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Famous Afloat Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
Spreading ruin and scattering ban  
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat  
And breaking the golden lilies afloat 5 
With the dragon-fly on the river. 

He tore out a reed the great god Pan  
From the deep cool bed of the river; 
The limpid water turbidly ran  
And the broken lilies a-dying lay 10 
And the dragon-fly had fled away  
Ere he brought it out of the river. 

High on the shore sat the great god Pan  
While turbidly flow'd the river; ...Read More

by Lawson, Henry
...d a rush of the oilskin-clad. 
The lifeboat leaping and swooping, in the wake of the fighting tug, 
And the luggers afloat in Hell's water – Oh, "tourist", with cushion and rug! – 
Think of the freezing fury, without one minute's relief, 
When they stood all night in the blackness by the wreck of the Indian Chief! 

Lashed to their seats, and crouching, to the spray that froze as it flew, 
Twenty-six hours in midwinter! That was the lifeboat's crew. 
Twice she was swa...Read More

by McGonagall, William Topaz
When the remains of James and Angus McDonald were found in the boat,
Likewise three pieces or flesh in a pool or blood afloat. 

Angus McDonald's right arm was missing from the elbow,
and the throat was cut in a sickening manner which filled the villagers hearts with woe,
Especially when they saw two pieces of flesh had been cut from each thigh,
'Twas then the kind-hearted villagers did murmur and sigh. 

Angus McDonald must have felt the pangs of hunger before he di...Read More

by Keats, John
Before he went into his quiet cave
To muse for ever--Then a lucid wave,
Scoop'd from its trembling sisters of mid-sea,
Afloat, and pillowing up the majesty
Of Doris, and the Egean seer, her spouse--
Next, on a dolphin, clad in laurel boughs,
Theban Amphion leaning on his lute:
His fingers went across it--All were mute
To gaze on Amphitrite, queen of pearls,
And Thetis pearly too.--

 The palace whirls
Around giddy Endymion; seeing he
Was there far strayed from mortality....Read More

by Milligan, Spike
...the disease. 'Till then try staying alive.'
'Very well, ' said the man who was drowning. 'I'll try and stay afloat.
By reciting the poems of Browning
And other things he wrote.'
'Help, help, ' said the man with the disease, 'I suddenly feel quite ill.'
'Keep calm.' said the man who was drowning, ' Breathe deeply and lie quite still.'
'Oh dear, ' said the man with the awful disease. 'I think I'm going to die.'
'Farewell, ' said the man w...Read More

by Riley, James Whitcomb
...d when the sky was cloudless as the face
Of some sweet infant in its angel grace,--
There came a sound of music, thrown afloat
Upon the balmy air--a clanging note
Reiterated from the brazen throat
Of Independence Bell: A sound so sweet,
The clamoring throngs of people in the streets
Were stilled as at the solemn voice of prayer,
And heads were bowed, and lips were moving there
That made no sound--until the spell had passed,
And then, as when all sudden comes the blast
Of some...Read More

by Clare, John hid quails
That came to live wi spring again
And start when summer browns the grain
They start the young girls joys afloat
Wi 'wet my foot' its yearly note
So fancy doth the sound explain
And proves it oft a sign of rain
About the moor 'mong sheep and cow
The boy or old man wanders now
Hunting all day wi hopful pace
Each thick sown rushy thistly place
For plover eggs while oer them flye
The fearful birds wi teazing cry
Trying to lead their steps astray
And coying him anot...Read More

by Milton, John
...leaves that strow the brooks 
In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades 
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge 
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed 
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew 
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry, 
While with perfidious hatred they pursued 
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld 
From the safe shore their floating carcases 
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown, 
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, 
U...Read More

by Seeger, Alan
Fulfilled of good things, 
On its ramparts are pendent 
The bucklers of kings. 
Broad banners unfurled 
Are afloat in its air. 
The lords of the world 
Look for harborage there. 
None finds save he comes as a bridegroom, having roses and vine in his hair. 

'Tis the city of Lovers, 
There many paths meet. 
Blessed he above others, 
With faltering feet, 
Who past its proud spires 
Intends not nor hears 
The noise of its lyres 
Grow faint in his ear...Read More

by Stevenson, Robert Louis
...Three of us afloat in the meadow by the swing, 
Three of us abroad in the basket on the lea. 
Winds are in the air, they are blowing in the spring, 
And waves are on the meadow like the waves there are at sea. 

Where shall we adventure, to-day that we're afloat, 
Wary of the weather and steering by a star? 
Shall it be to Africa, a-steering of the boat, 
To Pro...Read More

by Berry, Wendell
...o shore. Yes, here
is where they will come, the dead,
when they rise from the grave.

dogwood flowers
in leafing woods
my mind.

Ask the world to reveal its quietude—
not the silence of machines when they are still,
but the true quiet by which birdsongs,
trees, bellows, snails, clouds, storms
become what they are, and are nothing else.

A mind that has confronted ruin for years
Is half or more a ruined mind. Nightmares
Inhab...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...he wall, 
With bows and stern raised high in air, 
And balconies hanging here and there, 
And signal lanterns and flags afloat, 
And eight round towers, like those that frown 
From some old castle, looking down 
Upon the drawbridge and the moat. 
And he said with a smile, "Our ship, I wis, 
Shall be of another form than this!" 
It was of another form, indeed; 
Built for freight, and yet for speed, 
A beautiful and gallant craft; 
Broad in the beam, that the stress of the ...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...out of his instrument a tone
So shimmering-sweet and palpitant, it shone
Like a bright thread of sound hung in the air,
Afloat and swinging upward, slim and fair.
Above all things, above Charlotta his wife,
Herr Altgelt loved his violin, a fine
Cremona pattern, Stradivari's life
Was flowering out of early discipline
When this was fashioned. Of soft-cutting pine
The belly was. The back of broadly curled
Maple, the head made thick and sharply whirled.
The slanti...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...ze the tinge,
``As when of the costly scarlet wine
``They drip so much as will impinge
``And spread in a thinnest scale afloat
``One thick gold drop from the olive's coat
``Over a silver plate whose sheen
``Still thro' the mixture shall be seen.
``For so I prove thee, to one and all,
``Fit, when my people ope their breast,
``To see the sign, and hear the call,
``And take the vow, and stand the test
``Which adds one more child to the rest---
``When the breast is bare and t...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
And (when informed) them throw'st away,
To be the greedy vulture's prey.

But, against that, thou sit'st afloat
Like Venus in her pearly boat.
The halcyons, calming all that's nigh,
Betwixt the air and water fly:
Or, if some rolling wave appears,
A mass of ambergris it bears:
Nor blows more wind than what may well
Convoy the perfume to the smell.

These pictures and a thousand more,
Of thee, my gallery do store;
In all the forms thou canst in...Read More

by Crowley, Aleister
...rings round eternity!


So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame
Into my bowels; my blood's bewitched;
My brain's afloat with ecstasy of shame.
That tearing pain is gone, enriched
By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same
Myself is gone
Sucked by the dragon down below death's horizon.

I woke from this. I lay upon the lawn;
They had thrown roses on the moss 
With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,
My lord and I; God sailed across
The sky i...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...g, 120 
Heavily the low sky raining 
Over tower'd Camelot; 

Down she came and found a boat 
Beneath a willow left afloat, 
And round about the prow she wrote 125 
The Lady of Shalott. 

And down the river's dim expanse¡ª 
Like some bold seer in a trance, 
Seeing all his own mischance¡ª 
With a glassy countenance 130 
Did she look to Camelot. 
And at the closing of the day 
She loosed the chain, and down she lay; 
The broad stream bore her far away, 
...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
     So rapidly the barge-mall row,
     The bubbles, where they launched the boat,
     Were all unbroken and afloat,
     Dancing in foam and ripple still,
     When it had neared the mainland hill;
     And from the silver beach's side
     Still was the prow three fathom wide,
     When lightly bounded to the land
     The messenger of blood and brand.

     Speed, Malise, speed! the dun deer's hide
     On fleeter foot was never tied.
     ...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...Mac'll pay you the money as soon as the bubbles break!
Five thousand for six weeks' cruising, the staunchest freighter afloat,
And Mac he'll give you your bonus the minute I'm out o' the boat!
He'll take you round to Macassar, and you'll come back alone;
He knows what I want o' the Mary . . . . I'll do what I please with my own.
Your mother 'ud call it wasteful, but I've seven-and-thirty more;
I'll come in my private carriage and bid it wait at the door.<...Read More

by Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
...d by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's boat.

Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips--the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took t...Read More

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