Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Survivor Poems

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

Search and read the best famous Survivor poems, articles about Survivor poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Survivor poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See Also:
12
Written by Marilyn Hacker | Create an image from this poem

Scars on Paper

 An unwrapped icon, too potent to touch,
she freed my breasts from the camp Empire dress.
Now one of them's the shadow of a breast with a lost object's half-life, with as much life as an anecdotal photograph: me, Kim and Iva, all stripped to the waist, hiking near Russian River on June first '79: Iva's five-and-a-half.
While she was almost twenty, wearing black T-shirts in D.
C.
, where we hadn't met.
You lay your palm, my love, on my flat chest.
In lines alive with what is not regret, she takes her own path past, doesn't turn back.
Persistently, on paper, we exist.
Persistently, on paper, we exist.
You'd touch me if you could, but you're, in fact, three thousand miles away.
And my intact body is eighteen months paper: the past a fragile eighteen months regime of trust in slash-and-burn, in vitamin pills, backed by no statistics.
Each day I enact survivor's rituals, blessing the crust I tear from the warm loaf, blessing the hours in which I didn't or in which I did consider my own death.
I am not yet statistically a survivor (that is sixty months).
On paper, someone flowers and flares alive.
I knew her.
But she's dead.
She flares alive.
I knew her.
But she's dead.
I flirted with her, might have been her friend, but transatlantic schedules intervened.
She wrote a book about her Freedom Ride, the wary elders whom she taught to read, — herself half-British, twenty-six, white-blonde, with thirty years to live.
And I happened to open up The Nation to that bad news which I otherwise might not have known (not breast cancer: cancer of the brain).
Words take the absent friend away again.
Alone, I think, she called, alone, upon her courage, tried in ways she'd not have wished by pain and fear: her courage, extinguished.
The pain and fear some courage extinguished at disaster's denouement come back daily, banal: is that brownish-black mole the next chapter? Was the ache enmeshed between my chest and armpit when I washed rogue cells' new claw, or just a muscle ache? I'm not yet desperate enough to take comfort in being predeceased: the anguish when the Harlem doctor, the Jewish dancer, die of AIDS, the Boston seminary's dean succumbs "after brief illness" to cancer.
I like mossed slabs in country cemeteries with wide-paced dates, candles in jars, whose tallow glows on summer evenings, desk-lamp yellow.
Aglow in summer evening, a desk-lamp's yellow moonlight peruses notebooks, houseplants, texts, while an aging woman thinks of sex in the present tense.
Desire may follow, urgent or elegant, cut raw or mellow with wine and ripe black figs: a proof, the next course, a simple question, the complex response, a burning sweetness she will swallow.
The opening mind is sexual and ready to embrace, incarnate in its prime.
Rippling concentrically from summer's gold disc, desire's iris expands, steady with blood beat.
Each time implies the next time.
The aging woman hopes she will grow old.
The aging woman hopes she will grow old.
A younger woman has a dazzling vision of bleeding wrists, her own, the clean incisions suddenly there, two open mouths.
They told their speechless secrets, witnesses not called to what occurred with as little volition of hers as these phantom wounds.
Intense precision of scars, in flesh, in spirit.
I'm enrolled by mine in ranks where now I'm "being brave" if I take off my shirt in a hot crowd sunbathing, or demonstrating for Dyke Pride.
Her bravery counters the kitchen knives' insinuation that the scars be made.
With, or despite our scars, we stay alive.
"With, or despite our scars, we stayed alive until the Contras or the Government or rebel troops came, until we were sent to 'relocation camps' until the archives burned, until we dug the ditch, the grave beside the aspen grove where adolescent boys used to cut class, until we went to the precinct house, eager to behave like citizens.
.
.
" I count my hours and days, finger for luck the word-scarred table which is not my witness, shares all innocent objects' silence: a tin plate, a basement door, a spade, barbed wire, a ring of keys, an unwrapped icon, too potent to touch.


Written by Roger McGough | Create an image from this poem

Survivor

 Everyday,
I think about dying.
About disease, starvation, violence, terrorism, war, the end of the world.
It helps keep my mind off things.
Written by Primo Levi | Create an image from this poem

The Survivor

 I am twenty-four
led to slaughter
I survived.
The following are empty synonyms: man and beast love and hate friend and foe darkness and light.
The way of killing men and beasts is the same I've seen it: truckfuls of chopped-up men who will not be saved.
Ideas are mere words: virtue and crime truth and lies beauty and ugliness courage and cowardice.
Virtue and crime weigh the same I've seen it: in a man who was both criminal and virtuous.
I seek a teacher and a master may he restore my sight hearing and speech may he again name objects and ideas may he separate darkness from light.
I am twenty-four led to slaughter I survived.
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

Her Kind

 I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.
I have found the warm caves in the woods, filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves, closets, silks, innumerable goods; fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves: whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.
I have ridden in your cart, driver, waved my nude arms at villages going by, learning the last bright routes, survivor where your flames still bite my thigh and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
Written by James Dickey | Create an image from this poem

FOR THE LAST WOLVERINE

 They will soon be down

To one, but he still will be
For a little while still will be stopping

The flakes in the air with a look,
Surrounding himself with the silence
Of whitening snarls.
Let him eat The last red meal of the condemned To extinction, tearing the guts From an elk.
Yet that is not enough For me.
I would have him eat The heart, and, from it, have an idea Stream into his gnawing head That he no longer has a thing To lose, and so can walk Out into the open, in the full Pale of the sub-Arctic sun Where a single spruce tree is dying Higher and higher.
Let him climb it With all his meanness and strength.
Lord, we have come to the end Of this kind of vision of heaven, As the sky breaks open Its fans around him and shimmers And into its northern gates he rises Snarling complete in the joy of a weasel With an elk's horned heart in his stomach Looking straight into the eternal Blue, where he hauls his kind.
I would have it all My way: at the top of that tree I place The New World's last eagle Hunched in mangy feathers giving Up on the theory of flight.
Dear God of the wildness of poetry, let them mate To the death in the rotten branches, Let the tree sway and burst into flame And mingle them, crackling with feathers, In crownfire.
Let something come Of it something gigantic legendary Rise beyond reason over hills Of ice SCREAMING that it cannot die, That it has come back, this time On wings, and will spare no earthly thing: That it will hover, made purely of northern Lights, at dusk and fall On men building roads: will perch On the moose's horn like a falcon Riding into battle into holy war against Screaming railroad crews: will pull Whole traplines like fibers from the snow In the long-jawed night of fur trappers.
But, small, filthy, unwinged, You will soon be crouching Alone, with maybe some dim racial notion Of being the last, but none of how much Your unnoticed going will mean: How much the timid poem needs The mindless explosion of your rage, The glutton's internal fire the elk's Heart in the belly, sprouting wings, The pact of the "blind swallowing Thing," with himself, to eat The world, and not to be driven off it Until it is gone, even if it takes Forever.
I take you as you are And make of you what I will, Skunk-bear, carcajou, bloodthirsty Non-survivor.
Lord, let me die but not die Out.
Copyright © 1966 by James Dickey Online Source - http://www.
theatlantic.
com/unbound/poetry/dickey/wolverine.
htm
Written by Adrienne Rich | Create an image from this poem

From a Survivor

 The pact that we made was the ordinary pact
of men & women in those days

I don't know who we thought we were
that our personalities
could resist the failures of the race

Lucky or unlucky, we didn't know
the race had failures of that order
and that we were going to share them

Like everybody else, we thought of ourselves as special

Your body is as vivid to me
as it ever was: even more

since my feeling for it is clearer:
I know what it could and could not do

it is no longer
the body of a god
or anything with power over my life

Next year it would have been 20 years
and you are wastefully dead
who might have made the leap
we talked, too late, of making

which I live now
not as a leap
but a succession of brief, amazing movements

each one making possible the next
Written by Louise Gluck | Create an image from this poem

The Triumph Of Achilles

 In the story of Patroclus
no one survives, not even Achilles
who was nearly a god.
Patroclus resembled him; they wore the same armor.
Always in these friendships one serves the other, one is less than the other: the hierarchy is always apparant, though the legends cannot be trusted-- their source is the survivor, the one who has been abandoned.
What were the Greek ships on fire compared to this loss? In his tent, Achilles grieved with his whole being and the gods saw he was a man already dead, a victim of the part that loved, the part that was mortal.


Written by Barry Tebb | Create an image from this poem

UNCLE BOB

 Shell-shocked from Korea

A grenade that left him

The platoon’s only survivor,

Put him in Stanley Royd

For thirty years.
He tailored there And out on weekend leaves He made and mended Everybody’s clothes, Crying copiously While he sewed.
When they cleared out The chronic cases Uncle Bob came home, Shopping for Edna, Doing the garden; When the lodger left Without a word, the police Searched his room, The garden shed, Even the chest freezer.
Oesophageal cancer Is very final.
John, his son, waiting To take the house, Departed for a month’s fishing Until it was all over.
As a last rite They put him in the LGI But I spoke to the houseman privately, Pulling together the bits of a life Wholly given over to others, Fallen comrades, Edna, The grandchildren His pension went on.
The houseman agreed to speak To the surgeon privately.
Edna went first and At her funeral John, In frustrated fury, Hit him over the head With an empty fish tank.
When secondaries started I was not told And in the hospice He barely lasted His first weekend.
Written by Primo Levi | Create an image from this poem

The Survivor

 Once more he sees his companions' faces
Livid in the first faint light,
Gray with cement dust,
Nebulous in the mist,
Tinged with death in their uneasy sleep.
At night, under the heavy burden Of their dreams, their jaws move, Chewing a non-existant turnip.
'Stand back, leave me alone, submerged people, Go away.
I haven't dispossessed anyone, Haven't usurped anyone's bread.
No one died in my place.
No one.
Go back into your mist.
It's not my fault if I live and breathe, Eat, drink, sleep and put on clothes.
'
Written by Paul Celan | Create an image from this poem

The Triumph Of Achilles

 In the story of Patroclus
no one survives, not even Achilles
who was nearly a god.
Patroclus resembled him; they wore the same armor.
Always in these friendships one serves the other, one is less than the other: the hierarchy is always apparant, though the legends cannot be trusted-- their source is the survivor, the one who has been abandoned.
What were the Greek ships on fire compared to this loss? In his tent, Achilles grieved with his whole being and the gods saw he was a man already dead, a victim of the part that loved, the part that was mortal.
12