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Best Famous Mystery Poems

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

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by Edgar Allan Poe |

The Raven

ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, 
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,¡ª 
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, 
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. 
"'T is some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door; 5 
Only this and nothing more." 

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December 
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 
Eagerly I wished the morrow;¡ªvainly I had sought to borrow 
From my books surcease of sorrow¡ªsorrow for the lost Lenore, 10 
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore: 
Nameless here for evermore. 

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain 
Thrilled me¡ªfilled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; 
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 15 
"'T is some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door, 
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door: 
This it is and nothing more." 

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, 
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; 20 
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, 
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, 
That I scarce was sure I heard you"¡ªhere I opened wide the door:¡ª 
Darkness there and nothing more. 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, 25 
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; 
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, 
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" 
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore:" 
Merely this and nothing more. 30 

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, 
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. 
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; 
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore; 
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore: 35 
'T is the wind and nothing more." 

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, 
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. 
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; 
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door, 40 
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door: 
Perched, and sat, and nothing more. 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling 
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,¡ª 
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, 45 
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore: 
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" 
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, 
Though its answer little meaning¡ªlittle relevancy bore; 50 
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being 
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door, 
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, 
With such name as "Nevermore." 

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only 55 
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. 
Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered, 
Till I scarcely more than muttered,¡ª"Other friends have flown before; 
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before." 
Then the bird said, "Nevermore." 60 

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, 
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store, 
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster 
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore: 
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore 65 
Of 'Never¡ªnevermore.' 

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, 
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; 
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking 
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore, 70 
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore 
Meant in croaking "Nevermore." 

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing 
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; 
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining 75 
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er, 
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er 
She shall press, ah, nevermore! 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer 
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. 80 
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee¡ªby these angels he hath sent thee 
Respite¡ªrespite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!" 
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore." 
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil! 85 
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, 
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted¡ª 
On this home by Horror haunted¡ªtell me truly, I implore: 
Is there¡ªis there balm in Gilead?¡ªtell me¡ªtell me, I implore!" 
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 90 

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil¡ªprophet still, if bird or devil! 
By that Heaven that bends above us, by that God we both adore, 
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, 
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore: 
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore!" 95 
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting: 
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! 
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! 
Leave my loneliness unbroken! quit the bust above my door! 100 
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" 
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting 
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; 
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, 105 
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor: 
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor 
Shall be lifted¡ªnevermore! 


by Fleda Brown |

I Write My Mother a Poem

Sometimes I feel her easing further into her grave, 
resigned, as always, and I have to come to her rescue. 
Like now, when I have so much else to do. Not that 

she'd want a poem. She would have been proud, of course, 
of all its mystery, involving her, but scared a little. 
Her eyes would have filled with tears. It always comes 

to that, I don't know why I bother. One gesture 
and she's gone down a well of raw feeling, and I'm left 
alone again. I avert my eyes, to keep from scaring her. 

On her dresser is one of those old glass bottles 
of Jergen's Lotion with the black label, a little round 
bottle of Mum deodorant, a white plastic tray 

with Avon necklaces and earrings, pennies, paper clips, 
and a large black coat button. I appear to be very 
interested in these objects, even interested in the sun 

through the blinds. It falls across her face, and not, 
as she changes the bed. She would rather have clean sheets 
than my poem, but as long as I don't bother her, she's glad 

to know I care. She's talked my father into taking 
a drive later, stopping for an A & W root beer. 
She is dreaming of foam on the glass, the tray propped 

on the car window. And trees, farmhouses, the expanse 
of the world as seen from inside the car. It is no 
use to try to get her out to watch airplanes 

take off, or walk a trail, or hear this poem 
and offer anything more than "Isn't that sweet!" 
Right now bombs are exploding in Kosovo, students 

shot in Colorado, and my mother is wearing a root beer 
mustache. Her eyes are unfocused, everything's root beer. 
I write root beer, root beer, to make her happy.

from Breathing In, Breathing Out, Anhinga Press, 2002
© 2000, Fleda Brown
(first published in The Southern Review, 36 [2000])


by Maya Angelou |

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


by William Wordsworth |

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

Five years have passed; five summers, with the length 
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.  Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild; these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone. 

                               These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye;
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration—feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure; such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love.  Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul;
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things. 

                                           If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft—
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart—
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer through the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee! 

  And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again;
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.  And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led—more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads than one
Who sought the thing he loved.  For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.—I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colors and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, not any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense.  For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.  And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels 
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear—both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, 
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being. 

                                   Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes.  Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings.  Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance—
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence—wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service; rather say
With warmer love—oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love.  Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!


by Maya Angelou |

Rememberance

Your hands easy
weight, teasing the bees
hived in my hair, your smile at the
slope of my cheek. On the
occasion, you press
above me, glowing, spouting
readiness, mystery rapes
my reason

When you have withdrawn
your self and the magic, when
only the smell of your
love lingers between
my breasts, then, only
then, can I greedily consume
your presence.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

My Lost Youth

OFTEN I think of the beautiful town 
That is seated by the sea; 
Often in thought go up and down 
The pleasant streets of that dear old town, 
And my youth comes back to me. 5 
And a verse of a Lapland song 
Is haunting my memory still: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I can see the shadowy lines of its trees, 10 
And catch, in sudden gleams, 
The sheen of the far-surrounding seas, 
And islands that were the Hesperides 
Of all my boyish dreams. 
And the burden of that old song, 15 
It murmurs and whispers still: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I remember the black wharves and the slips, 
And the sea-tides tossing free; 20 
And Spanish sailors with bearded lips, 
And the beauty and mystery of the ships, 
And the magic of the sea. 
And the voice of that wayward song 
Is singing and saying still: 25 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I remember the bulwarks by the shore, 
And the fort upon the hill; 
The sunrise gun, with its hollow roar, 30 
The drum-beat repeated o'er and o'er, 
And the bugle wild and shrill. 
And the music of that old song 
Throbs in my memory still: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 35 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I remember the sea-fight far away, 
How it thundered o'er the tide! 
And the dead captains, as they lay 
In their graves, o'erlooking the tranquil bay, 40 
Where they in battle died. 
And the sound of that mournful song 
Goes through me with a thrill: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 45 

I can see the breezy dome of groves, 
The shadows of Deering's Woods; 
And the friendships old and the early loves 
Come back with a Sabbath sound, as of doves 
In quiet neighborhoods. 50 
And the verse of that sweet old song, 
It flutters and murmurs still: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I remember the gleams and glooms that dart 55 
Across the school-boy's brain; 
The song and the silence in the heart, 
That in part are prophecies, and in part 
Are longings wild and vain. 
And the voice of that fitful song 60 
Sings on, and is never still: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

There are things of which I may not speak; 
There are dreams that cannot die; 65 
There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak, 
And bring a pallor into the cheek, 
And a mist before the eye. 
And the words of that fatal song 
Come over me like a chill: 70 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

Strange to me now are the forms I meet 
When I visit the dear old town; 
But the native air is pure and sweet, 75 
And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street, 
As they balance up and down, 
Are singing the beautiful song, 
Are sighing and whispering still: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 80 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

And Deering's Woods are fresh and fair, 
And with joy that is almost pain 
My heart goes back to wander there, 
And among the dreams of the days that were, 85 
I find my lost youth again. 
And the strange and beautiful song, 
The groves are repeating it still: 
"A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 90 


by Frank O'Hara |

Poem

The clouds ache bleakly
and when they can manage it 
crush someone's head in
without a sound of anger.
This is a brutal mystery.

We meet in the streets
with our hands in our pockets
and snarl guiltily at each other
as if we had flayed a cloud
or two in our salad days.

Lots of things do blame us;
and in moments when I forget
how cruel we really should be
I often have to bite my tongue
to keep from being guilty.


by John Donne |

The Funeral

WHOEVER comes to shroud me do not harm 
Nor question much 
That subtle wreath of hair about mine arm; 
The mystery the sign you must not touch  
For 'tis my outward soul 5 
Viceroy to that which unto heav'n being gone  
Will leave this to control 
And keep these limbs her provinces from dissolution. 

For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall 
Through every part 10 
Can tie those parts and make me one of all; 
Those hairs which upward grew and strength and art 
Have from a better brain  
Can better do 't: except she meant that I 
By this should know my pain 15 
As prisoners then are manacled when they're condemn'd to die. 

Whate'er she meant by 't bury it with me  
For since I am 
Love's martyr it might breed idolatry 
If into other hands these reliques came. 20 
As 'twas humility 
T' afford to it all that a soul can do  
So 'tis some bravery 
That since you would have none of me I bury some of you.


by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings |

enter no(silence is the blood whose flesh

enter no(silence is the blood whose flesh
is singing)silence:but unsinging. In
spectral such hugest how hush,one

dead leaf stirring makes a crash

-far away(as far as alive)lies
april;and i breathe-move-and-seem some
perpetually roaming whylessness-

autumn has gone:will winter never come?

o come,terrible anonymity;enfold
phantom me with the murdering minus of cold
-open this ghost with millionary knives of wind-
scatter his nothing all over what angry skies and

gently
(very whiteness:absolute peace,
never imaginable mystery)
descend


by Emily Dickinson |

A solemn thing -- it was -- I said

 A solemn thing -- it was -- I said --
A woman -- white -- to be --
And wear -- if God should count me fit --
Her blameless mystery --

A hallowed thing -- to drop a life
Into the purple well --
Too plummetless -- that it return --
Eternity -- until --

I pondered how the bliss would look --
And would it feel as big --
When I could take it in my hand --
As hovering -- seen -- through fog --

And then -- the size of this "small" life --
The Sages -- call it small --
Swelled -- like Horizons -- in my vest --
And I sneered -- softly -- "small"!