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Best Famous Time Poems

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

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Edgar Allan Poe | |

The City In the Sea

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West 
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers (Time-eaten towers that tremble not!) Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around by lifting winds forgot Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie.
No rays from the holy heaven come down On the long night-time of that town; But light from out the lurid sea Streams up the turrets silently- Gleams up the pinnacles far and free- Up domes- up spires- up kingly halls- Up fanes- up Babylon-like walls- Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers- Up many and many a marvellous shrine Whose wreathed friezes intertwine The viol the violet and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there That all seem pendulous in air While from a proud tower in the town Death looks gigantically down.
There open fanes and gaping graves Yawn level with the luminous waves; But not the riches there that lie In each idol's diamond eye- Not the gaily-jewelled dead Tempt the waters from their bed; For no ripples curl alas! Along that wilderness of glass- No swellings tell that winds may be Upon some far-off happier sea- No heavings hint that winds have been On seas less hideously serene.
But lo a stir is in the air! The wave- there is a movement there! As if the towers had thrust aside In slightly sinking the dull tide- As if their tops had feebly given A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow- The hours are breathing faint and low- And when amid no earthly moans Down down that town shall settle hence Hell rising from a thousand thrones Shall do it reverence.


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Last Leaf

I saw him once before, 
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.
They say that in his prime, Ere the pruning-knife of Time Cut him down, Not a better man was found By the Crier on his round Through the town.
But now he walks the streets, And looks at all he meets Sad and wan, And he shakes his feeble head, That it seems as if he said, "They are gone.
" The mossy marbles rest On the lips that he has prest In their bloom, And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year On the tomb.
My grandmamma has said— Poor old lady, she is dead Long ago— That he had a Roman nose, And his cheek was like a rose In the snow; But now his nose is thin, And it rests upon his chin Like a staff, And a crook is in his back, And a melancholy crack In his laugh.
I know it is a sin For me to sit and grin At him here; But the old three-cornered hat, And the breeches, and all that, Are so queer! And if I should live to be The last leaf upon the tree In the spring, Let them smile, as I do now, At the old forsaken bough Where I cling.


by Lewis Carroll | |

Jabberwocky

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: 
All mimsy were the borogoves, 
And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!" He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood a while in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came! One two! One two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.


More great poems below...

by Emily Dickinson | |

I dreaded that first Robin

I dreaded that first Robin, so,
But He is mastered, now,
I'm some accustomed to Him grown,
He hurts a little, though—

I thought if I could only live
Till that first Shout got by—
Not all Pianos in the Woods
Had power to mangle me—

I dared not meet the Daffodils—
For fear their Yellow Gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own—

I wished the Grass would hurry—
So—when 'twas time to see—
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch—to look at me—

I could not bear the Bees should come,
I wished they'd stay away
In those dim countries where they go,
What word had they, for me?

They're here, though; not a creature failed—
No Blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me—
The Queen of Calvary—

Each one salutes me, as he goes,
And I, my childish Plumes,
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgement
Of their unthinking Drums—


by Jonathan Swift | |

A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General

His Grace! impossible! what dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall?
And so inglorious, after all!
Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now:
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old As by the newspapers we're told? Threescore, I think, is pretty high; 'Twas time in conscience he should die.
This world he cumbered long enough; He burnt his candle to the snuff; And that's the reason, some folks think, He left behind so great a s---k.
Behold his funeral appears, Nor widow's sighs, nor orphan's tears, Wont at such times each heart to pierce, Attend the progress of his hearse.
But what of that, his friends may say, He had those honors in his day.
True to his profit and his pride, He made them weep before he died.
Come hither, all ye empty things, Ye bubbles raised by breath of kings; Who float upon the tide of state, Come hither, and behold your fate.
Let pride be taught by this rebuke, How very mean a thing's a Duke; From all his ill-got honors flung, Turned to that dirt from whence he sprung.


by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star, 
And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 
When I put out to sea, 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep, 
Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For though from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet 55

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contènts
Than unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And broils root out the work of masonry, Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise, You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.


by Oscar Wilde | |

Hélas

To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday
With idle songs for pipe and virelay,
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.
Surely there was a time I might have trod The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God.
Is that time dead? lo! with a little rod I did but touch the honey of romance— And must I lose a soul's inheritance?


by Thomas Moore | |

Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
   Which I gaze on so fondly today,
Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms,
   Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
   Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
   Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known, To which time will but make thee more dear; No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets, The same look which she turned when he rose.


by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood, 
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, 
Here once the embattled farmers stood, 
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone; That memory may their deed redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee.


by Phillis Wheatley | |

To a Lady on the Death of Her Husband

Grim monarch! see, depriv'd of vital breath,
A young physician in the dust of death:
Dost thou go on incessant to destroy,
Our griefs to double, and lay waste our joy?
"Enough" thou never yet wast known to say,
Though millions die, the vassals of thy sway:
Nor youth, nor science, nor the ties of love,
Nor aught on earth thy flinty heart can move.
The friend, the spouse from his dire dart to save, In vain we ask the sovereign of the grave.
Fair mourner, there see thy lov'd Leonard laid, And o'er him spread the deep impervious shade; Clos'd are his eyes, and heavy fetters keep His senses bound in never-waking sleep, Till time shall cease, till many a starry world Shall fall from heav'n, in dire confusion hurl'd, Till nature in her final wreck shall lie, And her last groan shall rend the azure sky: Not, not till then his active soul shall claim His body, a divine immortal frame.
But see the softly-stealing tears apace Pursue each other down the mourner's face; But cease thy tears, bid ev'ry sigh depart, And cast the load of anguish from thine heart: From the cold shell of his great soul arise, And look beyond, thou native of the skies; There fix thy view, where fleeter than the wind Thy Leonard mounts, and leaves the earth behind.
Thyself prepare to pass the vale of night To join for ever on the hills of light: To thine embrace his joyful sprit moves To thee, the partner of his earthly loves; He welcomes thee to pleasures more refin'd, And better suited to th' immortal mind.


by Andrew Marvell | |

To His Coy Mistress

  Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide Of Humber would complain.
I would Love you ten years before the Flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires and more slow; An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song; then worms shall try That long-preserved virginity, And your quaint honor turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust: The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life: Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.


by Fleda Brown | |

The Women Who Loved Elvis All Their Lives

She reads, of course, what he's doing, shaking Nixon's hand, 
dating this starlet or that, while he is faithful to her 
like a stone in her belly, like the actual love child, 
its bills and diapers.
Once he had kissed her and time had stood still, at least some point seems to remain back there as a place to return to, to wait for.
What is she waiting for? He will not marry her, nor will he stop very often.
Desireé will grow up to say her father is dead.
Desireé will imagine him standing on a timeless street, hungry for his child.
She will wait for him, not in the original, but in a gesture copied to whatever lover she takes.
He will fracture and change to landscape, to the Pope, maybe, or President Kennedy, or to a pain that darkens her eyes.
"Once," she will say, as if she remembers, and the memory will stick like a fishbone.
She knows how easily she will comply when a man puts his hand on the back of her neck and gently steers her.
She knows how long she will wait for rescue, how the world will go on expanding outside.
She will see her mother's photo of Elvis shaking hands with Nixon, the terrifying conjunction.
A whole war with Asia will begin slowly, in her lifetime, out of such irreconcilable urges.
The Pill will become available to the general public, starting up a new waiting in that other depth.
The egg will have to keep believing in its timeless moment of completion without any proof except in the longing of its own body.
Maris will break Babe Ruth's record while Orbison will have his first major hit with "Only the Lonely," trying his best to sound like Elvis.
© 1999, Fleda Brown (first published in The Iowa Review, 29 [1999])


by Thomas Hardy | |

Hap

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh:  "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
But not so.
How arrives it joy lies slain, And why unblooms the best hope ever sown? —Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain, And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan.
.
.
.
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.


by Phillis Wheatley | |

To S. M. a young African Painter on seeing his Works

To show the lab'ring bosom's deep intent,
And thought in living characters to paint,
When first thy pencil did those beauties give,
And breathing figures learnt from thee to live,
How did those prospects give my soul delight,
A new creation rushing on my sight?
Still, wond'rous youth! each noble path pursue,
On deathless glories fix thine ardent view:
Still may the painter's and the poet's fire
To aid thy pencil, and thy verse conspire!
And may the charms of each seraphic theme
Conduct thy footsteps to immortal fame!
High to the blissful wonders of the skies
Elate thy soul, and raise thy wishful eyes.
Thrice happy, when exalted to survey That splendid city, crown'd with endless day, Whose twice six gates on radiant hinges ring: Celestial Salem blooms in endless spring.
Calm and serene thy moments glide along, And may the muse inspire each future song! Still, with the sweets of contemplation bless'd, May peace with balmy wings your soul invest! But when these shades of time are chas'd away, And darkness ends in everlasting day, On what seraphic pinions shall we move, And view the landscapes in the realms above? There shall thy tongue in heav'nly murmurs flow, And there my muse with heav'nly transport glow: No more to tell of Damon's tender sighs, Or rising radiance of Aurora's eyes, For nobler themes demand a nobler strain, And purer language on th' ethereal plain.
Cease, gentle muse! the solemn gloom of night Now seals the fair creation from my sight.


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.


by Maya Angelou | |

Men

When I was young, I used to
Watch behind the curtains
As men walked up and down the street.
Wino men, old men.
Young men sharp as mustard.
See them.
Men are always Going somewhere.
They knew I was there.
Fifteen Years old and starving for them.
Under my window, they would pauses, Their shoulders high like the Breasts of a young girl, Jacket tails slapping over Those behinds, Men.
One day they hold you in the Palms of their hands, gentle, as if you Were the last raw egg in the world.
Then They tighten up.
Just a little.
The First squeeze is nice.
A quick hug.
Soft into your defenselessness.
A little More.
The hurt begins.
Wrench out a Smile that slides around the fear.
When the Air disappears, Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly, Like the head of a kitchen match.
Shattered.
It is your juice That runs down their legs.
Staining their shoes.
When the earth rights itself again, And taste tries to return to the tongue, Your body has slammed shut.
Forever.
No keys exist.
Then the window draws full upon Your mind.
There, just beyond The sway of curtains, men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply Stand and watch.
Maybe.


by Maya Angelou | |

Passing Time

Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.
The other, the end of a sure beginning.


by Emily Dickinson | |

I had no time to hate because

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.
Nor had I time to love, but since Some industry must be, The little toil of love, I thought, Was large enough for me.


by Edgar Allan Poe | |

Sonnet -- To Science

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart Vulture whose wings are dull realities? How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? And driven the Hamadryad from the wood To seek a shelter in some happier star? Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood The Elfin from the green grass and from me The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?


by Anna Akhmatova | |

Lots Wife

Holy Lot  was a-going behind  God's angel,
He seemed  huge and bright on a hill, huge and black.
But the heart of his wife whispered stronger and stranger: "It's not very late, you have time to look back At these rose turrets of your native Sodom, The square where you sang, and the yard where you span, The windows looking from your cozy home Where you bore children for your dear man.
" She looked -- and her eyes were instantly bound By pain -- they couldn't see any more at all: Her fleet feet grew into the stony ground, Her body turned into a pillar of salt.
Who'll mourn her as one of Lot's family members? Doesn't she seem the smallest of losses to us? But deep in my heart I will always remember One who gave her life up for one single glance.


by Emily Dickinson | |

A thought went up my mind to-day

A thought went up my mind to-day
That I have had before,
But did not finish,--some way back,
I could not fix the year,

Nor where it went, nor why it came
The second time to me,
Nor definitely what it was,
Have I the art to say.
But somewhere in my soul, I know I've met the thing before; It just reminded me--'t was all-- And came my way no more.


by William Butler Yeats | |

THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire aflame, But something rustled on the floor, And someone called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Complaint of the Skeleton to Time

Take my love, it is not true,
So let it tempt no body new;
Take my lady, she will sigh
For my bed where'er I lie;
Take them, said the skeleton,

But leave my bones alone.
Take my raiment, now grown cold, To give to some poor poet old; Take the skin that hoods this truth If his age would wear my youth; Take them, said the skeleton, But leave my bones alone.
Take the thoughts that like the wind Blow my body out of mind; Take this heart to go with that And pass it on from rat to rat; Take them, said the skeleton, But leave my bones alone.
Take the art which I bemoan In a poem's crazy tone; Grind me down, though I may groan, To the starkest stick and stone; Take them, said the skeleton, But leave my bones alone.


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.