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Famous Attempted Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
...DEAR SMITH, the slee’st, pawkie thief,
That e’er attempted stealth or rief!
Ye surely hae some warlock-brief
 Owre human hearts;
For ne’er a bosom yet was prief
 Against your arts.


For me, I swear by sun an’ moon,
An’ ev’ry star that blinks aboon,
Ye’ve cost me twenty pair o’ shoon,
 Just gaun to see you;
An’ ev’ry ither pair that’s done,
 Mair taen I’m wi’ you.


That auld, capricious carlin, Na...Read more of this...



by Chatterton, Thomas
...celebrate the day, 
When God appeared in mortal clay, 
The mark of worldly scorn; 
When the Archangel's heavenly Lays, 
Attempted the Redeemer's Praise 
And hail'd Salvation's Morn! 


A Humble Form the Godhead wore, 
The Pains of Poverty he bore, 
To gaudy Pomp unknown; 
Tho' in a human walk he trod 
Still was the Man Almighty God 
In Glory all his own. 

Despis'd, oppress'd, the Godhead bears 
The Torments of this Vale of tears; 
Nor bade his Vengeance rise; 
He saw the...Read more of this...

by Yeats, William Butler
...hought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.

But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.

She smiled and that transfigured me
And left me but a lout,
Maundering here, and maundering there,
Emptier of thought
Than the heavenly circuit of its stars
When the moon sails out....Read more of this...

by Hughes, Langston
...e charming when the last flop-house
 has turned you down this winter?
 Furthermore:
"It is far beyond anything hitherto attempted in the hotel
 world. . . ." It cost twenty-eight million dollars. The fa-
 mous Oscar Tschirky is in charge of banqueting.
 Alexandre Gastaud is chef. It will be a distinguished
 background for society.
So when you've no place else to go, homeless and hungry
 ones, choose the Waldorf as a background for your rags--
(...Read more of this...

by Flynn, Nick
...on Earth, and now I can understand
it was with anticipation, not sickness. Next,
Dugan says, Let's move on. The attempted poem
was about butterflies and my recurring desire
to return to a place I've never been.
It was inspired by reading this
in a National Geographic: monarchs
stream northward from winter roosts in Mexico,
laying their eggs atop milkweed
to foster new generations along the way.
With the old monarchs gone (I took this line as the title)
and all...Read more of this...



by Hopkins, Gerard Manley
...'s, looks off by both horns of shore,
Her flower, her piece of being, doomed dragon's food.
 Time past she has been attempted and pursued
By many blows and banes; but now hears roar
A wilder beast from West than all were, more
Rife in her wrongs, more lawless, and more lewd. 

 Her Perseus linger and leave her tó her extremes?—
Pillowy air he treads a time and hangs
His thoughts on her, forsaken that she seems,
 All while her patience, morselled into pangs,
Mounts; th...Read more of this...

by McGonagall, William Topaz
...God prosper long our noble Queen,
And long may she reign!
Maclean he tried to shoot her,
But it was all in vain. 

For God He turned the ball aside
Maclean aimed at her head;
And he felt very angry
Because he didn't shoot her dead. 

There's a divinity that hedges a king,
And so it does seem,
And my opinion is, it has hedged
Our most gracious Queen...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...sed by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer of young women; 
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be hid—I see these
 sights on
 the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and prisoners; 
I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who shall be
 kill’d, to
 preserve the lives of the rest; 
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor,
 and
 upon
 negr...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...
 was filled 
 The darker air with wailing. Wailing shook 
 My soul to hear it. Where we entered now 
 No light attempted. Only sound arose, 
 As ocean with the tortured air contends, 
 What time intolerable tempest rends 
 The darkness; so the shrieking winds oppose 
 For ever, and bear they, as they swerve and sweep, 
 The doomed disastrous spirits, and whirl aloft, 
 Backward, and down, nor any rest allow, 
 Nor pause of such contending wraths as oft 
 Batter t...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...t creatures there inhabit, of what mould 
Or substance, how endued, and what their power 
And where their weakness: how attempted best, 
By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, 
And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure 
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, 
The utmost border of his kingdom, left 
To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps, 
Some advantageous act may be achieved 
By sudden onset--either with Hell-fire 
To waste his whole creation, or posse...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...sought. 
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve 
First thy obedience; the other who can know, 
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? 
But, if thou think, trial unsought may find 
Us both securer than thus warned thou seemest, 
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; 
Go in thy native innocence, rely 
On what thou hast of virtue; summon all! 
For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine. 
So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve 
Persisted; yet subm...Read more of this...

by Brautigan, Richard
...ren they believed in their own im-

mortality .

 A third-year student in engineering at the University of

Montana attempted to catch some of the minnows but he went

about it all wrong. So did the children who came on the

Fourth of July weekend.

 The children waded out into the lake and tried to catch the

minnows with their hands. They also used milk cartons and

plastic bags. They presented the lake with hours of human

effort. Their total catch ...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...ng and dead lay
 together; 
The maim’d and mangled dug in the dirt—the newcomers saw them there; 
Some, half-kill’d, attempted to crawl away;
These were despatch’d with bayonets, or batter’d with the blunts of
 muskets; 
A youth not seventeen years old seiz’d his assassin till two more came to
 release him; 
The three were all torn, and cover’d with the boy’s blood. 

At eleven o’clock began the burning of the bodies: 
That is the tale of the murder of the four...Read more of this...

by Service, Robert William
...ed IT with dread, as it hissed by your bed, that thing with the feelers that crawls--
You'd have settled the brute that attempted to shoot electricity into your walls.

Oh, some they were blue, and they slithered right through; they were silent and squashy and round;
And some they were green; they were wriggly and lean; they writhed with so hateful a sound.
My blood seemed to freeze; I fell on my knees; my face was a white splash of dread.
Oh, the Green and the Bl...Read more of this...

by Kinnell, Galway
...solid.
It may be some such time now comes upon me.
It would have to do with the unaccomplished,
and with the attempted marriage
of solitude and happiness. Then a rifle
sounded, several times, quite loud,
from across the valley, percussions
of the custom of male mastery
over the earth ¡ª the most graceful,
most alert of the animals
being chosen to die. I looked
to see if my friend had heard,
but she was stepping about on her skis,
studying the tree...Read more of this...

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...owing, 
Onward through life he goes; 
Each morning sees some task begin, 
Each evening sees it close; 40 
Something attempted, something done, 
Has earned a night's repose. 

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, 
For the lesson thou hast taught! 
Thus at the flaming forge of life 45 
Our fortunes must be wrought; 
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped 
Each burning deed and thought! ...Read more of this...

by Bukowski, Charles
...
all the households were under 
seige but I believe that ours
held more terror than the
average.
and at night
as we attempted to sleep
the rains still came down
and it was in bed
in the dark
watching the moon against 
the scarred window
so bravely
holding out 
most of the rain,
I thought of Noah and the
Ark
and I thought, it has come
again.
we all thought
that.
and then, at once, it would 
stop.
and it always seemed to 
stop
around 5 or 6 a.m.,
peacefu...Read more of this...

by Dickinson, Emily
...losed --

But in Each Other's eyes
An Ignorance beheld --
Diviner than the Childhood's --
And each to each, a Child --

Attempted to expound
What Neither -- understood --
Alas, that Wisdom is so large --
And Truth -- so manifold!...Read more of this...

by Hafez,
...e topmost heights above
He gazeth on each aspect leisurely,
Considering the path by which he clomb

& which so many attempted, & how he
The first of all his race had strength to come
Unto that eminence, & how this throne

Shall men hereafter to his name recall;
Then more than ever is he strangely lone,
Seeing earth’s dwellings spread out far & small;

& more unfathom’d seemeth & more high,
Eternal heaven’s unchanged immensity.


...Read more of this...

by Hall, Donald
...e mid August, in the second year
of my First Polar Expedition, the snow and ice of winter
almost upon us, Kantiuk and I
attempted to dash the sledge
along Crispin Bay, searching again for relics
of the Frankline Expedition. Now a storm blew,
and we turned back, and we struggled slowly
in snow, lest we depart land and venture onto ice
from which a sudden fog and thaw
would abandon us to the Providence
of the sea.

Near nightfall I thought I heard snarling behind us.Read more of this...

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