Best Famous Fantasy Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Fantasy poems. This is a select list of the best famous Fantasy poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Fantasy poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of fantasy poems.

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Poems are below...



12
Written by John Donne | Create an image from this poem

The Dream

DEAR love for nothing less than thee 
Would I have broke this happy dream; 
It was a theme 
For reason much too strong for fantasy.
Therefore thou waked'st me wisely; yet 5 My dream thou brok'st not but continued'st it.
Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice To make dreams truths and fables histories; Enter these arms for since thou thought'st it best Not to dream all my dream let 's act the rest.
10 As lightning or a taper's light Thine eyes and not thy noise waked me; Yet I thought thee¡ª For thou lov'st truth¡ªan angel at first sight; But when I saw thou saw'st my heart 15 And knew'st my thoughts beyond an angel's art When thou knew'st what I dreamt when thou knew'st when Excess of joy would wake me and cam'st then I must confess it could not choose but be Profane to think thee anything but thee.
20 Coming and staying show'd thee thee But rising makes me doubt that now Thou art not thou.
That Love is weak where Fear 's as strong as he; 'Tis not all spirit pure and brave 25 If mixture it of Fear Shame Honour have.
Perchance as torches which must ready be Men light and put out so thou deal'st with me.
Thou cam'st to kindle go'st to come: then I Will dream that hope again but else would die.
30
Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

A Sunset

 I love the evenings, passionless and fair, I love the evens, 
Whether old manor-fronts their ray with golden fulgence leavens, 
In numerous leafage bosomed close; 
Whether the mist in reefs of fire extend its reaches sheer, 
Or a hundred sunbeams splinter in an azure atmosphere 
On cloudy archipelagos.
Oh, gaze ye on the firmament! a hundred clouds in motion, Up-piled in the immense sublime beneath the winds' commotion, Their unimagined shapes accord: Under their waves at intervals flame a pale levin through, As if some giant of the air amid the vapors drew A sudden elemental sword.
The sun at bay with splendid thrusts still keeps the sullen fold; And momently at distance sets, as a cupola of gold, The thatched roof of a cot a-glance; Or on the blurred horizon joins his battle with the haze; Or pools the blooming fields about with inter-isolate blaze, Great moveless meres of radiance.
Then mark you how there hangs athwart the firmament's swept track, Yonder a mighty crocodile with vast irradiant back, A triple row of pointed teeth? Under its burnished belly slips a ray of eventide, The flickerings of a hundred glowing clouds in tenebrous side With scales of golden mail ensheathe.
Then mounts a palace, then the air vibrates--the vision flees.
Confounded to its base, the fearful cloudy edifice Ruins immense in mounded wrack; Afar the fragments strew the sky, and each envermeiled cone Hangeth, peak downward, overhead, like mountains overthrown When the earthquake heaves its hugy back.
These vapors, with their leaden, golden, iron, bronzèd glows, Where the hurricane, the waterspout, thunder, and hell repose, Muttering hoarse dreams of destined harms,-- 'Tis God who hangs their multitude amid the skiey deep, As a warrior that suspendeth from the roof-tree of his keep His dreadful and resounding arms! All vanishes! The Sun, from topmost heaven precipitated, Like a globe of iron which is tossed back fiery red Into the furnace stirred to fume, Shocking the cloudy surges, plashed from its impetuous ire, Even to the zenith spattereth in a flecking scud of fire The vaporous and inflamèd spaume.
O contemplate the heavens! Whenas the vein-drawn day dies pale, In every season, every place, gaze through their every veil? With love that has not speech for need! Beneath their solemn beauty is a mystery infinite: If winter hue them like a pall, or if the summer night Fantasy them starre brede.
Written by John Greenleaf Whittier | Create an image from this poem

The Norsemen ( From Narrative and Legendary Poems )

 GIFT from the cold and silent Past! 
A relic to the present cast, 
Left on the ever-changing strand 
Of shifting and unstable sand, 
Which wastes beneath the steady chime 
And beating of the waves of Time! 
Who from its bed of primal rock 
First wrenched thy dark, unshapely block? 
Whose hand, of curious skill untaught, 
Thy rude and savage outline wrought? 
The waters of my native stream 
Are glancing in the sun's warm beam; 
From sail-urged keel and flashing oar 
The circles widen to its shore; 
And cultured field and peopled town 
Slope to its willowed margin down.
Yet, while this morning breeze is bringing The home-life sound of school-bells ringing, And rolling wheel, and rapid jar Of the fire-winged and steedless car, And voices from the wayside near Come quick and blended on my ear,-- A spell is in this old gray stone, My thoughts are with the Past alone! A change! -- The steepled town no more Stretches along the sail-thronged shore; Like palace-domes in sunset's cloud, Fade sun-gilt spire and mansion proud: Spectrally rising where they stood, I see the old, primeval wood; Dark, shadow-like, on either hand I see its solemn waste expand; It climbs the green and cultured hill, It arches o'er the valley's rill, And leans from cliff and crag to throw Its wild arms o'er the stream below.
Unchanged, alone, the same bright river Flows on, as it will flow forever! I listen, and I hear the low Soft ripple where its water go; I hear behind the panther's cry, The wild-bird's scream goes thrilling by, And shyly on the river's brink The deer is stooping down to drink.
But hard! -- from wood and rock flung back, What sound come up the Merrimac? What sea-worn barks are those which throw The light spray from each rushing prow? Have they not in the North Sea's blast Bowed to the waves the straining mast? Their frozen sails the low, pale sun Of Thulë's night has shone upon; Flapped by the sea-wind's gusty sweep Round icy drift, and headland steep.
Wild Jutland's wives and Lochlin's daughters Have watched them fading o'er the waters, Lessening through driving mist and spray, Like white-winged sea-birds on their way! Onward they glide, -- and now I view Their iron-armed and stalwart crew; Joy glistens in each wild blue eye, Turned to green earth and summer sky.
Each broad, seamed breast has cast aside Its cumbering vest of shaggy hide; Bared to the sun and soft warm air, Streams back the Northmen's yellow hair.
I see the gleam of axe and spear, A sound of smitten shields I hear, Keeping a harsh and fitting time To Saga's chant, and Runic rhyme; Such lays as Zetland's Scald has sung, His gray and naked isles among; Or mutter low at midnight hour Round Odin's mossy stone of power.
The wolf beneath the Arctic moon Has answered to that startling rune; The Gael has heard its stormy swell, The light Frank knows its summons well; Iona's sable-stoled Culdee Has heard it sounding o'er the sea, And swept, with hoary beard and hair, His altar's foot in trembling prayer! 'T is past, -- the 'wildering vision dies In darkness on my dreaming eyes! The forest vanishes in air, Hill-slope and vale lie starkly bare; I hear the common tread of men, And hum of work-day life again; The mystic relic seems alone A broken mass of common stone; And if it be the chiselled limb Of Berserker or idol grim, A fragment of Valhalla's Thor, The stormy Viking's god of War, Or Praga of the Runic lay, Or love-awakening Siona, I know not, -- for no graven line, Nor Druid mark, nor Runic sign, Is left me here, by which to trace Its name, or origin, or place.
Yet, for this vision of the Past, This glance upon its darkness cast, My spirit bows in gratitude Before the Giver of all good, Who fashioned so the human mind, That, from the waste of Time behind, A simple stone, or mound of earth, Can summon the departed forth; Quicken the Past to life again, The Present lose in what hath been, And in their primal freshness show The buried forms of long ago.
As if a portion of that Thought By which the Eternal will is wrought, Whose impulse fills anew with breath The frozen solitude of Death, To mortal mind were sometimes lent, To mortal musing sometimes sent, To whisper -- even when it seems But Memory's fantasy of dreams -- Through the mind's waste of woe and sin, Of an immortal origin!
Written by Vachel Lindsay | Create an image from this poem

The Tale of the Tiger-Tree

 A Fantasy, dedicated to the little poet Alice Oliver Henderson, ten years old.
The Fantasy shows how tiger-hearts are the cause of war in all ages.
It shows how the mammoth forces may be either friends or enemies of the struggle for peace.
It shows how the dream of peace is unconquerable and eternal.
I Peace-of-the-Heart, my own for long, Whose shining hair the May-winds fan, Making it tangled as they can, A mystery still, star-shining yet, Through ancient ages known to me And now once more reborn with me: — This is the tale of the Tiger Tree A hundred times the height of a man, Lord of the race since the world began.
This is my city Springfield, My home on the breast of the plain.
The state house towers to heaven, By an arsenal gray as the rain.
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And suddenly all is mist, And I walk in a world apart, In the forest-age when I first knelt down At your feet, O Peace-of-the-Heart.
This is the wonder of twilight: Three times as high as the dome Tiger-striped trees encircle the town, Golden geysers of foam.
While giant white parrots sail past in their pride.
The roofs now are clouds and storms that they ride.
And there with the huntsmen of mound-builder days Through jungle and meadow I stride.
And the Tiger Tree leaf is falling around As it fell when the world began: Like a monstrous tiger-skin, stretched on the ground, Or the cloak of a medicine man.
A deep-crumpled gossamer web, Fringed with the fangs of a snake.
The wind swirls it down from the leperous boughs.
It shimmers on clay-hill and lake, With the gleam of great bubbles of blood, Or coiled like a rainbow shell.
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I feast on the stem of the Leaf as I march.
I am burning with Heaven and Hell.
II The gray king died in his hour.
Then we crowned you, the prophetess wise: Peace-of-the-Heart we deeply adored For the witchcraft hid in your eyes.
Gift from the sky, overmastering all, You sent forth your magical parrots to call The plot-hatching prince of the tigers, To your throne by the red-clay wall.
Thus came that genius insane: Spitting and slinking, Sneering and vain, He sprawled to your grassy throne, drunk on The Leaf, The drug that was cunning and splendor and grief.
He had fled from the mammoth by day, He had blasted the mammoth by night, War was his drunkenness, War was his dreaming, War was his love and his play.
And he hissed at your heavenly glory While his councillors snarled in delight, Asking in irony: "What shall we learn From this whisperer, fragile and white?" And had you not been an enchantress They would not have loitered to mock Nor spared your white parrots who walked by their paws With bantering venturesome talk.
You made a white fire of The Leaf.
You sang while the tiger-chiefs hissed.
You chanted of "Peace to the wonderful world.
" And they saw you in dazzling mist.
And their steps were no longer insane, Kindness came down like the rain, They dreamed that like fleet young ponies they feasted On succulent grasses and grain.
Then came the black-mammoth chief: Long-haired and shaggy and great, Proud and sagacious he marshalled his court: (You had sent him your parrots of state.
) His trunk in rebellion upcurled, A curse at the tiger he hurled.
Huge elephants trumpeted there by his side, And mastodon-chiefs of the world.
But higher magic began.
For the turbulent vassals of man.
You harnessed their fever, you conquered their ire, Their hearts turned to flowers through holy desire, For their darling and star you were crowned, And their raging demons were bound.
You rode on the back of the yellow-streaked king, His loose neck was wreathed with a mistletoe ring.
Primordial elephants loomed by your side, And our clay-painted children danced by your path, Chanting the death of the kingdoms of wrath.
You wrought until night with us all.
The fierce brutes fawned at your call, Then slipped to their lairs, song-chained.
And thus you sang sweetly, and reigned: "Immortal is the inner peace, free to beasts and men.
Beginning in the darkness, the mystery will conquer, And now it comforts every heart that seeks for love again.
And now the mammoth bows the knee, We hew down every Tiger Tree, We send each tiger bound in love and glory to his den, Bound in love.
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and wisdom.
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and glory,.
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to his den.
" III "Beware of the trumpeting swine," Came the howl from the northward that night.
Twice-rebel tigers warning was still If we held not beside them it boded us ill.
From the parrots translating the cry, And the apes in the trees came the whine: "Beware of the trumpeting swine.
Beware of the faith of a mammoth.
" "Beware of the faith of a tiger," Came the roar from the southward that night.
Trumpeting mammoths warning us still If we held not beside them it boded us ill.
The frail apes wailed to us all, The parrots reëchoed the call: "Beware of the faith of a tiger.
" From the heights of the forest the watchers could see The tiger-cats crunching the Leaf of the Tree Lashing themselves, and scattering foam, Killing our huntsmen, hurrying home.
The chiefs of the mammoths our mastery spurned, And eastward restlessly fumed and burned.
The peacocks squalled out the news of their drilling And told how they trampled, maneuvered, and turned.
Ten thousand man-hating tigers Whirling down from the north, like a flood! Ten thousand mammoths oncoming From the south as avengers of blood! Our child-queen was mourning, her magic was dead, The roots of the Tiger Tree reeking with red.
IV This is the tale of the Tiger Tree A hundred times the height of a man, Lord of the race since the world began.
We marched to the mammoths, We pledged them our steel, And scorning you, sang: — "We are men, We are men.
" We mounted their necks, And they stamped a wide reel.
We sang: "We are fighting the hell-cats again, We are mound-builder men, We are elephant men.
" We left you there, lonely, Beauty your power, Wisdom your watchman, To hold the clay tower.
While the black-mammoths boomed — "You are elephant men, Men, Men, Elephant men.
" The dawn-winds prophesied battles untold.
While the Tiger Trees roared of the glories of old, Of the masterful spirits and hard.
The drunken cats came in their joy In the sunrise, a glittering wave.
"We are tigers, are tigers," they yowled.
"Down, Down, Go the swine to the grave.
" But we tramp Tramp Trampled them there, Then charged with our sabres and spears.
The swish of the sabre, The swish of the sabre, Was a marvellous tune in our ears.
We yelled "We are men, We are men.
" As we bled to death in the sun.
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Then staunched our horrible wounds With the cry that the battle was won.
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And at last, When the black-mammoth legion Split the night with their song: — "Right is braver than wrong, Right is stronger than wrong," The buzzards came taunting: "Down from the north Tiger-nations are sweeping along.
" Then we ate of the ravening Leaf As our savage fathers of old.
No longer our wounds made us weak, No longer our pulses were cold.
Though half of my troops were afoot, (For the great who had borne them were slain) We dreamed we were tigers, and leaped And foamed with that vision insane.
We cried "We are soldiers of doom, Doom, Sabres of glory and doom.
" We wreathed the king of the mammoths In the tiger-leaves' terrible bloom.
We flattered the king of the mammoths, Loud-rattling sabres and spears.
The swish of the sabre, The swish of the sabre, Was a marvellous tune in his ears.
V This was the end of the battle.
The tigers poured by in a tide Over us all with their caterwaul call, "We are the tigers," They cried.
"We are the sabres," They cried.
But we laughed while our blades swept wide, While the dawn-rays stabbed through the gloom.
"We are suns on fire" was our yell — "Suns on fire.
".
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But man-child and mastodon fell, Mammoth and elephant fell.
The fangs of the devil-cats closed on the world, Plunged it to blackness and doom.
The desolate red-clay wall Echoed the parrots' call: — "Immortal is the inner peace, free to beasts and men.
Beginning in the darkness, the mystery will conquer, And now it comforts every heart that seeks for love again.
And now the mammoth bows the knee, We hew down every Tiger Tree, We send each tiger bound in love and glory to his den, Bound in love.
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and wisdom.
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and glory,.
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to his den.
" A peacock screamed of his beauty On that broken wall by the trees, Chiding his little mate, Spreading his fans in the breeze.
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And you, with eyes of a bride, Knelt on the wall at my side, The deathless song in your mouth.
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A million new tigers swept south.
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As we laughed at the peacock, and died.
This is my vision in Springfield: Three times as high as the dome, Tiger-striped trees encircle the town, Golden geysers of foam; — Though giant white parrots sail past, giving voice, Though I walk with Peace-of-the-Heart and rejoice.
Written by Marge Piercy | Create an image from this poem

What Are Big Girls Made Of?

 The construction of a woman:
a woman is not made of flesh 
of bone and sinew 
belly and breasts, elbows and liver and toe.
She is manufactured like a sports sedan.
She is retooled, refitted and redesigned every decade.
Cecile had been seduction itself in college.
She wriggled through bars like a satin eel, her hips and ass promising, her mouth pursed in the dark red lipstick of desire.
She visited in '68 still wearing skirts tight to the knees, dark red lipstick, while I danced through Manhattan in mini skirt, lipstick pale as apricot milk, hair loose as a horse's mane.
Oh dear, I thought in my superiority of the moment, whatever has happened to poor Cecile? She was out of fashion, out of the game, disqualified, disdained, dis- membered from the club of desire.
Look at pictures in French fashion magazines of the 18th century: century of the ultimate lady fantasy wrought of silk and corseting.
Paniers bring her hips out three feet each way, while the waist is pinched and the belly flattened under wood.
The breasts are stuffed up and out offered like apples in a bowl.
The tiny foot is encased in a slipper never meant for walking.
On top is a grandiose headache: hair like a museum piece, daily ornamented with ribbons, vases, grottoes, mountains, frigates in full sail, balloons, baboons, the fancy of a hairdresser turned loose.
The hats were rococo wedding cakes that would dim the Las Vegas strip.
Here is a woman forced into shape rigid exoskeleton torturing flesh: a woman made of pain.
How superior we are now: see the modern woman thin as a blade of scissors.
She runs on a treadmill every morning, fits herself into machines of weights and pulleys to heave and grunt, an image in her mind she can never approximate, a body of rosy glass that never wrinkles, never grows, never fades.
She sits at the table closing her eyes to food hungry, always hungry: a woman made of pain.
A cat or dog approaches another, they sniff noses.
They sniff asses.
They bristle or lick.
They fall in love as often as we do, as passionately.
But they fall in love or lust with furry flesh, not hoop skirts or push up bras rib removal or liposuction.
It is not for male or female dogs that poodles are clipped to topiary hedges.
If only we could like each other raw.
If only we could love ourselves like healthy babies burbling in our arms.
If only we were not programmed and reprogrammed to need what is sold us.
Why should we want to live inside ads? Why should we want to scourge our softness to straight lines like a Mondrian painting? Why should we punish each other with scorn as if to have a large ass were worse than being greedy or mean? When will women not be compelled to view their bodies as science projects, gardens to be weeded, dogs to be trained? When will a woman cease to be made of pain?
Written by Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem

Tamerlane

 Kind solace in a dying hour!
Such, father, is not (now) my theme-
I will not madly deem that power
Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
Unearthly pride hath revell'd in-
I have no time to dote or dream:
You call it hope- that fire of fire!
It is but agony of desire:
If I can hope- Oh God! I can-
Its fount is holier- more divine-
I would not call thee fool, old man,
But such is not a gift of thine.
Know thou the secret of a spirit Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.
O yearning heart! I did inherit Thy withering portion with the fame, The searing glory which hath shone Amid the jewels of my throne, Halo of Hell! and with a pain Not Hell shall make me fear again- O craving heart, for the lost flowers And sunshine of my summer hours! The undying voice of that dead time, With its interminable chime, Rings, in the spirit of a spell, Upon thy emptiness- a knell.
I have not always been as now: The fever'd diadem on my brow I claim'd and won usurpingly- Hath not the same fierce heirdom given Rome to the Caesar- this to me? The heritage of a kingly mind, And a proud spirit which hath striven Triumphantly with human kind.
On mountain soil I first drew life: The mists of the Taglay have shed Nightly their dews upon my head, And, I believe, the winged strife And tumult of the headlong air Have nestled in my very hair.
So late from Heaven- that dew- it fell (Mid dreams of an unholy night) Upon me with the touch of Hell, While the red flashing of the light From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er, Appeared to my half-closing eye The pageantry of monarchy, And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar Came hurriedly upon me, telling Of human battle, where my voice, My own voice, silly child!- was swelling (O! how my spirit would rejoice, And leap within me at the cry) The battle-cry of Victory! The rain came down upon my head Unshelter'd- and the heavy wind Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
It was but man, I thought, who shed Laurels upon me: and the rush- The torrent of the chilly air Gurgled within my ear the crush Of empires- with the captive's prayer- The hum of suitors- and the tone Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.
My passions, from that hapless hour, Usurp'd a tyranny which men Have deem'd, since I have reach'd to power, My innate nature- be it so: But father, there liv'd one who, then, Then- in my boyhood- when their fire Burn'd with a still intenser glow, (For passion must, with youth, expire) E'en then who knew this iron heart In woman's weakness had a part.
I have no words- alas!- to tell The loveliness of loving well! Nor would I now attempt to trace The more than beauty of a face Whose lineaments, upon my mind, Are- shadows on th' unstable wind: Thus I remember having dwelt Some page of early lore upon, With loitering eye, till I have felt The letters- with their meaning- melt To fantasies- with none.
O, she was worthy of all love! Love- as in infancy was mine- 'Twas such as angel minds above Might envy; her young heart the shrine On which my every hope and thought Were incense- then a goodly gift, For they were childish and upright- Pure- as her young example taught: Why did I leave it, and, adrift, Trust to the fire within, for light? We grew in age- and love- together, Roaming the forest, and the wild; My breast her shield in wintry weather- And when the friendly sunshine smil'd, And she would mark the opening skies, I saw no Heaven- but in her eyes.
Young Love's first lesson is- the heart: For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles, When, from our little cares apart, And laughing at her girlish wiles, I'd throw me on her throbbing breast, And pour my spirit out in tears- There was no need to speak the rest- No need to quiet any fears Of her- who ask'd no reason why, But turn'd on me her quiet eye! Yet more than worthy of the love My spirit struggled with, and strove, When, on the mountain peak, alone, Ambition lent it a new tone- I had no being- but in thee: The world, and all it did contain In the earth- the air- the sea- Its joy- its little lot of pain That was new pleasure- the ideal, Dim vanities of dreams by night- And dimmer nothings which were real- (Shadows- and a more shadowy light!) Parted upon their misty wings, And, so, confusedly, became Thine image, and- a name- a name! Two separate- yet most intimate things.
I was ambitious- have you known The passion, father? You have not: A cottager, I mark'd a throne Of half the world as all my own, And murmur'd at such lowly lot- But, just like any other dream, Upon the vapour of the dew My own had past, did not the beam Of beauty which did while it thro' The minute- the hour- the day- oppress My mind with double loveliness.
We walk'd together on the crown Of a high mountain which look'd down Afar from its proud natural towers Of rock and forest, on the hills- The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers, And shouting with a thousand rills.
I spoke to her of power and pride, But mystically- in such guise That she might deem it nought beside The moment's converse; in her eyes I read, perhaps too carelessly- A mingled feeling with my own- The flush on her bright cheek, to me Seem'd to become a queenly throne Too well that I should let it be Light in the wilderness alone.
I wrapp'd myself in grandeur then, And donn'd a visionary crown- Yet it was not that Fantasy Had thrown her mantle over me- But that, among the rabble- men, Lion ambition is chained down- And crouches to a keeper's hand- Not so in deserts where the grand- The wild- the terrible conspire With their own breath to fan his fire.
Look 'round thee now on Samarcand! Is not she queen of Earth? her pride Above all cities? in her hand Their destinies? in all beside Of glory which the world hath known Stands she not nobly and alone? Falling- her veriest stepping-stone Shall form the pedestal of a throne- And who her sovereign? Timour- he Whom the astonished people saw Striding o'er empires haughtily A diadem'd outlaw! O, human love! thou spirit given On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven! Which fall'st into the soul like rain Upon the Siroc-wither'd plain, And, failing in thy power to bless, But leav'st the heart a wilderness! Idea! which bindest life around With music of so strange a sound, And beauty of so wild a birth- Farewell! for I have won the Earth.
When Hope, the eagle that tower'd, could see No cliff beyond him in the sky, His pinions were bent droopingly- And homeward turn'd his soften'd eye.
'Twas sunset: when the sun will part There comes a sullenness of heart To him who still would look upon The glory of the summer sun.
That soul will hate the ev'ning mist, So often lovely, and will list To the sound of the coming darkness (known To those whose spirits hearken) as one Who, in a dream of night, would fly But cannot from a danger nigh.
What tho' the moon- the white moon Shed all the splendour of her noon, Her smile is chilly, and her beam, In that time of dreariness, will seem (So like you gather in your breath) A portrait taken after death.
And boyhood is a summer sun Whose waning is the dreariest one- For all we live to know is known, And all we seek to keep hath flown- Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall With the noon-day beauty- which is all.
I reach'd my home- my home no more For all had flown who made it so.
I pass'd from out its mossy door, And, tho' my tread was soft and low, A voice came from the threshold stone Of one whom I had earlier known- O, I defy thee, Hell, to show On beds of fire that burn below, A humbler heart- a deeper woe.
Father, I firmly do believe- I know- for Death, who comes for me From regions of the blest afar, Where there is nothing to deceive, Hath left his iron gate ajar, And rays of truth you cannot see Are flashing thro' Eternity- I do believe that Eblis hath A snare in every human path- Else how, when in the holy grove I wandered of the idol, Love, Who daily scents his snowy wings With incense of burnt offerings From the most unpolluted things, Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven Above with trellis'd rays from Heaven, No mote may shun- no tiniest fly- The lightning of his eagle eye- How was it that Ambition crept, Unseen, amid the revels there, Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt In the tangles of Love's very hair?
Written by Stephen Vincent Benet | Create an image from this poem

The White Peacock

 (France -- Ancient Regime.
) I.
Go away! Go away; I will not confess to you! His black biretta clings like a hangman's cap; under his twitching fingers the beads shiver and click, As he mumbles in his corner, the shadow deepens upon him; I will not confess! .
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Is he there or is it intenser shadow? Dark huddled coilings from the obscene depths, Black, formless shadow, Shadow.
Doors creak; from secret parts of the chateau come the scuffle and worry of rats.
Orange light drips from the guttering candles, Eddying over the vast embroideries of the bed Stirring the monstrous tapestries, Retreating before the sable impending gloom of the canopy With a swift thrust and sparkle of gold, Lipping my hands, Then Rippling back abashed before the ominous silences Like the swift turns and starts of an overpowered fencer Who sees before him Horror Behind him darkness, Shadow.
The clock jars and strikes, a thin, sudden note like the sob of a child.
Clock, buhl clock that ticked out the tortuous hours of my birth, Clock, evil, wizened dwarf of a clock, how many years of agony have you relentlessly measured, Yardstick of my stifling shroud? I am Aumaury de Montreuil; once quick, soon to be eaten of worms.
You hear, Father? Hsh, he is asleep in the night's cloak.
Over me too steals sleep.
Sleep like a white mist on the rotting paintings of cupids and gods on the ceiling; Sleep on the carven shields and knots at the foot of the bed, Oozing, blurring outlines, obliterating colors, Death.
Father, Father, I must not sleep! It does not hear -- that shadow crouched in the corner .
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Is it a shadow? One might think so indeed, save for the calm face, yellow as wax, that lifts like the face of a drowned man from the choking darkness.
II.
Out of the drowsy fog my body creeps back to me.
It is the white time before dawn.
Moonlight, watery, pellucid, lifeless, ripples over the world.
The grass beneath it is gray; the stars pale in the sky.
The night dew has fallen; An infinity of little drops, crystals from which all light has been taken, Glint on the sighing branches.
All is purity, without color, without stir, without passion.
Suddenly a peacock screams.
My heart shocks and stops; Sweat, cold corpse-sweat Covers my rigid body.
My hair stands on end.
I cannot stir.
I cannot speak.
It is terror, terror that is walking the pale sick gardens And the eyeless face no man may see and live! Ah-h-h-h-h! Father, Father, wake! wake and save me! In his corner all is shadow.
Dead things creep from the ground.
It is so long ago that she died, so long ago! Dust crushes her, earth holds her, mold grips her.
Fiends, do you not know that she is dead? .
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"Let us dance the pavon!" she said; the waxlights glittered like swords on the polished floor.
Twinkling on jewelled snuffboxes, beaming savagely from the crass gold of candelabra, From the white shoulders of girls and the white powdered wigs of men .
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All life was that dance.
The mocking, resistless current, The beauty, the passion, the perilous madness -- As she took my hand, released it and spread her dresses like petals, Turning, swaying in beauty, A lily, bowed by the rain, -- Moonlight she was, and her body of moonlight and foam, And her eyes stars.
Oh the dance has a pattern! But the clear grace of her thrilled through the notes of the viols, Tremulous, pleading, escaping, immortal, untamed, And, as we ended, She blew me a kiss from her hand like a drifting white blossom -- And the starshine was gone; and she fled like a bird up the stair.
Underneath the window a peacock screams, And claws click, scrape Like little lacquered boots on the rough stone.
Oh the long fantasy of the kiss; the ceaseless hunger, ceaselessly, divinely appeased! The aching presence of the beloved's beauty! The wisdom, the incense, the brightness! Once more on the ice-bright floor they danced the pavon But I turned to the garden and her from the lighted candles.
Softly I trod the lush grass between the black hedges of box.
Softly, for I should take her unawares and catch her arms, And embrace her, dear and startled.
By the arbor all the moonlight flowed in silver And her head was on his breast.
She did not scream or shudder When my sword was where her head had lain In the quiet moonlight; But turned to me with one pale hand uplifted, All her satins fiery with the starshine, Nacreous, shimmering, weeping, iridescent, Like the quivering plumage of a peacock .
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Then her head drooped and I gripped her hair, Oh soft, scented cloud across my fingers! -- Bending her white neck back.
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Blood writhed on my hands; I trod in blood.
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Stupidly agaze At that crumpled heap of silk and moonlight, Where like twitching pinions, an arm twisted, Palely, and was still As the face of chalk.
The buhl clock strikes.
Thirty years.
Christ, thirty years! Agony.
Agony.
Something stirs in the window, Shattering the moonlight.
White wings fan.
Father, Father! All its plumage fiery with the starshine, Nacreous, shimmering, weeping, iridescent, It drifts across the floor and mounts the bed, To the tap of little satin shoes.
Gazing with infernal eyes.
Its quick beak thrusting, rending, devil's crimson .
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Screams, great tortured screams shake the dark canopy.
The light flickers, the shadow in the corner stirs; The wax face lifts; the eyes open.
A thin trickle of blood worms darkly against the vast red coverlet and spreads to a pool on the floor.
Written by Delmira Agustini | Create an image from this poem

Mi Musa Triste (My Sad Muse)

SpanishVagos preludios.
En la noche espléndidaSu voz de perlas una fuente calla,Cuelgan las brisas sus celestes pifanosEn el follaje.
Las cabezas pardasDe los búhos acechan.
Las flores se abren más, como asombradas.
Los cisnes de marfil tienden los cuellosEn las lagunas pálidas.
Selene mira del azul.
Las frondasTiemblan… y todo! hasta el silencio, calla…Es que ella pasa con su boca tristeY el gran misterio de sus ojos de ámbar,A través de la noche, hacia el olvido,Como una estrella fugitiva y blanca.
Como una destronada reina exóticaDe bellos gestos y palabras raras.
Horizontes violados sus ojerasDentro sus ojos–dos estrellas de ámbar–Se abren cansados y húmedos y tristesComo llagas de luz que quejaran.
Es un dolor que vive y que no espera,Es una aurora gris que se levantaDel gran lecho de sombras de la noche,Cansada ya, sin esplendor, sin ansiasY sus canciones son como hadas tristesAlhajadas de lágrimas…              EnglishMurmuring preludes.
On this resplendent nightHer pearled voice quiets a fountain.
The breezes hang their celestial fifesIn the foliage.
The gray headsOf the owls keep watch.
Flowers open themselves, as if surprised.
Ivory swans extend their necksIn the pallid lakes.
Selene watches from the blue.
FrondsTremble…and everything! Even the silence, quiets.
She wanders with her sad mouthAnd the grand mystery of amber eyes,Across the night, toward forgetfulnessLike a star, fugitive and white.
Like a dethroned exotic queenWith comely gestures and rare utterings.
Her undereyes are violated horizonsAnd her irises–two stars of amber–Open wet and weary and sadLike ulcers of light that weep.
She is a grief which thrives and does not hope,She is a gray aurora risingFrom the shadowy bed of night,Exhausted, without splendor, without anxiousness.
And her songs are like dolorous fairiesJeweled in teardrops…                          The strings of lyres                          Are the souls' fibers.
–The blood of bitter vineyards, noble vineyards,In goblets of regal beauty, risesTo her marble hands, to lips carvedLike the blazon of a great lineage.
Strange Princes of Fantasy! TheyHave seen her languid head, once erect,And heard her laugh, for her eyesTremble with the flower of aristocracies!And her soul clean as fire, like a star,Burns in those pupils of amber.
But with a mere glance, scarcely an intimacy,Perhaps the echo of a profane voice,This white and pristine soul shrinksLike a luminous flower, folding herself up!

Written by William Shakespeare | Create an image from this poem

Venus and Adonis

 Lo, here the gentle lark, weary of rest,
From his moist cabinet mounts up on high,
And wakes the morning, from whose silver breast
The sun ariseth in his majesty;
Who doth the world so gloriously behold
That cedar-tops and hills seem burnish'd gold.
Venus salutes him with this fair good-morrow; "O thou clear god, and patron of all light, From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow The beauteous influence that makes him bright, There lives a son that suck'd an earthly mother, May lend thee light, as thou dost lend to other.
" This said, she hasteth to a myrtle grove, Musing the morning is so much o'erworn, And yet she hears no tidings of her love: She hearkens for his hounds and for his horn: Anon she hears them chant it lustily, And all in haste she coasteth to the cry.
And as she runs, the bushes in the way Some catch her by the neck, some kiss her face, Some twine about her thigh to make her stay: She wildly breaketh from their strict embrace, Like a milch doe, whose swelling dugs do ache, Hasting to feed her fawn, hid in some brake.
By this she hears the hounds are at a bay; Whereat she starts, like one that spies an adder Wreath'd up in fatal folds just in his way, The fear whereof doth make him shake and shudder; Even so the timorous yelping of the hounds Appals her senses and her spirit confounds.
For now she knows it is no gentle chase, But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud, Because the cry remaineth in one place, Where fearfully the dogs exclaim aloud: Finding their enemy to be so curst, They all strain court'sy who shall cope him first.
This dismal cry rings sadly in her ear, Through which it enters to surprise her heart; Who, overcome by doubt and bloodless fear, With cold-pale weakness numbs each feeling part: Like soldiers, when their captain once doth yield, They basely fly and dare not stay the field.
Thus stands she in a trembling ecstasy; Till, cheering up her senses all dismay'd, She tells them 'tis a causeless fantasy, And childish error, that they are afraid; Bids them leave quaking, bids them fear no more:-- And with that word she spied the hunted boar; Whose frothy mouth, bepainted all with red, Like milk and blood being mingled both together, A second fear through all her sinews spread, Which madly hurries her she knows not whither: This way she runs, and now she will no further, But back retires to rate the boar for murther.
A thousand spleens bear her a thousand ways; She treads the path that she untreads again; Her more than haste is mated with delays, Like the proceedings of a drunken brain, Full of respects, yet nought at all respecting; In hand with all things, nought at all effecting.
Here kennell'd in a brake she finds a hound, And asks the weary caitiff for his master, And there another licking of his wound, 'Gainst venom'd sores the only sovereign plaster; And here she meets another sadly scowling, To whom she speaks, and he replies with howling.
When he hath ceas'd his ill-resounding noise, Another flap-mouth'd mourner, black and grim, Against the welkin volleys out his voice; Another, and another, answer him, Clapping their proud tails to the ground below, Shaking their scratch'd ears, bleeding as they go.
Look, how the world's poor people are amazed At apparitions, signs, and prodigies, Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gazed, Infusing them with dreadful prophecies; So she at these sad signs draws up her breath And sighing it again, exclaims on Death.
"Hard-favour'd tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, Hateful divorce of love,"--thus chides she Death,-- "Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what dost thou mean To stifle beauty and to steal his breath, Who when he liv'd, his breath and beauty set Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet? "If he be dead,--O no, it cannot be, Seeing his beauty, thou shouldst strike at it:-- O yes, it may; thou hast no eyes to see, But hatefully at random dost thou hit.
Thy mark is feeble age, but thy false dart Mistakes that aim and cleaves an infant's heart.
"Hadst thou but bid beware, then he had spoke, And, hearing him, thy power had lost his power.
The Destinies will curse thee for this stroke; They bid thee crop a weed, thou pluck'st a flower: Love's golden arrow at him should have fled, And not Death's ebon dart, to strike him dead.
"Dost thou drink tears, that thou provok'st such weeping? What may a heavy groan advantage thee? Why hast thou cast into eternal sleeping Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see? Now nature cares not for thy mortal vigour, Since her best work is ruin'd with thy rigour.
" Here overcome, as one full of despair, She vail'd her eyelids, who, like sluices, stopt The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair In the sweet channel of her bosom dropt; But through the flood-gates breaks the silver rain, And with his strong course opens them again.
O, how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow! Her eyes seen in the tears, tears in her eye; Both crystals, where they view'd each other's sorrow, Sorrow that friendly sighs sought still to dry; But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain, Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet again.
Variable passions throng her constant woe, As striving who should best become her grief; All entertain'd, each passion labours so, That every present sorrow seemeth chief, But none is best: then join they all together, Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.
By this, far off she hears some huntsman hollo; A nurse's song ne'er pleased her babe so well: The dire imagination she did follow This sound of hope doth labour to expel; For now reviving joy bids her rejoice, And flatters her it is Adonis' voice.
Whereat her tears began to turn their tide, Being prison'd in her eye like pearls in glass; Yet sometimes falls an orient drop beside, Which her cheek melts, as scorning it should pass, To wash the foul face of the sluttish ground, Who is but drunken when she seemeth drown'd.
O hard-believing love, how strange it seems Not to believe, and yet too credulous! Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes; Despair and hope make thee ridiculous: The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely, In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly.
Now she unweaves the web that she hath wrought; Adonis lives, and Death is not to blame; It was not she that call'd him all to naught: Now she adds honours to his hateful name; She clepes him king of graves and grave for kings, Imperious supreme of all mortal things.
"No, no," quoth she, "sweet Death, I did but jest; Yet pardon me I felt a kind of fear When as I met the boar, that bloody beast, Which knows no pity, but is still severe; Then, gentle shadow,--truth I must confess,-- I rail'd on thee, fearing my love's decease.
"'Tis not my fault: the boar provok'd my tongue; Be wreak'd on him, invisible commander; 'Tis he, foul creature, that hath done thee wrong; I did but act, he's author of thy slander: Grief hath two tongues, and never woman yet Could rule them both without ten women's wit.
" Thus hoping that Adonis is alive, Her rash suspect she doth extenuate; And that his beauty may the better thrive, With Death she humbly doth insinuate; Tells him of trophies, statues, tombs, and stories His victories, his triumphs and his glories.
"O Jove," quoth she, "how much a fool was I To be of such a weak and silly mind To wail his death who lives and must not die Till mutual overthrow of mortal kind; For he being dead, with him is beauty slain, And, beauty dead, black chaos comes again.
"Fie, fie, fond love, thou art so full of fear As one with treasure laden, hemm'd with thieves; Trifles, unwitnessed with eye or ear, Thy coward heart with false bethinking grieves.
" Even at this word she hears a merry horn, Whereat she leaps that was but late forlorn.
As falcon to the lure, away she flies; The grass stoops not, she treads on it so light; And in her haste unfortunately spies The foul boar's conquest on her fair delight; Which seen, her eyes, as murder'd with the view, Like stars asham'd of day, themselves withdrew; Or, as the snail, whose tender horns being hit, Shrinks backward in his shelly cave with pain, And there, all smother'd up, in shade doth sit, Long after fearing to creep forth again; So, at his bloody view, her eyes are fled Into the deep dark cabins of her head: Where they resign their office and their light To the disposing of her troubled brain; Who bids them still consort with ugly night, And never wound the heart with looks again; Who, like a king perplexed in his throne, By their suggestion gives a deadly groan, Whereat each tributary subject quakes; As when the wind, imprison'd in the ground, Struggling for passage, earth's foundation shakes, Which with cold terror doth men's minds confound.
This mutiny each part doth so surprise That from their dark beds once more leap her eyes; And, being open'd, threw unwilling light Upon the wide wound that the boar had trench'd In his soft flank; whose wonted lily white With purple tears, that his wound wept, was drench'd: No flower was nigh, no grass, herb, leaf, or weed, But stole his blood and seem'd with him to bleed.
This solemn sympathy poor Venus noteth; Over one shoulder doth she hang her head; Dumbly she passions, franticly she doteth; She thinks he could not die, he is not dead: Her voice is stopt, her joints forget to bow; Her eyes are mad that they have wept till now.
Written by Alexander Pushkin | Create an image from this poem

An Elegy

 The senseless years' extinguished mirth and laughter
Oppress me like some hazy morning-after.
But sadness of days past, as alcohol - The more it age, the stronger grip the soul.
My course is dull.
The future's troubled ocean Forebodes me toil, misfortune and commotion.
But no, my friends, I do not wish to leave; I'd rather live, to ponder and to grieve - And I shall have my share of delectation Amid all care, distress and agitation: Time and again I'll savor harmony, Melt into tears about some fantasy, And on my sad decline, to ease affliction, May love yet show her smile of valediction.
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