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Best Famous Identity Poems

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

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Ehsan Sehgal | |

Essence

"When you play cards in the way of true love, your are defeated by yourself, you cannot blame anyone else, love does not hide identity, when it is existed, it lightens the all sides, nowhere is darkness.
That is essence of true love.
" Ehsan Sehgal


by A R Ammons | |

Identity

 1) An individual spider web
identifies a species:

an order of instinct prevails
 through all accidents of circumstance,
  though possibility is
high along the peripheries of
spider
   webs:
   you can go all
  around the fringing attachments

  and find
disorder ripe,
entropy rich, high levels of random,
 numerous occasions of accident:

2) the possible settings
of a web are infinite:

 how does
the spider keep
  identity
 while creating the web
 in a particular place?

 how and to what extent
  and by what modes of chemistry
  and control?

it is
wonderful
 how things work: I will tell you
   about it
   because

it is interesting
and because whatever is
moves in weeds
 and stars and spider webs
and known
   is loved:
  in that love,
  each of us knowing it,
  I love you,

for it moves within and beyond us,
  sizzles in
to winter grasses, darts and hangs with bumblebees
by summer windowsills:

   I will show you
the underlying that takes no image to itself,
 cannot be shown or said,
but weaves in and out of moons and bladderweeds,
   is all and
 beyond destruction
 because created fully in no
particular form:

   if the web were perfectly pre-set,
   the spider could
  never find
  a perfect place to set it in: and

   if the web were
perfectly adaptable,
if freedom and possibility were without limit,
   the web would
lose its special identity:

 the row-strung garden web
keeps order at the center
where space is freest (intersecting that the freest
  "medium" should
  accept the firmest order)

and that
order
   diminishes toward the
periphery
 allowing at the points of contact
  entropy equal to entropy.


by A R Ammons | |

Still

 I said I will find what is lowly
and put the roots of my identity
down there:
each day I'll wake up
and find the lowly nearby,
a handy focus and reminder,
a ready measure of my significance,
the voice by which I would be heard,
the wills, the kinds of selfishness
I could
freely adopt as my own:

but though I have looked everywhere,
I can find nothing
to give myself to:
everything is

magnificent with existence, is in 
surfeit of glory:
nothing is diminished,
nothing has been diminished for me:

I said what is more lowly than the grass:
ah, underneath,
a ground-crust of dry-burnt moss:
I looked at it closely
and said this can be my habitat: but
nestling in I
found
below the brown exterior
green mechanisms beyond the intellect
awaiting resurrection in rain: so I got up

and ran saying there is nothing lowly in the universe:
I found a beggar:
he had stumps for legs: nobody was paying
him any attention: everybody went on by:
I nestled in and found his life:
there, love shook his body like a devastation:
I said
though I have looked everywhere
I can find nothing lowly
in the universe:

I whirled though transfigurations up and down,
transfigurations of size and shape and place:

at one sudden point came still,
stood in wonder:
moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent
with being!


More great poems below...

by Laura Riding Jackson | |

With The Face

 With the face goes a mirror
As with the mind a world.
Likeness tells the doubting eye That strangeness is not strange.
At an early hour and knowledge Identity not yet familiar Looks back upon itself from later, And seems itself.
To-day seems now.
With reality-to-be goes time.
With the mind goes a world.
Wit the heart goes a weather.
With the face goes a mirror As with the body a fear.
Young self goes staring to the wall Where dumb futurity speaks calm, And between then and then Forebeing grows of age.
The mirror mixes with the eye.
Soon will it be the very eye.
Soon will the eye that was The very mirror be.
Death, the final image, will shine Transparently not otherwise Than as the dark sun described With such faint brightnesses.


by Philip Larkin | |

An Arundel Tomb

 Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd -
The little dogs under their feet.
Such plainness of the pre-baroque Hardly involves the eye, until It meets his left-hand gauntlet, still Clasped empty in the other; and One sees, with a sharp tender shock, His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.
They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy Was just a detail friends would see: A sculptor's sweet commissioned grace Thrown off in helping to prolong The Latin names around the base.
They would no guess how early in Their supine stationary voyage The air would change to soundless damage, Turn the old tenantry away; How soon succeeding eyes begin To look, not read.
Rigidly they Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths Of time.
Snow fell, undated.
Light Each summer thronged the grass.
A bright Litter of birdcalls strewed the same Bone-littered ground.
And up the paths The endless altered people came, Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of An unarmorial age, a trough Of smoke in slow suspended skeins Above their scrap of history, Only an attitude remains: Time has transfigures them into Untruth.
The stone fidelity They hardly meant has come to be Their final blazon, and to prove Our almost-instinct almost true: What will survive of us is love.


by Philip Larkin | |

The Little Lives Of Earth And Form

 The little lives of earth and form,
Of finding food, and keeping warm,
 Are not like ours, and yet
A kinship lingers nonetheless:
We hanker for the homeliness
 Of den, and hole, and set.
And this identity we feel - Perhaps not right, perhaps not real - Will link us constantly; I see the rock, the clay, the chalk, The flattened grass, the swaying stalk, And it is you I see.


by Craig Raine | |

Dandelions

 'and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence'
 -- George Eliot, Middlemarch


Dead dandelions, bald as drumsticks,
swaying by the roadside

like Hare Krishna pilgrims
bowing to the Juggernaut.
They have given up everything.
Gold gone and their silver gone, humbled with dust, hollow, their milky bodies tan to the colour of annas.
The wind changes their identity: slender Giacomettis, Doré's convicts, Rodin's burghers of Calais with five bowed heads and the weight of serrated keys .
.
.
They wither into mystery, waiting to find out why they are, patiently, before nirvana when the rain comes down like vitriol.


by Adrienne Rich | |

From an Atlas of the Difficult World

 I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour.
I know you are reading this poem standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven across the plains' enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem in a room where too much has happened for you to bear where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed and the open valise speaks of flight but you cannot leave yet.
I know you are reading this poem as the underground train loses momentum and before running up the stairs toward a new kind of love your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out, count themselves out, at too early an age.
I know you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your hand because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language guessing at some words while others keep you reading and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn between bitterness and hope turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else left to read there where you have landed, stripped as you are.


by Chris Mansell | |

The unquiet city

 we are succulents
our cool jade arms open
over clean tables our fine bone
china minds pull the strings
of our tongues together we plait
our thoughts with the television
back through the aerials and
transmission towers prodding
through the literal fog
the mechanics of which distance
does not startle us or the ears
pretend to hear the telephone
the page also wearies
us we have taken the meaning
out of things by laying them face to
face in our dictionary of emotions
we are so entirely alone that we
are unaware of it
and we enjoy the religion of solitude
because religions are at base
meaningless and we can turn
from them to a new hobby
to clean ashtrays or emptier
whiskey glasses we the women
of our building Margaret Gladys
Cecily Ida Eileen and I have
the cleanest washing on our block
we are proud and air our sheets
although it's a long time since
any serious stain or passionate figment
seeped through that censorious cloth
we have plants one of us has a budgie
and I have three fish the details
are unimportant God does not come here often
we would be suspicious if he
did without an identity card
we collect each others' mail
remind each other of garbage
days and are frightened
of the louts from the skating rink
but in the night I leave
my curtains open and air
my pendant tremulous breasts


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Two Lyrics From Kilroys Carnival: A Masque

 I Aria

"--Kiss me there where pride is glittering
Kiss me where I am ripened and round fruit
Kiss me wherever, however, I am supple, bare and flare
(Let the bell be rung as long as I am young:
 let ring and fly like a great bronze wing!)

"--I'll kiss you wherever you think you are poor, 
Wherever you shudder, feeling striped or barred, 
Because you think you are bloodless, skinny or marred:
 Until, until
 your gaze has been stilled--
Until you are shamed again no more! 
I'll kiss you until your body and soul
 the mind in the body being fulfilled--
Suspend their dread and civil war!"

II Song

Under the yellow sea
Who comes and looks with me
For the daughters of music, the fountains of poetry?
Both have soared forth from the unending waters
Where all things still are seeds and far from flowers
And since they remain chained to the sea's powers
May wilt to nonentity or loll and arise to comedy
Or thrown into mere accident through irrelevant incident 
Dissipate all identity ceaselessly fragmented by the ocean's
 immense and intense, irresistible and insistent
 action,
Be scattered like the sand is, purposely and relentlessly,
Living in the summer resorts of the dead endlessly.


by Billy Collins | |

Tomes

 There is a section in my library for death
and another for Irish history,
a few shelves for the poetry of China and Japan,
and in the center a row of imperturbable reference books,
the ones you can turn to anytime,
when the night is going wrong
or when the day is full of empty promise.
I have nothing against the thin monograph, the odd query, a note on the identity of Chekhov's dentist, but what I prefer on days like these is to get up from the couch, pull down The History of the World, and hold in my hands a book containing nearly everything and weighing no more than a sack of potatoes, eleven pounds, I discovered one day when I placed it on the black, iron scale my mother used to keep in her kitchen, the device on which she would place a certain amount of flour, a certain amount of fish.
Open flat on my lap under a halo of lamplight, a book like this always has a way of soothing the nerves, quieting the riotous surf of information that foams around my waist even though it never mentions the silent labors of the poor, the daydreams of grocers and tailors, or the faces of men and women alone in single rooms- even though it never mentions my mother, now that I think of her again, who only last year rolled off the edge of the earth in her electric bed, in her smooth pink nightgown the bones of her fingers interlocked, her sunken eyes staring upward beyond all knowledge, beyond the tiny figures of history, some in uniform, some not, marching onto the pages of this incredibly heavy book.


by George Eliot | |

In a London Drawingroom

 The sky is cloudy, yellowed by the smoke.
For view there are the houses opposite Cutting the sky with one long line of wall Like solid fog: far as the eye can stretch Monotony of surface & of form Without a break to hang a guess upon.
No bird can make a shadow as it flies, For all is shadow, as in ways o'erhung By thickest canvass, where the golden rays Are clothed in hemp.
No figure lingering Pauses to feed the hunger of the eye Or rest a little on the lap of life.
All hurry on & look upon the ground, Or glance unmarking at the passers by The wheels are hurrying too, cabs, carriages All closed, in multiplied identity.
The world seems one huge prison-house & court Where men are punished at the slightest cost, With lowest rate of colour, warmth & joy.


by Seamus Heaney | |

Lovers on Aran

 The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas

To posess Aran.
Or did Aran rush to throw wide arms of rock around a tide That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash? Did sea define the land or land the sea? Each drew new meaning from the waves' collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.


by Emily Bronte | |

The Philosopher

 "Enough of thought, philosopher!
Too long hast thou been dreaming
Unlightened, in this chamber drear,
While summer's sun is beaming!
Space - sweeping soul, what sad refrain
Concludes thy musings once again? 

"Oh, for the time when I shall sleep
Without identity,
And never care how rain may steep,
Or snow may cover me!
No promised heaven, these wild desires,
Could all, or half fulfil;
No threathened hell, with quenchless fires,
Subdue this quenchless will!" 

"So said I, and still say the same;
Still, to my death, will say -
Three gods, within this little frame,
Are warring night and day;
Heaven could not hold them all, and yet 
They all are held in me;
And must be mine till I forget
My present entity!
Oh, for the time, when in my breast
Their struggles will be o'er!
Oh, for the day, when I shall rest,
And never suffer more!" 

"I saw a spirit, standing, man,
Where thou dost stand - an hour ago, 
And round his feet three rivers ran,
Of equal depth, and equal flow -
"A golden stream - and one like blood;
And one like sapphire, seemed to be;
But, where they joined their triple flood
It tumbled in an inky sea.
The spirit sent his dazzling gaze Down through that ocean's gloomy night Then, kindling all, with sudden blaze, The glad deep sparkled wide and bright - White as the sun, far, far more fair Than its divided sources were!" "And even for that spirit, seer, I've watched and sought my life - time long; Sought him in heaven, hell, earth and air - An endless search, and always wrong! Had I but seen his glorious eye Once light the clouds that wilder me, I ne'er had raised this coward cry To cease to think and cease to be; I ne'er had called oblivion blest, Nor, stretching eager hands to death, Implored to change for senseless rest This sentient soul, this living breath - Oh, let me die - that power and will Their cruel strife may close; And conquered good, and conquering ill Be lost in one repose!"


by Emily Bronte | |

Oh For The Time When I Shall Sleep

 Oh, for the time when I shall sleep
Without identity,
And never care how rain may steep,
Or snow may cover me!
No promised heaven these wild desires
Could all, or half, fulful;
No threatened hell, with quenchless fires,
Subdue this quenchless will!

So said I, and still say the same;
Still, to my death, will say— 
Three gods within this little frame
Are warring night and day:
Heaven could not hold them all, and yet
They all are held in me;
And must be mine till I forget
My present entity!

Oh, for the time when in my breast
Their struggles will be o'er!
Oh, for the day when I shall rest,
And never suffer more!


by Mahmoud Darwish | |

Passport

 They did not recognize me in the shadows
That suck away my color in this Passport
And to them my wound was an exhibit
For a tourist Who loves to collect photographs
They did not recognize me,
Ah .
.
.
Don’t leave The palm of my hand without the sun Because the trees recognize me Don’t leave me pale like the moon! All the birds that followed my palm To the door of the distant airport All the wheatfields All the prisons All the white tombstones All the barbed Boundaries All the waving handkerchiefs All the eyes were with me, But they dropped them from my passport Stripped of my name and identity? On soil I nourished with my own hands? Today Job cried out Filling the sky: Don’t make and example of me again! Oh, gentlemen, Prophets, Don’t ask the trees for their names Don’t ask the valleys who their mother is >From my forehead bursts the sward of light And from my hand springs the water of the river All the hearts of the people are my identity So take away my passport!


by Walt Whitman | |

O Me! O Life!

 O ME! O life!.
.
.
of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.


by Walt Whitman | |

Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances.

 OF the terrible doubt of appearances, 
Of the uncertainty after all—that we may be deluded, 
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all, 
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only, 
May-be the things I perceive—the animals, plants, men, hills, shining and flowing
 waters,
The skies of day and night—colors, densities, forms—May-be these are, (as
 doubtless
 they
 are,) only apparitions, and the real something has yet to be known; 
(How often they dart out of themselves, as if to confound me and mock me! 
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows, aught of them;) 
May-be seeming to me what they are, (as doubtless they indeed but seem,) as from my
 present
 point of
 view—And might prove, (as of course they would,) naught of what they appear, or
 naught
 any how,
 from entirely changed points of view; 
—To me, these, and the like of these, are curiously answer’d by my lovers, my
 dear
 friends;
When he whom I love travels with me, or sits a long while holding me by the hand, 
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason hold not, surround us
 and
 pervade us, 
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom—I am silent—I require
 nothing
 further,

I cannot answer the question of appearances, or that of identity beyond the grave; 
But I walk or sit indifferent—I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.


by Walt Whitman | |

Shut Not Your Doors andc.

 SHUT not your doors to me, proud libraries, 
For that which was lacking on all your well-fill’d shelves, yet needed most, I bring; 
Forth from the army, the war emerging—a book I have made, 
The words of my book nothing—the drift of it everything; 
A book separate, not link’d with the rest, nor felt by the intellect,
But you, ye untold latencies, will thrill to every page; 
Through Space and Time fused in a chant, and the flowing, eternal Identity, 
To Nature, encompassing these, encompassing God—to the joyous, electric All, 
To the sense of Death—and accepting, exulting in Death, in its turn, the same as life, 
The entrance of Man I sing.


by Emily Dickinson | |

As One does Sickness over

 As One does Sickness over
In convalescent Mind,
His scrutiny of Chances
By blessed Health obscured --

As One rewalks a Precipice
And whittles at the Twig
That held Him from Perdition
Sown sidewise in the Crag

A Custom of the Soul
Far after suffering
Identity to question
For evidence't has been --


by Emily Dickinson | |

Nature and God -- I neither knew

 Nature and God -- I neither knew
Yet Both so well knew me
They startled, like Executors
Of My identity.
Yet Neither told -- that I could learn -- My Secret as secure As Herschel's private interest Or Mercury's affair --


by Emily Dickinson | |

Truth -- is as old as God --

 Truth -- is as old as God --
His Twin identity
And will endure as long as He
A Co-Eternity --

And perish on the Day
Himself is borne away
From Mansion of the Universe
A lifeless Deity.


by Emily Dickinson | |

Estranged from Beauty -- none can be --

 Estranged from Beauty -- none can be --
For Beauty is Infinity --
And power to be finite ceased
Before Identity was leased.


by Emily Dickinson | |

This Consciousness that is aware

 This Consciousness that is aware
Of Neighbors and the Sun
Will be the one aware of Death
And that itself alone

Is traversing the interval
Experience between
And most profound experiment
Appointed unto Men --

How adequate unto itself
Its properties shall be
Itself unto itself and none
Shall make discovery.
Adventure most unto itself The Soul condemned to be -- Attended by a single Hound Its own identity.


by Emily Dickinson | |

How firm Eternity must look

 How firm Eternity must look
To crumbling men like me
The only Adamant Estate
In all Identity --

How mighty to the insecure
Thy Physiognomy
To whom not any Face cohere --
Unless concealed in thee