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Famous Astonishment Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Kavanagh, Patrick
...ale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.

O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching
For the difference that sets an old phrase burning-
We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning
Or in t...Read More



by Milton, John
...yramid?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of Fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a livelong monument.
For whilst, to th' shame of slow-endeavoring art,
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took,
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving,
And so sepulchred in such pomp d...Read More

by Moody, William Vaughn
...table coasts 
Where walk the frustrate dead. 
The cup of trembling shall be drainèd quite, 
Eaten the sour bread of astonishment, 
With ashes of the hearth shall be made white 
Our hair, and wailing shall be in the tent; 
Then on your guiltier head 
Shall our intolerable self-disdain 
Wreak suddenly its anger and its pain; 
For manifest in that disastrous light 
We shall discern the right 
And do it, tardily. -- O ye who lead, 
Take heed! 
Blindness we may forgive, bu...Read More

by Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
...a shriek,
She let me go, -- while I, with ears too full
Of my father's silence, to shriek back a word,
In all a child's astonishment at grief
Stared at the wharf-edge where she stood and moaned,
My poor Assunta, where she stood and moaned !
The white walls, the blue hills, my Italy,
Drawn backward from the shuddering steamer-deck,
Like one in anger drawing back her skirts
Which supplicants catch at. Then the bitter sea
Inexorably pushed between us both,
And sweeping up th...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...t of her naked body, and a wreath of poppies about her golden hair, suddenly appeared to me. As she she realized my astonishment, she greeted me saying, "Fear me not; I am the Nymph of the Jungle." 

"How can beauty like yours be committed to live in this place? Please tell me who your are, and whence you come?" I asked. She sat gracefully on the green grass and responded, "I am the symbol of nature! I am the ever virgin your forefathers worshipped, and to my hono...Read More



by Milton, John
...f power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
And give it false presentments, lest the place
And my quaint habits breed astonishment,
And put the damsel to suspicious flight;
Which must not be, for that's against my course.
I, under fair pretence of friendly ends,
And well-placed words of glozing courtesy,
Baited with reasons not unplausible,
Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye
Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,
I shall a...Read More

by Abercrombie, Lascelles
...ce of desire,
As into light of these exulting bodies
Flaming Spirit is uttered?

He

Yea, here the end
Of love’s astonishment! Now know we Spirit,
And Who, for ease of joy, contriveth Spirit.
Now all life’s loveliness and power we have
Dissolved in this one moment, and our burning
Carries all shining upward, till in us
Life is not life, but the desire of God,
Himself desiring and himself accepting.
Now what was prophecy in us is made
Fulfilment: we are ...Read More

by Keats, John
...,
Will be its high remembrancers: who they?
The mighty ones who have made eternal day
For Greece and England. While astonishment
With deep-drawn sighs was quieting, he went
Into a marble gallery, passing through
A mimic temple, so complete and true
In sacred custom, that he well nigh fear'd
To search it inwards, whence far off appear'd,
Through a long pillar'd vista, a fair shrine,
And, just beyond, on light tiptoe divine,
A quiver'd Dian. Stepping awfully,
The youth ...Read More

by Keats, John
...
Can I admire how crystal-smooth it felt,
And buoyant round my limbs. At first I dwelt
Whole days and days in sheer astonishment;
Forgetful utterly of self-intent;
Moving but with the mighty ebb and flow.
Then, like a new fledg'd bird that first doth shew
His spreaded feathers to the morrow chill,
I tried in fear the pinions of my will.
'Twas freedom! and at once I visited
The ceaseless wonders of this ocean-bed.
No need to tell thee of them, for I see
That th...Read More

by Slessor, Kenneth
...ir monuments 
And tablets cut with dreams of piety 
Rest on the bosoms of a thousand men 
Staked bone by bone, in quiet astonishment 
At cargoes they had never thought to bear, 
These funeral-cakes of sweet and sculptured stone. 

Where have you gone? The tide is over you, 
The turn of midnight water's over you, 
As Time is over you, and mystery, 
And memory, the flood that does not flow. 
You have no suburb, like those easier dead 
In private berths of dissolution la...Read More

by Strode, William
...Keepe on your maske and hide your eye
For in beholding you I dye.
Your fatall beauty Gorgon-like
Dead with astonishment doth strike.
Your piercing eyes that now I see
Are worse than Basilisks to me.
Shut from mine eyes those hills of snow,
Their melting vally do not shew:
Those azure paths lead to despaire,
O vex me not, forbear, forbear;
For while I thus in torments dwell
The sight of Heaven is worse than Hell.
In those faire cheeks two pits doe lye
...Read More

by Strode, William
...Keepe on your maske, and hide your eye,
For with beholding you I dye:
Your fatall beauty, Gorgon-like,
Dead with astonishment will strike;
Your piercing eyes if them I see
Are worse than basilisks to mee.


Shutt from mine eyes those hills of snowe,
Their melting valleys doe not showe;
Their azure paths lead to dispaire,
O vex me not, forbeare, forbeare;
For while I thus in torments dwell
The sight of heaven is worse than hell.


Your dayntie voyce and warbling...Read More

by Milton, John
...Pyramid?
Dear son of memory, great heir of Fame,
What need'st thou such weak witnes of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a live-long Monument.
For whilst to th'sharne of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easie numbers flow, and that each heart 
Hath from the Leaves of thy unvalu'd Book,
Those Delphick lines with deep impression took,
Then thou our fancy of it self bereaving,
Dost make us Marble with too much conceaving;
And so Sepulcher'd in such ...Read More

by Milton, John
...hollow deep 
Of Hell resounded:--"Princes, Potentates, 
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven--once yours; now lost, 
If such astonishment as this can seize 
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place 
After the toil of battle to repose 
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find 
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven? 
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn 
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds 
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood 
With scattered arms and ensigns, t...Read More

by Simic, Charles
...innocent.
I stayed in my room. The President
Spoke of war as of a magic love potion.
My eyes were opened in astonishment.
In a mirror my face appeared to me
Like a twice-canceled postage stamp.

I lived well, but life was awful.
there were so many soldiers that day,
So many refugees crowding the roads.
Naturally, they all vanished
With a touch of the hand.
History licked the corners of its bloody mouth.

On the pay channel, a man and a woma...Read More

by Bishop, Elizabeth
...ill called the Chicken,
 And one called Catacomb;

There's the hill of Kerosene,
 And the hill of Skeleton,
The hill of Astonishment,
 And the hill of Babylon.

Micuçú was a burglar and killer,
 An enemy of society.
He had escaped three times
 From the worst penitentiary.

They don't know how many he murdered
 (Though they say he never raped),
And he wounded two policemen
 This last time he escaped.

They said, "He'll go to his auntie,
 Who raised him like a s...Read More

by Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
...s did round us shut,
And silence through the trees did run:
They asked no question as I went,--
They stood too high for astonishment,--
They could see God sit on His throne.

XXVI.
My little body, kerchiefed fast,
I bore it on through the forest . . . on:
And when I felt it was tired at last,
I scooped a hole beneath the moon.
Through the forest-tops the angels far,
With a white sharp finger from every star,
Did point and mock at what was done.

XX...Read More

by Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
...s did round us shut,
And silence through the trees did run:
They asked no question as I went,--
They stood too high for astonishment,--
They could see God sit on His throne.

XXVI.
My little body, kerchiefed fast,
I bore it on through the forest . . . on:
And when I felt it was tired at last,
I scooped a hole beneath the moon.
Through the forest-tops the angels far,
With a white sharp finger from every star,
Did point and mock at what was done.

XX...Read More

by Jackson, Laura Riding
...ral mind, refusing to divide,
Dies immediately
Of too plain beauty
Foreseen within too suddenly,
And lips break open of astonishment
Upon the living mouth and rehearse
Death, that seems a simple verse
And, of all ways to know,
Dead or alive, easiest....Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...have no speech but symbol, the pagan speech I made
Amid the dreams of youth) let her come face to face,
Amid that first astonishment, with Grania's shade,
All but the terrors of the woodland flight forgot
That made her Diatmuid dear, and some old cardinal
Pacing with half-closed eyelids in a sunny spot
Who had murmured of Giorgione at his latest breath -
Aye, and Achilles, Timor, Babar, Barhaim, all
Who have lived in joy and laughed into the face of Death.

VII

Her Frien...Read More

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