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Best Famous Lonely Poems

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

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by Fleda Brown | |

The Women Who Loved Elvis All Their Lives

She reads, of course, what he's doing, shaking Nixon's hand, 
dating this starlet or that, while he is faithful to her 
like a stone in her belly, like the actual love child, 
its bills and diapers.
Once he had kissed her and time had stood still, at least some point seems to remain back there as a place to return to, to wait for.
What is she waiting for? He will not marry her, nor will he stop very often.
Desireé will grow up to say her father is dead.
Desireé will imagine him standing on a timeless street, hungry for his child.
She will wait for him, not in the original, but in a gesture copied to whatever lover she takes.
He will fracture and change to landscape, to the Pope, maybe, or President Kennedy, or to a pain that darkens her eyes.
"Once," she will say, as if she remembers, and the memory will stick like a fishbone.
She knows how easily she will comply when a man puts his hand on the back of her neck and gently steers her.
She knows how long she will wait for rescue, how the world will go on expanding outside.
She will see her mother's photo of Elvis shaking hands with Nixon, the terrifying conjunction.
A whole war with Asia will begin slowly, in her lifetime, out of such irreconcilable urges.
The Pill will become available to the general public, starting up a new waiting in that other depth.
The egg will have to keep believing in its timeless moment of completion without any proof except in the longing of its own body.
Maris will break Babe Ruth's record while Orbison will have his first major hit with "Only the Lonely," trying his best to sound like Elvis.
© 1999, Fleda Brown (first published in The Iowa Review, 29 [1999])


by William Wordsworth | |

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

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


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Footsteps of Angels

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

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

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

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

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

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


More great poems below...

by Allen Ginsberg | |

Wild Orphan

Blandly mother 
takes him strolling 
by railroad and by river 
-he's the son of the absconded 
hot rod angel- 
and he imagines cars 
and rides them in his dreams, 

so lonely growing up among 
the imaginary automobiles 
and dead souls of Tarrytown 

to create 
out of his own imagination 
the beauty of his wild 
forebears-a mythology 
he cannot inherit.
Will he later hallucinate his gods? Waking among mysteries with an insane gleam of recollection? The recognition- something so rare in his soul, met only in dreams -nostalgias of another life.
A question of the soul.
And the injured losing their injury in their innocence -a cock, a cross, an excellence of love.
And the father grieves in flophouse complexities of memory a thousand miles away, unknowing of the unexpected youthful stranger bumming toward his door.
- New York, April 13, 1952


by Allen Ginsberg | |

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit- 
man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees 
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam- ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons? I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel? I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight? (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.
) Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage- teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


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 Siegfried Sassoon | |

Goblin Revel

IN gold and grey with fleering looks of sin 
I watch them come; by two by three by four 
Advancing slow with loutings they begin
Their woven measure widening from the door;
While music-men behind are straddling in 5
With flutes to brisk their feet across the floor ¡ª
And jangled dulcimers and fiddles thin
That taunt the twirling antic through once more.
They pause and hushed to whispers steal away.
With cunning glances; silent go their shoon 10 On creakless stairs; but far away the dogs Bark at some lonely farm: and haply they Have clambered back into the dusky moon That sinks beyond the marshes loud with frogs.


by Sara Teasdale | |

Alone

 I am alone, in spite of love,
In spite of all I take and give—
In spite of all your tenderness,
Sometimes I am not glad to live.
I am alone, as though I stood On the highest peak of the tired gray world, About me only swirling snow, Above me, endless space unfurled; With earth hidden and heaven hidden, And only my own spirit's pride To keep me from the peace of those Who are not lonely, having died.


by Sara Teasdale | |

I Remembered

 There never was a mood of mine,
Gay or heart-broken, luminous or dull,
But you could ease me of its fever
And give it back to me more beutiful.
In many another soul I broke the bread, And drank the wine and played the happy guest, But I was lonely, I remembered you; The heart belong to him who knew it best.


by Sara Teasdale | |

The Years

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


by | |

Sarumaru Tayu

In the mountain depths,
Treading through the crimson leaves,
Cries the wandering stag.
When I hear the lonely cry, Sad,--how sad--the autumn is!


by Omer Tarin | |

Sea Gull (Leith Docks, 1995)

Once before I've heard this
anguished cry

A long-drawn note of many-lettered woe,
The great open beak straining 
against the roar of raging surf;

Head, thrown back, taut
against the distant sails

Anger flickering in eyes flecked with amber,
rolling in lonely knowledge,
this bond servant of the sea,
tied by its giant wingspan 
to the torturous flight of sainthood

Martyred
in its terrible existence
murdered
by the yellow fog of banality

Victim 
to the squalor of urban beachfronts , 
snuffed out in the face of its own metaphor
screaming curses unto heaven,
proud to the very last;

''Once before'', I said,
''I've heard this cry''.
(from ''Burnt Offerings'', 1996)


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 William Cullen Bryant | |

November

 Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun! 
One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air, 
Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran, 
Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees, And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast, And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze, Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way, The cricket chirp upon the russet lea, And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.


by Robert Seymour Bridges | |

Pater Filio

 Sense with keenest edge unusèd, 
Yet unsteel'd by scathing fire; 
Lovely feet as yet unbruisèd 
On the ways of dark desire; 
Sweetest hope that lookest smiling
O'er the wilderness defiling! 

Why such beauty, to be blighted 
By the swarm of foul destruction? 
Why such innocence delighted, 
When sin stalks to thy seduction? 
All the litanies e'er chaunted 
Shall not keep thy faith undaunted.
I have pray'd the sainted Morning To unclasp her hands to hold thee; From resignful Eve's adorning Stol'n a robe of peace to enfold thee; With all charms of man's contriving Arm'd thee for thy lonely striving.
Me too once unthinking Nature, —Whence Love's timeless mockery took me,— Fashion'd so divine a creature, Yea, and like a beast forsook me.
I forgave, but tell the measure Of her crime in thee, my treasure.


by Stephen Vincent Benet | |

Lonely Burial

 There were not many at that lonely place, 
Where two scourged hills met in a little plain.
The wind cried loud in gusts, then low again.
Three pines strained darkly, runners in a race Unseen by any.
Toward the further woods A dim harsh noise of voices rose and ceased.
-- We were most silent in those solitudes -- Then, sudden as a flame, the black-robed priest, The clotted earth piled roughly up about The hacked red oblong of the new-made thing, Short words in swordlike Latin -- and a rout Of dreams most impotent, unwearying.
Then, like a blind door shut on a carouse, The terrible bareness of the soul's last house.


by William Lisle Bowles | |

Sonnet: At Dover Cliffs July 20th 1787

 On these white cliffs, that calm above the flood
Uplift their shadowing heads, and, at their feet,
Scarce hear the surge that has for ages beat,
Sure many a lonely wanderer has stood;
And whilst the lifted murmur met his ear,
And o'er the distant billows the still eve
Sailed slow, has thought of all his heart must leave
Tomorrow; of the friends he loved most dear;
Of social scenes, from which he wept to part;
But if, like me, he knew how fruitless all
The thoughts that would full fain the past recall,
Soon would he quell the risings of his heart,
And brave the wild winds and unhearing tide,
The world his country, and his God his guide.


by William Lisle Bowles | |

VI. Evening as slow thy placid shades descend...

 EVENING, as slow thy placid shades descend, 
Veiling with gentlest hush the landscape still, 
The lonely battlement, and farthest hill 
And wood; I think of those that have no friend; 
Who now perhaps, by melancholy led, 
From the broad blaze of day, where pleasure flaunts, 
Retiring, wander 'mid thy lonely haunts 
Unseen; and mark the tints that o'er thy bed 
Hang lovely, oft to musing fancy's eye 
Presenting fairy vales, where the tir'd mind 
Might rest, beyond the murmurs of mankind, 
Nor hear the hourly moans of misery.
Ah! beauteous views, that hope's fair gleams the while, Should smile like you, and perish as thy smile!


by William Lisle Bowles | |

X. On Dover Cliffs.

 ON these white cliffs, that calm above the flood 
Rear their o'er-shadowing heads, and at their feet 
Scarce hear the surge that has for ages beat, 
Sure many a lonely wanderer has stood; 
And, whilst the lifted murmur met his ear, 
And o'er the distant billows the still Eve 
Sail'd slow, has thought of all his heart must leave 
To-morrow -- of the friends he lov'd most dear, -- 
Of social scenes, from which he wept to part: -- 
But if, like me, he knew how fruitless all 
The thoughts, that would full fain the past recall, 
Soon would he quell the risings of his heart, 
And brave the wild winds and unhearing tide, 
The World his country, and his God his guide.


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Flower of Liberty

 WHAT flower is this that greets the morn,
Its hues from Heaven so freshly born?
With burning star and flaming band
It kindles all the sunset land:
Oh tell us what its name may be,--
Is this the Flower of Liberty? 

It is the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!

In savage Nature's far abode
Its tender seed our fathers sowed;
The storm-winds rocked its swelling bud,
Its opening leaves were streaked with blood,
Till lo! earth's tyrants shook to see
The full-blown Flower of Liberty! 

Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!

Behold its streaming rays unite,
One mingling flood of braided light,--
The red that fires the Southern rose,
With spotless white from Northern snows,
And, spangled o'er its azure, see
The sister Stars of Liberty! 

Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!

The blades of heroes fence it round,
Where'er it springs is holy ground;
From tower and dome its glories spread;
It waves where lonely sentries tread;
It makes the land as ocean free,
And plants an empire on the sea!

Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!

Thy sacred leaves, fair Freedom's flower,
Shall ever float on dome and tower,
To all their heavenly colors true,
In blackening frost or crimson dew,--
And God love us as we love thee,
Thrice holy Flower of Liberty!

Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry FLOWER OF LIBERTY!


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

Daily Trials by a Sensitive Man

 Oh, there are times 
When all this fret and tumult that we hear 
Do seem more stale than to the sexton's ear 
His own dull chimes.
Ding dong! ding dong! The world is in a simmer like a sea Over a pent volcano, -- woe is me All the day long! From crib to shroud! Nurse o'er our cradles screameth lullaby, And friends in boots tramp round us as we die, Snuffling aloud.
At morning's call The small-voiced pug-dog welcomes in the sun, And flea-bit mongrels, wakening one by one, Give answer all.
When evening dim Draws round us, then the lonely caterwaul, Tart solo, sour duet, and general squall, -- These are our hymn.
Women, with tongues Like polar needles, ever on the jar; Men, plugless word-spouts, whose deep fountains are Within their lungs.
Children, with drums Strapped round them by the fond paternal ass; Peripatetics with a blade of grass Between their thumbs.
Vagrants, whose arts Have caged some devil in their mad machine, Which grinding, squeaks, with husky groans between, Come out by starts.
Cockneys that kill Thin horses of a Sunday, -- men, with clams, Hoarse as young bisons roaring for their dams From hill to hill.
Soldiers, with guns, Making a nuisance of the blessed air, Child-crying bellman, children in despair, Screeching for buns.
Storms, thunders, waves! Howl, crash, and bellow till ye get your fill; Ye sometimes rest; men never can be still But in their graves.


by Paul Laurence Dunbar | |

Frederick Douglass

 When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful 
and terrible thing, needful to man as air, 
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all, 
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole, 
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more 
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro 
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world 
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien, 
this man, superb in love and logic, this man 
shall be remembered.
Oh, not with statues' rhetoric, not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone, but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.


by Paul Laurence Dunbar | |

The Paradox

 I am the mother of sorrows, 
I am the ender of grief; 
I am the bud and the blossom, 
I am the late-falling leaf.
I am thy priest and thy poet, I am thy serf and thy king; I cure the tears of the heartsick, When I come near they shall sing.
White are my hands as the snowdrop; Swart are my fingers as clay; Dark is my frown as the midnight, Fair is my brow as the day.
Battle and war are my minions, Doing my will as divine; I am the calmer of passions, Peace is a nursling of mine.
Speak to me gently or curse me, Seek me or fly from my sight; I am thy fool in the morning, Thou art my slave in the night.
Down to the grave I will take thee, Out from the noise of the strife, Then shalt thou see me and know me-- Death, then, no longer, but life.
Then shalt thou sing at my coming, Kiss me with passionate breath, Clasp me and smile to have thought me Aught save the foeman of death.
Come to me, brother, when weary, Come when thy lonely heart swells; I'll guide thy footsteps and lead thee Down where the Dream Woman dwells.


by Paul Laurence Dunbar | |

Douglass

 Ah, Douglass, we have fall'n on evil days, 
Such days as thou, not even thou didst know, 
When thee, the eyes of that harsh long ago 
Saw, salient, at the cross of devious ways, 
And all the country heard thee with amaze.
Not ended then, the passionate ebb and flow, The awful tide that battled to and fro; We ride amid a tempest of dispraise.
Now, when the waves of swift dissension swarm, And Honour, the strong pilot, lieth stark, Oh, for thy voice high-sounding o'er the storm, For thy strong arm to guide the shivering bark, The blast-defying power of thy form, To give us comfort through the lonely dark.


by Odysseus Elytis | |

Heleni

Heleni
Translated by Daphne on May 17th, 1995


By the first drop of rain the summer died 
The words that had bore those stary nights got wet
All those words that had one sole destination You!
Where will our hands reach now that weather no longer cares for us
Where will our eyes rest now that the distant lines got dispersed in the clouds
Now that your eyes have shut above the landscapes that were ours
And now that we found ourselves - as if the mist went right through us- 
totally lonely surrounded by your inanimate images

With the forehead against the window we wait upon the new torment
It 's not Death that will make us fall since You are alive
Since a wind exists somewhere and he will live you entirely
To dress you from the near like our hope will from afar
Since there is elsewhere
A greenest meadow far from your laughter up to the sun
Telling him secretely that we will one day meet again
No, it is not death we shall confront
But just a tiny drop of the autumn rain
A blurry feeling
The scent of the moist soil within our souls
that are continuously diverging.
And if your hand is not between our hands And if our blood wont' run within your dream's veins The music unseen within us and O sorrowful Wanderer of whatever still keeps us alive It is the humid air the come of autumn the depart The elbow's bitter support upon the memory that comes out when night arrives to divorce us from the light Behind the square window that looks upon the sadness That sees nothing Because it has become music unseen fire a strike of the big clock on the wall Because it has become A poem a verse upon a verse, a sound resembling tears and words Words not like the rest of them but with the same destination: You!