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Famous Beacon Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Sexton, Anne
...In my dream, 
drilling into the marrow 
of my entire bone, 
my real dream, 
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill 
searching for a street sign -- 
Not there. 

I try the Back Bay. 
Not there. 
Not there. 
And yet I know the number. 
45 Mercy Street. 
I know the stained-glass window 
of the foyer, 
the three flights of the house 
with its parquet floors. 
I know the furniture and 
mother, grandmother, grea...Read more of this...

by Yeats, William Butler
...powerful emblem up,
And sing it rhyme upon rhyme
In mockery of a time
Half dead at the top.


Alexandria's was a beacon tower, and Babylon's
An image of the moving heavens, a log-book of the sun's journey and the moon's;
And Shelley had his towers, thought's crowned powers he called them once.

I declare this tower is my symbol; I declare
This winding, gyring, spiring treadmill of a stair is my ancestral stair;
That Goldsmith and the Dean, Berkeley and Burke have t...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...dust is gone! 


Late, late to-night will Dian cheer 
The swain, and chase the boatman's fear; 
Till then — no beacon on the cliff 
May shape the course of struggling skiff; 
The scatter'd lights that skirt the bay, 
All, one by one, have died away; 
The only lamp of this lone hour 
Is glimmering in Zuleika's tower. 
Yes! there is light in that lone chamber, 
And o'er her silken Ottoman 
Are thrown the fragrant beads of amber, 
O'er which her fairy fingers ran; [...Read more of this...

by Service, Robert William
...beneath November skies
An apple blossom peer;
Upon a branch as bleak as night
It gleamed exultant on my sight,
A fairy beacon burning bright
Of hope and cheer.

"Alas!" said I, "poor foolish thing,
Have you mistaken this for Spring?
Behold, the thrush has taken wing,
And Winter's near."
Serene it seemed to lift its head:
"The Winter's wrath I do not dread,
Because I am," it proudly said,
"A Pioneer.

"Some apple blossom must be first,
With beauty's urgency to bur...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
...ion poutings of the brine
With quivering ore: 'twas even an awful shine
From the exaltation of Apollo's bow;
A heavenly beacon in their dreary woe.
Who thus were ripe for high contemplating,
Might turn their steps towards the sober ring
Where sat Endymion and the aged priest
'Mong shepherds gone in eld, whose looks increas'd
The silvery setting of their mortal star.
There they discours'd upon the fragile bar
That keeps us from our homes ethereal;
And what our duties t...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
.... By and by
The ruddy square of comfortable light,
Far-blazing from the rear of Philip's house,
Allured him, as the beacon-blaze allures
The bird of passage, till he madly strikes
Against it, and beats out his weary life.

For Philip's dwelling fronted on the street,
The latest house to landward; but behind,
With one small gate that open'd on the waste,
Flourish'd a little garden square and wall'd:
And in it throve an ancient evergreen,
A yewtree, and all round it ran...Read more of this...

by Hugo, Victor
 Among the living all their tasks are o'er. 
 Silent, they seem all mystery to brave, 
 These sphinxes whom no beacon light can save 
 Upon the threshold of the gulf so near, 
 As if they faced the great enigma here; 
 Ready with hoofs, between the pillars blue 
 To strike out sparks, and combats to renew, 
 Choosing for battle-field the shades below, 
 Which they provoked by deeds we cannot know, 
 In that dark realm thought dares not to expound 
 False mask...Read more of this...

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...(The Dry Salvages—presumably les trois sauvages—is a small
group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann,
Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced to rhyme with assuages.
Groaner: a whistling buoy.) 


I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conv...Read more of this...

by Bronte, Charlotte
...only boon I ask.

Whence, then, this vain and barren dreaming 
Of death, and dubious life to come ? 
I see a nearer beacon gleaming 
Over dejection's sea of gloom.

The very wildness of my sorrow 
Tells me I yet have innate force; 
My track of life has been too narrow, 
Effort shall trace a broader course. 

The world is not in yonder tower, 
Earth is not prisoned in that room, 
'Mid whose dark pannels, hour by hour, 
I've sat, the slave and prey of gloom.

On...Read more of this...

by Hikmet, Nazim
...Indian Ocean.
We're drinking in the air
 like a heavy, faint-smelling syrup.
An keeping our eyes on the yellow beacon of Singapore
-- leaving Australia on the right,
 Madagascar on the left --
and putting our faith in the fuel in the tank,
 we're heading for the China Sea...

 From the journal of a deckhand named John aboard a 
British vessel in the China Sea

One night
 a typhoon blows up out of the blue.
 what a hurricane!
Mounted on the back...Read more of this...

by Rossetti, Christina
...golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood,
Like a rock of blue-veined stone
Lashed by tides obstreperously, --
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire, --
Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee, --
Like a royal virgin town
Topped with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguered by a fleet
Mad to tear her standard down.

One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Thou...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...oast, he heard 
Strange music, and he paused, and turning--there, 
All down the lonely coast of Lyonnesse, 
Each with a beacon-star upon his head, 
And with a wild sea-light about his feet, 
He saw them--headland after headland flame 
Far on into the rich heart of the west: 
And in the light the white mermaiden swam, 
And strong man-breasted things stood from the sea, 
And sent a deep sea-voice through all the land, 
To which the little elves of chasm and cleft 
Made answer, ...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...t for their wrath. Till livelier look 
 Was forward drawn, for where at last we came 
 A great tower fronted, and a beacon's flame. 

Canto VIII 

 I SAY, while yet from that tower's base afar, 
 We saw two flames of sudden signal rise, 
 And further, like a small and distant star, 
 A beacon answered. 
 "What before us lies? 
 Who signals our approach, and who replies?" 
 I asked, and answered he who all things knew, 
 "Already, if the swamp's dank fumes pe...Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar
...the race,
Which lights with joy each eager runner's face,
As the red cross which saveth men in war,
As a flame-bearded beacon seen from far
By mariners upon a storm-tossed sea, -
Such was his love for Greece and Liberty!

Byron, thy crowns are ever fresh and green:
Red leaves of rose from Sapphic Mitylene
Shall bind thy brows; the myrtle blooms for thee,
In hidden glades by lonely Castaly;
The laurels wait thy coming: all are thine,
And round thy head one perfect wreath will...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...dust is gone! 


Late, late to-night will Dian cheer 
The swain, and chase the boatman's fear; 
Till then — no beacon on the cliff 
May shape the course of struggling skiff; 
The scatter'd lights that skirt the bay, 
All, one by one, have died away; 
The only lamp of this lone hour 
Is glimmering in Zuleika's tower. 
Yes! there is light in that lone chamber, 
And o'er her silken Ottoman 
Are thrown the fragrant beads of amber, 
O'er which her fairy fingers ran; [...Read more of this...

by Jeffers, Robinson
...ining white.
If the excrement of fish-eaters makes the brown rock a snow-mountain
At noon, a rose in the morning, a beacon at moonrise
On the black water: it is barely possible that even men's present
Lives are something; their arts and sciences (by moonlight)
Not wholly ridiculous, nor their cities merely an offense.


Under my windows, between the road and the sea-cliff, bitter wild grass
Stands narrowed between the people and the storm.
The ocean winter aft...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...s slowly widening o’er the wall;
The bat builds in his harem bower,
And in the fortress of his power
The owl usurps the beacon-tower;
The wild-dog howls o’er the fountain’s brim,
With baffled thirst and famine, grim;
For the stream has shrunk from its marble bed,
Where the weeds and the desolate dust are spread.
‘Twas sweet of yore to see it play
And chase the sultriness of day,
As springing high the silver dew
In whirls fantastically flew,
And flung luxurious coolness ro...Read more of this...

by Eluard, Paul
...ane of surprises 
On the careful lips 
Well-above silence 
I write your name 

On my destroyed shelter 
On my collapsed beacon 
On the walls of my weariness 
I write your name 

On absence without want 
On naked solitude 
On the steps of death 
I write your name 

On regained health 
On vanished risk 
On hope free from memory 
I write your name 

And by the power of one word 
I begin my life again 
I am born to know you 

To call you by name: Liberty!...Read more of this...

by Scott, Sir Walter's rill,
     And deep his midnight lair had made
     In lone Glenartney's hazel shade;
     But when the sun his beacon red
     Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
     The deep-mouthed bloodhound's heavy bay
     Resounded up the rocky way,
     And faint, from farther distance borne,
     Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.

     As Chief, who hears his warder call,
     'To arms! the foemen storm the wall,'
     The antlered monarch of the wast...Read more of this...

by Lazarus, Emma
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.  "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to ...Read more of this...

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