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Best Famous Horse Poems

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

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by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league, 
Half a league onward, 
All in the valley of Death 
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!" he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew Some one had blundered: Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred.
Flashed all their sabres bare, Flashed as they turned in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while All the world wondered: Plunged in the battery-smoke Right through the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reeled from the sabre-stroke Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not, Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came through the jaws of Death Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!


by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |

All in green went my love riding

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.
four lean hounds crouched low and smiling the merry deer ran before.
Fleeter be they than dappled dreams the swift sweet deer the red rare deer.
Four red roebuck at a white water the cruel bugle sang before.
Horn at hip went my love riding riding the echo down into the silver dawn.
four lean hounds crouched low and smiling the level meadows ran before.
Softer be they than slippered sleep the lean lithe deer the fleet flown deer.
Four fleet does at a gold valley the famished arrow sang before.
Bow at belt went my love riding riding the mountain down into the silver dawn.
four lean hounds crouched low and smiling the sheer peaks ran before.
Paler be they than daunting death the sleek slim deer the tall tense deer.
Four tell stags at a green mountain the lucky hunter sang before.
All in green went my love riding on a great horse of gold into the silver dawn.
four lean hounds crouched low and smiling my heart fell dead before.


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?


More great poems below...

by Sylvia Plath | |

Elm

for Ruth Fainlight


I know the bottom, she says.
I know it with my great tap root; It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.
Is it the sea you hear in me, Its dissatisfactions? Or the voice of nothing, that was you madness? Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it.
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.
All night I shall gallup thus, impetuously, Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf, Echoing, echoing.
Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons? This is rain now, the big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin white, like arsenic.
I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root My red filaments burn and stand,a hand of wires.
Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.
The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me.
Or perhaps I have caught her.
I let her go.
I let her go Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.
I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.
I am terrified by this dark thing That sleeps in me; All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.
Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables? Is it for such I agitate my heart? I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face So murderous in its strangle of branches? ---- Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will.
These are the isolate, slow faults That kill, that kill, that kill.


by Wang Wei | |

AT PARTING

I dismount from my horse and I offer you wine, 
And I ask you where you are going and why.
And you answer: "I am discontent And would rest at the foot of the southern mountain.
So give me leave and ask me no questions.
White clouds pass there without end.
"


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 | |

Banbury Cross


Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see an old lady upon a white horse.
Rings on her fingers, and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.


by | |

For Want Of A Nail


For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


by | |

The Blacksmith


"Robert Barnes, my fellow fine,
Can you shoe this horse of mine?"
"Yes, good sir, that I can,
As well as any other man;
There's a nail, and there's a prod,
Now, good sir, your horse is shod.
"


by | |

The Hobby-Horse

 

I had a little hobby-horse,
    And it was dapple gray;
Its head was made of pea-straw,
    Its tail was made of hay.

I sold it to an old woman
    For a copper groat;
And I'll not sing my song again
    Without another coat.


by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

Preludes

 I

THE WINTER evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps The grimy scraps Of withered leaves about your feet And newspapers from vacant lots; The showers beat On broken blinds and chimney-pots, And at the corner of the street A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.
II The morning comes to consciousness Of faint stale smells of beer From the sawdust-trampled street With all its muddy feet that press To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades That time resumes, One thinks of all the hands That are raising dingy shades In a thousand furnished rooms.
III You tossed a blanket from the bed, You lay upon your back, and waited; You dozed, and watched the night revealing The thousand sordid images Of which your soul was constituted; They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back And the light crept up between the shutters And you heard the sparrows in the gutters, You had such a vision of the street As the street hardly understands; Sitting along the bed’s edge, where You curled the papers from your hair, Or clasped the yellow soles of feet In the palms of both soiled hands.
IV His soul stretched tight across the skies That fade behind a city block, Or trampled by insistent feet At four and five and six o’clock; And short square fingers stuffing pipes, And evening newspapers, and eyes Assured of certain certainties, The conscience of a blackened street Impatient to assume the world.
I am moved by fancies that are curled Around these images, and cling: The notion of some infinitely gentle Infinitely suffering thing.
Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh; The worlds revolve like ancient women Gathering fuel in vacant lots.


by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

Journey Of The Magi

 'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
' And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped in away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt.
I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.


by John Greenleaf Whittier | |

Laus Deo

 It is done!
Clang of bell and roar of gun
Send the tidings up and down.
How the belfries rock and reel! How the great guns, peal on peal, Fling the joy from town to town! Ring, O bells! Every stroke exulting tells Of the burial hour of crime.
Loud and long, that all may hear, Ring for every listening ear Of Eternity and Time! Let us kneel: God's own voice is in that peal, And this spot is holy ground.
Lord, forgive us! What are we That our eyes this glory see, That our ears have heard this sound! For the Lord On the whirlwind is abroad; In the earthquake He has spoken; He has smitten with His thunder The iron walls asunder, And the gates of brass are broken! Loud and long Lift the old exulting song; Sing with Miriam by the sea, He has cast the mighty down; Horse and rider sink and drown; 'He hath triumphed gloriously!' Did we dare, In our agony of prayer, Ask for more than He has done? When was ever His right hand Over any time or land Stretched as now beneath the sun? How they pale, Ancient myth and song and tale, In this wonder of our days When the cruel rod of war Blossoms white with righteous law, And the wrath of man is praise! Blotted out! All within and all about Shall a fresher life begin; Freer breathe the universe As it rolls its heavy curse On the dead and buried sin! It is done! In the circuit of the sun Shall the sound thereof go forth.
It shall bid the sad rejoice, It shall give the dumb a voice, It shall belt with joy the earth! Ring and swing, Bells of joy! On morning's wing Sound the song of praise abroad! With a sound of broken chains Tell the nations that He reigns, Who alone is Lord and God!


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Conscientious Objector

 I shall die, but 
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself: I will not give him a leg up.
Though he flick my shoulders with his whip, I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his pay-roll.
I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much, I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men to Death? Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.


by Marianne Moore | |

The Paper Nautilus

 For authorities whose hopes
are shaped by mercenaries?
Writers entrapped by
teatime fame and by
commuters' comforts? Not for these
the paper nautilus
constructs her thin glass shell.
Giving her perishable souvenir of hope, a dull white outside and smooth- edged inner surface glossy as the sea, the watchful maker of it guards it day and night; she scarcely eats until the eggs are hatched.
Buried eight-fold in her eight arms, for she is in a sense a devil- fish, her glass ram'shorn-cradled freight is hid but is not crushed; as Hercules, bitten by a crab loyal to the hydra, was hindered to succeed, the intensively watched eggs coming from the shell free it when they are freed,-- leaving its wasp-nest flaws of white on white, and close- laid Ionic chiton-folds like the lines in the mane of a Parthenon horse, round which the arms had wound themselves as if they knew love is the only fortress strong enough to trust to.


by Marianne Moore | |

Poetry

 I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all 
 this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair that can rise if it must, these things are important not because a high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are useful.
When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the same thing may be said for all of us, that we do not admire what we cannot understand: the bat holding on upside down or in quest of something to eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base- ball fan, the statistician-- nor is it valid to discriminate against 'business documents and school-books'; all these phenomena are important.
One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the poets among us can be 'literalists of the imagination'--above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them', shall we have it.
In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, the raw material of poetry in all its rawness and that which is on the other hand genuine, you are interested in poetry.


by Petrarch | |

SONNET LXXVII.

SONNET LXXVII.

Orso, al vostro destrier si può ben porre.

HE SYMPATHISES WITH HIS FRIEND ORSO AT HIS INABILITY TO ATTEND A TOURNAMENT.

Orso, a curb upon thy gallant horse
Well may we place to turn him from his course,
But who thy heart may bind against its will
Which honour courts and shuns dishonour still?
Sigh not! for nought its praise away can take,
Though Fate this journey hinder you to make.
For, as already voiced by general fame,
Now is it there, and none before it came.
Amid the camp, upon the day design'd,
Enough itself beneath those arms to find
Which youth, love, valour, and near blood concern,
Crying aloud: With noble fire I burn,
As my good lord unwillingly at home,
Who pines and languishes in vain to come.
Macgregor.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE MOUNTAIN CASTLE.

 THERE stands on yonder high mountain

A castle built of yore,
Where once lurked horse and horseman

In rear of gate and of door.
Now door and gate are in ashes, And all around is so still; And over the fallen ruins I clamber just as I will.
Below once lay a cellar, With costly wines well stor'd; No more the glad maid with her pitcher Descends there to draw from the hoard.
No longer the goblet she places Before the guests at the feast; The flask at the meal so hallow'd No longer she fills for the priest.
No more for the eager squire The draught in the passage is pour'd; No more for the flying present Receives she the flying reward.
For all the roof and the rafters, They all long since have been burn'd, And stairs and passage and chapel To rubbish and ruins are turn'd.
Yet when with lute and with flagon, When day was smiling and bright, I've watch'd my mistress climbing To gain this perilous height, Then rapture joyous and radiant The silence so desolate brake, And all, as in days long vanish'd, Once more to enjoyment awoke; As if for guests of high station The largest rooms were prepared; As if from those times so precious A couple thither had fared; As if there stood in his chapel The priest in his sacred dress, And ask'd: "Would ye twain be united?" And we, with a smile, answer'd, "Yes!" And songs that breath'd a deep feeling, That touched the heart's innermost chord, The music-fraught mouth of sweet echo, Instead of the many, outpour'd.
And when at eve all was hidden In silence unbroken and deep, The glowing sun then look'd upwards, And gazed on the summit so steep.
And squire and maiden then glitter'd As bright and gay as a lord, She seized the time for her present, And he to give her reward.
1803.
*


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Listeners

 "Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller; No head from the leaf-fringed sill Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes, Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners That dwelt in the lone house then Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight To that voice from the world of men: Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair, That goes down to the empty hall, Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness, Their stillness answering his cry, While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf, 'Neath the starred and leafy sky; For he suddenly smote on the door, even Louder, and lifted his head:-- "Tell them I came, and no one answered, That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners, Though every word he spake Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house From the one man left awake: Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup, And the sound of iron on stone, And how the silence surged softly backward, When the plunging hoofs were gone.


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Song of Finis

 At the edge of All the Ages 
A Knight sate on his steed, 
His armor red and thin with rust 
His soul from sorrow freed; 
And he lifted up his visor 
From a face of skin and bone, 
And his horse turned head and whinnied 
As the twain stood there alone.
No bird above that steep of time Sang of a livelong quest; No wind breathed, Rest: "Lone for an end!" cried Knight to steed, Loosed an eager rein-- Charged with his challenge into space: And quiet did quiet remain.


by A S J Tessimond | |

Epilogue

 "Why can't you say what you mean straight out in prose?"
Well, say it yourself: then say "It's that, but more,
Or less perhaps, or not that way, or not
That after all.
" The meaning of a song Might be an undernote; this tree might mean That leaf as much as trunk, branch, other leaves.
And does one know till one begins? And let's Look over hedges far as eyesight lets us, Since road's not, surely, road, but road and hedge And feet and sky and smell of hawthorn, horse-dung.


by J R R Tolkien | |

Lament for Eorl the Young

 Where now is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the deadwood burning, Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?


by J R R Tolkien | |

Theoden

 From dark Dunharrow in the dim morning
With thane and captain rode Thengel's son:
To Edoras he came, the ancient halls
Of the Mark-wardens mist-enshrouded;
Golden timbers were in gloom mantled.
Farewell he bade to his free people, Hearth and high-seat, and the hallowed places, Where long he had feasted ere the light faded.
Forth rode the king, fear behind him, Fate before him.
Fealty kept he; Oaths he had taken, all fulfilled them.
Forth rode Theoden.
Five nights and days East and onward rode the Eolingas.
Through Folde and Fenmarch and the Firienwood, Six thousand spears to Sunlending, Mundberg the mighty under Mindolluin, Sea-kings city in the South-kingdom Foe-beleaguered, fire-encircled.
Doom drove them on.
Darkness took them, Horse and horseman; hoofbeats afar Sank into silence: so the songs tell us.


by Li Bai | |

Bringing in the Wine

See how the Yellow River's water move out of heaven.
Entering the ocean,never to return.
See how lovely locks in bright mirrors in high chambers, Though silken-black at morning, have changed by night to snow.
.
.
.
Oh, let a man of spirit venture where he pleases And never tip his golden cup empty toward the moon! Since heaven gave the talent, let it be employed! Spin a thousand of pieces of silver, all of them come back! Cook a sheep, kill a cow, whet the appetite, And make me, of three hundred bowls, one long drink! .
.
.
To the old master, Tsen, And the young scholar, Tan-chiu, Bring in the wine! Let your cups never rest! Let me sing you a song! Let your ears attend! What are bell and drum, rare dishes and treasure? Let me br forever drunk and never come to reason! Sober men of olden days and sages are forgotten, And only the great drinkers are famous for all time.
.
.
.
Prince Chen paid at a banquet in the Palace of Perfection Ten thousand coins for a cask of wine, with many a laugh and quip.
Why say, my host, that your money is gone? Go and buy wine and we'll drink it together! My flower-dappled horse, My furs worth a thousand, Hand them to the boy to exchange for good wine, And we'll drown away the woes of ten thousand generation!


by Alec Derwent (A D) Hope | |

Phallus

 This was the gods' god, 
The leashed divinity, 
Divine divining rod 
And Me within the me.
By mindlight tower and tree Its shadow on the ground Throw, and in darkness she Whose weapon is her wound Fends off the knife, the sword, The Tiger and the Snake; It stalks the virgin's bed And bites her wide awake.
Her Bab-el-Mandeb waits Her Red Sea gate of tears: The blood-sponge god dilates, His rigid pomp appears; Sets in the toothless mouth A tongue of prophecy.
It speaks in naked Truth Indifference for me Love, a romantic slime That lubricates his way Against the stream of Time.
And though I win the day His garrisons deep down Ignore my victory, Abandon this doomed town, Crawl through a sewer and flee.
A certain triumph, of course, Bribes me with brief joy: Stiffly my Wooden Horse Receive into your Troy.