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Famous Betrayal Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Betrayal poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous betrayal poems. These examples illustrate what a famous betrayal poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Stafford, William
...ers made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recogn...Read More

by Tessimond, A S J
...If a man says half himself in the light, adroit
Way a tune shakes into equilibrium,
Or approximates to a note that never comes:

Says half himself in the way two pencil-lines
Flow to each other and softly separate,
In the resolute way plane lifts and leaps from plane:

Who knows what intimacies our eyes may shout,
What evident secrets daily foreheads flaun...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...not dream
for when I do I see the table set
and a faltering crone at my place,
her eyes burnt by cigarettes
as she eats betrayal like a slice of meat.

I must not sleep
for while I'm asleep I'm ninety
and think I'm dying.
Death rattles in my throat
like a marble.
I wear tubes like earrings.
I lie as still as a bar of iron.
You can stick a needle
through my kneecap and I won't flinch.
I'm all shot up with Novocain.
This trance girl
is yours to do wi...Read More

by Hecht, Anthony
...d the baseless dreams of youth,
What misery does not then jostle man's elbow,
Join him as a companion, share his bread?
Betrayal, envy, calumny and bloodshed
Move in on him, and finally Old Age--
Infirm, despised Old Age--joins in his ruin,
The crowning taunt of his indignities.

So is it with that man, not just with me.
He seems like a frail jetty facing North
Whose pilings the waves batter from all quarters;
From where the sun comes up, from where it sets,
From free...Read More

by O'Hara, Frank
...of me where I master the root
of my every idiosyncrasy
and fit my ribs like a glove 


is that me who accepts betrayal
in the abstract as if it were insight?
and draws its knuckles
across the much-lined eyes
in the most knowing manner of our time?


The wind that smiles through the wires
isn't vague enough for an assertion
of a personal nature it's not for me 


I'm not dead. Nothing remains let alone "to be said "
except that when I fall ...Read More

by Harjo, Joy
...all doing in a place like this?

You would know she could hear only what she wanted to; don't we all?Left
the drink of betrayal Richard bought her, at the bar.What was she on?We all
wanted some.Put a quarter in the juke.We all take risks stepping into thin
air.Our ceremonies didn't predict this.or we expected more.

I had to tell you this, for the baby inside the girl sealed up with a lick of
hope and swimming into the praise of nations.This is no...Read More

by Masters, Edgar Lee
...with the child
Whose birth I dreaded.
I thought over the last letter written me
By that estranged young soul
Whose betrayal of me I had concealed
By marrying the old man.
Then I took morphine and sat down to read.
Across the blackness that came over my eyes
I see the flickering light of these words even now:
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily
I say unto thee, To-day thou shalt
Be with me in paradise."...Read More

by Masters, Edgar Lee
...young men, raising hopes
Of a dowry not to be had;
And a man while selling his vote
Should get enough from the people's betrayal
To wall the whole of his family in.
He vexed my life till I went back home
And lived like an old maid till I died,
Keeping house for father....Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ot venereal sore, discoloration, privacy of the onanist,
 gluttons or rum-drinkers, peculation, cunning, betrayal, murder, seduction, prostitution,
 results beyond death, as really as before death. 

Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything. 

No specification is necessary—all that a male or female does, that is vigorous,
 clean, is so much profit to him or her, in the unshakable order of the universe, ...Read More

by Fletcher, John Gould
..., the expulsion and awakening,

The riving and the driving forth,

Life with remorseless forceps beckoning –

Pangs and betrayal of harsh birth....Read More

by Sexton, Anne
a gas chamber for the infectious Jew in me
and a perhaps land, a possibly promised land
for the Jew in me,
but still a betrayal room for the till-death-do-us—
and yet a death, as in the unlocking of scissors
that makes the now separate parts useless,
even to cut each other up as we did yearly
under the crayoned-in sun.
The courtroom keeps squashing our lives as they break
into two cans ready for recycling,
flattened tin humans
and a tin law,
even for my twenty-five years...Read More

by Thompson, Francis
...his tremendous Lover.
Float thy vague veil about me lest He see.
I tempted all His servitors but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him, their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue,
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind,
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue,
Or whether, thunder-driven,
They clanged His chariot thwart a heaven,
Plashy...Read More

by Lanier, Sidney
Stars uncovers
Over lovers,
Stars for thee, Marie, and me,
Stars for me and thee.

Song for "The Jacquerie".


The sun has kissed the violet sea,
And burned the violet to a rose.
O Sea! wouldst thou not better be
Mere violet still? Who knows? who knows?
Well hides the violet in the wood:
The dead leaf wrinkles her a hood,
And winter's ill is violet's good;
But the bold glory of the rose,
It quickly comes and quickly goes --
Red petals whirling in ...Read More

by Levine, Philip
 a moment before his death 

 on the pages of the world, 
 smeared in the act. I tortured 
 myself with their 
 betrayal: alone I hurled 
 them into freedom, inner 
 freedom which I can't find 
 nor ever will 
 until they are dead. In my mind 
 Delain stands against the wall 

 precise in detail, steadied 
 for the betrayal. "La France 
 C'Est Moi," he cried, 
 but the irony was lost. Since 
 I returned to the U.S. 
 nothing goes well. I stay u...Read More

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