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Famous Bad Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Whitman, Walt
...things are grotesque, eccentric, fail of their full returns,

Nothing out of its place is good, nothing in its place is bad, 
He bestows on every object or quality its fit proportion, neither more nor less, 
He is the arbiter of the diverse, he is the key,
He is the equalizer of his age and land, 
He supplies what wants supplying—he checks what wants checking, 
In peace, out of him speaks the spirit of peace, large, rich, thrifty, building populous
 encouraging agricu...Read more of this...

by Ginsberg, Allen
...ddy bottom of the rivers of 
who wept at the romance of the streets with their 
 pushcarts full of onions and bad music, 
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the 
 bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in 
 their lofts, 
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned 
 with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded 
 by orange crates of theology, 
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty 
 incantations which in the yellow morning wer...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...My halls from such a guest had honour gain'd, 
Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd, 
But that some previous proof forbade his stay, 
And urged him to prepare against to-day; 
The word I pledge for his I pledge again, 
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's stain." 

He ceased — and Lara answer'd, "I am here 
To lend at thy demand a listening ear, 
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue, 
Whose words already might my heart have wrung, 
But that I deem'd him scarcely ...Read more of this...

by Ali, Muhammad
...led with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don't get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali....Read more of this...

by Frost, Robert
...out what it asked
In dress or manner of the girl who bore it.
If she could form some notion of her mother—
What she bad thought was lovely, and what good.
This was her mother's childhood home;
The house one story high in front, three stories
On the end it presented to the road.
(The arrangement made a pleasant sunny cellar.)
Her mother's bedroom was her father's still,
Where she could watch her mother's picture fading.
Once she found for a bookmark in the ...Read more of this...

by Frost, Robert
...your bed," I told him.

I met a Californian who would
Talk California—a state so blessed,
He said, in climate, none bad ever died there
A natural death, and Vigilance Committees
Had had to organize to stock the graveyards
And vindicate the state's humanity.
"Just the way Stefansson runs on," I murmured,
"About the British Arctic. That's what comes
Of being in the market with a climate."

I met a poet from another state,
A zealot full of fluid inspiration,
Who ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...hrough all the hierarchies 
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws. 
So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infused 
Bad influence into the unwary breast 
Of his associate: He together calls, 
Or several one by one, the regent Powers, 
Under him Regent; tells, as he was taught, 
That the Most High commanding, now ere night, 
Now ere dim night had disincumbered Heaven, 
The great hierarchal standard was to move; 
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between 
Ambiguous words...Read more of this...

by Ashbery, John
...d out, at least
This thing, the mute, undivided present,
Has the justification of logic, which
In this instance isn't a bad thing
Or wouldn't be, if the way of telling
Didn't somehow intrude, twisting the end result
Into a caricature of itself. This always
Happens, as in the game where
A whispered phrase passed around the room
Ends up as something completely different.
It is the principle that makes works of art so unlike
What the artist intended. Often he finds
H...Read more of this...

by Frost, Robert
...rning there.—
I thought I would.— I know, but, Lett—I know—
I could, but what’s the sense? The rest won’t be
So bad.— Give me an hour for it.— Ho, ho,
Three hours to here! But that was all up hill;
The rest is down.— Why no, no, not a wallow:
They kept their heads and took their time to it
Like darlings, both of them. They’re in the barn.—
My dear, I’m coming just the same. I didn’t
Call you to ask you to invite me home.—”
He lingered for s...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...khorn, in my deer-skin leggings—a
 Louisianian or Georgian; 
A boatman over lakes or bays, or along coasts—a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;
At home on Kanadian snow-shoes, or up in the bush, or with fishermen off
At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tacking; 
At home on the hills of Vermont, or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch; 
Comrade of Californians—comrade of free north-westerners, (loving their big
Comr...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
Allons! out of the dark confinement! 
It is useless to protest—I know all, and expose it. 

Behold, through you as bad as the rest, 
Through the laughter, dancing, dining, supping, of people,
Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash’d and trimm’d faces, 
Behold a secret silent loathing and despair. 

No husband, no wife, no friend, trusted to hear the confession; 
Another self, a duplicate of every one, skulking and hiding it goes, 
Formless and wordless...Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
...owers or walls of proof,
Fire over Glastonbury roof
And out on Ely, fire.

And Guthrum heard the soldiers' tale
And bade the stranger play;
Not harshly, but as one on high,
On a marble pillar in the sky,
Who sees all folk that live and die--
Pigmy and far away.

And Alfred, King of Wessex,
Looked on his conqueror--
And his hands hardened; but he played,
And leaving all later hates unsaid,
He sang of some old British raid
On the wild west march of yore.

He sang of...Read more of this...

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West 
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around by lifting winds forgot 
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.

No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But ...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ed tears.
What could her grief be?—she had all she loved,
And he who had so loved her was not there
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
Or ill-repressed affliction, her pure thoughts.
What could her grief be?—she had loved him not,
Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved,
Nor could he be a part of that which preyed
Upon her mind—a spectre of the past.


A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was returned.—I saw him stand
Before...Read more of this...

by Bradstreet, Anne
...6 Their method was that of the Elements,
1.57 That each should tell what of himself he knew,
1.58 Both good and bad, but yet no more then's true.
1.59 With heed now stood, three ages of frail man,
1.60 To hear the child, who crying, thus began.


2.1 Ah me! conceiv'd in sin, and born in sorrow,
2.2 A nothing, here to day, but gone to morrow,
2.3 Whose mean beginning, blushing can't reveal,
2.4 But night and darkness must...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Spake through the limbs and in the voice--I knew 
For one of those who eat in Arthur's hall; 
For good ye are and bad, and like to coins, 
Some true, some light, but every one of you 
Stamped with the image of the King; and now 
Tell me, what drove thee from the Table Round, 
My brother? was it earthly passion crost?' 

`Nay,' said the knight; `for no such passion mine. 
But the sweet vision of the Holy Grail 
Drove me from all vainglories, rivalries, 
And earthly h...Read more of this...

by Blake, William
lion. the horse; how he shall take his prey. 
The thankful reciever bears a plentiful harvest.

If others bad not been foolish. we should be so.
The soul of sweet delight. can never be defil'd,

When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius. lift up
thy head!

As the catterpiller chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs
on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys. 

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.

D...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord) his son? 
In whom his qualities are reigning still, 
Except that household virtue, most uncommon, 
Of constancy to a bad, ugly woman. 


'God save the king!' It is a large economy 
In God to save the like; but if he will 
Be saving, all the better; for not one am I 
Of those who think damnation better still: 
I hardly know too if not quite alone am I 
In this small hope of bettering future ill 
By circumscribing, with some slight restriction, 
The eternity of hel...Read more of this...

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns) into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed' und leer das Meer.
 Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations. 
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed...Read more of this...

by Miller, Alice Duer
...uniform, as English people can, 
Unconscious of it. Percy, the best man, 
As thin as paper and as smart as paint, 
Bade us good-by with admirable restraint, 
Went from the church to catch his train to hell; 
And died-saving his batman from a shell. 

We went down to Devon, 
 In a warm summer rain, 
Knowing that our happiness 
 Might never come again; 
I, not forgetting, 
 'Till death us do part,' 
Was outrageously happy 
 With death in my heart. 
Lovers in...Read more of this...

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