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Famous Anguished Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Huchel, Peter

Out of the vast the voice of one replies
Whose words are clouds and stars and night and day,
When for the light the anguished spirit cries
 Deep in its house of clay....Read More

by Wilde, Oscar lost their lord
Will kiss the relics of the slain -
Some tarnished epaulette - some sword -
Poor toys to soothe such anguished pain.

For not in quiet English fields
Are these, our brothers, lain to rest,
Where we might deck their broken shields
With all the flowers the dead love best.

For some are by the Delhi walls,
And many in the Afghan land,
And many where the Ganges falls
Through seven mouths of shifting sand.

And some in Russian waters lie,
And others ...Read More

by Lawrence, D. H. dead, 
Till the distance covers his dangerous tread. 

The rabbit presses back her ears, 
Turns back her liquid, anguished eyes 
And crouches low: then with wild spring 
Spurts from the terror of the oncoming 
To be choked back, the wire ring 
Her frantic effort throttling: 
Piteous brown ball of quivering fears! 

Ah soon in his large, hard hands she dies, 
And swings all loose to the swing of his walk. 
Yet calm and kindly are his eyes 
And ready to open in brown...Read More

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
...ere ranchmen, strong of heart and bold, 
Wept now like orphaned children as they told, 
With quivering muscles and with anguished breath, 
Of captured wives, whose fate was worse than death; 
Past naked bodies whose disfiguring wounds
Spoke of the hellish hate of human hounds; 
Past bleaching skeleton and rifled grave, 
On pressed th' avenging host, to rescue and to save.


Uncertain Nature, like a fickle friend, 
(Worse than the foe on whom we may depend) 
Turne...Read More

by Bidart, Frank
...It is what recurs that we believe,
your face not at one moment looking
sideways up at me anguished or

elate, but the old words welling up by
gravity rearranged:
two weeks before you died in

pain worn out, after my usual casual sign-off
with All my love, your simple
solemn My love to you, Frank....Read More

by Keats, John
...ought him to the meekness of a child:
Alas! when passion is both meek and wild!

So once more he had wak'd and anguished
A dreary night of love and misery,
If Isabel's quick eye had not been wed
To every symbol on his forehead high;
She saw it waxing very pale and dead,
And straight all flush'd; so, lisped tenderly,
"Lorenzo!"--here she ceas'd her timid quest,
But in her tone and look he read the rest.

"O Isabella, I can half perceive
"That I may speak...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...against the gray
Of lowhung cloud. I hear the sigh
The goaded city gives, not day
Nor night can ease her heart, her anguished labours stay.
Below, straight streets, monotonous,
From north and south, from east and west,
Stretch glittering; and luminous
Above, one tower tops the rest
And holds aloft man's constant quest:
Time! Joyless emblem of the greed
Of millions, robber of the best
Which earth can give, the vulgar creed
Has seared upon the night its flaming ruthless...Read More

by Service, Robert William
 Clean in the clash of the fight!
That is a golden death,
 That is a boon; but this . . .
Drawing an anguished breath
 Under a hot abyss,
Under a stooping sky
 Of seething, sulphurous fire,
Scorching me up as I lie
 Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Hasten, O God, Thy night!
 Hide from my eyes the sight
Of the body I stare and see
 Shattered so hideously.
I can't believe that it's mine.
 My body was white and sweet,...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
Surrender to him. He could hear her 

Then shame swept over her and held her numb, Hiding 
her anguished face against the seat.
At last she rose, a woman stricken -- dumb -- And trailed away 
with slowly-dragging feet.
Gervase looked after her, but feared to pass The barrier set 
between them. All his rare
Joy broke to fragments -- worse than that, unreal. And 
standing lonely there,
His swollen heart burst out, and on the grass
He flu...Read More

by St Vincent Millay, Edna
...and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.

Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me!
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into...Read More

by Service, Robert William
...e looked around for bravery
 But only fear he saw;
Then to the craven crowds amaze
 He plunged into the blaze.

How anguished was the waiting spell
 Of horror and of pain!
Then--then from out that fiery hell
 He staggered forth again:
The babe was safe, in blankets wrapt,
 The man flame lapt.

His record was an evil one,
 Of violence and sin.
No good on earth he'd ever done,
 Yet--may he Heaven win!
A gangster he . . . Is it not odd?
 --With guts of Go...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...Mary, I crave
To be taken, Dear Mother,
Instead of this other."
She dropped on her knees and silently prayed,
With anguished hands and tears delayed
To a painful slowness. The minutes drew
To fractions. Then the west wind blew
The sound of a bell,
On a gusty swell.
It came skipping over the slates of the roof,
And the bright bell-notes seemed a reproof
To grief, in the eye of so fair a day.
The Abbess, comforted, ceased to pray.
And the sun lit the fl...Read More

by Hardy, Thomas it not?
A pure delight, a beauty-spot
Where all is gentle, pure and just
And ??violence?? is unknown?"

My heart was anguished for their sake;
I could not frame a word;
But they descried my sunken face
And seemed to read therein, and trace
The news which Pity would not break
Nor Truth leave unaverred.

And as I silently retired
I turned and watched them still:
And they came helter-skelter out,
Driven forward like a rabble rout
Into the world they had so desired,
By the...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...r> Words in moaning plaint
Wooed him to stay. She feared, she knew not why,
Yet greatly feared. She seemed some anguished saint
Martyred by visions. Max Breuck soothed her fright
With wisdom, then stepped out under the cooling sky.

But at the gate once more she held him close
And quenched her heart again upon his lips.
"My Sweetheart, why this terror? I propose
But to be gone one hour! Evening slips
Away, this errand must be done." "Max! Max!
First...Read More

by García Lorca, Federico
...h fear,
now makes her way to that house
beyond the tall green pines
where the English consul lives.

Alarmed by the anguished cries,
three riflemen come running,
their black capes tightly drawn,
and berets down over their brow.

The Englishman gives the gypsy
a glass of tepid milk
and a shot of Holland gin
which Precosia does not drink.

And while she tells them, weeping,
of her strange adventure,
the wind furiously gnashes
against the slate roof tiles....Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
...pulse on the stagnant air:
Sometimes it swung completely round,
Horribly gasping as if for breath;
Falling down with an anguished cry . . .
Now the red bat, he mused, will fly;
Something is marked, this night, for death . . .
And while he mused, along his blood
Flew ghostly voices, remote and thin,
They rose in the cavern of his brain,
Like ghosts they died away again;
And hands upon his heart were laid,
And music upon his flesh was played,
Until, as h...Read More

by Stephens, James 
Disaster in disaster; prone to fall, 
I prick him with My memory to call 
Defiance at his victor and arise 
With anguished fury to his greater size 
Through tribulation, terror, and despair. 
Astounded, he must fight to higher air, 
Climb battle into battle till he be 
Confronted with a flaming sword and Me. 

So growing age by age to greater strength, 
To greater beauty, skill and deep intent: 
With wisdom wrung from pain, with energy 
Nourished in sin and sor...Read More

by Mistral, Gabriela
under serene moons or in bloodless fright!

To be with him...
every springtime and winter,
united in one anguished knot
around his bloody neck!...Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
...n to come, 
Watches them from the wings and fatly leers 
At the girl's younger face, so white and dumb, 
And the fixed, anguished eyes, ready for tears.

She lies beside him, with a false wedding-ring, 
In a cheap room, with moonlight on the floor; 
The moonlit curtains remind her much of spring, 
Of a spring evening on the Coney shore. 
And while he sleeps, knowing she ought to hate, 
She still clings to the lover that she knew,— 
The one that, with a pencil on a pla...Read More

by Untermeyer, Louis wounded;
There, on its breast, it carries a curved, white scar.
What will you find out there that is not torn and anguished?
Can God be less distressed than the least of His creatures are?
Below are the blatant lights in a huddled squalor;
Above are futile fires in freezing space.
What can they give that you should look to them for compassion
Though you bare your heart and lift an imploring face?
They have seen, by countless waters and windows,
The women of your ...Read More

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