs fixing.
Nine times goes the passing bell: Ye merry souls, farewell.
The old earth Had a birth, As all men know, Long ago.
And the old earth must die.
So let the warm winds range, And the blue wave beat the shore; For even and morn Ye will never see Thro' eternity.
All things were born.
Ye will come never more, For all things must die.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Song of the Redwood-Tree

A prophecy and indirection—a thought impalpable, to breathe, as air; 
A chorus of dryads, fading, departing—or hamadryads departing; 
A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and sky, 
Voice of a mighty dying tree in the Redwood forest dense.
Farewell, my brethren, Farewell, O earth and sky—farewell, ye neighboring waters; My time has ended, my term has come.
2 Along the northern coast, Just back from the rock-bound shore, and the caves, In the saline air from the sea, in the Mendocino country, With the surge for bass and accompaniment low and hoarse, With crackling blows of axes, sounding musically, driven by strong arms, Riven deep by the sharp tongues of the axes—there in the Redwood forest dense, I heard the mighty tree its death-chant chanting.
The choppers heard not—the camp shanties echoed not; The quick-ear’d teamsters, and chain and jack-screw men, heard not, As the wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years, to join the refrain; But in my soul I plainly heard.
Murmuring out of its myriad leaves, Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high, Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs—out of its foot-thick bark, That chant of the seasons and time—chant, not of the past only, but the future.
3 You untold life of me, And all you venerable and innocent joys, Perennial, hardy life of me, with joys, ’mid rain, and many a summer sun, And the white snows, and night, and the wild winds; O the great patient, rugged joys! my soul’s strong joys, unreck’d by man; (For know I bear the soul befitting me—I too have consciousness, identity, And all the rocks and mountains have—and all the earth;) Joys of the life befitting me and brothers mine, Our time, our term has come.
Nor yield we mournfully, majestic brothers, We who have grandly fill’d our time; With Nature’s calm content, and tacit, huge delight, We welcome what we wrought for through the past, And leave the field for them.
For them predicted long, For a superber Race—they too to grandly fill their time, For them we abdicate—in them ourselves, ye forest kings! In them these skies and airs—these mountain peaks—Shasta—Nevadas, These huge, precipitous cliffs—this amplitude—these valleys grand—Yosemite, To be in them absorb’d, assimilated.
4 Then to a loftier strain, Still prouder, more ecstatic, rose the chant, As if the heirs, the Deities of the West, Joining, with master-tongue, bore part.
Not wan from Asia’s fetishes, Nor red from Europe’s old dynastic slaughter-house, (Area of murder-plots of thrones, with scent left yet of wars and scaffolds every where,) But come from Nature’s long and harmless throes—peacefully builded thence, These virgin lands—Lands of the Western Shore, To the new Culminating Man—to you, the Empire New, You, promis’d long, we pledge, we dedicate.
You occult, deep volitions, You average Spiritual Manhood, purpose of all, pois’d on yourself—giving, not taking law, You Womanhood divine, mistress and source of all, whence life and love, and aught that comes from life and love, You unseen Moral Essence of all the vast materials of America, (age upon age, working in Death the same as Life,) You that, sometimes known, oftener unknown, really shape and mould the New World, adjusting it to Time and Space, You hidden National Will, lying in your abysms, conceal’d, but ever alert, You past and present purposes, tenaciously pursued, may-be unconscious of yourselves, Unswerv’d by all the passing errors, perturbations of the surface; You vital, universal, deathless germs, beneath all creeds, arts, statutes, literatures, Here build your homes for good—establish here—These areas entire, Lands of the Western Shore, We pledge, we dedicate to you.
For man of you—your characteristic Race, Here may be hardy, sweet, gigantic grow—here tower, proportionate to Nature, Here climb the vast, pure spaces, unconfined, uncheck’d by wall or roof, Here laugh with storm or sun—here joy—here patiently inure, Here heed himself, unfold himself (not others’ formulas heed)—here fill his time, To duly fall, to aid, unreck’d at last, To disappear, to serve.
Thus, on the northern coast, In the echo of teamsters’ calls, and the clinking chains, and the music of choppers’ axes, The falling trunk and limbs, the crash, the muffled shriek, the groan, Such words combined from the Redwood-tree—as of wood-spirits’ voices ecstatic, ancient and rustling, The century-lasting, unseen dryads, singing, withdrawing, All their recesses of forests and mountains leaving, From the Cascade range to the Wasatch—or Idaho far, or Utah, To the deities of the Modern henceforth yielding, The chorus and indications, the vistas of coming humanity—the settlements, features all, In the Mendocino woods I caught.
5 The flashing and golden pageant of California! The sudden and gorgeous drama—the sunny and ample lands; The long and varied stretch from Puget Sound to Colorado south; Lands bathed in sweeter, rarer, healthier air—valleys and mountain cliffs; The fields of Nature long prepared and fallow—the silent, cyclic chemistry; The slow and steady ages plodding—the unoccupied surface ripening—the rich ores forming beneath; At last the New arriving, assuming, taking possession, A swarming and busy race settling and organizing every where; Ships coming in from the whole round world, and going out to the whole world, To India and China and Australia, and the thousand island paradises of the Pacific; Populous cities—the latest inventions—the steamers on the rivers—the railroads—with many a thrifty farm, with machinery, And wool, and wheat, and the grape—and diggings of yellow gold.
6 But more in you than these, Lands of the Western Shore! (These but the means, the implements, the standing-ground,) I see in you, certain to come, the promise of thousands of years, till now deferr’d, Promis’d, to be fulfill’d, our common kind, the Race.
The New Society at last, proportionate to Nature, In Man of you, more than your mountain peaks, or stalwart trees imperial, In Woman more, far more, than all your gold, or vines, or even vital air.
Fresh come, to a New World indeed, yet long prepared, I see the Genius of the Modern, child of the Real and Ideal, Clearing the ground for broad humanity, the true America, heir of the past so grand, To build a grander future.
Written by J R R Tolkien | Create an image from this poem

Journeys End

 In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night, And swaying branches bear The Elven-stars as jewels white Amid their branching hair.
Though here at journey's end I lie In darkness buried deep, Beyond all towers strong and high, Beyond all mountains steep, Above all shadows rides the Sun And Stars for ever dwell: I will not say the Day is done, Nor bid the Stars farewell.
Written by Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem


 Kind solace in a dying hour!
Such, father, is not (now) my theme-
I will not madly deem that power
Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
Unearthly pride hath revell'd in-
I have no time to dote or dream:
You call it hope- that fire of fire!
It is but agony of desire:
If I can hope- Oh God! I can-
Its fount is holier- more divine-
I would not call thee fool, old man,
But such is not a gift of thine.
Know thou the secret of a spirit Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.
O yearning heart! I did inherit Thy withering portion with the fame, The searing glory which hath shone Amid the jewels of my throne, Halo of Hell! and with a pain Not Hell shall make me fear again- O craving heart, for the lost flowers And sunshine of my summer hours! The undying voice of that dead time, With its interminable chime, Rings, in the spirit of a spell, Upon thy emptiness- a knell.
I have not always been as now: The fever'd diadem on my brow I claim'd and won usurpingly- Hath not the same fierce heirdom given Rome to the Caesar- this to me? The heritage of a kingly mind, And a proud spirit which hath striven Triumphantly with human kind.
On mountain soil I first drew life: The mists of the Taglay have shed Nightly their dews upon my head, And, I believe, the winged strife And tumult of the headlong air Have nestled in my very hair.
So late from Heaven- that dew- it fell (Mid dreams of an unholy night) Upon me with the touch of Hell, While the red flashing of the light From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er, Appeared to my half-closing eye The pageantry of monarchy, And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar Came hurriedly upon me, telling Of human battle, where my voice, My own voice, silly child!- was swelling (O! how my spirit would rejoice, And leap within me at the cry) The battle-cry of Victory! The rain came down upon my head Unshelter'd- and the heavy wind Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
It was but man, I thought, who shed Laurels upon me: and the rush- The torrent of the chilly air Gurgled within my ear the crush Of empires- with the captive's prayer- The hum of suitors- and the tone Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.
My passions, from that hapless hour, Usurp'd a tyranny which men Have deem'd, since I have reach'd to power, My innate nature- be it so: But father, there liv'd one who, then, Then- in my boyhood- when their fire Burn'd with a still intenser glow, (For passion must, with youth, expire) E'en then who knew this iron heart In woman's weakness had a part.
I have no words- alas!- to tell The loveliness of loving well! Nor would I now attempt to trace The more than beauty of a face Whose lineaments, upon my mind, Are- shadows on th' unstable wind: Thus I remember having dwelt Some page of early lore upon, With loitering eye, till I have felt The letters- with their meaning- melt To fantasies- with none.
O, she was worthy of all love! Love- as in infancy was mine- 'Twas such as angel minds above Might envy; her young heart the shrine On which my every hope and thought Were incense- then a goodly gift, For they were childish and upright- Pure- as her young example taught: Why did I leave it, and, adrift, Trust to the fire within, for light? We grew in age- and love- together, Roaming the forest, and the wild; My breast her shield in wintry weather- And when the friendly sunshine smil'd, And she would mark the opening skies, I saw no Heaven- but in her eyes.
Young Love's first lesson is- the heart: For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles, When, from our little cares apart, And laughing at her girlish wiles, I'd throw me on her throbbing breast, And pour my spirit out in tears- There was no need to speak the rest- No need to quiet any fears Of her- who ask'd no reason why, But turn'd on me her quiet eye! Yet more than worthy of the love My spirit struggled with, and strove, When, on the mountain peak, alone, Ambition lent it a new tone- I had no being- but in thee: The world, and all it did contain In the earth- the air- the sea- Its joy- its little lot of pain That was new pleasure- the ideal, Dim vanities of dreams by night- And dimmer nothings which were real- (Shadows- and a more shadowy light!) Parted upon their misty wings, And, so, confusedly, became Thine image, and- a name- a name! Two separate- yet most intimate things.
I was ambitious- have you known The passion, father? You have not: A cottager, I mark'd a throne Of half the world as all my own, And murmur'd at such lowly lot- But, just like any other dream, Upon the vapour of the dew My own had past, did not the beam Of beauty which did while it thro' The minute- the hour- the day- oppress My mind with double loveliness.
We walk'd together on the crown Of a high mountain which look'd down Afar from its proud natural towers Of rock and forest, on the hills- The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers, And shouting with a thousand rills.
I spoke to her of power and pride, But mystically- in such guise That she might deem it nought beside The moment's converse; in her eyes I read, perhaps too carelessly- A mingled feeling with my own- The flush on her bright cheek, to me Seem'd to become a queenly throne Too well that I should let it be Light in the wilderness alone.
I wrapp'd myself in grandeur then, And donn'd a visionary crown- Yet it was not that Fantasy Had thrown her mantle over me- But that, among the rabble- men, Lion ambition is chained down- And crouches to a keeper's hand- Not so in deserts where the grand- The wild- the terrible conspire With their own breath to fan his fire.
Look 'round thee now on Samarcand! Is not she queen of Earth? her pride Above all cities? in her hand Their destinies? in all beside Of glory which the world hath known Stands she not nobly and alone? Falling- her veriest stepping-stone Shall form the pedestal of a throne- And who her sovereign? Timour- he Whom the astonished people saw Striding o'er empires haughtily A diadem'd outlaw! O, human love! thou spirit given On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven! Which fall'st into the soul like rain Upon the Siroc-wither'd plain, And, failing in thy power to bless, But leav'st the heart a wilderness! Idea! which bindest life around With music of so strange a sound, And beauty of so wild a birth- Farewell! for I have won the Earth.
When Hope, the eagle that tower'd, could see No cliff beyond him in the sky, His pinions were bent droopingly- And homeward turn'd his soften'd eye.
'Twas sunset: when the sun will part There comes a sullenness of heart To him who still would look upon The glory of the summer sun.
That soul will hate the ev'ning mist, So often lovely, and will list To the sound of the coming darkness (known To those whose spirits hearken) as one Who, in a dream of night, would fly But cannot from a danger nigh.
What tho' the moon- the white moon Shed all the splendour of her noon, Her smile is chilly, and her beam, In that time of dreariness, will seem (So like you gather in your breath) A portrait taken after death.
And boyhood is a summer sun Whose waning is the dreariest one- For all we live to know is known, And all we seek to keep hath flown- Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall With the noon-day beauty- which is all.
I reach'd my home- my home no more For all had flown who made it so.
I pass'd from out its mossy door, And, tho' my tread was soft and low, A voice came from the threshold stone Of one whom I had earlier known- O, I defy thee, Hell, to show On beds of fire that burn below, A humbler heart- a deeper woe.
Father, I firmly do believe- I know- for Death, who comes for me From regions of the blest afar, Where there is nothing to deceive, Hath left his iron gate ajar, And rays of truth you cannot see Are flashing thro' Eternity- I do believe that Eblis hath A snare in every human path- Else how, when in the holy grove I wandered of the idol, Love, Who daily scents his snowy wings With incense of burnt offerings From the most unpolluted things, Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven Above with trellis'd rays from Heaven, No mote may shun- no tiniest fly- The lightning of his eagle eye- How was it that Ambition crept, Unseen, amid the revels there, Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt In the tangles of Love's very hair?
Written by Louisa May Alcott | Create an image from this poem

Fairy Song

 The moonlight fades from flower and rose 
And the stars dim one by one; 
The tale is told, the song is sung, 
And the Fairy feast is done.
The night-wind rocks the sleeping flowers, And sings to them, soft and low.
The early birds erelong will wake: 'T is time for the Elves to go.
O'er the sleeping earth we silently pass, Unseen by mortal eye, And send sweet dreams, as we lightly float Through the quiet moonlit sky;-- For the stars' soft eyes alone may see, And the flowers alone may know, The feasts we hold, the tales we tell; So't is time for the Elves to go.
From bird, and blossom, and bee, We learn the lessons they teach; And seek, by kindly deeds, to win A loving friend in each.
And though unseen on earth we dwell, Sweet voices whisper low, And gentle hearts most joyously greet The Elves where'er they go.
When next we meet in the Fairy dell, May the silver moon's soft light Shine then on faces gay as now, And Elfin hearts as light.
Now spread each wing, for the eastern sky With sunlight soon shall glow.
The morning star shall light us home: Farewell! for the Elves must go.
Written by John Ashbery | Create an image from this poem

Daffy Duck In Hollywood

 Something strange is creeping across me.
La Celestina has only to warble the first few bars Of "I Thought about You" or something mellow from Amadigi di Gaula for everything--a mint-condition can Of Rumford's Baking Powder, a celluloid earring, Speedy Gonzales, the latest from Helen Topping Miller's fertile Escritoire, a sheaf of suggestive pix on greige, deckle-edged Stock--to come clattering through the rainbow trellis Where Pistachio Avenue rams the 2300 block of Highland Fling Terrace.
He promised he'd get me out of this one, That mean old cartoonist, but just look what he's Done to me now! I scarce dare approach me mug's attenuated Reflection in yon hubcap, so jaundiced, so déconfit Are its lineaments--fun, no doubt, for some quack phrenologist's Fern-clogged waiting room, but hardly what you'd call Companionable.
But everything is getting choked to the point of Silence.
Just now a magnetic storm hung in the swatch of sky Over the Fudds' garage, reducing it--drastically-- To the aura of a plumbago-blue log cabin on A Gadsden Purchase commemorative cover.
Suddenly all is Loathing.
I don't want to go back inside any more.
You meet Enough vague people on this emerald traffic-island--no, Not people, comings and goings, more: mutterings, splatterings, The bizarrely but effectively equipped infantries of happy-go-nutty Vegetal jacqueries, plumed, pointed at the little White cardboard castle over the mill run.
"Up The lazy river, how happy we could be?" How will it end? That geranium glow Over Anaheim's had the riot act read to it by the Etna-size firecracker that exploded last minute into A carte du Tendre in whose lower right-hand corner (Hard by the jock-itch sand-trap that skirts The asparagus patch of algolagnic nuits blanches) Amadis Is cozening the Princesse de Cleves into a midnight micturition spree On the Tamigi with the Wallets (Walt, Blossom, and little Sleezix) on a lamé barge "borrowed" from Ollie Of the Movies' dread mistress of the robes.
Wait! I have an announcement! This wide, tepidly meandering, Civilized Lethe (one can barely make out the maypoles And châlets de nécessitê on its sedgy shore) leads to Tophet, that Landfill-haunted, not-so-residential resort from which Some travellers return! This whole moment is the groin Of a borborygmic giant who even now Is rolling over on us in his sleep.
Farewell bocages, Tanneries, water-meadows.
The allegory comes unsnarled Too soon; a shower of pecky acajou harpoons is About all there is to be noted between tornadoes.
I have Only my intermittent life in your thoughts to live Which is like thinking in another language.
Everything Depends on whether somebody reminds you of me.
That this is a fabulation, and that those "other times" Are in fact the silences of the soul, picked out in Diamonds on stygian velvet, matters less than it should.
Prodigies of timing may be arranged to convince them We live in one dimension, they in ours.
While I Abroad through all the coasts of dark destruction seek Deliverance for us all, think in that language: its Grammar, though tortured, offers pavillions At each new parting of the ways.
Pastel Ambulances scoop up the quick and hie them to hospitals.
"It's all bits and pieces, spangles, patches, really; nothing Stands alone.
What happened to creative evolution?" Sighed Aglavaine.
Then to her Sélysette: "If his Achievement is only to end up less boring than the others, What's keeping us here? Why not leave at once? I have to stay here while they sit in there, Laugh, drink, have fine time.
In my day One lay under the tough green leaves, Pretending not to notice how they bled into The sky's aqua, the wafted-away no-color of regions supposed Not to concern us.
And so we too Came where the others came: nights of physical endurance, Or if, by day, our behavior was anarchically Correct, at least by New Brutalism standards, all then Grew taciturn by previous agreement.
We were spirited Away en bateau, under cover of fudge dark.
It's not the incomplete importunes, but the spookiness Of the finished product.
True, to ask less were folly, yet If he is the result of himself, how much the better For him we ought to be! And how little, finally, We take this into account! Is the puckered garance satin Of a case that once held a brace of dueling pistols our Only acknowledging of that color? I like not this, Methinks, yet this disappointing sequel to ourselves Has been applauded in London and St.
Somewhere Ravens pray for us.
" The storm finished brewing.
And thus She questioned all who came in at the great gate, but none She found who ever heard of Amadis, Nor of stern Aureng-Zebe, his first love.
Some They were to whom this mattered not a jot: since all By definition is completeness (so In utter darkness they reasoned), why not Accept it as it pleases to reveal itself? As when Low skyscrapers from lower-hanging clouds reveal A turret there, an art-deco escarpment here, and last perhaps The pattern that may carry the sense, but Stays hidden in the mysteries of pagination.
Not what we see but how we see it matters; all's Alike, the same, and we greet him who announces The change as we would greet the change itself.
All life is but a figment; conversely, the tiny Tome that slips from your hand is not perhaps the Missing link in this invisible picnic whose leverage Shrouds our sense of it.
Therefore bivouac we On this great, blond highway, unimpeded by Veiled scruples, worn conundrums.
Morning is Impermanent.
Grab sex things, swing up Over the horizon like a boy On a fishing expedition.
No one really knows Or cares whether this is the whole of which parts Were vouchsafed--once--but to be ambling on's The tradition more than the safekeeping of it.
This mulch for Play keeps them interested and busy while the big, Vaguer stuff can decide what it wants--what maps, what Model cities, how much waste space.
Life, our Life anyway, is between.
We don't mind Or notice any more that the sky is green, a parrot One, but have our earnest where it chances on us, Disingenuous, intrigued, inviting more, Always invoking the echo, a summer's day.