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Best Famous Lost Poems

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

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Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.


Written by John Greenleaf Whittier | |

Ichabod!

So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
     Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone
     Forevermore!

Revile him not—the Tempter hath
     A snare for all;
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
     Befit his fall!

Oh! dumb be passion's stormy rage,
     When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age,
     Falls back in night.
Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark A bright soul driven, Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark, From hope and heaven! Let not the land, once proud of him, Insult him now, Nor brand with deeper shame his dim, Dishonored brow.
But let its humbled sons, instead, From sea to lake, A long lament, as for the dead, In sadness make.
Of all we loved and honored, nought Save power remains— A fallen angel's pride of thought, Still strong in chains.
All else is gone; from those great eyes The soul has fled: When faith is lost, when honor dies, The man is dead! Then, pay the reverence of old days To his dead fame; Walk backward, with averted gaze, And hide the shame!


Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

The Fire of Drift-Wood

We sat within the farm-house old,
  Whose windows, looking o'er the bay,
Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold,
  An easy entrance, night and day.
Not far away we saw the port, The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, The lighthouse, the dismantled fort, The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night, Descending, filled the little room; Our faces faded from the sight, Our voices only broke the gloom.
We spake of many a vanished scene, Of what we once had thought and said, Of what had been, and might have been, And who was changed, and who was dead; And all that fills the hearts of friends, When first they feel, with secret pain, Their lives thenceforth have separate ends, And never can be one again; The first slight swerving of the heart, That words are powerless to express, And leave it still unsaid in part, Or say it in too great excess.
The very tones in which we spake Had something strange, I could but mark; The leaves of memory seemed to make A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips, As suddenly, from out the fire Built of the wreck of stranded ships, The flames would leap and then expire.
And, as their splendor flashed and failed, We thought of wrecks upon the main, Of ships dismasted, that were hailed And sent no answer back again.
The windows, rattling in their frames, The ocean, roaring up the beach, The gusty blast, the bickering flames, All mingled vaguely in our speech; Until they made themselves a part Of fancies floating through the brain, The long-lost ventures of the heart, That send no answers back again.
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned! They were indeed too much akin, The drift-wood fire without that burned, The thoughts that burned and glowed within.


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Written by Katherine Philips | |

On the Welch Language

If honor to an ancient name be due,
Or riches challenge it for one that's new,
The British language claims in either sense
Both for its age, and for its opulence.
But all great things must be from us removed, To be with higher reverence beloved.
So landskips which in prospects distant lie, With greater wonder draw the pleasèd eye.
Is not great Troy to one dark ruin hurled? Once the fam'd scene of all the fighting world.
Where's Athens now, to whom Rome learning owes, And the safe laurels that adorned her brows? A strange reverse of fate she did endure, Never once greater, than she's now obscure.
Even Rome her self can but some footsteps show Of Scipio's times, or those of Cicero.
And as the Roman and the Grecian state, The British fell, the spoil of time and fate.
But though the language hath the beauty lost, Yet she has still some great remains to boast, For 'twas in that, the sacred bards of old, In deathless numbers did their thoughts unfold.
In groves, by rivers, and on fertile plains, They civilized and taught the listening swains; Whilst with high raptures, and as great success, Virtue they clothed in music's charming dress.
This Merlin spoke, who in his gloomy cave, Even Destiny her self seemed to enslave.
For to his sight the future time was known, Much better than to others is their own; And with such state, predictions from him fell, As if he did decree, and not foretell.
This spoke King Arthur, who, if fame be true, Could have compelled mankind to speak it too.
In this one Boadicca valor taught, And spoke more nobly than her soldiers fought: Tell me what hero could be more than she, Who fell at once for fame and liberty? Nor could a greater sacrifice belong, Or to her children's, or her country's wrong.
This spoke Caractacus, who was so brave, That to the Roman fortune check he gave: And when their yoke he could decline no more, He it so decently and nobly wore, That Rome her self with blushes did believe, A Britain would the law of honor give; And hastily his chains away she threw, Lest her own captive else should her subdue.


Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

The Problem

I LIKE a church; I like a cowl; 
I love a prophet of the soul; 
And on my heart monastic aisles 
Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles; 
Yet not for all his faith can see 5 
Would I that cowl¨¨d churchman be.
Why should the vest on him allure Which I could not on me endure? Not from a vain or shallow thought His awful Jove young Phidias brought; 10 Never from lips of cunning fell The thrilling Delphic oracle: Out from the heart of nature rolled The burdens of the Bible old; The litanies of nations came 15 Like the volcano's tongue of flame Up from the burning core below ¡ª The canticles of love and woe; The hand that rounded Peter's dome And groined the aisles of Christian Rome 20 Wrought in a sad sincerity; Himself from God he could not free; He builded better than he knew;¡ª The conscious stone to beauty grew.
Know'st thou what wove yon woodbird's nest 25 Of leaves and feathers from her breast? Or how the fish outbuilt her shell Painting with morn each annual cell? Or how the sacred pine tree adds To her old leaves new myriads? 30 Such and so grew these holy piles Whilst love and terror laid the tiles.
Earth proudly wears the Parthenon As the best gem upon her zone; And Morning opes with haste her lids 35 To gaze upon the Pyramids; O'er England's abbeys bends the sky As on its friends with kindred eye; For out of Thought's interior sphere These wonders rose to upper air; 40 And Nature gladly gave them place Adopted them into her race And granted them an equal date With Andes and with Ararat.
These temples grew as grows the grass; 45 Art might obey but not surpass.
The passive Master lent his hand To the vast soul that o'er him planned; And the same power that reared the shrine Bestrode the tribes that knelt within.
50 Ever the fiery Pentecost Girds with one flame the countless host Trances the heart through chanting choirs And through the priest the mind inspires.
The word unto the prophet spoken 55 Was writ on tables yet unbroken; The word by seers or sibyls told In groves of oak or fanes of gold Still floats upon the morning wind Still whispers to the willing mind.
60 One accent of the Holy Ghost The heedless world hath never lost.
I know what say the fathers wise ¡ª The Book itself before me lies ¡ª Old Chrysostom best Augustine 65 And he who blent both in his line The younger Golden Lips or mines Taylor the Shakespeare of divines.
His words are music in my ear I see his cowl¨¨d portrait dear; 70 And yet for all his faith could see I would not this good bishop be.


Written by Sara Teasdale | |

I Am Not Yours

I am not yours, not lost in you, 
Not lost, although I long to be 
Lost as a candle lit at noon, 
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.
You love me, and I find you still A spirit beautiful and bright, Yet I am I, who long to be Lost as a light is lost in light.
Oh plunge me deep in love - put out My senses, leave me deaf and blind, Swept by the tempest of your love, A taper in a rushing wind.


Written by Anna Akhmatova | |

Along the Hard Crust...

Along the hard crust of deep snows,
To the secret, white house of yours,
So gentle and quiet – we both
Are walking, in silence half-lost.
And sweeter than all songs, sung ever, Are this dream, becoming the truth, Entwined twigs’ a-nodding with favor, The light ring of your silver spurs.
.
.


Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

Summer Night

NOW sleeps the crimson petal, now the white; 
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk; 
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font: 
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.
Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost, 5 And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Dana? to the stars, And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
10 Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, And slips into the bosom of the lake: So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip Into my bosom and be lost in me.


Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley | |

Hymn to the Spirit of Nature

LIFE of Life! thy lips enkindle 
With their love the breath between them; 
And thy smiles before they dwindle 
Make the cold air fire: then screen them 
In those locks where whoso gazes 5 
Faints entangled in their mazes.
Child of Light! thy limbs are burning Through the veil which seems to hide them As the radiant lines of morning Through thin clouds ere they divide them; 10 And this atmosphere divinest Shrouds thee wheresoe'er thou shinest.
Fair are others: none beholds thee; But thy voice sounds low and tender Like the fairest for it folds thee 15 From the sight that liquid splendour; And all feel yet see thee never As I feel now lost for ever! Lamp of Earth! where'er thou movest Its dim shapes are clad with brightness 20 And the souls of whom thou lovest Walk upon the winds with lightness Till they fail as I am failing Dizzy lost yet unbewailing!


Written 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?


Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |

Lost Mistress

        I.
All's over, then: does truth sound bitter As one at first believes? Hark, 'tis the sparrows' good-night twitter About your cottage eaves! II.
And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly, I noticed that, to-day; One day more bursts them open fully ---You know the red turns grey.
III.
To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest? May I take your hand in mine? Mere friends are we,---well, friends the merest Keep much that I resign: IV.
For each glance of the eye so bright and black, Though I keep with heart's endeavour,--- Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back, Though it stay in my soul for ever!--- V.
Yet I will but say what mere friends say, Or only a thought stronger; I will hold your hand but as long as all may, Or so very little longer!


Written by Elizabeth Bishop | |

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day.
Accept the fluster of lost door keys the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther losing faster: places and names and where it was your meant to travel.
None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch.
And look! my last or next-to-last of three loved housed went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lose two cities lovely ones.
And vaster some realms I owned two rivers a continent.
I miss them but it wasn't a disaster.
--Even losing you (the joking voice a gesture I love) I shan't have lied.
It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


Written by Elizabeth Bishop | |

The Fish

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight, battered and venerable and homely.
Here and there his brown skin hung in strips like ancient wallpaper, and its pattern of darker brown was like wallpaper: shapes like full-blown roses stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles, fine rosettes of lime, and infested with tiny white sea-lice, and underneath two or three rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in the terrible oxygen --the frightening gills, fresh and crisp with blood, that can cut so badly-- I thought of the coarse white flesh packed in like feathers, the big bones and the little bones, the dramatic reds and blacks of his shiny entrails, and the pink swim-bladder like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes which were far larger than mine but shallower, and yellowed, the irises backed and packed with tarnished tinfoil seen through the lenses of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not to return my stare.
--It was more like the tipping of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face, the mechanism of his jaw, and then I saw that from his lower lip --if you could call it a lip grim, wet, and weaponlike, hung five old pieces of fish-line, or four and a wire leader with the swivel still attached, with all their five big hooks grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end where he broke it, two heavier lines, and a fine black thread still crimped from the strain and snap when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons frayed and wavering, a five-haired beard of wisdom trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared and victory filled up the little rented boat, from the pool of bilge where oil had spread a rainbow around the rusted engine to the bailer rusted orange, the sun-cracked thwarts, the oarlocks on their strings, the gunnels--until everything was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow! And I let the fish go.


Written by Sir Walter Scott | |

Lochinvar

Oh! young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none.
He rode all unarmed and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love and so dauntless in war, There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He stayed not for brake and he stopped not for stone, He swam the Eske river where ford there was none, But ere he alighted at Netherby gate The bride had consented, the gallant came late: For a laggard in love and a dastard in war Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall, Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all: Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword, For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word, ‘Oh! come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?’ ‘I long wooed your daughter, my suit you denied; Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide And now am I come, with this lost love of mine, To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far, That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.
’ The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up, He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup, She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh, With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand ere her mother could bar, ‘Now tread we a measure!’ said young Lochinvar.
So stately his form, and so lovely her face, That never a hall such a galliard did grace; While her mother did fret, and her father did fume, And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume; And the bride-maidens whispered ‘’Twere better by far To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.
’ One touch to her hand and one word in her ear, When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near; So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung! ‘She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur; They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,’ quoth young Lochinvar.
There was mounting ’mong Graemes of the Netherby clan; Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran: There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee, But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.
So daring in love and so dauntless in war, Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?


Written by William Cullen Bryant | |

The Past

THOU unrelenting Past! 
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain  
And fetters sure and fast  
Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.
Far in thy realm withdrawn 5 Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom And glorious ages gone Lie deep within the shadow of thy womb.
Childhood with all its mirth Youth Manhood Age that draws us to the ground 10 And last Man's Life on earth Glide to thy dim dominions and are bound.
Thou hast my better years; Thou hast my earlier friends the good the kind Yielded to thee with tears¡ª 15 The venerable form the exalted mind.
My spirit yearns to bring The lost ones back¡ªyearns with desire intense And struggles hard to wring Thy bolts apart and pluck thy captives thence.
20 In vain; thy gates deny All passage save to those who hence depart; Nor to the streaming eye Thou giv'st them back¡ªnor to the broken heart.
In thy abysses hide 25 Beauty and excellence unknown; to thee Earth's wonder and her pride Are gathered as the waters to the sea; Labors of good to man Unpublished charity unbroken faith 30 Love that midst grief began And grew with years and faltered not in death.
Full many a mighty name Lurks in thy depths unuttered unrevered; With thee are silent fame 35 Forgotten arts and wisdom disappeared.
Thine for a space are they¡ª Yet shalt thou yield thy treasures up at last: Thy gates shall yet give way Thy bolts shall fall inexorable Past! 40 All that of good and fair Has gone into thy womb from earliest time Shall then come forth to wear The glory and the beauty of its prime.
They have not perished¡ªno! 45 Kind words remembered voices once so sweet Smiles radiant long ago And features the great soul's apparent seat.
All shall come back; each tie Of pure affection shall be knit again; 50 Alone shall Evil die And Sorrow dwell a prisoner in thy reign.
And then shall I behold Him by whose kind paternal side I sprung And her who still and cold 55 Fills the next grave¡ªthe beautiful and young.