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Famous Alter Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Yeats, William Butler
...ldish day to tragedy -
Told, and it seemed that our two natures blent
Into a sphere from youthful sympathy,
Or else, to alter Plato's parable,
Into the yolk and white of the one shell.


And thinking of that fit of grief or rage
I look upon one child or t'other there
And wonder if she stood so at that age -
For even daughters of the swan can share
Something of every paddler's heritage -
And had that colour upon cheek or hair,
And thereupon my heart is driven wild:
Sh...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)

Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
Who didst not change through all the past,
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,
Nor falsehood disavow:
And, what were worse, thou canst not see
Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.

The better days of life were ours;
The worst can be but mine:
The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,
Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamle...Read More

by Tebb, Barry

In perfect rhythm

A man cycles on the towpath

His dog on a lead

Running beside,

They do not notice me

Or falter in their stride.


At dawn in Leeds

I was lost

Once I had left

The lock

Car park, office block,

Grand hotel looming

And no path

But then I found

Back Lane, every

Window blocked,

Every inch cobbled,

A road to nowhere

Built a hundred

Years ago.

I found a gas lamp

Anchored to a corner

Rusty and forgotten

In the glare

Of...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...Yet did I love thee to the last  
As fervently as thou 20 
Who didst not change through all the past  
And canst not alter now. 
The love where Death has set his seal 
Nor age can chill nor rival steal  
Nor falsehood disavow; 25 
And what were worse thou canst not see 
Or wrong or change or fault in me. 

The better days of life were ours  
The worst can be but mine; 
The sun that cheers the storm that lours 30 
Shall never more be thine. 
The silen...Read More

by Shakur, Tupac
...d what was so intricate
2 be loved by so many, so intimate
they wanted 2 c your lifeless corpse
this way u could not alter the course
of ignorance that they have set
2 make my people forget
what they have done for much 2 long
2 just forget and carry on
I had loved u forever because of who u r
and now I mourn our fallen star ...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...Earth in beauty dressed
Awaits returning spring.
All true love must die,
Alter at the best
Into some lesser thing.
Prove that I lie.

Such body lovers have,
Such exacting breath,
That they touch or sigh.
Every touch they give,
Love is nearer death.
Prove that I lie....Read More

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
...the rose as well.
God put it in my soul when I was born; 
It is not mine to give away, or sell, 
Or offer up on any alter shrine.
It was my art’s; and when not art’s, ‘tis mine.

For Love’s sake, I can put the art away, 
Or anything which stands ‘twixt me and you, 
But that strange essence God bestowed, I say, 
To permeate the work He gave to do: 
And it cannot be drained, dissolved, or sent
Through any channel, save the one He meant....Read More

by Wilbur, Richard
...gravity up. Whee, in the air 
The balls roll around, wheel on his wheeling hands, 
Learning the ways of lightness, alter to spheres
Grazing his finger ends, 
Cling to their courses there, 
Swinging a small heaven about his ears.

But a heaven is easier made of nothing at all 
Than the earth regained, and still and sole within
The spin of worlds, with a gesture sure and noble
He reels that heaven in, 
Landing it ball by ball, 
And trades it all for a broom, a plate, a...Read More

by Seeger, Alan
...cease to be, 
The hour, the mode, the place, 

Are marked, they say; and you shall not 
By taking thought or using wit 
Alter that certain fate one jot, 
Postpone or conjure it. 

Learn to drive fear, then, from your heart. 
If you must perish, know, O man, 
'Tis an inevitable part 
Of the predestined plan. 

And, seeing that through the ebon door 
Once only you may pass, and meet 
Of those that have gone through before 
The mighty, the elite -- --- 

Guard that n...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...our poor Philadelphian, Galloway,
Your Congress, when the loyal ribald
Belied, berated and bescribbled?
What ropes and halters did you send,
Terrific emblems of his end,
Till, least he'd hang in more than effigy,
Fled in a fog the trembling refugee?
Now rising in progression fatal,
Have you not ventured to give battle?
When Treason chaced our heroes troubled,
With rusty gun, and leathern doublet;
Turn'd all stone-walls and groves and bushes,
To batteries arm'd with blunderbus...Read More

by Hope, Alec Derwent (A D)
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, 
Bu...Read More

by Anonymous,
...ields and from the vineyards
Came no fruit to deck the feasts,
Only flesh of blood-stained victims
Smouldered on the alter-fires,
And where'er the grieving goddess
Turns her melancholy gaze,
Sunk in vilest degradation
Man his loathsomeness displays.

Would he purge his soul from vileness
And attain to light and worth,
He must turn and cling forever
To his ancient Mother Earth.

Joy everlasting fostereth
The soul of all creation,
It is her secret fermen...Read More

by Milton, John
...parent guilt, 
And shame, and perturbation, and despair, 
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile. 
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief. 
I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice 
Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom 
The gracious Judge without revile replied. 
My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared, 
But still rejoiced; how is it now become 
So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who 
Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the...Read More

by Bronte, Anne
...uld grow!
O earth! a rocky breast is thine ­
A hard soil and a cruel clime,
Where tender plants must droop and pine,
Or alter with transforming time.
That soul, that clings to sympathy,
As ivy clasps the forest tree,
How can it stand alone?
That heart so prone to overflow
E'en at the thought of others' woe,
How will it bear its own?

How, if a sparrow's death can wring
Such bitter tear-floods from the eye, 
Will it behold the suffering
Of struggling, lost humanity?
The to...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...the snow in shadow,
and is unmoved, or moved like a stone,
by the sweet season that warms all the hills,
and makes them alter from pure white to green,
so as to clothe them with the flowers and grass.

When her head wears a crown of grass
she draws the mind from any other woman,
because she blends her gold hair with the green
so well that Amor lingers in their shadow,
he who fastens me in these low hills,
more certainly than lime fastens stone.

Her beauty has more vi...Read More

by Larkin, Philip
And you keep on pissing yourself, and can't remember
Who called this morning? Or that, if they only chose,
They could alter things back to when they danced all night,
Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September?
Or do they fancy there's really been no change,
And they've always behaved as if they were crippled or tight,
Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming
Watching the light move? If they don't (and they can't), it's strange;
   Why aren't they scream...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...s eagle's pinion to the peak
From which a thousand climbers have before
"Fall'n as Napoleon fell."--I felt my cheek
Alter to see the great form pass away
Whose grasp had left the giant world so weak
That every pigmy kicked it as it lay--
And much I grieved to think how power & will
In opposition rule our mortal day--
And why God made irreconcilable
Good & the means of good; and for despair
I half disdained mine eye's desire to fill
With the spent vision of the times that ...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...g because its coming is so rare. 

The English are frosty 
When you're no kith or kin 
Of theirs, but how they alter 
When once they take you in! 
The kindest, the truest, 
The best friends ever known, 
It's hard to remember 
How they froze you to a bone. 
They showed me all London, 
Johnnie and his friends; 
They took me to the country
For long week-ends;
I never was so happy,
I never had such fun,
I stayed many weeks in England
Instead of just one.

J...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
...thy Faith misled.
"And yet, how well soever ment,
"With them 'twould soon grow fraudulent
"For like themselves they alter all,
"And vice infects the very Wall.

"But sure those Buildings last not long,
"Founded by Folly, kept by Wrong.
"I know what Fruit their Gardens yield,
"When they it think by Night conceal'd.
"Fly from their Vices. 'Tis thy state,
"Not Thee, that they would consecrate.
"Fly from their Ruine. How I fear
"Though guiltless lest t...Read More

by Harrison, Tony
...d, or frays.
But a voice that scorns chorales is yelling: Wanker! 
It's the aerosolling skin I met today's.

My alter ego wouldn't want to know it,
His aerosol vocab would baulk at LOVE,
the skin's UNITED underwrites the poet,
the measures carved below the ones above.

I doubt if 30 years of bleak Leeds weather
and 30 falls of apple and of may
will erode the UNITED binding us together.
And now it's your decision: does it stay?

Next millennium you'll have to s...Read More

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