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Best Famous Tang Poems

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

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Written by Adrienne Rich | Create an image from this poem

Stepping Backward

 Good-by to you whom I shall see tomorrow,
Next year and when I'm fifty; still good-by.
This is the leave we never really take.
If you were dead or gone to live in China The event might draw your stature in my mind.
I should be forced to look upon you whole The way we look upon the things we lose.
We see each other daily and in segments; Parting might make us meet anew, entire.
You asked me once, and I could give no answer, How far dare we throw off the daily ruse, Official treacheries of face and name, Have out our true identity? I could hazard An answer now, if you are asking still.
We are a small and lonely human race Showing no sign of mastering solitude Out on this stony planet that we farm.
The most that we can do for one another Is let our blunders and our blind mischances Argue a certain brusque abrupt compassion.
We might as well be truthful.
I should say They're luckiest who know they're not unique; But only art or common interchange Can teach that kindest truth.
And even art Can only hint at what disturbed a Melville Or calmed a Mahler's frenzy; you and I Still look from separate windows every morning Upon the same white daylight in the square.
And when we come into each other's rooms Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious, We hover awkwardly about the threshold And usually regret the visit later.
Perhaps the harshest fact is, only lovers-- And once in a while two with the grace of lovers-- Unlearn that clumsiness of rare intrusion And let each other freely come and go.
Most of us shut too quickly into cupboards The margin-scribbled books, the dried geranium, The penny horoscope, letters never mailed.
The door may open, but the room is altered; Not the same room we look from night and day.
It takes a late and slowly blooming wisdom To learn that those we marked infallible Are tragi-comic stumblers like ourselves.
The knowledge breeds reserve.
We walk on tiptoe, Demanding more than we know how to render.
Two-edged discovery hunts us finally down; The human act will make us real again, And then perhaps we come to know each other.
Let us return to imperfection's school.
No longer wandering after Plato's ghost, Seeking the garden where all fruit is flawless, We must at last renounce that ultimate blue And take a walk in other kinds of weather.
The sourest apple makes its wry announcement That imperfection has a certain tang.
Maybe we shouldn't turn our pockets out To the last crumb or lingering bit of fluff, But all we can confess of what we are Has in it the defeat of isolation-- If not our own, then someone's, anyway.
So I come back to saying this good-by, A sort of ceremony of my own, This stepping backward for another glance.
Perhaps you'll say we need no ceremony, Because we know each other, crack and flaw, Like two irregular stones that fit together.
Yet still good-by, because we live by inches And only sometimes see the full dimension.
Your stature's one I want to memorize-- Your whole level of being, to impose On any other comers, man or woman.
I'd ask them that they carry what they are With your particular bearing, as you wear The flaws that make you both yourself and human.


Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery | Create an image from this poem

November Evening

 Come, for the dusk is our own; let us fare forth together,
With a quiet delight in our hearts for the ripe, still, autumn weather,
Through the rustling valley and wood and over the crisping meadow,
Under a high-sprung sky, winnowed of mist and shadow.
Sharp is the frosty air, and through the far hill-gaps showing Lucent sunset lakes of crocus and green are glowing; 'Tis the hour to walk at will in a wayward, unfettered roaming, Caring for naught save the charm, elusive and swift, of the gloaming.
Watchful and stirless the fields as if not unkindly holding Harvested joys in their clasp, and to their broad bosoms folding Baby hopes of a Spring, trusted to motherly keeping, Thus to be cherished and happed through the long months of their sleeping.
Silent the woods are and gray; but the firs than ever are greener, Nipped by the frost till the tang of their loosened balsam is keener; And one little wind in their boughs, eerily swaying and swinging, Very soft and low, like a wandering minstrel is singing.
Beautiful is the year, but not as the springlike maiden Garlanded with her hopes­rather the woman laden With wealth of joy and grief, worthily won through living, Wearing her sorrow now like a garment of praise and thanksgiving.
Gently the dark comes down over the wild, fair places, The whispering glens in the hills, the open, starry spaces; Rich with the gifts of the night, sated with questing and dreaming, We turn to the dearest of paths where the star of the homelight is gleaming.
Written by Marge Piercy | Create an image from this poem

My Mothers Body

 1.
The dark socket of the year the pit, the cave where the sun lies down and threatens never to rise, when despair descends softly as the snow covering all paths and choking roads: then hawkfaced pain seized you threw you so you fell with a sharp cry, a knife tearing a bolt of silk.
My father heard the crash but paid no mind, napping after lunch yet fifteen hundred miles north I heard and dropped a dish.
Your pain sunk talons in my skull and crouched there cawing, heavy as a great vessel filled with water, oil or blood, till suddenly next day the weight lifted and I knew your mind had guttered out like the Chanukah candles that burn so fast, weeping veils of wax down the chanukiya.
Those candles were laid out, friends invited, ingredients bought for latkes and apple pancakes, that holiday for liberation and the winter solstice when tops turn like little planets.
Shall you have all or nothing take half or pass by untouched? Nothing you got, Nun said the dreydl as the room stopped spinning.
The angel folded you up like laundry your body thin as an empty dress.
Your clothes were curtains hanging on the window of what had been your flesh and now was glass.
Outside in Florida shopping plazas loudspeakers blared Christmas carols and palm trees were decked with blinking lights.
Except by the tourist hotels, the beaches were empty.
Pelicans with pregnant pouches flapped overhead like pterodactyls.
In my mind I felt you die.
First the pain lifted and then you flickered and went out.
2.
I walk through the rooms of memory.
Sometimes everything is shrouded in dropcloths, every chair ghostly and muted.
Other times memory lights up from within bustling scenes acted just the other side of a scrim through which surely I could reach my fingers tearing at the flimsy curtain of time which is and isn't and will be the stuff of which we're made and unmade.
In sleep the other night I met you, seventeen your first nasty marriage just annulled, thin from your abortion, clutching a book against your cheek and trying to look older, trying to took middle class, trying for a job at Wanamaker's, dressing for parties in cast off stage costumes of your sisters.
Your eyes were hazy with dreams.
You did not notice me waving as you wandered past and I saw your slip was showing.
You stood still while I fixed your clothes, as if I were your mother.
Remember me combing your springy black hair, ringlets that seemed metallic, glittering; remember me dressing you, my seventy year old mother who was my last dollbaby, giving you too late what your youth had wanted.
3.
What is this mask of skin we wear, what is this dress of flesh, this coat of few colors and little hair? This voluptuous seething heap of desires and fears, squeaking mice turned up in a steaming haystack with their babies? This coat has been handed down, an heirloom this coat of black hair and ample flesh, this coat of pale slightly ruddy skin.
This set of hips and thighs, these buttocks they provided cushioning for my grandmother Hannah, for my mother Bert and for me and we all sat on them in turn, those major muscles on which we walk and walk and walk over the earth in search of peace and plenty.
My mother is my mirror and I am hers.
What do we see? Our face grown young again, our breasts grown firm, legs lean and elegant.
Our arms quivering with fat, eyes set in the bark of wrinkles, hands puffy, our belly seamed with childbearing, Give me your dress that I might try it on.
Oh it will not fit you mother, you are too fat.
I will not fit you mother.
I will not be the bride you can dress, the obedient dutiful daughter you would chew, a dog's leather bone to sharpen your teeth.
You strike me sometimes just to hear the sound.
Loneliness turns your fingers into hooks barbed and drawing blood with their caress.
My twin, my sister, my lost love, I carry you in me like an embryo as once you carried me.
4.
What is it we turn from, what is it we fear? Did I truly think you could put me back inside? Did I think I would fall into you as into a molten furnace and be recast, that I would become you? What did you fear in me, the child who wore your hair, the woman who let that black hair grow long as a banner of darkness, when you a proper flapper wore yours cropped? You pushed and you pulled on my rubbery flesh, you kneaded me like a ball of dough.
Rise, rise, and then you pounded me flat.
Secretly the bones formed in the bread.
I became willful, private as a cat.
You never knew what alleys I had wandered.
You called me bad and I posed like a gutter queen in a dress sewn of knives.
All I feared was being stuck in a box with a lid.
A good woman appeared to me indistinguishable from a dead one except that she worked all the time.
Your payday never came.
Your dreams ran with bright colors like Mexican cottons that bled onto the drab sheets of the day and would not bleach with scrubbing.
My dear, what you said was one thing but what you sang was another, sweetly subversive and dark as blackberries and I became the daughter of your dream.
This body is your body, ashes now and roses, but alive in my eyes, my breasts, my throat, my thighs.
You run in me a tang of salt in the creek waters of my blood, you sing in my mind like wine.
What you did not dare in your life you dare in mine.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

Happiness

 Happiness, to some, elation;
Is, to others, mere stagnation.
Days of passive somnolence, At its wildest, indolence.
Hours of empty quietness, No delight, and no distress.
Happiness to me is wine, Effervescent, superfine.
Full of tang and fiery pleasure, Far too hot to leave me leisure For a single thought beyond it.
Drunk! Forgetful! This the bond: it Means to give one's soul to gain Life's quintessence.
Even pain Pricks to livelier living, then Wakes the nerves to laugh again, Rapture's self is three parts sorrow.
Although we must die to-morrow, Losing every thought but this; Torn, triumphant, drowned in bliss.
Happiness: We rarely feel it.
I would buy it, beg it, steal it, Pay in coins of dripping blood For this one transcendent good.
Written by Carl Sandburg | Create an image from this poem

Broken-face Gargoyles

 ALL I can give you is broken-face gargoyles.
It is too early to sing and dance at funerals, Though I can whisper to you I am looking for an undertaker humming a lullaby and throwing his feet in a swift and mystic buck-and-wing, now you see it and now you don’t.
Fish to swim a pool in your garden flashing a speckled silver, A basket of wine-saps filling your room with flame-dark for your eyes and the tang of valley orchards for your nose, Such a beautiful pail of fish, such a beautiful peck of apples, I cannot bring you now.
It is too early and I am not footloose yet.
I shall come in the night when I come with a hammer and saw.
I shall come near your window, where you look out when your eyes open in the morning, And there I shall slam together bird-houses and bird-baths for wing-loose wrens and hummers to live in, birds with yellow wing tips to blur and buzz soft all summer, So I shall make little fool homes with doors, always open doors for all and each to run away when they want to.
I shall come just like that even though now it is early and I am not yet footloose, Even though I am still looking for an undertaker with a raw, wind-bitten face and a dance in his feet.
I make a date with you (put it down) for six o’clock in the evening a thousand years from now.
All I can give you now is broken-face gargoyles.
All I can give you now is a double gorilla head with two fish mouths and four eagle eyes hooked on a street wall, spouting water and looking two ways to the ends of the street for the new people, the young strangers, coming, coming, always coming.
It is early.
I shall yet be footloose.
Written by Hilaire Belloc | Create an image from this poem

Tarantella

 Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the bedding
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark veranda)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn't got a penny,
And who weren't paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the din?
And the hip! hop! hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Glancing,
Dancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in--
And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Miranda,
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar; And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound In the walls of the halls where falls The tread Of the feet of the dead to the ground, No sound: But the boom Of the far waterfall like doom.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

Late September

 Tang of fruitage in the air;
Red boughs bursting everywhere;
Shimmering of seeded grass;
Hooded gentians all a'mass.
Warmth of earth, and cloudless wind Tearing off the husky rind, Blowing feathered seeds to fall By the sun-baked, sheltering wall.
Beech trees in a golden haze; Hardy sumachs all ablaze, Glowing through the silver birches.
How that pine tree shouts and lurches! From the sunny door-jamb high, Swings the shell of a butterfly.
Scrape of insect violins Through the stubble shrilly dins.
Every blade's a minaret Where a small muezzin's set, Loudly calling us to pray At the miracle of day.
Then the purple-lidded night Westering comes, her footsteps light Guided by the radiant boon Of a sickle-shaped new moon.


Written by Edwin Markham | Create an image from this poem

LINCOLN THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE

 WHEN the Norn Mother saw the Whirlwind Hour 
Greatening and darkening as it hurried on, 
She left the Heaven of Heroes and came down 
To make a man to meet the mortal need.
She took the tried clay of the common road-- Clay warm yet with the genial heat of earth, Dashed through it all a strain of prophecy; Tempered the heap with thrill of human tears; Then mixed a laughter with the serious stuff.
Into the shape she breathed a flame to light That tender, tragic, ever-changing face.
Here was a man to hold against the world, A man to match the mountains and the sea.
The color of the ground was in him, the red earth; The smack and tang of elemental things: The rectitude and patience of the cliff; The good-will of the rain that loves all leaves; The friendly welcome of the wayside well; The courage of the bird that dares the sea; The gladness of the wind that shakes the corn; The pity of the snow that hides all scars; The secrecy of streams that make their way Beneath the mountain to the rifted rock; The tolerance and equity of light That gives as freely to the shrinking flower As to the great oak flaring to the wind-- To the grave's low hill as to the Matterhorn That shoulders out the sky.
Sprung from the West, The strength of virgin forests braced his mind, The hush of spacious prairies stilled his soul.
Up from log cabin to the Capitol, One fire was on his spirit, one resolve:-- To send the keen axe to the root of wrong, Clearing a free way for the feet of God.
And evermore he burned to do his deed With the fine stroke and gesture of a king: He built the rail-pile as he built the State, Pouring his splendid strength through every blow; The conscience of him testing every stroke, To make his deed the measure of a man.
So came the Captain with the mighty heart; And when the judgment thunders split the house, Wrenching the rafters from their ancient rest, He held the ridgepole up, and spiked again The rafters of the Home.
He held his place-- Held the long purpose like a growing tree-- Held on through blame and faltered not at praise.
And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down As when a lordly cedar, green with boughs, Goes down with a great shout upon the hills, And leaves a lonesome place against the sky.
Written by Paul Laurence Dunbar | Create an image from this poem

DIFFERENCES

My neighbor lives on the hill,
And I in the valley dwell,
My neighbor must look down on me,
Must I look up?—ah, well,
My neighbor lives on the hill,
And I in the valley dwell.
My neighbor reads, and prays,
And I—I laugh, God wot,
And sing like a bird when the grass is green
In my small garden plot;
But ah, he reads and prays,
And I—I laugh, God wot.
His face is a book of woe,
And mine is a song of glee;
A slave he is to the great "They say,"
But I—I am bold and free;
No wonder he smacks of woe,
And I have the tang of glee.
My neighbor thinks me a fool,
"The same to yourself," say I;
"Why take your books and take your prayers,
Give me the open sky;"
My neighbor thinks me a fool,
"The same to yourself," say I.
Written by Philip Levine | Create an image from this poem

The Whole Soul

 Is it long as a noodle 
or fat as an egg? Is it 
lumpy like a potato or 
ringed like an oak or an 
onion and like the onion 
the same as you go toward 
the core? That would be 
suitable, for is it not 
the human core and the rest 
meant either to keep it 
warm or cold depending 
on the season or just who 
you're talking to, the rest 
a means of getting it from 
one place to another, for it 
must go on two legs down 
the stairs and out the front 
door, it must greet the sun 
with a sigh of pleasure as 
it stands on the front porch 
considering the day's agenda.
Whether to go straight ahead passing through the ranch houses of the rich, living rooms panelled with a veneer of fake Philippine mahogany and bedrooms with ermined floors and tangled seas of silk sheets, through adobe walls and secret gardens of sweet corn and marijuana until it crosses several sets of tracks, four freeways, and a mountain range and faces a great ocean each drop of which is known and like no other, each with its own particular tang, one suitable to bring forth the flavor of a noodle, still another when dried on an open palm, sparkling and tiny, just right for a bite of ripe tomato or to incite a heavy tongue that dragged across a brow could utter the awful words, "Oh, my love!" and mean them.
The more one considers the more puzzling become these shapes.
I stare out at the Pacific and wonder -- noodle, onion, lump, double yolked egg on two legs, a star as perfect as salt -- and my own shape a compound of so many lengths, lumps, and flat palms.
And while I'm here at the shore I bow to take a few handfuls of water which run between my fingers, those poor noodles good for holding nothing for long, and I speak in a tongue hungering for salt and water without salt, I give a shape to the air going out and the air coming in, and the sea winds scatter it like so many burning crystals settling on the evening ocean.
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