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Famous Beginning Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Robinson, Edwin Arlington 
Some tales will have a deal of going back .
In them before they are begun. But this one 
Begins in the beginning—when he came. 
I was a boy at school, sixteen years old, 
And on my way, in all appearances, 
To mark an even-tempered average
Among the major mediocrities 
Who serve and earn with no especial noise 
Or vast reward. I saw myself, even then, 
A light for no high shining; and I feared 
No boy or man—having, in truth, no cause.
I was enoug...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and le...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...and the slave, of men -
A mountain-summit, and a den
Of dark and deadly mazes - 

A flashing light - a fleeting shade -
Beginning, end, and middle
Of all that human art hath made
Or wit devised! Go, seek HER aid,
If you would read my riddle!...Read More

by Hughes, Langston
...uraged, builder!
If the fight is not yet won,
Don't be weary, soldier!
The plan and the pattern is here,
Woven from the beginning
Into the warp and woof of America:
Who said those things? Americans!
Who owns those words? America!
Who is America? You, me!
We are America!
To the enemy who would conquer us from without,
We say, NO!
T...Read More

by Keats, John truth.
And first, as thou wast not the first of powers,
So art thou not the last; it cannot be:
Thou art not the beginning nor the end.
From Chaos and parental Darkness came
Light, the first fruits of that intestine broil,
That sullen ferment, which for wondrous ends
Was ripening in itself. The ripe hour came,
And with it Light, and Light, engendering
Upon its own producer, forthwith touch'd
The whole enormous matter into life.
Upon that very hour, our pare...Read More

by Milton, John
...g; or inspires 
Easy my unpremeditated verse: 
Since first this subject for heroick song 
Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late; 
Not sedulous by nature to indite 
Wars, hitherto the only argument 
Heroick deem'd chief mastery to dissect 
With long and tedious havock fabled knights 
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude 
Of patience and heroick martyrdom 
Unsung; or to describe races and games, 
Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields, 
Impresses quaint, caparisons...Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.

The other, the end of a
sure beginning....Read More

by Ashbery, John
..., confusing
Issues. To be serious only about sex
Is perhaps one way, but the sands are hissing
As they approach the beginning of the big slide
Into what happened. This past
Is now here: the painter's
Reflected face, in which we linger, receiving
Dreams and inspirations on an unassigned
Frequency, but the hues have turned metallic,
The curves and edges are not so rich. Each person
Has one big theory to explain the universe
But it doesn't tell the whole story
And in...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ten to all sides, and filter them from yourself. 

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end. 

There was never any more inception than there is now, 
Nor any more youth or age than there is now; 
And will never be any more perfection than there is now, 
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge, and urge, and urge; 
Always the procreant urge of the wo...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...Between the dark and the daylight, 
When the night is beginning to lower, 
Comes a pause in the day's occupations, 
That is known as the Children's Hour. 

I hear in the chamber above me 
The patter of little feet, 
The sound of a door that is opened, 
And voices soft and sweet. 

From my study I see in the lamplight, 
Descending the broad hall stair, 
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, 
And...Read More

by Stevens, Wallace
530 The fourth, pent now, a digit curious. 
531 Four daughters in a world too intricate 
532 In the beginning, four blithe instruments 
533 Of differing struts, four voices several 
534 In couch, four more person?, intimate 
535 As buffo, yet divers, four mirrors blue 
536 That should be silver, four accustomed seeds 
537 Hinting incredible hues, four self-same lights 
538 That spread chromatics in hilarious dark, 
539 Four questioners and four sure...Read More

by Masefield, John
...all not. 
They shan't think that. I will not. I'm 
Damned if I will. I will not." 

From the beginning of the bout 
My luck was gone, my hand was out. 
Right from the start Bill called the play, 
But I was quick and kept away 
Till the fourth round, when work got mixed, 
And then I knew Bill had me fixed. 
My hand was out, why, Heaven knows; 
Bill punched me when and where he chose. 
Through two more rounds we quartered wide, 
And all th...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...'re my friend:
I was the man the Duke spoke to;
I helped the Duchess to cast off his yoke, too;
So here's the tale from beginning to end,
My friend!


Ours is a great wild country:
If you climb to our castle's top,
I don't see where your eye can stop;
For when you've passed the cornfield country,
Where vineyards leave off, flocks are packed,
And sheep-range leads to cattle-tract,
And cattle-tract to open-chase,
And open-chase to the very base
Of the mountain where, at...Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
...r>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 with shame conceal.
2.5 My mother's breeding sickness, I will spare,
2.6 Her nine months' weary burden not declare.
2.7 To shew her bearing pangs, I should do wrong,
2.8 To tell that pain, which can't be told by tongue.
2.9 With tears into this world I did a...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...d and stout,
 Made an effort to wink with one eye.

"Be a man!" said the Bellman in wrath, as he heard
 The Butcher beginning to sob.
"Should we meet with a Jubjub, that desperate bird,
 We shall need all our strength for the job!"


Fit the Fifth.


They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
 They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
 They charme...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...est all from East till Occident
That naturally would hold another way;
Thy crowding set the heav'n in such array
At the beginning of this fierce voyage,
That cruel Mars hath slain this marriage.

Unfortunate ascendant tortuous,
Of which the lord is helpless fall'n, alas!
Out of his angle into the darkest house;
O Mars, O Atyzar, as in this case;
O feeble Moon, unhappy is thy pace.* *progress
Thou knittest thee where thou art not receiv'd,
Where thou wert well, from...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...en by the fence,

And the incomer’s invitation to call again and then and then...

We were wrong from the beginning, you always said, wrong

To be together, wrong to go away or perhaps, as Hobsbaum said,

‘It was the place’s fault. If we’d made it to Haworth as we

Dreamed, standing on the moor top, the heather muffling your tears,

The wind sighing its threnody, crying its cradle-song, whispering

Promises of its care to come, its breath caressing the very ...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
The Shadow lay quietly on the wall.
From the street outside came a watchman's call
"A cloudy night. Rain beginning to fall."
And still he waited. The clock's slow tick
Knocked on the silence. Paul turned sick.
He filled his own glass full of wine;
From his pocket he took a paper. The twine
Was knotted, and he searched a knife
From his jumbled tools. The cord of life
Snapped as he cut the little string.
He knew that he must do the thi...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia are some with thick black hair, there are some bald.
Their skin tints are pink or sallow, brown or red;
They are beginning to remember their differences.

I think they are made of water; they have no expression.
Their features are sleeping, like light on quiet water.
They are the real monks and nuns in their identical garments.
I see them showering like stars on to the world--
On India, Africa, America, these miraculous ones,
These pure, small images.Read More

by Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
...There's a breathless hush on the freeway tonight
Beyond the ledges of concrete
restaurants fall into dreams
with candlelight couples
Lost Alexandria still burns
in a billion lightbulbs
Lives cross lives
idling at stoplights
Beyond the cloverleaf turnoffs
'Souls eat souls in the general emptiness'
A piano concerto comes out a kitchen window
A yogi speaks at...Read More

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