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Famous Actor Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Whitman, Walt
...istorians in prose, 
Which sculptor never chisel’d yet, nor painter painted, 
Which vocalist never sung, nor orator nor actor ever utter’d,
Invoking here and now I challenge for my song. 

Indifferently, ’mid public, private haunts, in solitude, 
Behind the mountain and the wood, 
Companion of the city’s busiest streets, through the assemblage, 
It and its radiations constantly glide.

In looks of fair unconscious babes, 
Or strangely in the coffin’d dead, 
Or show of...Read More



by Thomas, R S
...e on me: You are Welsh, they said;
Speak to us so; keep your fields free
Of the smell of petrol, the loud roar
Of hot tractors; we must have peace
And quietness.

Is a museum
Peace? I asked. Am I the keeper
Of the heart's relics, blowing the dust
In my own eyes? I am a man;
I never wanted the drab role
Life assigned me, an actor playing
To the past's audience upon a stage
Of earth and stone; the absurd label
Of birth, of race hanging askew
About my shoulders. I wa...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...which pleases you: 
An unbelieving Pope won't do, you say. 
It's like those eerie stories nurses tell, 
Of how some actor on a stage played Death, 
With pasteboard crown, sham orb and tinselled dart, 
And called himself the monarch of the world; 



Then, going in the tire-room afterward, 
Because the play was done, to shift himself, 
Got touched upon the sleeve familiarly, 
The moment he had shut the closet door, 
By Death himself. Thus God might touch a Pope 
At una...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...he gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him—it cannot fail; 
The oration is to the orator, the acting is to the actor and actress, not to the audience;
And no man understands any greatness or goodness but his own, or the indication of his
 own. 

12
I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete! 
I swear the earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and
 broken! 
I swear there is no greatness or power th...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ved the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping,
Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress, 
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like, 
Or as small as we like, or both great and small. 

9
Closer yet I approach you; 
What thought you have of me, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance;
I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born. 

Who was to know what should come...Read More



by Rilke, Rainer Maria
...no,
rather to stare at is so intensely that in the end
to counter-balance my searching gaze, an angel
has to come as an actor, and begin manipulating
the lifeless bodies of the puppets to perform.
Angel and puppet! Now at last there is a play!
Then what we seperate can come together by our
very presence. And only then the entire cycle
of our own life-seasons is revealed and set in motion.
Above, beyond us, the angel plays. Look:
must not the dying notice how u...Read More

by Gregory, Rg
...tern power can't delete
the round honours those cracks in the divine disorder
 the moment makes complete 


7. 
the actor

acting is not the true self's dissipation
but not its preening either - outside the role
it honours it best fights shy of reputation -
 being what prometheus stole
it is a distant spark of that first live coal
a conscious glimpse of human desperation
rekindled as a longing to console

the waning spirit or the shattered dedication
actors are allies of ...Read More

by Lindsay, Vachel
...I. EDWIN BOOTH

An old actor at the Player's Club told me that Edwin Booth first impersonated Hamlet when a barnstormer in California. There were few theatres, but the hotels were provided with crude assembly rooms for strolling players.


The youth played in the blear hotel.
The rafters gleamed with glories strange.
And winds of mourning Elsinore
Howling at chance...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat,
When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger--could do it again--
Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most,
Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire,
To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: "...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...lauding note,
At Quin's high plume, or Oldfield's petticoat,
Or when from Court a birthday suit bestow'd
Sinks the lost actor in the tawdry load.
Booth enters--hark! the universal peal!
"But has he spoken?" Not a syllable.
"What shook the stage, and made the people stare?"
Cato's long wig, flow'r'd gown, and lacquer'd chair.


Yet lest you think I rally more than teach,
Or praise malignly arts I cannot reach,
Let me for once presume t'instruct the times,
To know t...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...g, as we say, received.
I found him standing at the close of day
Inside the threshold of his open barn,
Like a lone actor on a gloomy stage—
And recognized him, through the iron gray
In which his face was muffled to the eyes,
As an old boyhood friend, and once indeed
A drover with me on the road to Brighton.
His farm was "grounds," and not a farm at all;
His house among the local sheds and shanties
Rose like a factor's at a trading station.
And be was rich, and I ...Read More

by Stevens, Wallace
...find what will suffice. It has
To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage, 
And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and
With meditation, speak words that in the ear,
In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat,
Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound
Of which, an invisible audience listens,
Not to the play, but to itself, expressed
In an emotion as of two people, as of two
Emotions becoming one. The actor is
A metaphysician in the dark, ...Read More

by Levine, Philip
...Adlai Stevenson once and once
again, planting a lemon tree in hard pan,
loaning my Charlie Parker 78s
to an out-of-work actor, eating pork loin
barbecued on Passover, tangoing
perfectly without music even with you?...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...k right beside a huge fire-

place where there had once been a great mansion during the

1920s, built by a famous movie actor. The mansion was built

before there was even a road down at Big Sur. The mansion

had been brought over the mountains on the backs of mules,

strung out like ants, bringing visions of the good life to the

poison oak, the ticks, and the salmon.

 The mansion was on a promontory, high over the Pacific.

Money could see farther in the 19...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...Onward we move! a gay gang of blackguards! with mirth-shouting music, and wild-flapping
 pennants of
 joy! 

4
I am the actor, the actress, the voter, the politician; 
The emigrant and the exile, the criminal that stood in the box, 
He who has been famous, and he who shall be famous after to-day, 
The stammerer, the well-form’d person, the wasted or feeble person.

5
I am she who adorn’d herself and folded her hair expectantly, 
My truant lover has come, and it is dark.Read More

by Lindsay, Vachel
...e brilliant court of purple-clad Queen Bess, 
He would have wrought for them the best he knew 
And led more loftily his actor-crew. 
How coolly he misquoted. 'Twas his art — 
Slave-scholar, who misquoted — from the heart. 
So when we slapped his back with friendly roar 
Æsop awaited him without the door, — 
Æsop the Greek, who made dull masters laugh 
With little tales of fox and dog and calf . 

And be it said, mid these his pranks so odd 
With something nigh...Read More

by Baudelaire, Charles
...glances, overhead. 

The heaven above? A strangling cavern wall; 
The lighted ceiling of a music-hall 
Where every actor treads a bloody soil-- 

The hermit's hope; the terror of the sot; 
The sky: the black lid of the mighty pot 
Where the vast human generations boil!...Read More

by Cowper, William
...Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeez'd
And bor'd with elbow-points through both his sides,
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage:
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquility and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not ev'n critics criticise; that holds
Inquisitive attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which th...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...ld be my mind can compass not;
"Whither the conqueror hurries me still less.
But follow thou, & from spectator turn
Actor or victim in this wretchedness,
"And what thou wouldst be taught I then may learn
From thee.--Now listen . . . In the April prime
When all the forest tops began to burn
"With kindling green, touched by the azure clime
Of the young year, I found myself asleep
Under a mountain which from unknown time
"Had yawned into a cavern high & deep,...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...x x x

To lose the freshness of the words and sense, for us,
Is it same as for an artist to lose vision,
Or for an actor -- voice and motion,
Or for a gorgeous woman -- her finesse?

But do not seek now for yourself to keep
What heaven has given to you below:
We have been judged -- and we ourselves both know --
To give away, and not to keep.

Or else alone you go to heal the blind,
To know yourself in heavy hour of doubt
The students' smug shaudenfreude
An...Read More

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