Best Famous Hero Poems

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

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Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

A Song of Travel

 Where's the lamp that Hero lit
 Once to call Leander home?
Equal Time hath shovelled it
 'Neath the wrack of Greece and Rome.
Neither wait we any more That worn sail which Argo bore.
Dust and dust of ashes close All the Vestal Virgin's care; And the oldest altar shows But an older darkness there.
Age-encamped Oblivion Tenteth every light that shone.
Yet shall we, for Suns that die, Wall our wanderings from desire? Or, because the Moon is high, Scorn to use a nearer fire? Lest some envious Pharaoh stir, Make our lives our sepulcher? Nay! Though Time with petty Fate Prison us and Emperors, By our Arts do we create That which Time himself devours-- Such machines as well may run 'Gainst the Horses of the Sun.
When we would a new abode, Space, our tyrant King no more, Lays the long lance of the road At our feet and flees before, Breathless, ere we overwhelm, To submit a further realm!
Written by Robert Pinsky | Create an image from this poem

Impossible To Tell

 to Robert Hass and in memory of Elliot Gilbert


Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Bashõ and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,

The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing.
"Bashõ" He named himself, "Banana Tree": banana After the plant some grateful students gave him, Maybe in appreciation of his guidance Threading a long night through the rules and channels Of their collaborative linking-poem Scored in their teacher's heart: live, rigid, fluid Like passages etched in a microscopic cicuit.
Elliot had in his memory so many jokes They seemed to breed like microbes in a culture Inside his brain, one so much making another It was impossible to tell them all: In the court-culture of jokes, a top banana.
Imagine a court of one: the queen a young mother, Unhappy, alone all day with her firstborn child And her new baby in a squalid apartment Of too few rooms, a different race from her neighbors.
She tells the child she's going to kill herself.
She broods, she rages.
Hoping to distract her, The child cuts capers, he sings, he does imitations Of different people in the building, he jokes, He feels if he keeps her alive until the father Gets home from work, they'll be okay till morning.
It's laughter versus the bedroom and the pills.
What is he in his efforts but a courtier? Impossible to tell his whole delusion.
In the first months when I had moved back East From California and had to leave a message On Bob's machine, I used to make a habit Of telling the tape a joke; and part-way through, I would pretend that I forgot the punchline, Or make believe that I was interrupted-- As though he'd be so eager to hear the end He'd have to call me back.
The joke was Elliot's, More often than not.
The doctors made the blunder That killed him some time later that same year.
One day when I got home I found a message On my machine from Bob.
He had a story About two rabbis, one of them tall, one short, One day while walking along the street together They see the corpse of a Chinese man before them, And Bob said, sorry, he forgot the rest.
Of course he thought that his joke was a dummy, Impossible to tell--a dead-end challenge.
But here it is, as Elliot told it to me: The dead man's widow came to the rabbis weeping, Begging them, if they could, to resurrect him.
Shocked, the tall rabbi said absolutely not.
But the short rabbi told her to bring the body Into the study house, and ordered the shutters Closed so the room was night-dark.
Then he prayed Over the body, chanting a secret blessing Out of Kabala.
"Arise and breathe," he shouted; But nothing happened.
The body lay still.
So then The little rabbi called for hundreds of candles And danced around the body, chanting and praying In Hebrew, then Yiddish, then Aramaic.
He prayed In Turkish and Egyptian and Old Galician For nearly three hours, leaping about the coffin In the candlelight so that his tiny black shoes Seemed not to touch the floor.
With one last prayer Sobbed in the Spanish of before the Inquisition He stopped, exhausted, and looked in the dead man's face.
Panting, he raised both arms in a mystic gesture And said, "Arise and breathe!" And still the body Lay as before.
Impossible to tell In words how Elliot's eyebrows flailed and snorted Like shaggy mammoths as--the Chinese widow Granting permission--the little rabbi sang The blessing for performing a circumcision And removed the dead man's foreskin, chanting blessings In Finnish and Swahili, and bathed the corpse From head to foot, and with a final prayer In Babylonian, gasping with exhaustion, He seized the dead man's head and kissed the lips And dropped it again and leaping back commanded, "Arise and breathe!" The corpse lay still as ever.
At this, as when Bashõ's disciples wind Along the curving spine that links the renga Across the different voices, each one adding A transformation according to the rules Of stasis and repetition, all in order And yet impossible to tell beforehand, Elliot changes for the punchline: the wee Rabbi, still panting, like a startled boxer, Looks at the dead one, then up at all those watching, A kind of Mel Brooks gesture: "Hoo boy!" he says, "Now that's what I call really dead.
" O mortal Powers and princes of earth, and you immortal Lords of the underground and afterlife, Jehovah, Raa, Bol-Morah, Hecate, Pluto, What has a brilliant, living soul to do with Your harps and fires and boats, your bric-a-brac And troughs of smoking blood? Provincial stinkers, Our languages don't touch you, you're like that mother Whose small child entertained her to beg her life.
Possibly he grew up to be the tall rabbi, The one who washed his hands of all those capers Right at the outset.
Or maybe he became The author of these lines, a one-man renga The one for whom it seems to be impossible To tell a story straight.
It was a routine Procedure.
When it was finished the physicians Told Sandra and the kids it had succeeded, But Elliot wouldn't wake up for maybe an hour, They should go eat.
The two of them loved to bicker In a way that on his side went back to Yiddish, On Sandra's to some Sicilian dialect.
He used to scold her endlessly for smoking.
When she got back from dinner with their children The doctors had to tell them about the mistake.
Oh swirling petals, falling leaves! The movement Of linking renga coursing from moment to moment Is meaning, Bob says in his Haiku book.
Oh swirling petals, all living things are contingent, Falling leaves, and transient, and they suffer.
But the Universal is the goal of jokes, Especially certain ethnic jokes, which taper Down through the swirling funnel of tongues and gestures Toward their preposterous Ithaca.
There's one A journalist told me.
He heard it while a hero Of the South African freedom movement was speaking To elderly Jews.
The speaker's own right arm Had been blown off by right-wing letter-bombers.
He told his listeners they had to cast their ballots For the ANC--a group the old Jews feared As "in with the Arabs.
" But they started weeping As the old one-armed fighter told them their country Needed them to vote for what was right, their vote Could make a country their children could return to From London and Chicago.
The moved old people Applauded wildly, and the speaker's friend Whispered to the journalist, "It's the Belgian Army Joke come to life.
" I wish I could tell it To Elliot.
In the Belgian Army, the feud Between the Flemings and Walloons grew vicious, So out of hand the army could barely function.
Finally one commander assembled his men In one great room, to deal with things directly.
They stood before him at attention.
"All Flemings," He ordered, "to the left wall.
" Half the men Clustered to the left.
"Now all Walloons," he ordered, "Move to the right.
" An equal number crowded Against the right wall.
Only one man remained At attention in the middle: "What are you, soldier?" Saluting, the man said, "Sir, I am a Belgian.
" "Why, that's astonishing, Corporal--what's your name?" Saluting again, "Rabinowitz," he answered: A joke that seems at first to be a story About the Jews.
But as the renga describes Religious meaning by moving in drifting petals And brittle leaves that touch and die and suffer The changing winds that riffle the gutter swirl, So in the joke, just under the raucous music Of Fleming, Jew, Walloon, a courtly allegiance Moves to the dulcimer, gavotte and bow, Over the banana tree the moon in autumn-- Allegiance to a state impossible to tell.
Written by Rabindranath Tagore | Create an image from this poem

The Hero

 Mother, let us imagine we are travelling, and passing through a
strange and dangerous country.
You are riding in a palanquin and I am trotting by you on a red horse.
It is evening and the sun goes down.
The waste of Joradighi lies wan and grey before us.
The land is desolate and barren.
You are frightened and thinking-"I know not where we have come to.
" I say to you, "Mother, do not be afraid.
" The meadow is prickly with spiky grass, and through it runs a narrow broken path.
There are no cattle to be seen in the wide field; they have gone to their village stalls.
It grows dark and dim on the land and sky, and we cannot tell where we are going.
Suddenly you call me and ask me in a whisper, "What light is that near the bank?" Just then there bursts out a fearful yell, and figures come running towards us.
You sit crouched in your palanquin and repeat the names of the gods in prayer.
The bearers, shaking in terror, hide themselves in the thorny bush.
I shout to you, "Don't be afraid, mother.
I am here.
" With long sticks in their hands and hair all wild about their heads, they come nearer and nearer.
I shout, "Have a care, you villains! One step more and you are dead men.
" They give another terrible yell and rush forward.
You clutch my hand and say, "Dear boy, for heaven's sake, keep away from them.
" I say, "Mother, just you watch me.
" Then I spur my horse for a wild gallop, and my sword and buckler clash against each other.
The fight becomes so fearful, mother, that it would give you a cold shudder could you see it from your palanquin.
Many of them fly, and a great number are cut to pieces.
I know you are thinking, sitting all by yourself, that your boy must be dead by this time.
But I come to you all stained with blood, and say,"Mother, the fight is over now.
" You come out and kiss me, pressing me to your heart, and you say to yourself, "I don't know what I should do if I hadn't my boy to escort me.
" A thousand useless things happen day after day, and why couldn't such a thing come true by chance? It would be like a story in a book.
My brother would say, "Is it possible? I always thought he was so delicate!" Our village people would all say in amazement, "Was it not lucky that the boy was with his mother?"
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

A Psalm of Life

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist


TELL me not in mournful numbers  
Life is but an empty dream!¡ª 
For the soul is dead that slumbers  
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! 5 And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art to dust returnest Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment and not sorrow Is our destined end or way; 10 But to act that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long and Time is fleeting And our hearts though stout and brave Still like muffled drums are beating 15 Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle In the bivouac of Life Be not like dumb driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! 20 Trust no Future howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act ¡ªact in the living Present! Heart within and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us 25 We can make our lives sublime And departing leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints that perhaps another Sailing o'er life's solemn main 30 A forlorn and shipwrecked brother Seeing shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing With a heart for any fate; Still achieving still pursuing 35 Learn to labor and to wait.
Written by Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem

The Conqueror Worm

Lo! 't is a gala night

Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng bewinged bedight

In veils and drowned in tears 
Sit in a theatre to see

A play of hopes and fears 
While the orchestra breathes fitfully

The music of the spheres.
Mimes in the form of God on high Mutter and mumble low And hither and thither fly - Mere puppets they who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Woe! That motley drama! - oh be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore By a crowd that seize it not Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot And much of Madness and more of Sin And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude! A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes! - it writhes! - with mortal pangs The mimes become its food And the seraphs sob at vermin fangs In human gore imbued.
Out - out are the lights - out all! And over each quivering form The curtain a funeral pall Comes down with the rush of a storm And the angels all pallid and wan Uprising unveiling affirm That the play is the tragedy "Man" And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | Create an image from this poem

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league, 
Half a league onward, 
All in the valley of Death 
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!" he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew Some one had blundered: Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred.
Flashed all their sabres bare, Flashed as they turned in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while All the world wondered: Plunged in the battery-smoke Right through the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reeled from the sabre-stroke Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not, Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came through the jaws of Death Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!
Written by Tupac Shakur | Create an image from this poem

When Ure Hero Falls

when your hero falls from grace
all fairy tales r uncovered
myths exposed and pain magnified
the greatest pain discovered
u taught me 2 be strong
but im confused 2 c u so weak
u said never 2 give up
and it hurts 2 c u welcome defeat

when ure hero falls so do the stars
and so does the perception of tomorrow
without my hero there is only
me alone 2 deal with my sorrow
your heart ceases 2 work
and your soul is not happy at all
what r u expected 2 do
when ure only hero falls
Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

Pauls Wife

 To drive Paul out of any lumber camp
All that was needed was to say to him,
"How is the wife, Paul?"--and he'd disappear.
Some said it was because be bad no wife, And hated to be twitted on the subject; Others because he'd come within a day Or so of having one, and then been Jilted; Others because he'd had one once, a good one, Who'd run away with someone else and left him; And others still because he had one now He only had to be reminded of-- He was all duty to her in a minute: He had to run right off to look her up, As if to say, "That's so, how is my wife? I hope she isn't getting into mischief.
" No one was anxious to get rid of Paul.
He'd been the hero of the mountain camps Ever since, just to show them, he bad slipped The bark of a whole tamarack off whole As clean as boys do off a willow twig To make a willow whistle on a Sunday April by subsiding meadow brooks.
They seemed to ask him just to see him go, "How is the wife, Paul?" and he always went.
He never stopped to murder anyone Who asked the question.
He just disappeared-- Nobody knew in what direction, Although it wasn't usually long Before they beard of him in some new camp, The same Paul at the same old feats of logging.
The question everywhere was why should Paul Object to being asked a civil question-- A man you could say almost anything to Short of a fighting word.
You have the answers.
And there was one more not so fair to Paul: That Paul had married a wife not his equal.
Paul was ashamed of her.
To match a hero She would have had to be a heroine; Instead of which she was some half-breed squaw.
But if the story Murphy told was true, She wasn't anything to be ashamed of.
You know Paul could do wonders.
Everyone's Heard how he thrashed the horses on a load That wouldn't budge, until they simply stretched Their rawhide harness from the load to camp.
Paul told the boss the load would be all right, "The sun will bring your load in"--and it did-- By shrinking the rawhide to natural length.
That's what is called a stretcher.
But I guess The one about his jumping so's to land With both his feet at once against the ceiling, And then land safely right side up again, Back on the floor, is fact or pretty near fact.
Well, this is such a yarn.
Paul sawed his wife Out of a white-pine log.
Murphy was there And, as you might say, saw the lady born.
Paul worked at anything in lumbering.
He'd been bard at it taking boards away For--I forget--the last ambitious sawyer To want to find out if he couldn't pile The lumber on Paul till Paul begged for mercy.
They'd sliced the first slab off a big butt log, And the sawyer had slammed the carriage back To slam end-on again against the saw teeth.
To judge them by the way they caught themselves When they saw what had happened to the log, They must have had a guilty expectation Something was going to go with their slambanging.
Something bad left a broad black streak of grease On the new wood the whole length of the log Except, perhaps, a foot at either end.
But when Paul put his finger in the grease, It wasn't grease at all, but a long slot.
The log was hollow.
They were sawing pine.
"First time I ever saw a hollow pine.
That comes of having Paul around the place.
Take it to bell for me," the sawyer said.
Everyone had to have a look at it And tell Paul what he ought to do about it.
(They treated it as his.
) "You take a jackknife, And spread the opening, and you've got a dugout All dug to go a-fishing in.
" To Paul The hollow looked too sound and clean and empty Ever to have housed birds or beasts or bees.
There was no entrance for them to get in by.
It looked to him like some new kind of hollow He thought he'd better take his jackknife to.
So after work that evening be came back And let enough light into it by cutting To see if it was empty.
He made out in there A slender length of pith, or was it pith? It might have been the skin a snake had cast And left stood up on end inside the tree The hundred years the tree must have been growing.
More cutting and he bad this in both hands, And looking from it to the pond nearby, Paul wondered how it would respond to water.
Not a breeze stirred, but just the breath of air He made in walking slowly to the beach Blew it once off his hands and almost broke it.
He laid it at the edge, where it could drink.
At the first drink it rustled and grew limp.
At the next drink it grew invisible.
Paul dragged the shallows for it with his fingers, And thought it must have melted.
It was gone.
And then beyond the open water, dim with midges, Where the log drive lay pressed against the boom, It slowly rose a person, rose a girl, Her wet hair heavy on her like a helmet, Who, leaning on a log, looked back at Paul.
And that made Paul in turn look back To see if it was anyone behind him That she was looking at instead of him.
(Murphy had been there watching all the time, But from a shed where neither of them could see him.
) There was a moment of suspense in birth When the girl seemed too waterlogged to live, Before she caught her first breath with a gasp And laughed.
Then she climbed slowly to her feet, And walked off, talking to herself or Paul, Across the logs like backs of alligators, Paul taking after her around the pond.
Next evening Murphy and some other fellows Got drunk, and tracked the pair up Catamount, From the bare top of which there is a view TO other hills across a kettle valley.
And there, well after dark, let Murphy tell it, They saw Paul and his creature keeping house.
It was the only glimpse that anyone Has had of Paul and her since Murphy saw them Falling in love across the twilight millpond.
More than a mile across the wilderness They sat together halfway up a cliff In a small niche let into it, the girl Brightly, as if a star played on the place, Paul darkly, like her shadow.
All the light Was from the girl herself, though, not from a star, As was apparent from what happened next.
All those great ruffians put their throats together, And let out a loud yell, and threw a bottle, As a brute tribute of respect to beauty.
Of course the bottle fell short by a mile, But the shout reached the girl and put her light out.
She went out like a firefly, and that was all.
So there were witnesses that Paul was married And not to anyone to be ashamed of Everyone had been wrong in judging Paul.
Murphy told me Paul put on all those airs About his wife to keep her to himself.
Paul was what's called a terrible possessor.
Owning a wife with him meant owning her.
She wasn't anybody else's business, Either to praise her or much as name her, And he'd thank people not to think of her.
Murphy's idea was that a man like Paul Wouldn't be spoken to about a wife In any way the world knew how to speak.
Written by Carl Sandburg | Create an image from this poem

Remorse

 THE HORSE’S name was Remorse.
There were people said, “Gee, what a nag!” And they were Edgar Allan Poe bugs and so They called him Remorse.
When he was a gelding He flashed his heels to other ponies And threw dust in the noses of other ponies And won his first race and his second And another and another and hardly ever Came under the wire behind the other runners.
And so, Remorse, who is gone, was the hero of a play By Henry Blossom, who is now gone.
What is there to a monicker? Call me anything.
A nut, a cheese, something that the cat brought in.
Nick me with any old name.
Class me up for a fish, a gorilla, a slant head, an egg, a ham.
Only … slam me across the ears sometimes … and hunt for a white star In my forehead and twist the bang of my forelock around it.
Make a wish for me.
Maybe I will light out like a streak of wind.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Last Hero

 WE laid him to rest with tenderness;
Homeward we turned in the twilight’s gold;
We thought in ourselves with dumb distress—
All the story of earth is told.
A beautiful word at the last was said: A great deep heart like the hearts of old Went forth; and the speaker had lost the thread, Or all the story of earth was told.
The dust hung over the pale dry ways Dizzily fired with the twilight’s gold, And a bitter remembrance blew in each face How all the story of earth was told.
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