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Famous Absurd Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Absurd poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous absurd poems. These examples illustrate what a famous absurd poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Ginsberg, Allen
...Which way does your beard point 
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the 
supermarket and feel absurd.) 
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? 
The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, 
we'll both be lonely. 
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love 
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent 
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage- 
teacher, what America did you have wh...Read More

by Service, Robert William
I do not know, I must confess,
 What Spirit means.

When I survey this cosmic scene,
The term "Creator" seems absurd;
The Universe has always been,
Creation never has occurred.
But in my Lexicon of Doubt
It strikes me definitely odd,
One word I never dare to flout,
One syllable the mountains shout,
Three letters that the stars spell out:
 GOD....Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...unfamiliar subtle sort of pity. 
But so it was, and I believe he knew it; 
Though even to dream it would have been absurd—
Until I knew it, and there was no need 
Of dreaming. For the fellow’s indolence, 
And his malignant oily swarthiness 
Housing a reptile blood that I could see 
Beneath it, like hereditary venom
Out of old human swamps, hardly revealed 
Itself the proper spawning-ground of pity. 
But so it was. Pity, or something like it, 
Was in the poiso...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
...houted at it, and grew afraid
when it didn't answer. "It's gone to sleep,"
I said, and hearing those words
knew how absurd this was. But
I couldn't laugh. Somehow,
between the two of us, we managed
to raise it. This can't be my arm
is what I kept thinking as
we thumped it, squeezed it, and
prodded it back to life. Shook it
until that stinging went away.

We said a few words to each other.
I don't remember what. Whatever
reassuring things people...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...e true proportions of a man 
And woman also, not observed before; 
And I have written three books on the soul, 
Proving absurd all written hitherto, 
And putting us to ignorance again. 
For music,--why, I have combined the moods, 
Inventing one. In brief, all arts are mine; 
Thus much the people know and recognize, 
Throughout our seventeen islands. Marvel not. 
We of these latter days, with greater mind 
Than our forerunners, since more composite, 
Look not s...Read More

by Rich, Adrienne
...k of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime f...Read More

by Pope, Alexander'd to be the head? 
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd(27) 
To serve mere engines to the ruling Mind? 
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains 
The great directing MIND of ALL ordains. 
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, 
Whose body, Nature is, and God the soul; 
That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same, 
Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame, 
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze, 
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees, 
L...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis

My First is followed by a bird:
My Second by believers
In magic art: my simple Third
Follows, too often, hopes absurd
And plausible deceivers. 

My First to get at wisdom tries -
A failure melancholy!
My Second men revered as wise:
My Third from heights of wisdom flies
To depths of frantic folly. 

My First is ageing day by day:
My Second's age is ended:
My Third enjoys an age, they say,
That never seems to fade away,
Through centuries extended. 

My Whol...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...guess: and, with their leave, will tell the fault:
We poets are (upon a poet's word)
Of all mankind, the creatures most absurd:
The season, when to come, and when to go,
To sing, or cease to sing, we never know;
And if we will recite nine hours in ten,
You lose your patience, just like other men.
Then too we hurt ourselves, when to defend
A single verse, we quarrel with a friend;
Repeat unask'd; lament, the wit's too fine
For vulgar eyes, and point out ev'ry line.
But...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...tell me, Sire, you never knew 
Those gentle frailties; if 'tis true,
I shorten all my joy or pain;
To you 'twould seem absurd as vain
But all men are not born to reign,
Or o'er their passions, or as you
Thus o'er themselves and nations too.
I am - or rather was - a prince,
A chief of thousands, and could lead 
Them on where each would foremost bleed; 
But could not o'er myself evince 
The like control - but to resume:
I loved, and was beloved again; 
In sooth, it is a ha...Read More

by Graves, Robert
...deep water I heard tell,
Of lofty dragons belching flame,
 Of the hornèd fiend of Hell.

Tales like these were too absurd
 For my laughter-loving ear:
Soon I mocked at all I heard,
 Though with cause indeed for fear.

Now I know the mermaid kin
 I find them bound by natural laws:
They have neither tail nor fin,
 But are deadlier for that cause.

Dragons have no darting tongues,
 Teeth saw-edged, nor rattling scales;
No fire issues from their lungs,
 No black pois...Read More

by Milton, John
...uff with Tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing trivial and
vulgar persons, which by all judicious hath bin counted absurd; and
brought in without discretion, corruptly to gratifie the people. And
though antient Tragedy use no Prologue, yet using sometimes, in
case of self defence, or explanation, that which Martial calls an
Epistle; in behalf of this Tragedy coming forth after the antient
manner, much different from what among us passes for best, thus
much before-han...Read More

by Swift, Jonathan
His brothers fleece him when he's drunk.

I own the moral not exact;
Besides, the tale is false in fact;
And so absurd, that could I raise up
From fields Elysian fabling Aesop;
I would accuse him to his face
For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of ev'ry kind but ours
Well comprehend their natural pow'rs;
While we, whom reason ought to sway,
Mistake our talents ev'ry day.
The ass was never known so stupid
To act the part of Tray or Cupid;
Nor leaps upon ...Read More

by Lowell, Amy>
The woodpecker knocks,
And the song-sparrow trills,
Every fir, and cedar, and yew
Has a nest or a bird,
It is quite absurd
To hear them cutting across each other:
Peewits, and thrushes, and larks, all at once,
And a loud cuckoo is trying to smother
A wood-pigeon perched on a birch,
"Roo -- coo -- oo -- oo --"
"Cuckoo! Cuckoo! That's 
one for you!"
A blackbird whistles, how sharp, how shrill!
And the great trees toss
And leaves blow down,
You can almost hear them splash on...Read More

by Sexton, Anne knitting, god-in-her-moon,
all fairest in my lang syne verse,
the gauzy bride among the children,
the fancy amid the absurd
and awkward, that horn for hounds
that skipper homeward, that museum
keeper of stiff starfish, that blaze
within the pilgrim woman,
a clown mender, a dove's
cheek among the stones,
my Lady of first words,
this is the division of ways.
And now, while Christ stays
fastened to his Crucifix
so that love may praise
his sacrifice
and not the grotesque m...Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
...this—Miriam loves you . . .
If she should ever know, or even guess it,—
What would she do?—Listen!—I'm not absurd . . .
I'm sure of it. If you had eyes, for women—
To understand them—which you've never had—
You'd know it too . . . ' So went this colloquy,
Half humorous, with undertones of pathos,
Half grave, half flippant . . . while her fingers, softly,
Felt for this tune, played it and let it fall,
Now note by singing not...Read More

by Eluard, Paul their sons 

Until they all perish in vain 
Time burdens only fools 
While Hell alone prospers 
And the wise men are absurd 

VI. A wolf 

Day surprises me and night scares me 
haunts me and winter follows me 
An animal walking on the snow has placed 
Its paws in the sand or in the mud 

Its paws have traveled 
From further afar than my own steps 
On a path where death 
Has the imprints of life 

VII. A flawless fire 

The threat under the red sky 
Came from below ...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
 Had grown longer at every word:
"But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
 More debate would be simply absurd.

"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
 "You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
 'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

"To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
 To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
 To charm it with smiles and so...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...lows heaving far and near, 

And why he had so long preferred
To hang upon her every word:
"In truth," he said, "it was absurd." 

The Third Voice 

NOT long this transport held its place:
Within a little moment's space
Quick tears were raining down his face 

His heart stood still, aghast with fear;
A wordless voice, nor far nor near,
He seemed to hear and not to hear. 

"Tears kindle not the doubtful spark.
If so, why not? Of this remark
The bearings are profo...Read More

by Auden, Wystan Hugh (W H)
...And our teachers report that he never interfered with theireducation.Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard....Read More

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