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Famous Backwards Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Thomas, Dylan, minus hips).

Perhaps it would be best if you
Created something very new,
A dirty novel done in Erse
Or written backwards in Welsh verse,
Or paintings on the backs of vests,
Or Sanskrit psalms on lepers' chests.
But if this proved imposs-i-ble
Perhaps it would be just as well,
For you could then write what you please,
And modern verse is done with ease.

Do not forget that 'limpet' rhymes
With 'strumpet' in these troubled times,
And commas are the worst of cri...Read More

by Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
...ear to sand
a shocked echoing
a shocking shouting
of all life's voices lost in night
And the tape of it
someow running backwards now
through the Moog Synthesizer of time
Chaos unscrambled
back to the first
And the first light...Read More

by Gregory, Rg
to the masked door
hesitates and turns
wanting our support
frightened to his heart's core
steps no - is drawn - backwards
into a black space rapidly
dissolving in our misted eyes
we half-hear a short gasp - no more
the moon's grin is louder
as (on his restless clouds)
he bucks about the sky

no one returns to us
and in the morning
(rooted in fear
we could not leave the place
but spent the night
huddled in one big stack
in the frozen hall)
and in the morning
we find no...Read More

by O'Hara, Frank nature it's not for me 


I'm not dead. Nothing remains let alone "to be said "
except that when I fall backwards
I am trying something new and shall succeed as in the past....Read More

by Hugo, Victor
...ine can better see, 
 For sight is woman-like and shuns the old; 
 Ah! he can see enough, when years are told, 
 Who backwards looks. But, boy, turn towards the glade 
 And tell me what you see." 
 The boy obeyed, 
 And leaned across the threshold, while the bright, 
 Full moon shed o'er the glade its white, pure light. 
 "I see a horse and woman on it now," 
 Said Gasclin, "and companions also show." 
 "Who are they?" asked the seeker of sublime 
 Adventures. "...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
...sorry for me
because I am alone

for even 
at the most terrible
is my 

I am a dog walking

I am a broken

I am a telephone wire
strung up in
Toledo, Ohio

I am a man
eating a meal
this night
in the month of

put your sympathy
they say
water held up
to come
you better be
nearly as
lucky....Read More

by Rossetti, Christina
...e a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

Backwards up the mossy glen
Turned and trooped the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
"Come buy, come buy."
When they reached where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss,
Leering at each other,
Brother with ***** brother;
Signalling each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One reared his plate;
One began to wea...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...m buff, give me Widmark and Wayne any day

Saturday matin?es with Margaret Gardener still hold sway

As my memory veers backwards this temperate Boxing Day-

Westerns and war films and a blurred Maigret,

Coupled with a worn-out sixties Penguin Mallarm?-

How about that mix for a character trait?

Try as I may I can’t get my head round the manifold virtues

Of Geraldine Monk or either Riley

Poetry has to have a meaning, not just patterns on a page,

Vertical words and snips ...Read More

by Baraka, Imamu Amiri
I cannot even order you to the gaschamber satori like Hitler or Goddy Knight)

& love is an evil word.
Turn it backwards/see, see what I mean?
An evol word. & besides
who understands it?
I certainly wouldn't like to go out on that kind of limb.

Saturday mornings we listened to the Red Lantern & his undersea folk.
At 11, Let's Pretend
& we did
& I, the poet, still do. Thank God!

What was it he used to say (after the transformation when he was safe
& invis...Read More

by Smart, Christopher

For U is unity, and his right name is Uve to work it double. 

For W is word. 

For X [drawn as a backwards G and a G stuck together] is hope -- consisting of two check G -- God be gracious to Anne Hope. 

For Y is yea. God be gracious to Eennet and his family! 

For Z is zeal. 

For in the education of children it is necessary to watch the words, -which they pronounce with difficulty, for such are against them in their consequences. 

Fo...Read More

by Tebb, Barry

When the muse takes over

I am snatched from order and duty

Blowing routine into a riot of going

And coming, blind, backwards, tip

Over ****, sea waves crashing in suburbia,

Saturnalia in Sutton, headlines of mad poet

Striding naked over moors, roaring

"I am here I am waiting".


Jeremy Reed

Niagaras of letters on pink sheets

In sheaths of silver envelopes

Mutually exchanged. I open your missives

Like undressing a girl in my teens

Undoing the flap like ...Read More

by Lehman, David some of this knockout weed when
Operation Memory was announced. To his separate bed
Each soldier went, counting backwards from a hundred
With a needle in his arm. And there I was, in the middle
Of a recession, in the middle of a strange city, between jobs
And apartments and wives. Nobody told me the gun was loaded.

We'd been drinking since early afternoon. I was loaded.
The doctor made me recite my name, rank, and serial number when
I woke up, swe...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...o steering could be done till the next 
varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually 
sailed backwards. 

This office was usually undertaken by the Boots, who found in it 
a refuge from the Baker's constant complaints about the insufficient 
blacking of his three pairs of boots. 

As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the 
Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that 
has often been asked me, how t...Read More

by Chesterton, G K

"One man shall drive a hundred,
As the dead kings drave;
Before me rocking hosts be riven,
And battering cohorts backwards driven,
For I am the first king known of Heaven
That has been struck like a slave.

"Up on the old white road, brothers,
Up on the Roman walls!
For this is the night of the drawing of swords,
And the tainted tower of the heathen hordes
Leans to our hammers, fires and cords,
Leans a little and falls.

"Follow the star that lives and leaps,
F...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards. 

As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that has often been asked me, how to pronounce "slithy toves." The "i" in "slithy" is long, as in "writhe"; and "toves" is pronounced so as to rhyme with "groves." Again, the first "o" in "borogoves" is pronou...Read More

by Stephens, James
...o long! afar through Time He bent His mind, 
For the beginning, which He could not find, 
Through endless centuries and backwards still 
Endless forever, till His 'stonied will 
Halted in circles, dizzied in the swing 
Of mazy nothingness. -- His mind could bring 
Not to subjection, grip or hold the theme 
Whose wide horizon melted like a dream 
To thinnest edges. Infinite behind 
The piling centuries were trodden blind 
In gulfs chaotic -- so He could not see 
When H...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
 An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
 An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
 It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
 Excep', per'aps, it's us.

For monthly, after Labour,
 We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquits,
 Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
 Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
 Of the God 'e knew the best.

So man on man got tal...Read More

by Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
...n, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she 'gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion--
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...The old dog barks backwards without getting up.
I can remember when he was a pup....Read More

by Lux, Thomas
and slender walking stick set against the house.
Virgule: it feels good in your mouth.
Virgule: its foot on backwards, trochaic, that's OK, American.
Virgule: you could name your son that,
or your daughter Virgula. I'm sorry now
I didn't think to give my daughter such a name
though I doubt that she and/or
her mother would share that thought....Read More

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