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Best Famous Poets Poems

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

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Written by Ben Jonson |

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 Anne Bradstreet |

The Prologue


To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings,
Of cities founded, commonwealths begun,
For my mean pen, are too superior things,
And how they all, or each, their dates have run
Let poets, and historians set these forth,
My obscure verse shall not so dim their worth.
2 But when my wond'ring eyes, and envious heart, Great Bartas' sugared lines do but read o'er, Fool, I do grudge the Muses did not part 'Twixt him and me that overfluent store; A Bartas can do what a Bartas will, But simple I, according to my skill.
3 From schoolboy's tongue, no rhetoric we expect, Nor yet a sweet consort, from broken strings, Nor perfect beauty, where's a main defect; My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings; And this to mend, alas, no art is able, 'Cause nature made it so irreparable.
4 Nor can I, like that fluent sweet-tongued Greek Who lisped at first, speak afterwards more plain.
By art, he gladly found what he did seek, A full requital of his striving pain: Art can do much, but this maxim's most sure.
A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.
5 I am obnoxious to each carping tongue, Who says my hand a needle better fits; A poet's pen all scorn I should thus wrong; For such despite they cast on female wits: If what I do prove well, it won't advance, They'll say it's stolen, or else it was by chance.
6 But sure the antique Greeks were far more mild, Else of our sex, why feigned they those nine, And poesy made Calliope's own child? So 'mongst the rest they placed the arts divine: But this weak knot they will full soon untie, The Greeks did nought, but play the fool and lie.
7 Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are, Men have precedency, and still excel; It is but vain, unjustly to wage war; Men can do best, and women know it well; Preeminence in each and all is yours, Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours.
8 And oh, ye high flown quills that soar the skies, And ever with your prey, still catch your praise, If e'er you deign these lowly lines your eyes, Give wholesome parsley wreath, I ask no bays: This mean and unrefinèd stuff of mine, Will make your glistering gold but more to shine.

Written by John Dryden |

To the Memory of Mr. Oldham

Farewell, too little, and too lately known,
Whom I began to think and call my own:
For sure our souls were near allied, and thine
Cast in the same poetic mold with mine.
One common note on either lyre did strike, And knaves and fools we both abhorred alike.
To the same goal did both our studies drive; The last set out the soonest did arrive.
Thus Nisus fell upon the slippery place, While his young friend performed and won the race.
O early ripe! to thy abundant store What could advancing age have added more? It might (what nature never gives the young) Have taught the numbers of thy native tongue.
But satire needs not those, and wit will shine Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line: A noble error, and but seldom made, When poets are by too much force betrayed.
Thy generous fruits, though gathered ere their prime, Still showed a quickness, and maturing time But mellows what we write to the dull sweets of rhyme.
Once more, hail and farewell; farewell, thou young, But ah too short, Marcellus of our tongue; Thy brows with ivy, and with laurels bound; But fate and gloomy night encompass thee around.

More great poems below...

Written by Robert William Service |

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 Percy Bysshe Shelley |

The Poets Dream

ON a Poet's lips I slept  
Dreaming like a love-adept 
In the sound his breathing kept; 
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses  
But feeds on the aerial kisses 5 
Of shapes that haunt Thought's wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom The lake-reflected sun illume The blue bees in the ivy-bloom Nor heed nor see what things they be¡ª 10 But from these create he can Forms more real than living man Nurslings of Immortality!

Written by Ezra Pound |


 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 Ogden Nash |

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 |


 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 Carl Sandburg |

Three Pieces on the Smoke of Autumn

 SMOKE of autumn is on it all.
The streamers loosen and travel.
The red west is stopped with a gray haze.
They fill the ash trees, they wrap the oaks, They make a long-tailed rider In the pocket of the first, the earliest evening star.
Three muskrats swim west on the Desplaines River.
There is a sheet of red ember glow on the river; it is dusk; and the muskrats one by one go on patrol routes west.
Around each slippery padding rat, a fan of ripples; in the silence of dusk a faint wash of ripples, the padding of the rats going west, in a dark and shivering river gold.
(A newspaper in my pocket says the Germans pierce the Italian line; I have letters from poets and sculptors in Greenwich Village; I have letters from an ambulance man in France and an I.
man in Vladivostok.
) I lean on an ash and watch the lights fall, the red ember glow, and three muskrats swim west in a fan of ripples on a sheet of river gold.
Better the blue silence and the gray west, The autumn mist on the river, And not any hate and not any love, And not anything at all of the keen and the deep: Only the peace of a dog head on a barn floor, And the new corn shoveled in bushels And the pumpkins brought from the corn rows, Umber lights of the dark, Umber lanterns of the loam dark.
Here a dog head dreams.
Not any hate, not any love.
Not anything but dreams.
Brother of dusk and umber.

Written by Barry Tebb |


 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 Joyce Kilmer |


 (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 Robinson Jeffers |

The Silent Shepherds

 What's the best life for a man?
--Never to have been born, sings the choros, and the next best
Is to die young.
I saw the Sybil at Cumae Hung in her cage over the public street-- What do you want, Sybil? I want to die.
Apothanein Thelo.
Apothanein Thelo.
Apothanein Thelo.
You have got your wish.
But I meant life, not death.
What's the best life for a man? To ride in the wind.
To ride horses and herd cattle In solitary places above the ocean on the beautiful mountain, and come home hungry in the evening And eat and sleep.
He will live in the wild wind and quick rain, he will not ruin his eyes with reading, Nor think too much.
However, we must have philosophers.
I will have shepherds for my philosophers, Tall dreary men lying on the hills all night Watching the stars, let their dogs watch the sheep.
And I'll have lunatics For my poets, strolling from farm to farm, wild liars distorting The country news into supernaturalism-- For all men to such minds are devils or gods--and that increases Man's dignity, man's importance, necessary lies Best told by fools.
I will have no lawyers nor constables Each man guard his own goods: there will be manslaughter, But no more wars, no more mass-sacrifice.
Nor I'll have no doctors, Except old women gathering herbs on the mountain, Let each have her sack of opium to ease the death-pains.
That would be a good world, free and out-doors.
But the vast hungry spirit of the time Cries to his chosen that there is nothing good Except discovery, experiment and experience and discovery: To look truth in the eyes, To strip truth naked, let our dogs do our living for us But man discover.
It is a fine ambition, But the wrong tools.
Science and mathematics Run parallel to reality, they symbolize it, they squint at it, They never touch it: consider what an explosion Would rock the bones of men into little white fragments and unsky the world If any mind for a moment touch truth.

Written by |

A Part of an Ode

A Part of an Ode to the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that noble pair Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H.
Morison IT is not growing like a tree In bulk doth make man better be; Or standing long an oak three hundred year To fall a log at last dry bald and sere: A lily of a day 5 Is fairer far in May Although it fall and die that night; It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see; And in short measures life may perfect be.
10 Call noble Lucius then for wine And let thy looks with gladness shine: Accept this garland plant it on thy head And think¡ªnay know¡ªthy Morison 's not dead.
He leap'd the present age 15 Possest with holy rage To see that bright eternal Day Of which we Priests and Poets say Such truths as we expect for happy men; And there he lives with memory¡ªand Ben 20 Jonson: who sung this of him ere he went Himself to rest Or tast a part of that full joy he meant To have exprest In this bright Asterism 25 Where it were friendship's schism¡ª Were not his Lucius long with us to tarry¡ª To separate these twy Lights the Dioscuri And keep the one half from his Harry.
30 But fate doth so alternate the design Whilst that in Heav'n this light on earth must shine.
And shine as you exalted are! Two names of friendship but one star: Of hearts the union: and those not by chance 35 Made or indenture or leased out to advance The profits for a time.
No pleasures vain did chime Of rimes or riots at your feasts Orgies of drink or feign'd protests; 40 But simple love of greatness and of good That knits brave minds and manners more than blood.
This made you first to know the Why You liked then after to apply That liking and approach so one the t'other 45 Till either grew a portion of the other: Each styl¨¨d by his end The copy of his friend.
You lived to be the great surnames And titles by which all made claims 50 Unto the Virtue¡ªnothing perfect done But as a CARY or a MORISON.
And such the force the fair example had As they that saw The good and durst not practise it were glad 55 That such a law Was left yet to mankind Where they might read and find FRIENDSHIP indeed was written not in words And with the heart not pen 60 Of two so early men Whose lines her rules were and records: Who ere the first down bloom¨¨d on the chin Had sow'd these fruits and got the harvest in.

Written by Edgar Allan Poe |

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 Walt Whitman |

As I Ponder'd in Silence.

AS I ponder’d in silence, 
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long, 
A Phantom arose before me, with distrustful aspect, 
Terrible in beauty, age, and power, 
The genius of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame its eyes, 
With finger pointing to many immortal songs, 
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said; 
Know’st thou not, there is but one theme for ever-enduring bards? 
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers? 

Be it so, then I answer’d, 
I too, haughty Shade, also sing war—and a longer and greater one than
Waged in my book with varying fortune—with flight, advance, and
 retreat—Victory deferr’d and wavering, 
(Yet, methinks, certain, or as good as certain, at the last,)—The
 field the world;
For life and death—for the Body, and for the eternal Soul, 
Lo! too am come, chanting the chant of battles, 
I, above all, promote brave soldiers.