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Famous Awake Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Robinson, Edwin Arlington

I wished that Avon’s wife would go to sleep,
But whether she found sleep that night or not 
I do not know. I was awake for hours, 
Toiling in vain to let myself believe 
That Avon’s apparition was a dream, 
And that he might have added, for romance,
The part that I had taken home with me 
For reasons not in Avon’s dictionary. 
But each recurrent memory of his eyes, 
And of the man himself that I had known 
So long and well, made soon of all my toil
An evanescent an...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...that three days since his eyes had looked on Proserpine;

Nor knew what sacrilege his lips had done,
But said, 'He will awake, I know him well,
He will awake at evening when the sun
Hangs his red shield on Corinth's citadel;
This sleep is but a cruel treachery
To make me love him more, and in some cavern of the sea

Deeper than ever falls the fisher's line
Already a huge Triton blows his horn,
And weaves a garland from the crystalline
And drifting ocean-tendrils to adorn
The ...Read More

by Keats, John
...h, and sea,
And air, and pains, and care, and suffering;
Good-bye to all but love! Then doth he spring
Towards her, and awakes--and, strange, o'erhead,
Of those same fragrant exhalations bred,
Beheld awake his very dream: the gods
Stood smiling; merry Hebe laughs and nods;
And Phoebe bends towards him crescented.
O state perplexing! On the pinion bed,
Too well awake, he feels the panting side
Of his delicious lady. He who died
For soaring too audacious in the sun,
Whe...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...The First Epistle

Awake, my ST. JOHN!(1) leave all meaner things 
To low ambition, and the pride of Kings. 
Let us (since Life can little more supply 
Than just to look about us and to die) 
Expatiate(2) free o'er all this scene of Man; 
A mighty maze! but not without a plan; 
A Wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot, 
Or Garden, tempting with forbidden fruit...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...n'd to excess, the slave of each extreme, 
How woke he from the wildness of that dream? 
Alas! he told not — but he did awake 
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break. 


Books, for his volume heretofore was Man, 
With eye more curious he appear'd to scan, 
And oft, in sudden mood, for many a day 
From all communion he would start away: 
And then, his rarely call'd attendants said, 
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried tread 
O'er the dark ...Read More

by Frost, Robert
In other words, I know wherever I am,
Being the creature of literature I am, 
1 sball not lack for pain to keep me awake.
Kit Marlowe taught me how to say my prayers:
"Why, this is Hell, nor am I out of it."
Samoa, Russia, Ireland I complain of,
No less than England, France, and Italy. 
Because I wrote my novels in New Hampshire
Is no proof that I aimed them at New Hampshire.
When I left Massachusetts years ago
Between two days, the reason why I sought
Ne...Read More

by Milton, John
...eculiar graces; then with voice 
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, 
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus. Awake, 
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, 
Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight! 
Awake: The morning shines, and the fresh field 
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring 
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove, 
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, 
How nature paints her colours, how the bee 
Sits on the bloom extract...Read More

by Ashbery, John
...ourse: more keeps getting included 
Without adding to the sum, and just as one
Gets accustomed to a noise that
Kept one awake but now no longer does,
So the room contains this flow like an hourglass
Without varying in climate or quality
(Except perhaps to brighten bleakly and almost
Invisibly, in a focus sharpening toward death--more 
Of this later). What should be the vacuum of a dream
Becomes continually replete as the source of dreams
Is being tapped so that this one d...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...e bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their partners, the
 dancers bow to each other; 
The youth lies awake in the cedar-roof’d garret, and harks to the musical
The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron;
The squaw, wrapt in her yellow-hemm’d cloth, is offering moccasins and
 bead-bags for sale; 
The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent
As the deck-hands make fast the steamboa...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
All sleepy suns have shone,
They stretch stiff arms, the yawning trees,
The beasts blink upon hands and knees,
Man is awake and does and sees--
But Heaven has done and gone.

For who shall guess the good riddle
Or speak of the Holiest,
Save in faint figures and failing words,
Who loves, yet laughs among the swords,
Labours, and is at rest?

"But some see God like Guthrum,
Crowned, with a great beard curled,
But I see God like a good giant,
That, labouring, lifts the wor...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...acket and I,
we bounce on that priest-blue.
We are as light as a cat's ear
and it is safe,
safe far too long!
And I awaken quickly and go to the opposite window
and peer down at the moon in the pond
and know that beauty has walked over my head,
into this bedroom and out,
flowing out through the window screen,
dropping deep into the water
to hide.

I will observe the daisies
fade and dry up
wuntil they become flour,
snowing themselves onto the table
beside the drone of...Read More

by Stevens, Wallace
...ret and singular. Second, upon 
513 A second similar counterpart, a maid 
514 Most sisterly to the first, not yet awake 
515 Excepting to the motherly footstep, but 
516 Marvelling sometimes at the shaken sleep. 
517 Then third, a thing still flaxen in the light, 
518 A creeper under jaunty leaves. And fourth, 
519 Mere blusteriness that gewgaws jollified, 
520 All din and gobble, blasphemously pink. 
521 A few years more and the vermeil capuchin 
52...Read More

by Blake, William
...n Eternity. 
Thou art a Man: God is no more: 
Thy own Humanity learn to adore, 
For that is My spirit of life. 
Awake, arise to spiritual strife, 
And Thy revenge abroad display 
In terrors at the last Judgement Day. 
God’s mercy and long suffering 
Is but the sinner to judgement to bring. 
Thou on the Cross for them shalt pray— 
And take revenge at the Last Day.’ 
Jesus replied, and thunders hurl’d: 
‘I never will pray for the world. 
Once I did so wh...Read More

by Masefield, John
...come. And then 
I thought, "You tick to different men." 
What with the fight and what with drinking 
And being awake alone there thinking, 
My mind began to carp and tetter, 
"If this life's all, the beasts are better." 
And then I thought, "I wish I'd seen 
The many towns this town has been; 
I wish I knew if they'd a got 
A kind of summat we've a-not, 
If them as built the church so fair 
Were half the chaps folk say they were; 
For they'd the skill to draw the...Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
...0 My skin is wrinkled, and my cheeks are pale.
5.71 No more rejoice, at music's pleasant noise,
5.72 But do awake at the cock's clanging voice.
5.73 I cannot scent savours of pleasant meat,
5.74 Nor sapors find in what I drink or eat.
5.75 My hands and arms, once strong, have lost their might.
5.76 I cannot labour, nor I cannot fight:
5.77 My comely legs, as nimble as the Roe,
5.78 Now stiff and numb, can hardly creep or go....Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...Thebes fine, *narcotics and opium*
That all the night, though that men would him shake,
The gaoler slept, he mighte not awake:
And thus he fled as fast as ever he may.
The night was short, and *faste by the day *close at hand was
That needes cast he must himself to hide*. the day during which
And to a grove faste there beside he must cast about, or contrive,
With dreadful foot then stalked Palamon. to conceal himself.*
For shortly this was his opinion,
That in...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...the view the opening pack;
     Rock, glen, and cavern paid them back;
     To many a mingled sound at once
     The awakened mountain gave response.
     A hundred dogs bayed deep and strong,
     Clattered a hundred steeds along,
     Their peal the merry horns rung out,
     A hundred voices joined the shout;
     With hark and whoop and wild halloo,
     No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.
     Far from the tumult fled the roe,
     Close in her covert cowered t...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...upon a night he crept
In Hermegilda's chamber while she slept.

Weary, forwaked* in her orisons, *having been long awake
Sleepeth Constance, and Hermegild also.
This knight, through Satanas' temptation;
All softetly is to the bed y-go,* *gone
And cut the throat of Hermegild in two,
And laid the bloody knife by Dame Constance,
And went his way, there God give him mischance.

Soon after came the Constable home again,
And eke Alla that king was of that land,
And saw...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...d who would not given the tornadoes,

Undivined and undeserved that seized our lives in their burning fury,

Leaving us awake in a world of dark horizons and troubled days,

Our memory a cave of broken shards.

One death came when a brother and a mother gathered so that a father

Might die opportunely and without succour in a hill-top hospital,

Lonely as a scarecrow and inaccessible on the moorland midnight,

Beyond the reach of all but death standing at the bed-head.<...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...the dark buildings are stirring
And I'll fall on earth as they shake --
Inside of my village garden
I do not fear to awake.


"My dear, if we could only
Reach all the way to the seas"
"Be quiet" and descended the stairs
Losing breath and looking for keys.

Past the buildings, where sometime
We danced and had fun and drank wine
Past the white columns of Senate
Where it's dark, dark again.

"What are you doing, you madman!"
"No, I am o...Read More

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