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Best Famous Foreigner Poems

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

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Written by Ogden Nash | Create an image from this poem

Just Keep Quiet and Nobody Will Notice

 There is one thing that ought to be taught in all the colleges,
Which is that people ought to be taught not to go around always making apologies.
I don't mean the kind of apologies people make when they run over you or borrow five dollars or step on your feet, Because I think that is sort of sweet; No, I object to one kind of apology alone, Which is when people spend their time and yours apologizing for everything they own.
You go to their house for a meal, And they apologize because the anchovies aren't caviar or the partridge is veal; They apologize privately for the crudeness of the other guests, And they apologize publicly for their wife's housekeeping or their husband's jests; If they give you a book by Dickens they apologize because it isn't by Scott, And if they take you to the theater, they apologize for the acting and the dialogue and the plot; They contain more milk of human kindness than the most capacious diary can, But if you are from out of town they apologize for everything local and if you are a foreigner they apologize for everything American.
I dread these apologizers even as I am depicting them, I shudder as I think of the hours that must be spend in contradicting them, Because you are very rude if you let them emerge from an argument victorious, And when they say something of theirs is awful, it is your duty to convince them politely that it is magnificent and glorious, And what particularly bores me with them, Is that half the time you have to politely contradict them when you rudely agree with them, So I think there is one rule every host and hostess ought to keep with the comb and nail file and bicarbonate and aromatic spirits on a handy shelf, Which is don't spoil the denouement by telling the guests everything is terrible, but let them have the thrill of finding it out for themselves.

Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Green Fields

 By this part of the century few are left who believe
 in the animals for they are not there in the carved parts
of them served on plates and the pleas from the slatted trucks
 are sounds of shadows that possess no future
there is still game for the pleasure of killing
 and there are pets for the children but the lives that followed
courses of their own other than ours and older
 have been migrating before us some are already
far on the way and yet Peter with his gaunt cheeks
 and point of white beard the face of an aged Lawrence
Peter who had lived on from another time and country
 and who had seen so many things set out and vanish
still believed in heaven and said he had never once
 doubted it since his childhood on the farm in the days
of the horses he had not doubted it in the worst
 times of the Great War and afterward and he had come
to what he took to be a kind of earthly
 model of it as he wandered south in his sixties
by that time speaking the language well enough
 for them to make him out he took the smallest roads
into a world he thought was a thing of the past
 with wildflowers he scarcely remembered and neighbors
working together scything the morning meadows
 turning the hay before the noon meal bringing it in
by milking time husbandry and abundance
 all the virtues he admired and their reward bounteous
in the eyes of a foreigner and there he remained
 for the rest of his days seeing what he wanted to see
until the winter when he could no longer fork
 the earth in his garden and then he gave away
his house land everything and committed himself
 to a home to die in an old chateau where he lingered
for some time surrounded by those who had lost
 the use of body or mind and as he lay there he told me
that the wall by his bed opened almost every day
 and he saw what was really there and it was eternal life
as he recognized at once when he saw the gardens
 he had made and the green fields where he had been
a child and his mother was standing there then the wall would close
 and around him again were the last days of the world
Written by Margaret Atwood | Create an image from this poem

Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing

 The world is full of women
who'd tell me I should be ashamed of myself
if they had the chance.
Quit dancing.
Get some self-respect and a day job.
And minimum wage, and varicose veins, just standing in one place for eight hours behind a glass counter bundled up to the neck, instead of naked as a meat sandwich.
Selling gloves, or something.
Instead of what I do sell.
You have to have talent to peddle a thing so nebulous and without material form.
Exploited, they'd say.
Yes, any way you cut it, but I've a choice of how, and I'll take the money.
I do give value.
Like preachers, I sell vision, like perfume ads, desire or its facsimile.
Like jokes or war, it's all in the timing.
I sell men back their worse suspicions: that everything's for sale, and piecemeal.
They gaze at me and see a chain-saw murder just before it happens, when thigh, ass, inkblot, crevice, tit, and nipple are still connected.
Such hatred leaps in them, my beery worshippers! That, or a bleary hopeless love.
Seeing the rows of heads and upturned eyes, imploring but ready to snap at my ankles, I understand floods and earthquakes, and the urge to step on ants.
I keep the beat, and dance for them because they can't.
The music smells like foxes, crisp as heated metal searing the nostrils or humid as August, hazy and languorous as a looted city the day after, when all the rape's been done already, and the killing, and the survivors wander around looking for garbage to eat, and there's only a bleak exhaustion.
Speaking of which, it's the smiling tires me out the most.
This, and the pretence that I can't hear them.
And I can't, because I'm after all a foreigner to them.
The speech here is all warty gutturals, obvious as a slab of ham, but I come from the province of the gods where meanings are lilting and oblique.
I don't let on to everyone, but lean close, and I'll whisper: My mother was raped by a holy swan.
You believe that? You can take me out to dinner.
That's what we tell all the husbands.
There sure are a lot of dangerous birds around.
Not that anyone here but you would understand.
The rest of them would like to watch me and feel nothing.
Reduce me to components as in a clock factory or abattoir.
Crush out the mystery.
Wall me up alive in my own body.
They'd like to see through me, but nothing is more opaque than absolute transparency.
Look--my feet don't hit the marble! Like breath or a balloon, I'm rising, I hover six inches in the air in my blazing swan-egg of light.
You think I'm not a goddess? Try me.
This is a torch song.
Touch me and you'll burn.
Written by Marilyn Hacker | Create an image from this poem


 After Joseph Roth

Parce que c'était lui; parce que c'était moi.
Montaigne, De L'amitië The dream's forfeit was a night in jail and now the slant light is crepuscular.
Papers or not, you are a foreigner whose name is always difficult to spell.
You pack your one valise.
You ring the bell.
Might it not be prudent to disappear beneath that mauve-blue sky above the square fronting your cosmopolitan hotel? You know two short-cuts to the train station which could get you there, on foot, in time.
The person who's apprised of your intention and seems to be your traveling companion is merely the detritus of a dream.
You cross the lobby and go out alone.
You crossed the lobby and went out alone through the square, where two red-headed girls played hopscotch on a chalk grid, now in the shade, of a broad-leafed plane tree, now in the sun.
The lively, lovely, widowed afternoon disarmed, uncoupled, shuffled and disarrayed itself; despite itself, dismayed you with your certainties, your visa, gone from your breast-pocket, or perhaps expired.
At the reception desk, no one inquired if you'd be returning.
Now you wonder why.
When the stout conductor comes down the aisle mustached, red-faced, at first jovial, and asks for your passport, what will you say? When they ask for your passport, will you say that town's name they'd find unpronounceable which resonates, when uttered, like a bell in your mind's tower, as it did the day you carried your green schoolbag down the gray fog-cobbled street, past church, bakery, shul past farm women setting up market stalls it was so early.
"I am on my way to school in .
" You were part of the town now, not the furnished rooms you shared with Mutti, since the others disappeared.
Your knees were red with cold; your itchy wool socks had inched down, so you stooped to pull them up, a student and a citizen.
You are a student and a citizen of whatever state is transient.
You are no more or less the resident of a hotel than you were of that town whose borders were disputed and redrawn.
A prince conceded to a president.
Another language became relevant to merchants on that street a child walked down whom you remember, in the corridors of cities you inhabit, polyglot as the distinguished scholar you were not to be.
A slight accent sets you apart, but it would mark you on that peddlers'-cart street now.
Which language, after all, is yours? Which language, after all these streets, is yours, and why are you here, waiting for a train? You could have run a hot bath, read Montaigne.
But would footsteps beyond the bathroom door's bolt have disturbed the nondescript interior's familiarity, shadowed the plain blue draperies? You reflect, you know no one who would, of you, echo your author's "Because it was he; because it was I," as a unique friendship's non sequitur.
No footsteps and no friend: that makes you free.
The train approaches, wreathed in smoke like fur around the shoulders of a dowager with no time for sentimentality.
With no time for sentimentality, mulling a twice-postponed book-review, you take an empty seat.
Opposite you a voluble immigrant family is already unwrapping garlicky sausages—an unshaven man and his two red-eared sons.
You once wrote: it is true, awful, and unimportant, finally that if the opportunity occurs some of the exiles become storm-troopers; and you try, culpably, to project these three into some torch-lit future, filtering out their wrangling (one of your languages) about the next canto in their short odyssey.
The next canto in your short odyssey will open, you know this, in yet another hotel room.
They have become your mother country: benevolent anonymity of rough starched sheets, dim lamp, rickety escritoire, one window.
Your neighbors gather up their crusts and rinds.
Out of a leather satchel, the man takes their frayed identity cards, examines them.
The sons watch, pale and less talkative.
A border, passport control, draw near: rubber stamp or interrogation? You hope the customs officer lunched well; reflect on the recurrent implication of the dream's forfeit.
One night in jail?
Written by Ogden Nash | Create an image from this poem

Goody for Our Side and Your Side Too

 Foreigners are people somewhere else,
Natives are people at home;
If the place you’re at
Is your habitat,
You’re a foreigner, say in Rome.
But the scales of Justice balance true, And tit leads into tat, So the man who’s at home When he stays in Rome Is abroad when he’s where you’re at.
When we leave the limits of the land in which Our birth certificates sat us, It does not mean Just a change of scene, But also a change of status.
The Frenchman with his fetching beard, The Scot with his kilt and sporran, One moment he May a native be, And the next may find him foreign.
There’s many a difference quickly found Between the different races, But the only essential Differential Is living different places.
Yet such is the pride of prideful man, From Austrians to Australians, That wherever he is, He regards as his, And the natives there, as aliens.
Oh, I’ll be friends if you’ll be friends, The foreigner tells the native, And we’ll work together for our common ends Like a preposition and a dative.
If our common ends seem mostly mine, Why not, you ignorant foreigner? And the native replies Contrariwise; And hence, my dears, the coroner.
So mind your manners when a native, please, And doubly when you visit And between us all A rapport may fall Ecstatically exquisite.
One simple thought, if you have it pat, Will eliminate the coroner: You may be a native in your habitat, But to foreigners you’re just a foreigner.

Written by Jackie Kay | Create an image from this poem

That Distance Apart

 I am only nineteen
My whole life is changing

Tonight I see her
Shuttered eyes in my dreams

I cannot pretend she's never been
My stitches pull and threaten to snap

My own body a witness
Leaking blood to sheets milk to shirts

My stretch marks
Record that birth

Though I feel like somebody is dying

I stand up in my bed
And wail like a banshee

On the second night
I shall suffocate her with a feather pillow

Bury her under a weeping willow
Or take her far out to sea

And watch her tiny six pound body
Sink to shells and re shape herself

So much better than her body
Encased in glass like a museum piece

Or I shall stab myself
Cut my wrists steal some sleeping pills

Better than this-mummified
Preserved as a warning

On the third night I toss
I did not go through those months

For you to die on me now
On the third night I lie

Willing life into her
Breathing air all the way down through the corridor

To the glass cot
I push my nipples through

Feel the ferocity of her lips

Landed in a place I recognize

My eyes in the mirror
Hard marbles glinting

Murderous light
My breasts sag my stomach

Still soft as a baby's
My voice deep and old as ammonite

I am a stranger visiting
Myself occasionally

An empty ruinous house
Cobwebs dust and broken stairs

Inside woodworm
Outside the weeds grow tall

As she must be now

She, my little foreigner
No longer familiar with my womb

Kicking her language of living
Somewhere past stalking her first words

She is six years old today
I am twenty-five; we are only

That distance apart yet
Time has fossilised

Prehistoric time is easier
I can imagine dinosaurs

More vivid than my daughter
Dinosaurs do not hurt my eyes

Nor make me old so terribly old
We are land sliced and torn.
Written by Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

Where every bird is bold to go

 Where every bird is bold to go
And bees abashless play,
The foreigner before he knocks
Must thrust the tears away.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

The Foreigner

 Have at you, you Devils!
My back's to this tree,
For you're nothing so nice
That the hind-side of me
Would escape your assault.
Come on now, all three! Here's a dandified gentleman, Rapier at point, And a wrist which whirls round Like a circular joint.
A spatter of blood, man! That's just to anoint And make supple your limbs.
'Tis a pity the silk Of your waistcoat is stained.
Why! Your heart's full of milk, And so full, it spills over! I'm not of your ilk.
You said so, and laughed At my old-fashioned hose, At the cut of my hair, At the length of my nose.
To carve it to pattern I think you propose.
Your pardon, young Sir, But my nose and my sword Are proving themselves In quite perfect accord.
I grieve to have spotted Your shirt.
On my word! And hullo! You Bully! That blade's not a stick To slash right and left, And my skull is too thick To be cleft with such cuffs Of a sword.
Now a lick Down the side of your face.
What a pretty, red line! Tell the taverns that scar Was an honour.
Don't whine That a stranger has marked you.
* * * * * The tree's there, You Swine! Did you think to get in At the back, while your friends Made a little diversion In front? So it ends, With your sword clattering down On the ground.
'Tis amends I make for your courteous Reception of me, A foreigner, landed From over the sea.
Your welcome was fervent I think you'll agree.
My shoes are not buckled With gold, nor my hair Oiled and scented, my jacket's Not satin, I wear Corded breeches, wide hats, And I make people stare! So I do, but my heart Is the heart of a man, And my thoughts cannot twirl In the limited span 'Twixt my head and my heels, As some other men's can.
I have business more strange Than the shape of my boots, And my interests range From the sky, to the roots Of this dung-hill you live in, You half-rotted shoots Of a mouldering tree! Here's at you, once more.
You Apes! You Jack-fools! You can show me the door, And jeer at my ways, But you're pinked to the core.
And before I have done, I will prick my name in With the front of my steel, And your lily-white skin Shall be printed with me.
For I've come here to win!
Written by Delmore Schwartz | Create an image from this poem

Parlez-Vous Francais?

 Caesar, the amplifier voice, announces
Crime and reparation.
In the barber shop Recumbent men attend, while absently The barber doffs the naked face with cream.
Caesar proposes, Caesar promises Pride, justice, and the sun Brilliant and strong on everyone, Speeding one hundred miles an hour across the land: Caesar declares the will.
The barber firmly Planes the stubble with a steady hand, While all in barber chairs reclining, In wet white faces, fully understand Good and evil, who is Gentile, weakness and command.
And now who enters quietly? Who is this one Shy, pale, and quite abstracted? Who is he? It is the writer merely, with a three-day beard, His tiredness not evident.
He wears no tie.
And now he hears his enemy and trembles, Resolving, speaks: "Ecoutez! La plupart des hommes Vivent des vies de desespoir silenciuex, Victimes des intentions innombrables.
Et ca Cet homme sait bien.
Les mots de cette voix sont Des songes et des mensonges.
Il prend choix, Il prend la volonte, il porte la fin d'ete.
La guerre.
Ecoutez-moi! Il porte la mort.
" He stands there speaking and they laugh to hear Rage and excitement from the foreigner.
Written by Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

Besides this May

 Besides this May
We know
There is Another --
How fair
Our Speculations of the Foreigner!

Some know Him whom We knew --
Sweet Wonder --
A Nature be
Where Saints, and our plain going Neighbor
Keep May!