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Best Famous Simple Poems

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

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Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

The Prologue

1

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 Anna Akhmatova | |

I Dont Like Flowers...

I don't like flowers - they do remind me often
Of funerals, of weddings and of balls;
Their presence on tables for a dinner calls.
But sub-eternal roses' ever simple charm Which was my solace when I was a child, Has stayed - my heritage - a set of years behind, Like Mozart's ever-living music's hum.


Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

The Day is Done

THE DAY is done and the darkness 
Falls from the wings of Night  
As a feather is wafted downward 
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village 5 Gleam through the rain and the mist And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing That is not akin to pain 10 And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain.
Come read to me some poem Some simple and heartfelt lay That shall soothe this restless feeling 15 And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters Not from the bards sublime Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time.
20 For like strains of martial music Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet 25 Whose songs gushed from his heart As showers from the clouds of summer Or tears from the eyelids start; Who through long days of labor And nights devoid of ease 30 Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet The restless pulse of care And come like the benediction 35 That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice.
40 And the night shall be filled with music And the cares that infest the day Shall fold their tents like the Arabs And as silently steal away.


More great poems below...

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

The Rhodora - On Being Asked Whence Is the Flower

IN May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes, 
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods, 
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook, 
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool, 5 Made the black water with their beauty gay; Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool, And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, 10 Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, Then Beauty is its own excuse for being: Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose! I never thought to ask, I never knew: But, in my simple ignorance, suppose 15 The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.


Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

Poet

TO clothe the fiery thought 
In simple words succeeds  
For still the craft of genius is 
To mask a king in weeds.


Written by | |

A Farewell to the World

FALSE world good night! since thou hast brought 
That hour upon my morn of age; 
Henceforth I quit thee from my thought  
My part is ended on thy stage.
Yes threaten do.
Alas! I fear 5 As little as I hope from thee: I know thou canst not show nor bear More hatred than thou hast to me.
My tender first and simple years Thou didst abuse and then betray; 10 Since stir'd'st up jealousies and fears When all the causes were away.
Then in a soil hast planted me Where breathe the basest of thy fools; Where envious arts profess¨¨d be 15 And pride and ignorance the schools; Where nothing is examined weigh'd But as 'tis rumour'd so believed; Where every freedom is betray'd And every goodness tax'd or grieved.
20 But what we're born for we must bear: Our frail condition it is such That what to all may happen here If 't chance to me I must not grutch.
Else I my state should much mistake 25 To harbour a divided thought From all my kind¡ªthat for my sake There should a miracle be wrought.
No I do know that I was born To age misfortune sickness grief: 30 But I will bear these with that scorn As shall not need thy false relief.
Nor for my peace will I go far As wanderers do that still do roam; But make my strengths such as they are 35 Here in my bosom and at home.


Written by Wang Wei | |

A FARM-HOUSE ON THE WEI RIVER

In the slant of the sun on the country-side, 
Cattle and sheep trail home along the lane; 
And a rugged old man in a thatch door 
Leans on a staff and thinks of his son, the herdboy.
There are whirring pheasants? full wheat-ears, Silk-worms asleep, pared mulberry-leaves.
And the farmers, returning with hoes on their shoulders, Hail one another familiarly.
.
.
.
No wonder I long for the simple life And am sighing the old song, Oh, to go Back Again!


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 Sir Thomas Wyatt | |

My Lute Awake

 My lute awake! perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun;
For when this song is sung and past,
My lute be still, for I have done.
As to be heard where ear is none, As lead to grave in marble stone, My song may pierce her heart as soon; Should we then sigh or sing or moan? No, no, my lute, for I have done.
The rocks do not so cruelly Repulse the waves continually, As she my suit and affection; So that I am past remedy, Whereby my lute and I have done.
Proud of the spoil that thou hast got Of simple hearts thorough Love's shot, By whom, unkind, thou hast them won, Think not he hath his bow forgot, Although my lute and I have done.
Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain That makest but game on earnest pain.
Think not alone under the sun Unquit to cause thy lovers plain, Although my lute and I have done.
Perchance thee lie wethered and old The winter nights that are so cold, Plaining in vain unto the moon; Thy wishes then dare not be told; Care then who list, for I have done.
And then may chance thee to repent The time that thou hast lost and spent To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon; Then shalt thou know beauty but lent, And wish and want as I have done.
Now cease, my lute; this is the last Labour that thou and I shall waste, And ended is that we begun.
Now is this song both sung and past: My lute be still, for I have done.


Written by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

Contentment

 "Man wants but little here below.
" LITTLE I ask; my wants are few; I only wish a hut of stone, (A very plain brown stone will do,) That I may call my own; And close at hand is such a one, In yonder street that fronts the sun.
Plain food is quite enough for me; Three courses are as good as ten;-- If Nature can subsist on three, Thank Heaven for three.
Amen! I always thought cold victual nice;-- My choice would be vanilla-ice.
I care not much for gold or land;-- Give me a mortgage here and there,-- Some good bank-stock, some note of hand, Or trifling railroad share,-- I only ask that Fortune send A little more than I shall spend.
Honors are silly toys, I know, And titles are but empty names; I would, perhaps, be Plenipo,-- But only near St.
James; I'm very sure I should not care To fill our Gubernator's chair.
Jewels are baubles; 't is a sin To care for such unfruitful things;-- One good-sized diamond in a pin,-- Some, not so large, in rings,-- A ruby, and a pearl, or so, Will do for me;--I laugh at show.
My dame should dress in cheap attire; (Good, heavy silks are never dear;) - I own perhaps I might desire Some shawls of true Cashmere,-- Some marrowy crapes of China silk, Like wrinkled skins on scalded milk.
I would not have the horse I drive So fast that folks must stop and stare; An easy gait--two forty-five-- Suits me; I do not care;-- Perhaps, for just a single spurt, Some seconds less would do no hurt.
Of pictures, I should like to own Titians aud Raphaels three or four,-- I love so much their style and tone, One Turner, and no more, (A landscape,--foreground golden dirt,-- The sunshine painted with a squirt.
) Of books but few,--some fifty score For daily use, and bound for wear; The rest upon an upper floor;-- Some little luxury there Of red morocco's gilded gleam And vellum rich as country cream.
Busts, cameos, gems,--such things as these, Which others often show for pride, I value for their power to please, And selfish churls deride;-- One Stradivarius, I confess, Two Meerschaums, I would fain possess.
Wealth's wasteful tricks I will not learn, Nor ape the glittering upstart fool;-- Shall not carved tables serve my turn, But all must be of buhl? Give grasping pomp its double share,-- I ask but one recumbent chair.
Thus humble let me live and die, Nor long for Midas' golden touch; If Heaven more generous gifts deny, I shall not miss them much,-- Too grateful for the blessing lent Of simple tastes and mind content!


Written by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Organ-Blower

 DEVOUTEST of my Sunday friends,
The patient Organ-blower bends;
I see his figure sink and rise,
(Forgive me, Heaven, my wandering eyes!)
A moment lost, the next half seen,
His head above the scanty screen,
Still measuring out his deep salaams
Through quavering hymns and panting psalms.
No priest that prays in gilded stole, To save a rich man's mortgaged soul; No sister, fresh from holy vows, So humbly stoops, so meekly bows; His large obeisance puts to shame The proudest genuflecting dame, Whose Easter bonnet low descends With all the grace devotion lends.
O brother with the supple spine, How much we owe those bows of thine! Without thine arm to lend the breeze, How vain the finger on the keys! Though all unmatched the player's skill, Those thousand throats were dumb and still: Another's art may shape the tone, The breath that fills it is thine own.
Six days the silent Memnon waits Behind his temple's folded gates; But when the seventh day's sunshine falls Through rainbowed windows on the walls, He breathes, he sings, he shouts, he fills The quivering air with rapturous thrills; The roof resounds, the pillars shake, And all the slumbering echoes wake! The Preacher from the Bible-text With weary words my soul has vexed (Some stranger, fumbling far astray To find the lesson for the day); He tells us truths too plainly true, And reads the service all askew,-- Why, why the-- mischief-- can't he look Beforehand in the service-book? But thou, with decent mien and face, Art always ready in thy place; Thy strenuous blast, whate'er the tune, As steady as the strong monsoon; Thy only dread a leathery creak, Or small residual extra squeak, To send along the shadowy aisles A sunlit wave of dimpled smiles.
Not all the preaching, O my friend, Comes from the church's pulpit end! Not all that bend the knee and bow Yield service half so true as thou! One simple task performed aright, With slender skill, but all thy might, Where honest labor does its best, And leaves the player all the rest.
This many-diapasoned maze, Through which the breath of being strays, Whose music makes our earth divine, Has work for mortal hands like mine.
My duty lies before me.
Lo, The lever there! Take hold and blow! And He whose hand is on the keys Will play the tune as He shall please.


Written by Stephen Vincent Benet | |

The Innovator

 (A Pharaoh Speaks.
) I said, "Why should a pyramid Stand always dully on its base? I'll change it! Let the top be hid, The bottom take the apex-place!" And as I bade they did.
The people flocked in, scores on scores, To see it balance on its tip.
They praised me with the praise that bores, My godlike mind on every lip.
-- Until it fell, of course.
And then they took my body out From my crushed palace, mad with rage, -- Well, half the town WAS wrecked, no doubt -- Their crazy anger to assuage By dragging it about.
The end? Foul birds defile my skull.
The new king's praises fill the land.
He clings to precept, simple, dull; HIS pyramids on bases stand.
But -- Lord, how usual!


Written by William Cullen Bryant | |

A Song of Pitcairns Island

 Come, take our boy, and we will go
Before our cabin door;
The winds shall bring us, as they blow,
The murmurs of the shore;
And we will kiss his young blue eyes, 
And I will sing him, as he lies,
Songs that were made of yore:
I'll sing, in his delighted ear,
The island lays thou lov'st to hear.
And thou, while stammering I repeat, Thy country's tongue shalt teach; 'Tis not so soft, but far more sweet, Than my own native speech: For thou no other tongue didst know, When, scarcely twenty moons ago, Upon Tahete's beach, Thou cam'st to woo me to be thine, With many a speaking look and sign.
I knew thy meaning--thou didst praise My eyes, my locks of jet; Ah! well for me they won thy gaze,-- But thine were fairer yet! I'm glad to see my infant wear Thy soft blue eyes and sunny hair, And when my sight is met By his white brow and blooming cheek, I feel a joy I cannot speak.
Come talk of Europe's maids with me, Whose necks and cheeks, they tell, Outshine the beauty of the sea, White foam and crimson shell.
I'll shape like theirs my simple dress, And bind like them each jetty tress.
A sight to please thee well: And for my dusky brow will braid A bonnet like an English maid.
Come, for the soft low sunlight calls, We lose the pleasant hours; 'Tis lovelier than these cottage walls,-- That seat among the flowers.
And I will learn of thee a prayer, To Him, who gave a home so fair, A lot so blessed as ours-- The God who made, for thee and me, This sweet lone isle amid the sea.


Written by Henry David Thoreau | |

Conscience

 Conscience is instinct bred in the house, 
Feeling and Thinking propagate the sin 
By an unnatural breeding in and in.
I say, Turn it out doors, Into the moors.
I love a life whose plot is simple, And does not thicken with every pimple, A soul so sound no sickly conscience binds it, That makes the universe no worse than 't finds it.
I love an earnest soul, Whose mighty joy and sorrow Are not drowned in a bowl, And brought to life to-morrow; That lives one tragedy, And not seventy; A conscience worth keeping; Laughing not weeping; A conscience wise and steady, And forever ready; Not changing with events, Dealing in compliments; A conscience exercised about Large things, where one may doubt.
I love a soul not all of wood, Predestinated to be good, But true to the backbone Unto itself alone, And false to none; Born to its own affairs, Its own joys and own cares; By whom the work which God begun Is finished, and not undone; Taken up where he left off, Whether to worship or to scoff; If not good, why then evil, If not good god, good devil.
Goodness! you hypocrite, come out of that, Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.
I have no patience towards Such conscientious cowards.
Give me simple laboring folk, Who love their work, Whose virtue is song To cheer God along.


Written by Alec Derwent (A D) Hope | |

Observation Car

 To be put on the train and kissed and given my ticket, 
Then the station slid backward, the shops and the neon lighting, 
Reeling off in a drunken blur, with a whole pound note in my pocket 
And the holiday packed with Perhaps.
It used to be very exciting.
The present and past were enough.
I did not mind having my back To the engine.
I sat like a spider and spun Time backward out of my guts - or rather my eyes - and the track Was a Now dwindling off to oblivion.
I thought it was fun: The telegraph poles slithered up in a sudden crescendo As we sliced the hill and scattered its grazing sheep; The days were a wheeling delirium that led without end to Nights when we plunged into roaring tunnels of sleep.
But now I am tired of the train.
I have learned that one tree Is much like another, one hill the dead spit of the next I have seen tailing off behind all the various types of country Like a clock running down.
I am bored and a little perplexed; And weak with the effort of endless evacuation Of the long monotonous Now, the repetitive, tidy Officialdom of each siding, of each little station Labelled Monday, Tuesday - and goodness ! what happened to - Friday ? And the maddening way the other passengers alter: The schoolgirl who goes to the Ladies' comes back to her seat A lollipop blonde who leads you on to assault her, And you've just got her skirts round her waist and her pants round her feet When you find yourself fumbling about the nightmare knees Of a pink hippopotamus with a permanent wave Who sends you for sandwiches and a couple of teas, But by then she has whiskers, no teeth and one foot in the grave.
I have lost my faith that the ticket tells where we are going.
There are rumours the driver is mad - we are all being trucked To the abattoirs somewhere - the signals are jammed and unknowing We aim through the night full speed at a wrecked viaduct.
But I do not believe them.
The future is rumour and drivel; Only the past is assured.
From the observation car I stand looking back and watching the landscape shrivel, Wondering where we are going and just where the hell we are, Remembering how I planned to break the journey, to drive My own car one day, to have choice in my hands and my foot upon power, To see through the trumpet throat of vertiginous perspective My urgent Now explode continually into flower, To be the Eater of Time, a poet and not that sly Anus of mind the historian.
It was so simple and plain To live by the sole, insatiable influx of the eye.
But something went wrong with the plan: I am still on the train.