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Best Famous Urban Poems

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

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Written by Delmore Schwartz | Create an image from this poem

America America!

 I am a poet of the Hudson River and the heights above it,
 the lights, the stars, and the bridges
I am also by self-appointment the laureate of the Atlantic
 -of the peoples' hearts, crossing it 
 to new America.
I am burdened with the truck and chimera, hope, acquired in the sweating sick-excited passage in steerage, strange and estranged Hence I must descry and describe the kingdom of emotion.
For I am a poet of the kindergarten (in the city) and the cemetery (in the city) And rapture and ragtime and also the secret city in the heart and mind This is the song of the natural city self in the 20th century.
It is true but only partly true that a city is a "tyranny of numbers" (This is the chant of the urban metropolitan and metaphysical self After the first two World Wars of the 20th century) --- This is the city self, looking from window to lighted window When the squares and checks of faintly yellow light Shine at night, upon a huge dim board and slab-like tombs, Hiding many lives.
It is the city consciousness Which sees and says: more: more and more: always more.
Written by Barry Tebb | Create an image from this poem

IN HARM'S WAY

 I was never a film buff, give me Widmark and Wayne any day

Saturday matin?es with Margaret Gardener still hold sway

As my memory veers backwards this temperate Boxing Day-

Westerns and war films and a blurred Maigret,

Coupled with a worn-out sixties Penguin Mallarm?-

How about that mix for a character trait?

Try as I may I can’t get my head round the manifold virtues

Of Geraldine Monk or either Riley

Poetry has to have a meaning, not just patterns on a page,

Vertical words and snips of scores just make me rage.
Is Thom Gunn really the age-old sleaze-weasel Andrew Duncan says? Is Tim Allen right to give Geraldine Monk an eleven page review? At least they care for poetry to give their lives to it As we do, too.
My syntax far from perfect, my writing illegible But somehow I’ll get through, Bloodaxe and Carcourt May jeer but an Indian printer’s busy with my ‘Collected’ And, Calcutta typesetters permitting, it will be out this year With the red gold script of sari cloth on the spine And **** those dusty grey contemporary voices Those verses will be mine.
Haslam’s a whole lot better but touchy as a prima donna And couldn’t take it when I said he’d be a whole lot better If he’d unloose his affects and let them scatter I’m envious of his habitat, The Haworth Moors Living there should be the inspiration of my old age But being monophobic I can’t face the isolation Or persuade my passionate friend to join me.
What urban experiences can improve Upon a cottage life with my own muse!
Written by Bob Hicok | Create an image from this poem

What Would Freud Say?

 Wasn't on purpose that I drilled 
through my finger or the nurse 
laughed.
She apologized three times and gave me a shot of something that was a lusher apology.
The person who drove me home said my smile was a smeared totem that followed his body that night as it arced over a cliff in a dream.
He's always flying in his dreams and lands on cruise ships or hovers over Atlanta with an ********.
He put me to bed and the drugs wore off and I woke to cannibals at my extremities.
I woke with a sense of what nails in the palms might do to a spirit temporarily confined to flesh.
That too was an accident if you believe Judas merely wanted to be loved.
To be loved by God, Urban the 8th had heads cut off that were inadequately bowed by dogma.
To be loved by Blondie, Dagwood gets nothing right except the hallucinogenic architecture of sandwiches.
He would have drilled through a finger too while making a case for books on home repair and health.
Drilling through my finger's not the dumbest thing I've done.
Second place was approaching a frozen gas-cap with lighter in hand while thinking heat melts ice and not explosion kills *******.
First place was passing through a bedroom door and removing silk that did not belong to my wife.
Making a bookcase is not the extent of my apology.
I've also been beaten up in a bar for saying huevos rancheros in a way insulting to the patrons' ethnicity.
I've also lost my job because lying face down on the couch didn't jibe with my employer's definition of home office.
I wanted her to come through the door on Sunday and see the bookcase she'd asked me to build for a year and be impressed that it didn't lean or wobble even though I've only leaned and often wobbled.
Now it's half done but certainly a better gift with its map of my unfaithful blood.
Written by Donald Justice | Create an image from this poem

Villanelle At Sundown

 Turn your head.
Look.
The light is turning yellow.
The river seems enriched thereby, not to say deepened.
Why this is, I'll never be able to tell you.
Or are Americans half in love with failure? One used to say so, reading Fitzgerald, as it happened.
(That Viking Portable, all water spotted and yellow-- remember?) Or does mere distance lend a value to things? --false, it may be, but the view is hardly cheapened.
Why this is, I'll never be able to tell you.
The smoke, those tiny cars, the whole urban milieu-- One can like anything diminishment has sharpened.
Our painter friend, Lang, might show the whole thing yellow and not be much off.
It's nuance that counts, not color-- As in some late James novel, saved up for the long weekend and vivid with all the Master simply won't tell you.
How frail our generation has got, how sallow and pinched with just surviving! We all go off the deep end finally, gold beaten thinly out to yellow.
And why this is, I'll never be able to tell you.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Five-Per-Cent

 Because I have ten thousand pounds I sit upon my stern,
And leave my living tranquilly for other folks to earn.
For in some procreative way that isn't very clear, Ten thousand pounds will breed, they say, five hundred every year.
So as I have a healthy hate of economic strife, I mean to stand aloof from it the balance of my life.
And yet with sympathy I see the grimy son of toil, And heartly congratulate the tiller of the soil.
I like the miner in the mine, the sailor on the sea, Because up to five hundred pounds they sail and mine for me.
For me their toil is taxed unto that annual extent, According to the holy shibboleth of Five-per-Cent.
So get ten thousand pounds, my friend, in any way you can.
And leave your future welfare to the noble Working Man.
He'll buy you suits of Harris tweed, an Airedale and a car; Your golf clubs and your morning Times, your whisky and cigar.
He'll cosily install you in a cottage by a stream, With every modern comfort, and a garden that's a dream> Or if your tastes be urban, he'll provide you with a flat, Secluded from the clamour of the proletariat.
With pictures, music, easy chairs, a table of good cheer, A chap can manage nicely on five hundred pounds a year.
And though around you painful signs of industry you view, Why should you work when you can make your money work for you? So I'll get down upon my knees and bless the Working Man, Who offers me a life of ease through all my mortal span; Whose loins are lean to make me fat, who slaves to keep me free, Who dies before his prime to let me round the century; Whose wife and children toil in urn until their strength is spent, That I may live in idleness upon my five-per-cent.
And if at times they curse me, why should I feel any blame? For in my place I know that they would do the very same.
Aye, though hey hoist a flag that's red on Sunday afternoon, Just offer them ten thousand pounds and see them change their tune.
So I'll enjoy my dividends and live my life with zest, And bless the mighty men who first - invented Interest.
Written by Denise Levertov | Create an image from this poem

September 1961

 This is the year the old ones,
the old great ones
leave us alone on the road.
The road leads to the sea.
We have the words in our pockets, obscure directions.
The old ones have taken away the light of their presence, we see it moving away over a hill off to one side.
They are not dying, they are withdrawn into a painful privacy learning to live without words.
E.
P.
"It looks like dying"-Williams: "I can't describe to you what has been happening to me"- H.
D.
"unable to speak.
" The darkness twists itself in the wind, the stars are small, the horizon ringed with confused urban light-haze.
They have told us the road leads to the sea, and given the language into our hands.
We hear our footsteps each time a truck has dazzled past us and gone leaving us new silence.
Ine can't reach the sea on this endless road to the sea unless one turns aside at the end, it seems, follows the owl that silently glides above it aslant, back and forth, and away into deep woods.
But for usthe road unfurls itself, we count the words in our pockets, we wonder how it will be without them, we don't stop walking, we know there is far to go, sometimes we think the night wind carries a smell of the sea.
.
.
Written by Majeed Amjad | Create an image from this poem

A Poem

Sons, my native land has sons
born on soil
barren and rocky and lone
for ages lone
across the gaping wilderness tear
ruthless winds and torrents of pain
sweep in epochs.
sweep them out.
Sons of mountains radiant petals of jasmine gay specks of time-less age-less rocks elegant, fair and tender moulds lumps of leathern coarsened hearts damned by sun and wind and time dashed from tops.
they seek a home lost in dust beneath their feet On a heap of squalid unscrubbed pans immersed in simmering scalding water the toiling sweating hands do seek the blessed home for ages they have thought and dreamed.
In towns flourshing along the banks of mountain brooks stays a-while a fleeting cloud of gloom.
.
.
.
.
.
.
The Home! and from an urban sheeted roof curls into waves of trailing smoke.
The brook is limpid murmuring gold the smoke is trailing meandering gold the killers are killers of conscience grace and candid souls if ever they marked the wave of anguish a dash, a span among the torrents of water and sweat the rocks in hearts the dark sinister rocks would fall.
(Translated from Urdu By Balraj Komal, Posted By Anila A.
)
Written by Philip Levine | Create an image from this poem

Picture Postcard From The Other World

 Since I don't know who will be reading 
this or even if it will be read, I must 
invent someone on the other end 
of eternity, a distant cousin laboring 
under the same faint stars I labored 
all those unnumbered years ago.
I make you like me in everything I can -- a man or woman in middle years who having lost whatever faiths he held goes on with only the faith that even more will be lost.
Like me a wanderer, someone with a taste for coastal towns sparkling in the cold winter sun, boardwalks without walkers, perfect beaches shrouded in the dense fogs of December, morning cafes before the second customer arrives, the cats have been fed, and the proprietor stops muttering into the cold dishwater.
I give you the gift of language, my gift and no more, so that wherever you go words fall around you meaning no more than the full force of their making, and you translate the clicking of teeth against teeth and tongue as morning light spilling into the enclosed squares of a white town, breath drawn in and held as the ocean when no one sees it, the waves still, the fishing boats drift in a calm beyond sleep.
The gift of sleep, too, and the waking from it day after day without knowing why the small sunlit room with its single bed, white counterpane going yellow, and bare floor holds itself with such assurance while the flaming nebulae of dust swirl around you.
And the sense not to ask.
Like me you rise immediately and sit on the bed's edge and let whatever dream of a childhood home or a rightful place you had withdraw into the long shadows of the tilted wardrobe and the one chair.
Before you've even washed your face you see it on the bedoilied chiffonier -- there, balanced precariously on the orange you bought at yesterday's market and saved for now.
Someone entered soundlessly while you slept and left you sleeping and left this postcard from me and thought to close the door with no more fuss than the moon makes.
There's your name in black ink in a hand as familiar as your own and not your own, and the address even you didn't know you'd have an hour before you got it.
When you turn it over, there it is, not the photo of a star, or the bright sailboats your sister would have chosen or the green urban meadows my brother painted.
What is it? It could be another planet just after its birth except that at the center the colors are earth colors.
It could be the cloud that formed above the rivers of our blood, the one that brought rain to a dry time or took wine from a hungry one.
It could be my way of telling you that I too burned and froze by turns and the face I came to was more dirt than flame, it could be the face I put on everything, or it could be my way of saying nothing and saying it perfectly.
Written by Lew Welch | Create an image from this poem

Taxi Suite (excerpt: 1. After Anacreon)

 When I drive cab
I am moved by strange whistles and wear a hat

When I drive cab
I am the hunter.
My prey leaps out from where it hid, beguiling me with gestures When I drive cab all may command me, yet I am in command of all who do When I drive cab I am guided by voices descending from the naked air When I drive cab A revelation of movement comes to me.
They wake now.
Now they want to work or look around.
Now they want drunkenness and heavy food.
Now they contrive to love.
When I drive cab I bring the sailor home from the sea.
In the back of my car he fingers the pelt of his maiden When I drive cab I watch for stragglers in the urban order of things.
When I drive cab I end the only lit and waitful things in miles of darkened houses
Written by Paul Laurence Dunbar | Create an image from this poem

AT LOAFING-HOLT

Since I left the city's heat
For this sylvan, cool retreat,
High upon the hill-side here
Where the air is clean and clear,
I have lost the urban ways.[Pg 264]
Mine are calm and tranquil days,
Sloping lawns of green are mine,
Clustered treasures of the vine;
Long forgotten plants I know,
Where the best wild berries grow,
Where the greens and grasses sprout,
When the elders blossom out.
Now I am grown weather-wise
With the lore of winds and skies.
Mine the song whose soft refrain
Is the sigh of summer rain.
Seek you where the woods are cool,
Would you know the shady pool
Where, throughout the lazy day,
Speckled beauties drowse or play?
Would you find in rest or peace
Sorrow's permanent release?—
Leave the city, grim and gray,
Come with me, ah, come away.
Do you fear the winter chill,
Deeps of snow upon the hill?
'Tis a mantle, kind and warm,
Shielding tender shoots from harm.
Do you dread the ice-clad streams,—
They are mirrors for your dreams.
Here's a rouse, when summer's past
To the raging winter's blast.
Let him roar and let him rout,
We are armored for the bout.
How the logs are glowing, see!
Who sings louder, they or he?
Could the city be more gay?
Burn your bridges! Come away!
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