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Best Famous Religious Poems

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

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See also: Best Member Poems

by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

Mr. Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service

 Look, look, master, here comes two religious caterpillars.
The Jew of Malta.
POLYPHILOPROGENITIVE The sapient sutlers of the Lord Drift across the window-panes.
In the beginning was the Word.
In the beginning was the Word.
Superfetation of , And at the mensual turn of time Produced enervate Origen.
A painter of the Umbrian school Designed upon a gesso ground The nimbus of the Baptized God.
The wilderness is cracked and browned But through the water pale and thin Still shine the unoffending feet And there above the painter set The Father and the Paraclete.
.
.
.
.
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The sable presbyters approach The avenue of penitence; The young are red and pustular Clutching piaculative pence.
Under the penitential gates Sustained by staring Seraphim Where the souls of the devout Burn invisible and dim.
Along the garden-wall the bees With hairy bellies pass between The staminate and pistilate, Blest office of the epicene.
Sweeney shifts from ham to ham Stirring the water in his bath.
The masters of the subtle schools Are controversial, polymath.


by Alexander Pope | |

Couplets on Wit

 I

But our Great Turks in wit must reign alone
And ill can bear a Brother on the Throne.
II Wit is like faith by such warm Fools profest Who to be saved by one, must damn the rest.
III Some who grow dull religious strait commence And gain in morals what they lose in sence.
IV Wits starve as useless to a Common weal While Fools have places purely for their Zea.
V Now wits gain praise by copying other wits As one Hog lives on what another sh---.
VI Wou'd you your writings to some Palates fit Purged all you verses from the sin of wit For authors now are so conceited grown They praise no works but what are like their own.


by Belinda Subraman | |

My Indian In-laws

 I remember India:
palm trees, monkey families,
fresh lime juice in the streets,
the sensual inundation
of sights and smells
and excess in everything.
I was exotic and believable there.
I was walking through dirt in my sari, to temples of the deities following the lead of my Indian in-laws.
I was scooping up fire with my hands, glancing at idols that held no meaning for me, being marked by the ash.
They smiled at the Western woman, acting religious, knowing it was my way of showing respect.
It was an adventure for me but an arm around their culture for them.
To me it was living a dream I knew I could wake up from.
To them it was the willingness to be Indian that pleased.
We were holding hands across a cultural cosmos, knowing there were no differences hearts could not soothe.
They accepted me as I accepted them, baffled but in love with our wedded mystery.


More great poems below...

by Robert William Service | |

Freethinker

 Although the Preacher be a bore,
The Atheist is even more.
I ain't religious worth a damn; My views are reckoned to be broad; And yet I shut up like a clam When folks get figgerin' on God; I'd hate my kids to think like me, And though they leave me in the lurch, I'm always mighty glad to see My fam'ly trot to Church.
Although of books I have a shelf Of skeptic stuff, I must confess I keep their knowledge to myself: Doubt doesn't help to happiness.
I never scoff at Holy Writ, But envy those who hold it true, And though I've never been in it I'm proud to own a pew.
I always was a doubting Tom; I guess some lads are born that way.
I couldn't stick religion from The time I broke the Sabbath Day.
Yet unbelief's a bitter brew, And this in arid ways I've learned; If you believe a thing, it's true As far as your concerned.
I'm sentimental, I agree, For how it always makes me glad To turn from Ingersoll and see My little girls Communion-clad.
And as to church my people plod I cry to them with simple glee: "Say, folks, if you should talk to God, Put in a word for me.
"


by Constantine P Cavafy | |

Manuel Komninos

 One dreary September day
Emperor Manuel Komninos
felt his death was near.
The court astrologers -bribed, of course- went on babbling about how many years he still had to live.
But while they were having their say, he remebered an old religious custom and ordered ecclesiastical vestments to be brought from a monastery, and he put them on, glad to assume the modest image of a priest or monk.
Happy all those who believe, and like Emperor Manuel end their lives dressed modestly in their faith.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Higher Unity

 The Rev.
Isaiah Bunter has disappeared into the interior of the Solomon Islands, and it is feared that he may have been devoured by the natives, as there has been a considerable revival of religious customs among the Polynesians.
--A real paragraph from a real Paper; only the names altered.
It was Isaiah Bunter Who sailed to the world's end, And spread religion in a way That he did not intend.
He gave, if not the gospel-feast, At least a ritual meal; And in a highly painful sense He was devoured with zeal.
And who are we (as Henson says) That we should close the door? And should not Evangelicals All jump at shedding Gore? And many a man will melt in man, Becoming one, not two, When smacks across the startled earth The Kiss of Kikuyu.
When Man is the Turk, and the Atheist, Essene, Erastian, Whig, And the Thug and the Druse and the Catholic And the crew of the Captain's gig.


by G K Chesterton | |

The New Freethinker

 John Grubby who was short and stout 
And troubled with religious doubt, 
Refused about the age of three 
To sit upon the curate's knee; 
(For so the eternal strife must rage 
Between the spirit of the age 
And Dogma, which, as is well known, 
Does simply hate to be outgrown).
Grubby, the young idea that shoots, Outgrew the ages like old boots; While still, to all appearance, small, Would have no Miracles at all; And just before the age of ten Firmly refused Free Will to men.
The altars reeled, the heavens shook, Just as he read of in the book; Flung from his house went forth the youth Alone with tempests and the Truth.
Up to the distant city and dim Where his papa had bought for him A partnership in Chepe and Deer Worth, say twelve hundred pounds a year.
But he was resolute.
Lord Brute Had found him useful; and Lord Loot, With whom few other men would act, Valued his promptitude and tact; Never did even philanthrophy Enrich a man more rapidly: 'Twas he that stopped the Strike in Coal, For hungry children racked his soul; To end their misery there and then He filled the mines with Chinamen Sat in that House that broke the Kings, And voted for all sorts of things -- And rose from Under-Sec.
to Sec.
With scarce a murmur or a check.
Some grumbled.
Growlers who gave less Than generous worship to success, The little printers in Dundee, Who got ten years for blasphemy, (Although he let them off with seven) Respect him rather less than heaven.
No matter.
This can still be said: Never to supernatural dread Never to unseen deity, Did Sir John Grubby bend the knee; Nor was he bribed by fabled bliss To kneel to any world but this.
The curate lives in Camden Town, His lap still empty of renown, And still across the waste of years John Grubby, in the House of Peers, Faces that curate, proud and free, And never sits upon his knee.


by Edgar Lee Masters | |

Plymouth Rock Joe

 Why are you running so fast hither and thither
Chasing midges or butterflies?
Some of you are standing solemnly scratching for grubs;
Some of you are waiting for corn to be scattered.
This is life, is it? Cock-a-doodle-do! Very well, Thomas Rhodes, You are cock of the walk, no doubt.
But here comes Elliott Hawkins, Gluck, Gluck, Gluck, attracting political followers.
Quah! quah! quah! why so poetical, Minerva, This gray morning? Kittie -- quah -- quah! for shame, Lucius Atherton, The raucous squawk you evoked from the throat Of Aner Clute will be taken up later By Mrs.
Benjamin Pantier as a cry Of votes for women: Ka dook -- dook! What inspiration has come to you, Margaret Fuller Slack? And why does your gooseberry eye Flit so liquidly, Tennessee Claflin Shope? Are you trying to fathom the esotericism of an egg? Your voice is very metallic this morning, Hortense Robbins -- Almost like a guinea hen's! Quah! That was a guttural sigh, Isaiah Beethoven; Did you see the shadow of the hawk, Or did you step upon the drumsticks Which the cook threw out this morning? Be chivalric, heroic, or aspiring, Metaphysical, religious, or rebellious, You shall never get out of the barnyard Except by way of over the fence Mixed with potato peelings and such into the trough!


by Bob Kaufman | |

On

 On yardbird corners of embryonic hopes, drowned in a heroin tear.
On yardbird corners of parkerflights to sound filled pockets in space.
On neuro-corners of striped brains & desperate electro-surgeons.
On alcohol corners of pointless discussion & historical hangovers.
On television corners of cornflakes & rockwells impotent America.
On university corners of tailored intellect & greek letter openers.
On military corners of megathon deaths & universal anesthesia.
On religious corners of theological limericks and On radio corners of century-long records & static events.
On advertising corners of filter-tipped ice-cream & instant instants On teen-age corners of comic book seduction and corrupted guitars, On political corners of wamted candidates & ritual lies.
On motion picture corners of lassie & other symbols.
On intellectual corners of conversational therapy & analyzed fear.
On newspaper corners of sexy headlines & scholarly comics.
On love divided corners of die now pay later mortuaries.
On philosophical corners of semantic desperadoes & idea-mongers.
On middle class corners of private school puberty & anatomical revolts On ultra-real corners of love on abandoned roller-coasters On lonely poet corners of low lying leaves & moist prophet eyes.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 14

 XIV

When Faith and Love which parted from thee never,
Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthy load
Of Death, call'd Life; which us from Life doth sever
Thy Works and Alms and all thy good Endeavour
Staid not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But as Faith pointed with her golden rod,
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Love led them on, and Faith who knew them best Thy hand-maids, clad them o're with purple beams And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, And speak the truth of thee on glorious Theams Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.
Note: Camb.
Autograph supplies title, On the Religious Memory of Catherine Thomson, my Christian Friend, deceased 16 Decemb.
, 1646.


by John Milton | |

On the Religious Memory of Mrs. Catherine Thomson my Christian Friend Deceased Dec. 16 1646

 When Faith and Love, which parted from thee never, 
Had ripened thy just soul to dwell with God, 
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load 
Of death, called life, which us from life doth sever.
Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endeavour, Stayed not behind, nor in the grave were trod; But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod, Followed thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Love led them on; and Faith, who knew them best Thy handmaids, clad them o’er with purple beams And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, And speak the truth of thee on glorious themes Before the Judge; who henceforth bid thee rest, And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.


by David Lehman | |

Twelfth Night

 His first infidelity was a mistake, but not as big
As her false pregnancy.
Later, the boy found out He was born three months earlier than the date On his birth certificate, which had turned into A marriage license in his hands.
Had he been trapped In a net, like a moth mistaken for a butterfly? And why did she--what was in it for her? It took him all this time to figure it out.
The barroom boast, "I never had to pay for it," Is bogus if marriage is a religious institution On the operating model of a nineteenth-century factory.
On the other hand, women's lot was no worse then Than it is now.
The division of labor made sense In theories developed by college boys in jeans Who grasped the logic their fathers had used To seduce women and deceive themselves.
The pattern repeats itself, the same events In a different order obeying the conventions of A popular genre.
Winter on a desolate beach.
Spring While there's snow still on the balcony and, In the window, a plane flies over the warehouse.
The panic is gone.
But the pain remains.
And the apple, The knife, and the honey are months away.


by Anne Sexton | |

The Fury Of Guitars And Sopranos

 This singing 
is a kind of dying, 
a kind of birth, 
a votive candle.
I have a dream-mother who sings with her guitar, nursing the bedroom with a moonlight and beautiful olives.
A flute came too, joining the five strings, a God finger over the holes.
I knew a beautiful woman once who sang with her fingertips and her eyes were brown like small birds.
At the cup of her breasts I drew wine.
At the mound of her legs I drew figs.
She sang for my thirst, mysterious songs of God that would have laid an army down.
It was as if a morning-glory had bloomed in her throat and all that blue and small pollen ate into my heart violent and religious.


by Robert Southey | |

To The Chapel Bell

 "Lo I, the man who erst the Muse did ask
Her deepest notes to swell the Patriot's meeds,
Am now enforst a far unfitter task
For cap and gown to leave my minstrel weeds,"
For yon dull noise that tinkles on the air
Bids me lay by the lyre and go to morning prayer.
Oh how I hate the sound! it is the Knell, That still a requiem tolls to Comfort's hour; And loth am I, at Superstition's bell, To quit or Morpheus or the Muses bower.
Better to lie and dose, than gape amain, Hearing still mumbled o'er, the same eternal strain.
Thou tedious herald of more tedious prayers Say hast thou ever summoned from his rest, One being awakening to religious awe? Or rous'd one pious transport in the breast? Or rather, do not all reluctant creep To linger out the hour, in listlessness or sleep? I love the bell, that calls the poor to pray Chiming from village church its chearful sound, When the sun smiles on Labour's holy day, And all the rustic train are gathered round, Each deftly dizen'd in his Sunday's best And pleas'd to hail the day of piety and rest.
Or when, dim-shadowing o'er the face of day, The mantling mists of even-tide rise slow, As thro' the forest gloom I wend my way, The minster curfew's sullen roar I know; I pause and love its solemn toll to hear, As made by distance soft, it dies upon the ear.
Nor not to me the unfrequent midnight knell Tolls sternly harmonizing; on mine ear As the deep death-fraught sounds long lingering dwell Sick to the heart of Love and Hope and Fear Soul-jaundiced, I do loathe Life's upland steep And with strange envy muse the dead man's dreamless sleep.
But thou, memorial of monastic gall! What Fancy sad or lightsome hast thou given? Thy vision-scaring sounds alone recall The prayer that trembles on a yawn to heaven; And this Dean's gape, and that Dean's nosal tone, And Roman rites retain'd, tho' Roman faith be flown.


by Ogden Nash | |

I Do I Will I Have

 How wise I am to have instructed the butler
to instruct the first footman to instruct the second
footman to instruct the doorman to order my carriage;
I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.
Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen, I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut and a woman who can't sleep with the window open.
Moreover, just as I am unsure of the difference between flora and fauna and flotsam and jetsam, I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people one of whom never remembers birthdays and the other never forgetsam, And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or the gas pipe and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate or drown, And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the windowsill, it's raining in, and he replies Oh they're all right, it's only raining straight down.
That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce, Because it's the only known example of the happy meeting of the immovable object and the irresistible force.
So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and combat over everything debatable and combatable, Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life, particularly if he has income and she is pattable.


by Sharon Olds | |

Sex Without Love

 How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other's bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away.
How do they come to the come to the come to the God come to the still waters, and not love the one who came there with them, light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin? These are the true religious, the purists, the pros, the ones who will not accept a false Messiah, love the priest instead of the God.
They do not mistake the lover for their own pleasure, they are like great runners: they know they are alone with the road surface, the cold, the wind, the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio- vascular health--just factors, like the partner in the bed, and not the truth, which is the single body alone in the universe against its own best time.


by Pablo Neruda | |

Magellanic Penguin

 Neither clown nor child nor black
nor white but verticle
and a questioning innocence
dressed in night and snow:
The mother smiles at the sailor,
the fisherman at the astronaunt,
but the child child does not smile
when he looks at the bird child,
and from the disorderly ocean
the immaculate passenger
emerges in snowy mourning.
I was without doubt the child bird there in the cold archipelagoes when it looked at me with its eyes, with its ancient ocean eyes: it had neither arms nor wings but hard little oars on its sides: it was as old as the salt; the age of moving water, and it looked at me from its age: since then I know I do not exist; I am a worm in the sand.
the reasons for my respect remained in the sand: the religious bird did not need to fly, did not need to sing, and through its form was visible its wild soul bled salt: as if a vein from the bitter sea had been broken.
Penguin, static traveler, deliberate priest of the cold, I salute your vertical salt and envy your plumed pride.


by Robert Graves | |

The Naked And The Nude

 For me, the naked and the nude 
(By lexicographers construed 
As synonyms that should express 
The same deficiency of dress 
Or shelter) stand as wide apart 
As love from lies, or truth from art.
Lovers without reproach will gaze On bodies naked and ablaze; The Hippocratic eye will see In nakedness, anatomy; And naked shines the Goddess when She mounts her lion among men.
The nude are bold, the nude are sly To hold each treasonable eye.
While draping by a showman's trick Their dishabille in rhetoric, They grin a mock-religious grin Of scorn at those of naked skin.
The naked, therefore, who compete Against the nude may know defeat; Yet when they both together tread The briary pastures of the dead, By Gorgons with long whips pursued, How naked go the sometime nude!


by Anthony Hecht | |

A Hill

 In Italy, where this sort of thing can occur,
I had a vision once - though you understand
It was nothing at all like Dante's, or the visions of saints,
And perhaps not a vision at all.
I was with some friends, Picking my way through a warm sunlit piazza In the early morning.
A clear fretwork of shadows From huge umbrellas littered the pavement and made A sort of lucent shallows in which was moored A small navy of carts.
Books, coins, old maps, Cheap landscapes and ugly religious prints Were all on sale.
The colors and noise Like the flying hands were gestures of exultation, So that even the bargaining Rose to the ear like a voluble godliness.
And then, where it happened, the noises suddenly stopped, And it got darker; pushcarts and people dissolved And even the great Farnese Palace itself Was gone, for all its marble; in its place Was a hill, mole-colored and bare.
It was very cold, Close to freezing, with a promise of snow.
The trees were like old ironwork gathered for scrap Outside a factory wall.
There was no wind, And the only sound for a while was the little click Of ice as it broke in the mud under my feet.
I saw a piece of ribbon snagged on a hedge, But no other sign of life.
And then I heard What seemed the crack of a rifle.
A hunter, I guessed; At least I was not alone.
But just after that Came the soft and papery crash Of a great branch somewhere unseen falling to earth.
And that was all, except for the cold and silence That promised to last forever, like the hill.
Then prices came through, and fingers, and I was restored To the sunlight and my friends.
But for more than a week I was scared by the plain bitterness of what I had seen.
All this happened about ten years ago, And it hasn't troubled me since, but at last, today, I remembered that hill; it lies just to the left Of the road north of Poughkeepsie; and as a boy I stood before it for hours in wintertime.


by George Herbert | |

Lent

 Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee, 
He loves not Temperance, or Authority, 
But is compos'd of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now: Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow To ev'ry Corporation.
The humble soul compos'd of love and fear Begins at home, and lays the burden there, When doctrines disagree, He says, in things which use hath justly got, I am a scandal to the Church, and not The Church is so to me.
True Christians should be glad of an occasion To use their temperance, seeking no evasion, When good is seasonable; Unless Authority, which should increase The obligation in us, make it less, And Power itself disable.
Besides the cleanness of sweet abstinence, Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense, A face not fearing light: Whereas in fulness there are sluttish fumes, Sour exhalations, and dishonest rheums, Revenging the delight.
Then those same pendant profits, which the spring And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing, And goodness of the deed.
Neither ought other men's abuse of Lent Spoil the good use; lest by that argument We forfeit all our Creed.
It's true, we cannot reach Christ's forti'eth day; Yet to go part of that religious way, Is better than to rest: We cannot reach our Saviour's purity; Yet we are bid, 'Be holy ev'n as he, ' In both let's do our best.
Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone, Is much more sure to meet with him, than one That travelleth by-ways: Perhaps my God, though he be far before, May turn and take me by the hand, and more: May strengthen my decays.
Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast By starving sin and taking such repast, As may our faults control: That ev'ry man may revel at his door, Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor, And among those his soul.


by Ted Hughes | |

The Harvest Moon

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come, Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.
So people can't sleep, So they go out where elms and oak trees keep A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come! And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep Stare up at her petrified, while she swells Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing Closer and closer like the end of the world.
Till the gold fields of stiff wheat Cry `We are ripe, reap us!' and the rivers Sweat from the melting hills.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Epitaphs

 Her Mother's Epitaph

Here lies
A worthy matron of unspotted life,
A loving mother and obedient wife,
A friendly neighbor, pitiful to poor,
Whom oft she fed, and clothed with her store;
To servants wisely aweful, but yet kind,
And as they did, so they reward did find:
A true instructor of her family,
The which she ordered with dexterity,
The public meetings ever did frequent,
And in her closest constant hours she spent;
Religious in all her words and ways,
Preparing still for death, till end of days:
Of all her children, children lived to see,
Then dying, left a blessed memory.
Her Father's Epitaph Within this tomb a patriot lies That was both pious, just and wise, To truth a shield, to right a wall, To sectaries a whip and maul, A magazine of history, A prizer of good company In manners pleasant and severe The good him loved, the bad did fear, And when his time with years was spent In some rejoiced, more did lament.
1653, age 77


by Raymond Carver | |

What The Doctor Said

 He said it doesn't look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I'm real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnets iv

 THY bosom is endeared with all hearts 
Which I, by lacking, have supposed dead: 
And there reigns Love, and all Love's loving parts, 
And all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear Hath dear religious love stol'n from mine eye, As interest of the dead!--which now appear But things removed that hidden in thee lie.
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live, Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone, Who all their parts of me to thee did give: --That due of many now is thine alone: Their images I loved I view in thee, And thou, all they, hast all the all of me.
WHAT is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend? Since every one hath, every one, one shade, And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit Is poorly imitated after you; On Helen's cheek all art of beauty set, And you in Grecian tires are painted new: Speak of the spring and foison of the year, The one doth shadow of your beauty show, The other as your bounty doth appear; And you in every blessed shape we know.
In all external grace you have some part, But you like none, none you, for constant heart.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XXXI

 Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts,
Which I by lacking have supposed dead,
And there reigns love and all love's loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear Hath dear religious love stol'n from mine eye As interest of the dead, which now appear But things removed that hidden in thee lie! Thou art the grave where buried love doth live, Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone, Who all their parts of me to thee did give; That due of many now is thine alone: Their images I loved I view in thee, And thou, all they, hast all the all of me.