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Best Famous Poets Poems

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Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Why Do Birds Sing?

 Let poets piece prismatic words,
Give me the jewelled joy of birds!

What ecstasy moves them to sing?
Is it the lyric glee of Spring,
The dewy rapture of the rose?
Is it the worship born in those
Who are of Nature's self a part,
The adoration of the heart?

Is it the mating mood in them
That makes each crystal note a gem?
Oh mocking bird and nightingale,
Oh mavis, lark and robin - hail!
Tell me what perfect passion glows
In your inspired arpeggios?

A thrush is thrilling as I write
Its obligato of delight;
And in its fervour, as in mine,
I fathom tenderness divine,
And pity those of earthy ear
Who cannot hear .
who cannot hear.
Let poets pattern pretty words: For lovely largesse - bless you, Birds!
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

His Excuse for Loving

Let it not your wonder move, 
Less your laughter, that I love.
Though I now write fifty years, I have had, and have, my peers.
Poets, though divine, are men; Some have loved as old again.
And it is not always face, Clothes, or fortune gives the grace, Or the feature, or the youth; But the language and the truth, With the ardor and the passion, Gives the lover weight and fashion.
If you then would hear the story, First, prepare you to be sorry That you never knew till now Either whom to love or how; But be glad as soon with me When you hear that this is she Of whose beauty it was sung, She shall make the old man young, Keep the middle age at stay, And let nothing hide decay, Till she be the reason why All the world for love may die.
Written by Ogden Nash | Create an image from this poem

Very Like a Whale

 One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts, Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold? In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians.
However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thus hinder longevity.
We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.
Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wold on the fold? In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there are great many things.
But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings.
No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof; Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof Woof? Frankly I think it is very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the very most, Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host.
But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them, With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them.
That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets, from Homer to Tennyson; They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison, And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket after a winter storm.
Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm, And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.
Written by Emanuel Xavier | Create an image from this poem


 I want you to continue writing
because I will not always be around

With lips that will never touch mine
read your poems out loud
so that the words are left engraved 
on the wall
make me feel your voice rush through me
like a breeze from Oyá

I want to hear about Puerto Rico
about sisters with names like La Bruja
about educating youth about AIDS
I want to hear about life 
in the Boogie Down Bronx
surviving on the Down Low
don't leave out stories about men
you have loved and still love

I want you to write poems that you 
will never read
press hard on the paper 
so that the ink runs deep
hold the pen tight 
so that you control the details
prove to me that I inspire you
reveal yourself between the lines
hear my praise 
with each flicker of the candle
Write a poem for me

Do not choose a fresh page 
from a brand new journal
use paper that has been crumbled and tossed
thrown out by a spineless father 
only to be recycled
Save a tree for future poets to write under

Rewrite me into someone more attractive
stronger than life has made me
make me tough and sexy, 
aggressive like a tiger
stain the pages with cum, 
lube, the arousal you find
at the sight of naked boys, draw me sketches
bring the words to life with images
make me a man with this poem

Read it in front of the audience
with hidden messages just for me
be real and tell me why
I am only worth a haiku

Your epics are meant for others
I already know,
use red ink to match the blood 
from these wounds
with brutal honesty
let me die with your last sentence

Then resurrect me with rhyme
read from your gut
let me hear the wisdom of mi abuelo 
in your voice
let me find my father in you
remind me of all the men 
that left me broken promises

In your eyes I want to see a poem
when you bring me to tears
with painful memories
buried beneath your thick skin

Between teeth gapped like divas,
I want to hear quotes from books
I never read

Make me believe you want to be a poet

Make my heart break,
tell me why you could never love me
with just a few words
leave me lost and insecure
feel the admiration of others
bask in their desire
forget that I am there

Pound your fists in the air with passion
go off about politics, poverty, 
machismo and hate
scream poems that don't give a fuck
about traditions, slamming or scores
save your whispers 
for those who make love to you

Write a poem for me 
that makes me want to puff a joint

A poem that loses control
unafraid to be vulnerable
for once just make me believe
it is all worth letting go
when the smoke clears
I will understand
the reason 
I am just another face 
in the crowd

I want you to continue writing
because I will not always be around
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Plutonian Ode


What new element before us unborn in nature? Is there
 a new thing under the Sun?
At last inquisitive Whitman a modern epic, detonative,
 Scientific theme
First penned unmindful by Doctor Seaborg with poison-
 ous hand, named for Death's planet through the 
 sea beyond Uranus
whose chthonic ore fathers this magma-teared Lord of 
 Hades, Sire of avenging Furies, billionaire Hell-
 King worshipped once
with black sheep throats cut, priests's face averted from
 underground mysteries in single temple at Eleusis,
Spring-green Persephone nuptialed to his inevitable
 Shade, Demeter mother of asphodel weeping dew,
her daughter stored in salty caverns under white snow, 
 black hail, grey winter rain or Polar ice, immemor-
 able seasons before
Fish flew in Heaven, before a Ram died by the starry
 bush, before the Bull stamped sky and earth
or Twins inscribed their memories in clay or Crab'd
washed memory from the skull, or Lion sniffed the
 lilac breeze in Eden--
Before the Great Year began turning its twelve signs,
 ere constellations wheeled for twenty-four thousand
 sunny years
slowly round their axis in Sagittarius, one hundred 
 sixty-seven thousand times returning to this night

Radioactive Nemesis were you there at the beginning 
 black dumb tongueless unsmelling blast of Disil-
I manifest your Baptismal Word after four billion years
I guess your birthday in Earthling Night, I salute your
 dreadful presence last majestic as the Gods,
Sabaot, Jehova, Astapheus, Adonaeus, Elohim, Iao, 
 Ialdabaoth, Aeon from Aeon born ignorant in an
 Abyss of Light,
Sophia's reflections glittering thoughtful galaxies, whirl-
 pools of starspume silver-thin as hairs of Einstein!
Father Whitman I celebrate a matter that renders Self
Grand Subject that annihilates inky hands & pages'
 prayers, old orators' inspired Immortalities,
I begin your chant, openmouthed exhaling into spacious
 sky over silent mills at Hanford, Savannah River,
 Rocky Flats, Pantex, Burlington, Albuquerque
I yell thru Washington, South Carolina, Colorado, 
 Texas, Iowa, New Mexico,
Where nuclear reactors creat a new Thing under the 
 Sun, where Rockwell war-plants fabricate this death
 stuff trigger in nitrogen baths,
Hanger-Silas Mason assembles the terrified weapon
 secret by ten thousands, & where Manzano Moun-
 tain boasts to store
its dreadful decay through two hundred forty millenia
 while our Galaxy spirals around its nebulous core.
I enter your secret places with my mind, I speak with your presence, I roar your Lion Roar with mortal mouth.
One microgram inspired to one lung, ten pounds of heavy metal dust adrift slow motion over grey Alps the breadth of the planet, how long before your radiance speeds blight and death to sentient beings? Enter my body or not I carol my spirit inside you, Unnaproachable Weight, O heavy heavy Element awakened I vocalize your con- sciousness to six worlds I chant your absolute Vanity.
Yeah monster of Anger birthed in fear O most Ignorant matter ever created unnatural to Earth! Delusion of metal empires! Destroyer of lying Scientists! Devourer of covetous Generals, Incinerator of Armies & Melter of Wars! Judgement of judgements, Divine Wind over vengeful nations, Molester of Presidents, Death-Scandal of Capital politics! Ah civilizations stupidly indus- trious! Canker-Hex on multitudes learned or illiterate! Manu- factured Spectre of human reason! O solidified imago of practicioner in Black Arts I dare your reality, I challenge your very being! I publish your cause and effect! I turn the wheel of Mind on your three hundred tons! Your name enters mankind's ear! I embody your ultimate powers! My oratory advances on your vaunted Mystery! This breath dispels your braggart fears! I sing your form at last behind your concrete & iron walls inside your fortress of rubber & translucent silicon shields in filtered cabinets and baths of lathe oil, My voice resounds through robot glove boxes & ignot cans and echoes in electric vaults inert of atmo- sphere, I enter with spirit out loud into your fuel rod drums underground on soundless thrones and beds of lead O density! This weightless anthem trumpets transcendent through hidden chambers and breaks through iron doors into the Infernal Room! Over your dreadful vibration this measured harmony floats audible, these jubilant tones are honey and milk and wine-sweet water Poured on the stone black floor, these syllables are barley groats I scatter on the Reactor's core, I call your name with hollow vowels, I psalm your Fate close by, my breath near deathless ever at your side to Spell your destiny, I set this verse prophetic on your mausoleum walls to seal you up Eternally with Diamond Truth! O doomed Plutonium.
II The Bar surveys Plutonian history from midnight lit with Mercury Vapor streetlamps till in dawn's early light he contemplates a tranquil politic spaced out between Nations' thought-forms proliferating bureaucratic & horrific arm'd, Satanic industries projected sudden with Five Hundred Billion Dollar Strength around the world same time this text is set in Boulder, Colorado before front range of Rocky Mountains twelve miles north of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in United States of North America, Western Hemi- sphere of planet Earth six months and fourteen days around our Solar System in a Spiral Galaxy the local year after Dominion of the last God nineteen hundred seventy eight Completed as yellow hazed dawn clouds brighten East, Denver city white below Blue sky transparent rising empty deep & spacious to a morning star high over the balcony above some autos sat with wheels to curb downhill from Flatiron's jagged pine ridge, sunlit mountain meadows sloped to rust-red sandstone cliffs above brick townhouse roofs as sparrows waked whistling through Marine Street's summer green leafed trees.
III This ode to you O Poets and Orators to come, you father Whitman as I join your side, you Congress and American people, you present meditators, spiritual friends & teachers, you O Master of the Diamond Arts, Take this wheel of syllables in hand, these vowels and consonants to breath's end take this inhalation of black poison to your heart, breath out this blessing from your breast on our creation forests cities oceans deserts rocky flats and mountains in the Ten Directions pacify with exhalation, enrich this Plutonian Ode to explode its empty thunder through earthen thought-worlds Magnetize this howl with heartless compassion, destroy this mountain of Plutonium with ordinary mind and body speech, thus empower this Mind-guard spirit gone out, gone out, gone beyond, gone beyond me, Wake space, so Ah! July 14, 1978
Written by John Drinkwater | Create an image from this poem



I 	At any moment love unheralded
Comes, and is king.
Then as, with a fall Of frost, the buds upon the hawthorn spread Are withered in untimely burial, So love, occasion gone, his crown puts by, And as a beggar walks unfriended ways, With but remembered beauty to defy The frozen sorrows of unsceptred days.
Or in that later travelling he comes Upon a bleak oblivion, and tells Himself, again, again, forgotten tombs Are all now that love was, and blindly spells His royal state of old a glory cursed, Saying 'I have forgot', and that's the worst.
II If we should part upon that one embrace, And set our courses ever, each from each, With all our treasure but a fading face And little ghostly syllables of speech; Should beauty's moment never be renewed, And moons on moons look out for us in vain, And each but whisper from a solitude To hear but echoes of a lonely pain, — Still in a world that fortune cannot change Should walk those two that once were you and I, Those two that once when moon and stars were strange Poets above us in an April sky, Heard a voice falling on the midnight sea, Mute, and for ever, but for you and me.
III This nature, this great flood of life, this cheat That uses us as baubles for her coat, Takes love, that should be nothing but the beat Of blood for its own beauty, by the throat, Saying, you are my servant and shall do My purposes, or utter bitterness Shall be your wage, and nothing come to you But stammering tongues that never can confess.
Undaunted then in answer here I cry, 'You wanton, that control the hand of him Who masquerades as wisdom in a sky Where holy, holy, sing the cherubim, I will not pay one penny to your name Though all my body crumble into shame.
' IV Woman, I once had whimpered at your hand, Saying that all the wisdom that I sought Lay in your brain, that you were as the sand Should cleanse the muddy mirrors of my thought; I should have read in you the character Of oracles that quick a thousand lays, Looked in your eyes, and seen accounted there Solomons legioned for bewildered praise.
Now have I learnt love as love is.
I take Your hand, and with no inquisition learn All that your eyes can tell, and that's to make A little reckoning and brief, then turn Away, and in my heart I hear a call, 'I love, I love, I love'; and that is all.
V When all the hungry pain of love I bear, And in poor lightless thought but burn and burn, And wit goes hunting wisdom everywhere, Yet can no word of revelation learn; When endlessly the scales of yea and nay In dreadful motion fall and rise and fall, When all my heart in sorrow I could pay Until at last were left no tear at all; Then if with tame or subtle argument Companions come and draw me to a place Where words are but the tappings of content, And life spreads all her garments with a grace, I curse that ease, and hunger in my heart Back to my pain and lonely to depart.
VI Not anything you do can make you mine, For enterprise with equal charity In duty as in love elect will shine, The constant slave of mutability.
Nor can your words for all their honey breath Outsing the speech of many an older rhyme, And though my ear deliver them from death One day or two, it is so little time.
Nor does your beauty in its excellence Excel a thousand in the daily sun, Yet must I put a period to pretence, And with my logic's catalogue have done, For act and word and beauty are but keys To unlock the heart, and you, dear love, are these.
VII Never the heart of spring had trembled so As on that day when first in Paradise We went afoot as novices to know For the first time what blue was in the skies, What fresher green than any in the grass, And how the sap goes beating to the sun, And tell how on the clocks of beauty pass Minute by minute till the last is done.
But not the new birds singing in the brake, And not the buds of our discovery, The deeper blue, the wilder green, the ache For beauty that we shadow as we see, Made heaven, but we, as love's occasion brings, Took these, and made them Paradisal things.
VIII The lilacs offer beauty to the sun, Throbbing with wonder as eternally For sad and happy lovers they have done With the first bloom of summer in the sky; Yet they are newly spread in honour now, Because, for every beam of beauty given Out of that clustering heart, back to the bough My love goes beating, from a greater heaven.
So be my love for good or sorry luck Bound, it has virtue on this April eve That shall be there for ever when they pluck Lilacs for love.
And though I come to grieve Long at a frosty tomb, there still shall be My happy lyric in the lilac tree.
IX When they make silly question of my love, And speak to me of danger and disdain, And look by fond old argument to move My wisdom to docility again; When to my prouder heart they set the pride Of custom and the gossip of the street, And show me figures of myself beside A self diminished at their judgment seat; Then do I sit as in a drowsy pew To hear a priest expounding th' heavenly will, Defiling wonder that he never knew With stolen words of measured good and ill; For to the love that knows their counselling, Out of my love contempt alone I bring.
X Not love of you is most that I can bring, Since what I am to love you is the test, And should I love you more than any thing You would but be of idle love possessed, A mere love wandering in appetite, Counting your glories and yet bringing none, Finding in you occasions of delight, A thief of payment for no service done.
But when of labouring life I make a song And bring it you, as that were my reward, To let what most is me to you belong, Then do I come of high possessions lord, And loving life more than my love of you I give you love more excellently true.
XI What better tale could any lover tell When age or death his reckoning shall write Than thus, 'Love taught me only to rebel Against these things, — the thieving of delight Without return; the gospellers of fear Who, loving, yet deny the truth they bear, Sad-suited lusts with lecherous hands to smear The cloth of gold they would but dare not wear.
And love gave me great knowledge of the trees, And singing birds, and earth with all her flowers; Wisdom I knew and righteousness in these, I lived in their atonement all my hours; Love taught me how to beauty's eye alone The secret of the lying heart is known.
' XII This then at last; we may be wiser far Than love, and put his folly to our measure, Yet shall we learn, poor wizards that we are, That love chimes not nor motions at our pleasure.
We bid him come, and light an eager fire, And he goes down the road without debating; We cast him from the house of our desire, And when at last we leave he will be waiting.
And in the end there is no folly but this, To counsel love out of our little learning.
For still he knows where rotten timber is, And where the boughs for the long winter burning; And when life needs no more of us at all, Love's word will be the last that we recall.
Written by Ezra Pound | Create an image from this poem


 These tales of old disguisings, are they not
Strange myths of souls that found themselves among
Unwonted folk that spake an hostile tongue,
Some soul from all the rest who'd not forgot
The star-span acres of a former lot
Where boundless mid the clouds his course he swung,
Or carnate with his elder brothers sung
Ere ballad-makers lisped of Camelot?

Old singers half-forgetful of their tunes,
Old painters color-blind come back once more,
Old poets skill-less in the wind-heart runes,
Old wizards lacking in their wonder-lore:

All they that with strange sadness in their eyes
Ponder in silence o'er earth's queynt devyse?
Written by Barry Tebb | Create an image from this poem


 At ten she came to me, three years ago,

There was ‘something between us’ even then;

Watching her write like Eliot every day,

Turn prose into haiku in ten minutes flat,

Write a poem in Greek three weeks from learning the alphabet;

Then translate it as ‘Sun on a tomb, gold place, small sacred horse’.
I never got over having her in the room, though Every day she was impossible in a new way, Stamping her foot like a naughty Enid Blyton child, Shouting "Poets don’t do arithmetic!" Or drawing caricatures of me in her book.
Then there were the ‘moments of vision’, her eyes Dissolving the blank walls and made-up faces, Genius painfully going through her paces, The skull she drew, the withered chrysanthemum And scarlet rose, ‘Descensus averno’, like Virgil, I supposed.
Now three years later, in nylons and tight skirt, She returns from grammar school to make a chaos of my room; Plaiting a rose in her hair, I remember the words of her poem - ‘For love is wrong/in word, in deed/But you will be mine’ And now her promise to come the last two days of term, "But not tell them", the diamond bomb exploding In her eyes, the key left ‘Accidentally’ on my desk And the faint surprise.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Death and Fame

 When I die
I don't care what happens to my body
throw ashes in the air, scatter 'em in East River
bury an urn in Elizabeth New Jersey, B'nai Israel Cemetery
But l want a big funeral
Patrick's Cathedral, St.
Mark's Church, the largest synagogue in Manhattan First, there's family, brother, nephews, spry aged Edith stepmother 96, Aunt Honey from old Newark, Doctor Joel, cousin Mindy, brother Gene one eyed one ear'd, sister- in-law blonde Connie, five nephews, stepbrothers & sisters their grandchildren, companion Peter Orlovsky, caretakers Rosenthal & Hale, Bill Morgan-- Next, teacher Trungpa Vajracharya's ghost mind, Gelek Rinpoche, there Sakyong Mipham, Dalai Lama alert, chance visiting America, Satchitananda Swami Shivananda, Dehorahava Baba, Karmapa XVI, Dudjom Rinpoche, Katagiri & Suzuki Roshi's phantoms Baker, Whalen, Daido Loorie, Qwong, Frail White-haired Kapleau Roshis, Lama Tarchen -- Then, most important, lovers over half-century Dozens, a hundred, more, older fellows bald & rich young boys met naked recently in bed, crowds surprised to see each other, innumerable, intimate, exchanging memories "He taught me to meditate, now I'm an old veteran of the thousand day retreat --" "I played music on subway platforms, I'm straight but loved him he loved me" "I felt more love from him at 19 than ever from anyone" "We'd lie under covers gossip, read my poetry, hug & kiss belly to belly arms round each other" "I'd always get into his bed with underwear on & by morning my skivvies would be on the floor" "Japanese, always wanted take it up my bum with a master" "We'd talk all night about Kerouac & Cassady sit Buddhalike then sleep in his captain's bed.
" "He seemed to need so much affection, a shame not to make him happy" "I was lonely never in bed nude with anyone before, he was so gentle my stomach shuddered when he traced his finger along my abdomen nipple to hips-- " "All I did was lay back eyes closed, he'd bring me to come with mouth & fingers along my waist" "He gave great head" So there be gossip from loves of 1948, ghost of Neal Cassady commin- gling with flesh and youthful blood of 1997 and surprise -- "You too? But I thought you were straight!" "I am but Ginsberg an exception, for some reason he pleased me.
" "I forgot whether I was straight gay queer or funny, was myself, tender and affectionate to be kissed on the top of my head, my forehead throat heart & solar plexus, mid-belly.
on my prick, tickled with his tongue my behind" "I loved the way he'd recite 'But at my back allways hear/ time's winged chariot hurrying near,' heads together, eye to eye, on a pillow --" Among lovers one handsome youth straggling the rear "I studied his poetry class, 17 year-old kid, ran some errands to his walk-up flat, seduced me didn't want to, made me come, went home, never saw him again never wanted to.
" "He couldn't get it up but loved me," "A clean old man.
" "He made sure I came first" This the crowd most surprised proud at ceremonial place of honor-- Then poets & musicians -- college boys' grunge bands -- age-old rock star Beatles, faithful guitar accompanists, gay classical con- ductors, unknown high Jazz music composers, funky trum- peters, bowed bass & french horn black geniuses, folksinger fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin auto- harp pennywhistles & kazoos Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled in mystic 60's India, Late fauve Tuscan painter-poets, Classic draftsman Massa- chusets surreal jackanapes with continental wives, poverty sketchbook gesso oil watercolor masters from American provinces Then highschool teachers, lonely Irish librarians, delicate biblio- philes, sex liberation troops nay armies, ladies of either sex "I met him dozens of times he never remembered my name I loved him anyway, true artist" "Nervous breakdown after menopause, his poetry humor saved me from suicide hospitals" "Charmant, genius with modest manners, washed sink, dishes my studio guest a week in Budapest" Thousands of readers, "Howl changed my life in Libertyville Illinois" "I saw him read Montclair State Teachers College decided be a poet-- " "He turned me on, I started with garage rock sang my songs in Kansas City" "Kaddish made me weep for myself & father alive in Nevada City" "Father Death comforted me when my sister died Boston l982" "I read what he said in a newsmagazine, blew my mind, realized others like me out there" Deaf & Dumb bards with hand signing quick brilliant gestures Then Journalists, editors's secretaries, agents, portraitists & photo- graphy aficionados, rock critics, cultured laborors, cultural historians come to witness the historic funeral Super-fans, poetasters, aging Beatnicks & Deadheads, autograph- hunters, distinguished paparazzi, intelligent gawkers Everyone knew they were part of 'History" except the deceased who never knew exactly what was happening even when I was alive February 22, 1997
Written by Joyce Kilmer | Create an image from this poem


 (For Eleanor Rogers Cox)

For blows on the fort of evil
That never shows a breach,
For terrible life-long races
To a goal no foot can reach,
For reckless leaps into darkness
With hands outstretched to a star,
There is jubilation in Heaven
Where the great dead poets are.
There is joy over disappointment And delight in hopes that were vain.
Each poet is glad there was no cure To stop his lonely pain.
For nothing keeps a poet In his high singing mood Like unappeasable hunger For unattainable food.
So fools are glad of the folly That made them weep and sing, And Keats is thankful for Fanny Brawne And Drummond for his king.
They know that on flinty sorrow And failure and desire The steel of their souls was hammered To bring forth the lyric fire.
Lord Byron and Shelley and Plunkett, McDonough and Hunt and Pearse See now why their hatred of tyrants Was so insistently fierce.
Is Freedom only a Will-o'-the-wisp To cheat a poet's eye? Be it phantom or fact, it's a noble cause In which to sing and to die! So not for the Rainbow taken And the magical White Bird snared The poets sing grateful carols In the place to which they have fared; But for their lifetime's passion, The quest that was fruitless and long, They chorus their loud thanksgiving To the thorn-crowned Master of Song.
Written by Adrienne Rich | Create an image from this poem

Cartographies of Silence

A conversation begins with a lie.
and each speaker of the so-called common language feels the ice-floe split, the drift apart as if powerless, as if up against a force of nature A poem can being with a lie.
And be torn up.
A conversation has other laws recharges itself with its own false energy, Cannot be torn up.
Infiltrates our blood.
Repeats itself.
Inscribes with its unreturning stylus the isolation it denies.
The classical music station playing hour upon hour in the apartment the picking up and picking up and again picking up the telephone The syllables uttering the old script over and over The loneliness of the liar living in the formal network of the lie twisting the dials to drown the terror beneath the unsaid word 3.
The technology of silence The rituals, etiquette the blurring of terms silence not absence of words or music or even raw sounds Silence can be a plan rigorously executed the blueprint of a life It is a presence it has a history a form Do not confuse it with any kind of absence 4.
How calm, how inoffensive these words begin to seem to me though begun in grief and anger Can I break through this film of the abstract without wounding myself or you there is enough pain here This is why the classical of the jazz music station plays? to give a ground of meaning to our pain? 5.
The silence strips bare: In Dreyer's Passion of Joan Falconetti's face, hair shorn, a great geography mutely surveyed by the camera If there were a poetry where this could happen not as blank space or as words stretched like skin over meaningsof a night through which two people have talked till dawn.
The scream of an illegitimate voice It has ceased to hear itself, therefore it asks itself How do I exist? This was the silence I wanted to break in you I had questions but you would not answer I had answers but you could not use them The is useless to you and perhaps to others 7.
It was an old theme even for me: Language cannot do everything- chalk it on the walls where the dead poets lie in their mausoleums If at the will of the poet the poem could turn into a thing a granite flank laid bare, a lifted head alight with dew If it could simply look you in the face with naked eyeballs, not letting you turn till you, and I who long to make this thing, were finally clarified together in its stare 8.
Let me have this dust, these pale clouds dourly lingering, these words moving with ferocious accuracy like the blind child's fingers or the newborn infant's mouth violent with hunger No one can give me, I have long ago taken this method whether of bran pouring from the loose-woven sack or of the bunsen-flame turned low and blue If from time to time I envy the pure annunciation to the eye the visio beatifica if from time to time I long to turn like the Eleusinian hierophant holding up a single ear of grain for the return to the concrete and everlasting world what in fact I keep choosing are these words, these whispers, conversations from which time after time the truth breaks moist and green.
Written by Joyce Kilmer | Create an image from this poem


 (For Aline)

From what old ballad, or from what rich frame
Did you descend to glorify the earth?
Was it from Chaucer's singing book you came?
Or did Watteau's small brushes give you birth?
Nothing so exquisite as that slight hand
Could Raphael or Leonardo trace.
Nor could the poets know in Fairyland The changing wonder of your lyric face.
I would possess a host of lovely things, But I am poor and such joys may not be.
So God who lifts the poor and humbles kings Sent loveliness itself to dwell with me.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem


 Nay, let us walk from fire unto fire,
From passionate pain to deadlier delight, -
I am too young to live without desire,
Too young art thou to waste this summer night
Asking those idle questions which of old
Man sought of seer and oracle, and no reply was told.
For, sweet, to feel is better than to know, And wisdom is a childless heritage, One pulse of passion - youth's first fiery glow, - Are worth the hoarded proverbs of the sage: Vex not thy soul with dead philosophy, Have we not lips to kiss with, hearts to love and eyes to see! Dost thou not hear the murmuring nightingale, Like water bubbling from a silver jar, So soft she sings the envious moon is pale, That high in heaven she is hung so far She cannot hear that love-enraptured tune, - Mark how she wreathes each horn with mist, yon late and labouring moon.
White lilies, in whose cups the gold bees dream, The fallen snow of petals where the breeze Scatters the chestnut blossom, or the gleam Of boyish limbs in water, - are not these Enough for thee, dost thou desire more? Alas! the Gods will give nought else from their eternal store.
For our high Gods have sick and wearied grown Of all our endless sins, our vain endeavour For wasted days of youth to make atone By pain or prayer or priest, and never, never, Hearken they now to either good or ill, But send their rain upon the just and the unjust at will.
They sit at ease, our Gods they sit at ease, Strewing with leaves of rose their scented wine, They sleep, they sleep, beneath the rocking trees Where asphodel and yellow lotus twine, Mourning the old glad days before they knew What evil things the heart of man could dream, and dreaming do.
And far beneath the brazen floor they see Like swarming flies the crowd of little men, The bustle of small lives, then wearily Back to their lotus-haunts they turn again Kissing each others' mouths, and mix more deep The poppy-seeded draught which brings soft purple-lidded sleep.
There all day long the golden-vestured sun, Their torch-bearer, stands with his torch ablaze, And, when the gaudy web of noon is spun By its twelve maidens, through the crimson haze Fresh from Endymion's arms comes forth the moon, And the immortal Gods in toils of mortal passions swoon.
There walks Queen Juno through some dewy mead, Her grand white feet flecked with the saffron dust Of wind-stirred lilies, while young Ganymede Leaps in the hot and amber-foaming must, His curls all tossed, as when the eagle bare The frightened boy from Ida through the blue Ionian air.
There in the green heart of some garden close Queen Venus with the shepherd at her side, Her warm soft body like the briar rose Which would be white yet blushes at its pride, Laughs low for love, till jealous Salmacis Peers through the myrtle-leaves and sighs for pain of lonely bliss.
There never does that dreary north-wind blow Which leaves our English forests bleak and bare, Nor ever falls the swift white-feathered snow, Nor ever doth the red-toothed lightning dare To wake them in the silver-fretted night When we lie weeping for some sweet sad sin, some dead delight.
Alas! they know the far Lethaean spring, The violet-hidden waters well they know, Where one whose feet with tired wandering Are faint and broken may take heart and go, And from those dark depths cool and crystalline Drink, and draw balm, and sleep for sleepless souls, and anodyne.
But we oppress our natures, God or Fate Is our enemy, we starve and feed On vain repentance - O we are born too late! What balm for us in bruised poppy seed Who crowd into one finite pulse of time The joy of infinite love and the fierce pain of infinite crime.
O we are wearied of this sense of guilt, Wearied of pleasure's paramour despair, Wearied of every temple we have built, Wearied of every right, unanswered prayer, For man is weak; God sleeps: and heaven is high: One fiery-coloured moment: one great love; and lo! we die.
Ah! but no ferry-man with labouring pole Nears his black shallop to the flowerless strand, No little coin of bronze can bring the soul Over Death's river to the sunless land, Victim and wine and vow are all in vain, The tomb is sealed; the soldiers watch; the dead rise not again.
We are resolved into the supreme air, We are made one with what we touch and see, With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair, With our young lives each spring-impassioned tree Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.
With beat of systole and of diastole One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart, And mighty waves of single Being roll From nerveless germ to man, for we are part Of every rock and bird and beast and hill, One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill.
From lower cells of waking life we pass To full perfection; thus the world grows old: We who are godlike now were once a mass Of quivering purple flecked with bars of gold, Unsentient or of joy or misery, And tossed in terrible tangles of some wild and wind-swept sea.
This hot hard flame with which our bodies burn Will make some meadow blaze with daffodil, Ay! and those argent breasts of thine will turn To water-lilies; the brown fields men till Will be more fruitful for our love to-night, Nothing is lost in nature, all things live in Death's despite.
The boy's first kiss, the hyacinth's first bell, The man's last passion, and the last red spear That from the lily leaps, the asphodel Which will not let its blossoms blow for fear Of too much beauty, and the timid shame Of the young bridegroom at his lover's eyes, - these with the same One sacrament are consecrate, the earth Not we alone hath passions hymeneal, The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth At daybreak know a pleasure not less real Than we do, when in some fresh-blossoming wood, We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good.
So when men bury us beneath the yew Thy crimson-stained mouth a rose will be, And thy soft eyes lush bluebells dimmed with dew, And when the white narcissus wantonly Kisses the wind its playmate some faint joy Will thrill our dust, and we will be again fond maid and boy.
And thus without life's conscious torturing pain In some sweet flower we will feel the sun, And from the linnet's throat will sing again, And as two gorgeous-mailed snakes will run Over our graves, or as two tigers creep Through the hot jungle where the yellow-eyed huge lions sleep And give them battle! How my heart leaps up To think of that grand living after death In beast and bird and flower, when this cup, Being filled too full of spirit, bursts for breath, And with the pale leaves of some autumn day The soul earth's earliest conqueror becomes earth's last great prey.
O think of it! We shall inform ourselves Into all sensuous life, the goat-foot Faun, The Centaur, or the merry bright-eyed Elves That leave their dancing rings to spite the dawn Upon the meadows, shall not be more near Than you and I to nature's mysteries, for we shall hear The thrush's heart beat, and the daisies grow, And the wan snowdrop sighing for the sun On sunless days in winter, we shall know By whom the silver gossamer is spun, Who paints the diapered fritillaries, On what wide wings from shivering pine to pine the eagle flies.
Ay! had we never loved at all, who knows If yonder daffodil had lured the bee Into its gilded womb, or any rose Had hung with crimson lamps its little tree! Methinks no leaf would ever bud in spring, But for the lovers' lips that kiss, the poets' lips that sing.
Is the light vanished from our golden sun, Or is this daedal-fashioned earth less fair, That we are nature's heritors, and one With every pulse of life that beats the air? Rather new suns across the sky shall pass, New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.
And we two lovers shall not sit afar, Critics of nature, but the joyous sea Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be Part of the mighty universal whole, And through all aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul! We shall be notes in that great Symphony Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres, And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be One with our heart; the stealthy creeping years Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die, The Universe itself shall be our Immortality.
Written by Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem

A Valentine

 For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name, that nestling lies
Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
Search narrowly the lines!- they hold a treasure Divine- a talisman- an amulet That must be worn at heart.
Search well the measure- The words- the syllables! Do not forget The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor And yet there is in this no Gordian knot Which one might not undo without a sabre, If one could merely comprehend the plot.
Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing Of poets, by poets- as the name is a poet's, too, Its letters, although naturally lying Like the knight Pinto- Mendez Ferdinando- Still form a synonym for Truth- Cease trying! You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.
Written by William Wordsworth | Create an image from this poem

Resolution And Independence


There was a roaring in the wind all night; 
The rain came heavily and fell in floods; 
But now the sun is rising calm and bright; 
The birds are singing in the distant woods; 
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods; 
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; 
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.
II All things that love the sun are out of doors; The sky rejoices in the morning's birth; The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors The hare is running races in her mirth; And with her feet she from the plashy earth Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun, Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.
III I was a Traveller then upon the moor, I saw the hare that raced about with joy; I heard the woods and distant waters roar; Or heard them not, as happy as a boy: The pleasant season did my heart employ: My old remembrances went from me wholly; And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy.
IV But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might Of joy in minds that can no further go, As high as we have mounted in delight In our dejection do we sink as low; To me that morning did it happen so; And fears and fancies thick upon me came; Dim sadness--and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name.
V I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky; And I bethought me of the playful hare: Even such a happy Child of earth am I; Even as these blissful creatures do I fare; Far from the world I walk, and from all care; But there may come another day to me-- Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.
VI My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought, As if life's business were a summer mood; As if all needful things would come unsought To genial faith, still rich in genial good; But how can He expect that others should Build for him, sow for him, and at his call Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all? VII I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride; Of Him who walked in glory and in joy Following his plough, along the mountain-side: By our own spirits are we deified: We Poets in our youth begin in gladness; But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.
VIII Now, whether it were by peculiar grace, A leading from above, a something given, Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place, When I with these untoward thoughts had striven, Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven I saw a Man before me unawares: The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.
IX As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie Couched on the bald top of an eminence; Wonder to all who do the same espy, By what means it could thither come, and whence; So that it seems a thing endued with sense: Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself; X Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead, Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age: His body was bent double, feet and head Coming together in life's pilgrimage; As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage Of sickness felt by him in times long past, A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.
XI Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face, Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood: And, still as I drew near with gentle pace, Upon the margin of that moorish flood Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood, That heareth not the loud winds when they call And moveth all together, if it move at all.
XII At length, himself unsettling, he the pond Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look Upon the muddy water, which he conned, As if he had been reading in a book: And now a stranger's privilege I took; And, drawing to his side, to him did say, "This morning gives us promise of a glorious day.
" XIII A gentle answer did the old Man make, In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew: And him with further words I thus bespake, "What occupation do you there pursue? This is a lonesome place for one like you.
" Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes, XIV His words came feebly, from a feeble chest, But each in solemn order followed each, With something of a lofty utterance drest-- Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach Of ordinary men; a stately speech; Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use, Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.
XV He told, that to these waters he had come To gather leeches, being old and poor: Employment hazardous and wearisome! And he had many hardships to endure: From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor; Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance, And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.
XVI The old Man still stood talking by my side; But now his voice to me was like a stream Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide; And the whole body of the Man did seem Like one whom I had met with in a dream; Or like a man from some far region sent, To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.
XVII My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills; And hope that is unwilling to be fed; Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills; And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
--Perplexed, and longing to be comforted, My question eagerly did I renew, "How is it that you live, and what is it you do?" XVIII He with a smile did then his words repeat; And said, that, gathering leeches, far and wide He travelled; stirring thus about his feet The waters of the pools where they abide.
"Once I could meet with them on every side; But they have dwindled long by slow decay; Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may.
" XIX While he was talking thus, the lonely place, The old Man's shape, and speech--all troubled me: In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace About the weary moors continually, Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued, He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.
XX And soon with this he other matter blended, Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind, But stately in the main; and when he ended, I could have laughed myself to scorn to find In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
"God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!"