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Famous Background Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Hughes, Langston
...he 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--
(Or do you still consider the subway after midnight good

Take a room at the new Waldorf, you down-and-outers--
 sleepers in charity's flop-houses where God pulls a
 long face, and you have to pray t...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
(Recast—may-be discard them, end them—May-be their work is done—who knows?)

By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead, 
To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.

(And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World brain! 
Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long! 
Thou carefully prepared by it so long!—haply thou but unfoldest it—only maturest
It to eventuate in th...Read More

by Sexton, Anne seventh year,
caught here in the painted photograph.

It's peeling now, age has got it,
a kind of cancer of the background
and also in the assorted features.
It's like a rotten flag
or a vegetable from the refrigerator,
pocked with mold.
I am aging without sound,
into darkness, darkness.

who are you?

I open the vein
and my blood rings like roller skates.
I open the mouth
and my teeth are an angry army.
I open the eyes
and they go sick like ...Read More

by McGonagall, William Topaz
...iful river
Is a sight, once seen, forget it you'll never;
And romantic ranges of rock on either side
Form a magnificent background far and wide. 

And the numerous lochs there abound with trout
Which can be had for the taking out,
Especially from the Lochs Chon and Ard,
There the angler can make a catch which will his toil reward. 

And between the two lochs the Glasgow Water Works are near,
Which convey water of Loch Katrine in copious streams clear
To the inhabitant...Read More

by Collins, Billy me,
composed in the open field of this page,
no room or manicured garden to enclose us,
no Zeitgeist marching in the background,
no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.

Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,
unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,
you could be the man I held the door for 
this morning at the bank or post office 
or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
You could be someone I passed on the street 
or the face behind the wheel of an ...Read More

by Yevtushenko, Yevgeny
...the pedestal
to a filthy little red-light district.
And the poet stood,
 as the sailor's adopted brother,
against a background
 you might call native to him.
Our Bilbao loved cracking jokes.
He would say:
 'On this best of possible planets 
there are prostitutes and politutes -- 
as I'm a poet,
 I prefer the former.'"
And Neruda comments, with a hint of slyness:
"A poet is
 beyond the rise and fall of values.
It's not hard to remove us from the center,
but...Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
...he sky my soul, like a hound, 
 howls, despaired, 
 the trigger to pull it was keen. 
 Fate has come over my family background, 
 and on the earth where fate is my kin. 

 What have I done, apart from the simple 
 poems I've written in passing to date? 
 I've been a lightening conductor for people. 
 Now I have broken my back. Such is fate.

© Copyright Alec Vagapov's translation...Read More

by Hardy, Thomas
For some fixed star to stimulate their pace
Towards the goal of their enterprise?'...

Some in the background then I saw,
Sweet women, youths, men, all incredulous,
Who chimed as one: 'This is figure is of straw,
This requiem mockery! Still he lives to us!'

I could not prop their faith: and yet
Many I had known: with all I sympathized;
And though struck speechless, I did not forget
That what was mourned for, I, too, once had prized.

Still, ...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...I got

dressed and went downstairs. The flesh about my body felt

soft and relaxed like an experiment in functional background


 The owner of the bookstore was sitting at his desk behind

the counter. "I'11 tell you what happened up there, " he said,

in a beautiful anti-three-legged-crow voice, in an anti-dandelion

side of the mountain voice.

 "What?"I said.

 "You fought in the Spanish Civil War. You were a young

Communist from Cleveland, ...Read More

by Bogan, Louise
...annot fill in what she knows is there.
Within the unsupported line, she knows
that life is missing; she has cut
one background from another. Like a child,
she turns to her mother.

And you draw the heart
against the emptiness she has created....Read More

by Collins, Billy
...en I would have a little something going
in the typewriter,
the sun bright in the windows,
maybe some Berlioz on in the background.
I would go into the kitchen for coffee
and on the way back to the page,
curled in its roller,
I would light one up and feel
its dry rush mix with the dark taste of coffee.

Then I would be my own locomotive,
trailing behind me as I returned to work
little puffs of smoke,
indicators of progress,
signs of industry and thought,
the signal th...Read More

by Field, Edward
...nally she stands in all her seamed glory,
a monster princess with a hairdo like a fright wig,
lightning flashing in the background
like a halo and a wedding veil,
like a photographer snapping pictures of great moments.

She stands and stares with her electric eyes,
beginning to understand that in this life too
she was just another body to be raped.

The monster is ready to go:
He roars with joy at the sight of her,
so they let him loose and he goes right for those kno...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von
...rus's dread melody.

Who, sad and solemn, as of old,
With footsteps measured and controlled,
Advancing from the far background,
Circle the theatre's wide round.
Thus, mortal women never move!
No mortal home to them gave birth!
Their giant-bodies tower above,
High o'er the puny sons of earth.

With loins in mantle black concealed,
Within their fleshless bands they wield
The torch, that with a dull red glows,--
While in their cheek no life-blood flows;
And where the...Read More

by Pastan, Linda
when so many promises are made
it hardly matters if a few are broken.
My mother and father still hovered
in the background, part of the scenery
like the houses I had grown up in,
and if they would be torn down later
that was something I knew
but didn't believe. Our children were asleep
or playing, the youngest as new
as the new smell of the lilacs,
and how could I have guessed
their roots were shallow
and would be easily transplanted.
I didn't even guess that ...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...n. 'Ah, no',
I said. 'Earth has not anything to show
More fair— changed though it is— than this.'
A curious background surely for a kiss—
Our first— Westminster Bridge at break of day—
Settings by Wordsworth, as John used to say.

Why do we fall in love? I do believe 
 That virtue is the magnet, the small vein 
Of ore, the spark, the torch that we receive 
 At birth, and that we render back again. 
That drop of godhood, like a precious stone, 
 May sh...Read More

by Carman, Bliss sun stained red the winter dusk
With sullen flare upon the snowy ridge,--
As in a masterpiece by Hokusai,
Where on a background gray, with flaming breath
A scarlet dragon dies in dusky gold....Read More

by Atwood, Margaret
...sam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...han snide attacks in the TLS

By ‘JC’. **** you, Jock, you should be ashamed,

Attacking Brenda Williams, who had a background

Worse than yours, an alcoholic schizophrenic father

And an Irish immigrant mother who died when Brenda was fifteen

But still she managed to read Proust on her day off

As a library girl, turned down by David Jenkins,

‘As rising star of the left’ for a place at Leeds

To read theology started her as a protest poet

Sitting out on the English la...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...nd they rejoice
With the joy of thy young heart,
O'er the light of whose gladness
No shadows of sadness
From the sombre background of memory start.

Once, ah, once, within these walls,
One whom memory oft recalls,
The Father of his Country, dwelt.
And yonder meadows broad and damp
The fires of the besieging camp
Encircled with a burning belt.
Up and down these echoing stairs,
Heavy with the weight of cares,
Sounded his majestic tread;
Yes, within this very room
Sa...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...stands in front

of the middle tree. All around the grass is wet from the

 rains of early February.

 In the background is a tall cypress tree, almost dark like

a room. Adlai Stevenson spoke under the tree in 1956, before

 a crowd of 40, 000 people.

 There is a tall church across the street from the statue

with crosses, steeples, bells and a vast door that looks like

 a huge mousehole, perhaps from a Tom and Jerry cartoon,

 and written above the doo...Read More

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