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Best Famous Irony Poems

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

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Written by Charles Baudelaire |


 CARRYING bouquet, and handkerchief, and gloves, 
Proud of her height as when she lived, she moves 
With all the careless and high-stepping grace, 
And the extravagant courtesan's thin face.
Was slimmer waist e'er in a ball-room wooed? Her floating robe, in royal amplitude, Falls in deep folds around a dry foot, shod With a bright flower-like shoe that gems the sod.
The swarms that hum about her collar-bones As the lascivious streams caress the stones, Conceal from every scornful jest that flies, Her gloomy beauty; and her fathomless eyes Are made of shade and void; with flowery sprays Her skull is wreathed artistically, and sways, Feeble and weak, on her frail vertebrae.
O charm of nothing decked in folly! they Who laugh and name you a Caricature, They see not, they whom flesh and blood allure, The nameless grace of every bleached, bare bone, That is most dear to me, tall skeleton! Come you to trouble with your potent sneer The feast of Life! or are you driven here, To Pleasure's Sabbath, by dead lusts that stir And goad your moving corpse on with a spur? Or do you hope, when sing the violins, And the pale candle-flame lights up our sins, To drive some mocking nightmare far apart, And cool the flame hell lighted in your heart? Fathomless well of fault and foolishness! Eternal alembic of antique distress! Still o'er the curved, white trellis of your sides The sateless, wandering serpent curls and glides.
And truth to tell, I fear lest you should find, Among us here, no lover to your mind; Which of these hearts beat for the smile you gave? The charms of horror please none but the brave.
Your eyes' black gulf, where awful broodings stir, Brings giddiness; the prudent reveller Sees, while a horror grips him from beneath, The eternal smile of thirty-two white teeth.
For he who has not folded in his arms A skeleton, nor fed on graveyard charms, Recks not of furbelow, or paint, or scent, When Horror comes the way that Beauty went.
O irresistible, with fleshless face, Say to these dancers in their dazzled race: "Proud lovers with the paint above your bones, Ye shall taste death, musk scented skeletons! Withered Antino?s, dandies with plump faces, Ye varnished cadavers, and grey Lovelaces, Ye go to lands unknown and void of breath, Drawn by the rumour of the Dance of Death.
From Seine's cold quays to Ganges' burning stream, The mortal troupes dance onward in a dream; They do not see, within the opened sky, The Angel's sinister trumpet raised on high.
In every clime and under every sun, Death laughs at ye, mad mortals, as ye run; And oft perfumes herself with myrrh, like ye And mingles with your madness, irony!"

Written by Robert William Service |

The Living Dead

 Since I have come to years sedate
I see with more and more acumen
The bitter irony of Fate,
The vanity of all things human.
Why, just to-day some fellow said, As I surveyed Fame's outer portal: "By gad! I thought that you were dead.
" Poor me, who dreamed to be immortal! But that's the way with many men Whose name one fancied time-defying; We thought that they were dust and then We found them living by their dying.
Like dogs we penmen have our day, To brief best-sellerdom elected; And then, "thumbs down," we slink away And die forgotten and neglected.
Ah well, my lyric fling I've had; A thousand bits of verse I've minted; And some, alas! were very bad, And some, alack! were best unprinted.
But if I've made my muse a bawd (Since I am earthy as a ditch is), I'll answer humbly to my God: Most men at times have toyed with bitches.
Yes, I have played with Lady Rhyme, And had a long and lovely innings; And when the Umpire calls my time I'll blandly quit and take my winnings.
I'll hie me to some Sleepydale, And feed the ducks and pat the poodles, And prime my paunch with cakes and ale, And blether with the village noodles.
And then some day you'll idly scan The Times obituary column, And say: "Dear me, the poor old man!" And for a moment you'll look solemn.
"So all this time he's been alive - In realms of rhyme a second-rater .
But gad! to live to ninety-five: Let's toast his ghost - a sherry, waiter!"

Written by Ellis Parker Butler |

The Ballad Of A Bachelor

 Listen, ladies, while I sing
The ballad of John Henry King.
John Henry was a bachelor, His age was thirty-three or four.
Two maids for his affection vied, And each desired to be his bride, And bravely did they strive to bring Unto their feet John Henry King.
John Henry liked them both so well, To save his life he could not tell Which he most wished to be his bride, Nor was he able to decide.
Fair Kate was jolly, bright, and gay, And sunny as a summer day; Marie was kind, sedate, and sweet, With gentle ways and manners neat.
Each was so dear that John confessed He could not tell which he liked best.
He studied them for quite a year, And still found no solution near, And might have studied two years more Had he not, walking on the shore, Conceived a very simple way Of ending his prolonged delay-- A way in which he might decide Which of the maids should be his bride.
He said, "I'll toss into the air A dollar, and I'll toss it fair; If heads come up, I'll wed Marie; If tails, fair Kate my bride shall be.
" Then from his leather pocket-book A dollar bright and new he took; He kissed one side for fair Marie, The other side for Kate kissed he.
Then in a manner free and fair He tossed the dollar in the air.
"Ye fates," he cried, "pray let this be A lucky throw indeed for me!" The dollar rose, the dollar fell; He watched its whirling transit well, And off some twenty yards or more The dollar fell upon the shore.
John Henry ran to where it struck To see which maiden was in luck.
But, oh, the irony of fate! Upon its edge the coin stood straight! And there, embedded in the sand, John Henry let the dollar stand! And he will tempt his fate no more, But live and die a bachelor.
Thus, ladies, you have heard me sing The ballad of John Henry King.

More great poems below...

Written by Billy Collins |


 Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.
Other comments are more offhand, dismissive - "Nonsense.
" "Please!" "HA!!" - that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading, my thumb as a bookmark, trying to imagine what the person must look like why wrote "Don't be a ninny" alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.
Students are more modest needing to leave only their splayed footprints along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony" fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.
Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers, Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
" "Bull's-eye.
" "My man!" Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points rain down along the sidelines.
And if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written "Man vs.
Nature" in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward.
We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge.
Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria jotted along the borders of the Gospels brief asides about the pains of copying, a bird signing near their window, or the sunlight that illuminated their page- anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves.
And you have not read Joshua Reynolds, they say, until you have read him enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.
Yet the one I think of most often, the one that dangles from me like a locket, was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then, reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room, and I cannot tell you how vastly my loneliness was deepened, how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed, when I found on one page A few greasy looking smears and next to them, written in soft pencil- by a beautiful girl, I could tell, whom I would never meet- "Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Man Who Could Write

 Boanerges Blitzen, servant of the Queen,
Is a dismal failure -- is a Might-have-been.
In a luckless moment he discovered men Rise to high position through a ready pen.
Boanerges Blitzen argued therefore -- "I, With the selfsame weapon, can attain as high.
" Only he did not possess when he made the trial, Wicked wit of C-lv-n, irony of L--l.
[Men who spar with Government need, to back their blows, Something more than ordinary journalistic prose.
] Never young Civilian's prospects were so bright, Till an Indian paper found that he could write: Never young Civilian's prospects were so dark, When the wretched Blitzen wrote to make his mark.
Certainly he scored it, bold, and black, and firm, In that Indian paper -- made his seniors squirm, Quated office scandals, wrote the tactless truth -- Was there ever known a more misguided youth? When the Rag he wrote for praised his plucky game, Boanerges Blitzen felt that this was Fame; When the men he wrote of shook their heads and swore, Boanerges Blitzen only wrote the more: Posed as Young Ithuriel, resolute and grim, Till he found promotion didn't come to him; Till he found that reprimands weekly were his lot, And his many Districts curiously hot.
Till he found his furlough strangely hard to win, Boanerges Blitzen didn't care to pin: Then it seemed to dawn on him something wasn't right -- Boanerges Blitzen put it down to "spite"; Languished in a District desolate and dry; Watched the Local Government yearly pass him by; Wondered where the hitch was; called it most unfair.
That was seven years ago -- and he still is there!

Written by Emily Dickinson |

That this should feel the need of Death

 That this should feel the need of Death
The same as those that lived
Is such a Feat of Irony
As never was -- achieved --

Not satisfied to ape the Great
In his simplicity
The small must die, as well as He --
Oh the Audacity --

Written by Barry Tebb |



You buy my freedom with your love.
With every book you catalogue or stamp My imagination hacks a strand from the hawser That for three years has held it In the grubbing estuary of mud and time.
Your early waking with tired eyes And late return at evening, all Contribute to the store of images I love you for: the irony being Your job is worse than mine Your talent more.
II I do not understand myself, the time, or you.
I cannot comprehend our love, shot through Like flying silk with flashes of gold light And the tattered backcloth of suffering.
Each night I remember our meeting; My hair ‘like iron wire’, the grey dust In the air of my house, the exact place On the carpet where I kissed you And how we talked on and on, Too much in love for love, Until the night was gone.
III We acted out our love By nearly going mad, Gave up the jobs we had To take a cottage on the moors At less than garage rent.
For food we learned to pledge our dreams And found, too late, the world redeems What it had lent.
By night the world unpicked The dream we wove by day, Each dawn we woke to find The stitching come away.
IV Two creatures from a bestiary Besieged our dream: A neighbour’s one-eyed cat That prowled outside to bring Its witch-like owner With her tapping stick.
Was the Bach we played too loud for her deaf ears, Or was it our love that howled her silence home? V We have re-built that house With blood.
We have sculptured that dream In stone.

Written by Amy Lowell |


 An arid daylight shines along the beach
Dried to a grey monotony of tone,
And stranded jelly-fish melt soft upon
The sun-baked pebbles, far beyond their reach
Sparkles a wet, reviving sea.
Here bleach The skeletons of fishes, every bone Polished and stark, like traceries of stone, The joints and knuckles hardened each to each.
And they are dead while waiting for the sea, The moon-pursuing sea, to come again.
Their hearts are blown away on the hot breeze.
Only the shells and stones can wait to be Washed bright.
For living things, who suffer pain, May not endure till time can bring them ease.

Written by Robert William Service |

My Husbands

 My first I wed when just sixteen
And he was sixty-five.
He treated me like any queen The years he was alive.
Oh I betrayed him on the sly, Like any other bitch, and how I longed for him to die And leave me young and rich! My second is a gigolo I took when I was old; That he deceives me well I know, And hungers for my gold.
When I adore each silken hair That crowns his handsome head, I'm everlastingly aware He wishes I were dead.
How I would love my vieux if he Today were by my side; My gig would have been daft for me When I was first a bride.
But for his mother I can pass, Although I am his wife; Like father was my first - alas! The irony of life.

Written by John Crowe Ransom |

Painted Head

 By dark severance the apparition head 
Smiles from the air a capital on no 
Column or a Platonic perhaps head 
On a canvas sky depending from nothing; 

Stirs up an old illusion of grandeur 
By tickling the instinct of heads to be 
Absolute and to try decapitation 
And to play truant from the body bush; 

But too happy and beautiful for those sorts 
Of head (homekeeping heads are happiest) 
Discovers maybe thirty unwidowed years 
Of not dishonoring the faithful stem; 

Is nameless and has authored for the evil 
Historian headhunters neither book 
Nor state and is therefore distinct from tart 
Heads with crowns and guilty gallery heads; 

Wherefore the extravagant device of art 
Unhousing by abstraction this once head 
Was capital irony by a loving hand 
That knew the no treason of a head like this; 

Makes repentance in an unlovely head 
For having vinegarly traduced the flesh 
Till, the hurt flesh recusing, the hard egg 
Is shrunken to its own deathlike surface; 

And an image thus.
The body bears the head (So hardly one they terribly are two) Feeds and obeys and unto please what end? Not to the glory of tyrant head but to The estate of body.
Beauty is of body.
The flesh contouring shallowly on a head Is a rock-garden needing body's love And best bodiness to colorify The big blue birds sitting and sea-shell cats And caves, and on the iron acropolis To spread the hyacinthine hair and rear The olive garden for the nightingales.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |


 Always, sweetheart,
Carry into your room the blossoming boughs of cherry,
Almond and apple and pear diffuse with light, that very
Soon strews itself on the floor; and keep the radiance of spring
Fresh quivering; keep the sunny-swift March-days waiting
In a little throng at your door, and admit the one who is plaiting
Her hair for womanhood, and play awhile with her, then bid her depart.
A come and go of March-day loves Through the flower-vine, trailing screen; A fluttering in of doves.
Then a launch abroad of shrinking doves Over the waste where no hope is seen Of open hands: Dance in and out Small-bosomed girls of the spring of love, With a bubble of laughter, and shrilly shout Of mirth; then the dripping of tears on your glove.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Ars Poetica?

 I have always aspired to a more spacious form
that would be free from the claims of poetry or prose
and would let us understand each other without exposing
the author or reader to sublime agonies.
In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent: a thing is brought forth which we didn't know we had in us, so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out and stood in the light, lashing his tail.
That's why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion, though its an exaggeration to maintain that he must be an angel.
It's hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from, when so often they're put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.
What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons, who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues, and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand, work at changing his destiny for their convenience? It's true that what is morbid is highly valued today, and so you may think that I am only joking or that I've devised just one more means of praising Art with thehelp of irony.
There was a time when only wise books were read helping us to bear our pain and misery.
This, after all, is not quite the same as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics.
And yet the world is different from what it seems to be and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings.
People therefore preserve silent integrity thus earning the respect of their relatives and neighbors.
The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.
What I'm saying here is not, I agree, poetry, as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly, under unbearable duress and only with the hope that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

The Revealer


He turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion … And the men of the city said unto him, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?—Judges, 14.
The palms of Mammon have disowned The gift of our complacency; The bells of ages have intoned Again their rhythmic irony; And from the shadow, suddenly, ’Mid echoes of decrepit rage, The seer of our necessity Confronts a Tyrian heritage.
Equipped with unobscured intent He smiles with lions at the gate, Acknowledging the compliment Like one familiar with his fate; The lions, having time to wait, Perceive a small cloud in the skies, Whereon they look, disconsolate, With scared, reactionary eyes.
A shadow falls upon the land,— They sniff, and they are like to roar; For they will never understand What they have never seen before.
They march in order to the door, Not knowing the best thing to seek, Nor caring if the gods restore The lost composite of the Greek.
The shadow fades, the light arrives, And ills that were concealed are seen; The combs of long-defended hives Now drip dishonored and unclean; No Nazarite or Nazarene Compels our questioning to prove The difference that is between Dead lions—or the sweet thereof.
But not for lions, live or dead, Except as we are all as one, Is he the world’s accredited Revealer of what we have done; What You and I and Anderson Are still to do is his reward; If we go back when he is gone— There is an Angel with a Sword.
He cannot close again the doors That now are shattered for our sake; He cannot answer for the floors We crowd on, or for walls that shake; He cannot wholly undertake The cure of our immunity; He cannot hold the stars, or make Of seven years a century.
So Time will give us what we earn Who flaunt the handful for the whole, And leave us all that we may learn Who read the surface for the soul; And we’ll be steering to the goal, For we have said so to our sons: When we who ride can pay the toll, Time humors the far-seeing ones.
Down to our nose’s very end We see, and are invincible,— Too vigilant to comprehend The scope of what we cannot sell; But while we seem to know as well As we know dollars, or our skins, The Titan may not always tell Just where the boundary begins.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Percival Sharp

 Observe the clasped hands!
Are they hands of farewell or greeting,
Hands that I helped or hands that helped me?
Would it not be well to carve a hand
With an inverted thumb, like Elagabalus?
And yonder is a broken chain,
The weakest-link idea perhaps --
But what was it?
And lambs, some lying down,
Others standing, as if listening to the shepherd --
Others bearing a cross, one foot lifted up --
Why not chisel a few shambles?
And fallen columns! Carve the pedestal, please,
Or the foundations; let us see the cause of the fall.
And compasses and mathematical instruments, In irony of the under tenants' ignorance Of determinants and the calculus of variations.
And anchors, for those who never sailed.
And gates ajar -- yes, so they were; You left them open and stray goats entered your garden.
And an eye watching like one of the Arimaspi -- So did you -- with one eye.
And angels blowing trumpets -- you are heralded -- It is your horn and your angel and your family's estimate.
It is all very well, but for myself I know I stirred certain vibrations in Spoon River Which are my true epitaph, more lasting than stone.