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Famous Bitter Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Neruda, Pablo the prow of a vessel.

You still flowered in songs, you still brike the currents.
Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.

Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,
lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour
which the night fastens to all the timetables.

The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.
Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
Only tremulous shadow twis...Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar

And guilty lovers in their venery
Forgat a little while their stolen sweets,
Deeming they heard dread Dian's bitter cry;
And the grim watchmen on their lofty seats
Ran to their shields in haste precipitate,
Or strained black-bearded throats across the dusky parapet.

For round the temple rolled the clang of arms,
And the twelve Gods leapt up in marble fear,
And the air quaked with dissonant alarums
Till huge Poseidon shook his mighty spear,
And on the frieze th...Read more of this...

by Pushkin, Alexander
...What's friendship? The hangover's faction,
The gratis talk of outrage,
Exchange by vanity, inaction,
Or bitter shame of patronage....Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar doth never wear
The autumn's gaudy livery whose gold
Her jealous brother pilfers, but is true
To the green doublet; bitter is the wind, as though it blew

From Saturn's cave; a few thin wisps of hay
Lie on the sharp black hedges, where the wain
Dragged the sweet pillage of a summer's day
From the low meadows up the narrow lane;
Upon the half-thawed snow the bleating sheep
Press close against the hurdles, and the shivering house-dogs creep

From the shut stable to the froz...Read more of this...

by Shakur, Tupac
...Sometimes when I'm alone
I Cry,
Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm.
They flow with life but take no form
I Cry because my heart is torn.
I find it difficult to carry on.
If I had an ear to confide in,
I would cry among my treasured friend,
but who do you know that stops that long,
to help another carry on.
The world moves fast and it would rather pass by.
Then to stop and see wha...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...THE day was falling, and the darkening air 
 Released earth's creatures from their toils, while I, 
 I only, faced the bitter road and bare 
 My Master led. I only, must defy 
 The powers of pity, and the night to be. 
 So thought I, but the things I came to see, 
 Which memory holds, could never thought forecast. 
 O Muses high! O Genius, first and last! 
 Memories intense! Your utmost powers combine 
 To meet this need. For never theme as mine 
 Strained va...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart; 
To know no brotherhood; and take from earth 
No gift beyond that bitter boon — our birth. 


If aught he loved, 'twas Lara; but was shown 
His faith in reverence and in deeds alone; 
In mute attention; and his care, which guess'd 
Each wish, fulfill'd it ere the tongue express'd. 
Still there was haughtiness in all he did, 
A spirit deep that brook'd not to be chid; 
His zeal, though more than that of ...Read more of this...

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
...haunts thee with her sallow train, 
Mean JEALOUSY deceives thy list'ning ear, 
And SLANDER stains thy cheek with many a bitter tear. 

In calm retirement form'd to dwell, 
NATURE, thy handmaid fair and kind, 
For thee, a beauteous garland twin'd; 
The vale-nurs'd Lily's downcast bell 
Thy modest mien display'd, 
The snow-drop, April's meekest child, 
With myrtle blossoms undefil'd, 
Thy mild and spotless mind pourtray'd; 
Dear blushing maid, of cottage birth, 
'Twas thine...Read more of this...

by St Vincent Millay, Edna
...led from men and Music in a swound."

"I long for Silence as they long for breath
Whose helpless nostrils drink the bitter sea;
What thing can be
So stout, what so redoubtable, in Death
What fury, what considerable rage, if only she,
Upon whose icy breast,
Unquestioned, uncaressed,
One time I lay,
And whom always I lack,
Even to this day,
Being by no means from that frigid bosom weaned away,
If only she therewith be given me back?"
I sought her down that dolorous labyrint...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...must down as low 
As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last, 
To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, 
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils: 
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed, 
Since higher I fall short, on him who next 
Provokes my envy, this new favourite 
Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite, 
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised 
From dust: Spite then with spite is best repaid. 
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry, ...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...ow I possess’d them; 
It sails me—I dab with bare feet—they are lick’d by the indolent
I am exposed, cut by bitter and angry hail—I lose my breath, 
Steep’d amid honey’d morphine, my windpipe throttled in fakes of
At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles, 
And that we call BEING. 

To be, in any form—what is that? 
(Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither;) 
If nothing lay more develop’d, the quahaug in its ...Read more of this...

by Angelou, Maya
...You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you wa...Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
Because the gods must die.

"The little brooks are very sweet,
Like a girl's ribbons curled,
But the great sea is bitter
That washes all the world.

"Strong are the Roman roses,
Or the free flowers of the heath,
But every flower, like a flower of the sea,
Smelleth with the salt of death.

"And the heart of the locked battle
Is the happiest place for men;
When shrieking souls as shafts go by
And many have died and all may die;
Though this word be a mystery,
Death...Read more of this...

by Bradstreet, Anne
...ion of the mind.
5.91 Yea, knowing much, the pleasant'st life of all
5.92 Hath yet amongst that sweet, some bitter gall.
5.93 Though reading others' Works doth much refresh,
5.94 Yet studying much brings weariness to th' flesh.
5.95 My studies, labours, readings all are done,
5.96 And my last period can e'en elmost run.
5.97 Corruption, my Father, I do call,
5.98 Mother, and sisters both; the worms that crawl
5.99 In my dark...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...nd cannot stir her golden freight. 

While yet we wait for spring, and from the dry
And blackening east that so embitters March,
Well-housed must watch grey fields and meadows parch,
And driven dust and withering snowflake fly;
Already in glimpses of the tarnish'd sky
The sun is warm and beckons to the larch,
And where the covert hazels interarch
Their tassell'd twigs, fair beds of primrose lie. 
Beneath the crisp and wintry carpet hid
A million buds but stay their ...Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...hat the greate tower
Resounded of his yelling and clamour
The pure* fetters on his shinnes great *very 
Were of his bitter salte teares wet.

"Alas!" quoth he, "Arcita, cousin mine,
Of all our strife, God wot, the fruit is thine.
Thou walkest now in Thebes at thy large,
And of my woe thou *givest little charge*. *takest little heed*
Thou mayst, since thou hast wisdom and manhead*, *manhood, courage
Assemble all the folk of our kindred,
And make a war so sharp ...Read more of this...

by Scott, Sir Walter
...squadron tramping.
     Yet the lark's shrill fife may come
          At the daybreak from the fallow,
     And the bittern sound his drum
          Booming from the sedgy shallow.
     Ruder sounds shall none be near,
     Guards nor warders challenge here,
     Here's no war-steed's neigh and champing,
     Shouting clans or squadrons stamping.'

     She paused,—then, blushing, led the lay,
     To grace the stranger of the day.
     Her mellow no...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...e to Salisbury Plain, 
Of all climes and professions, years and trades, 
Ready to swear against the good king's reign, 
Bitter as clubs in cards are against spades: 
All summon'd by this grand 'subpoena,' to 
Try if kings mayn't be damn'd like me or you. 


When Michael saw this host, he first grew pale, 
As angels can; next, like Italian twilight, 
He turn'd all colours — as a peacock's tail, 
Or sunset streaming through a Gothic skylight 
In some old abbey, or a tr...Read more of this...

by Miller, Alice Duer> 
Mornings at the rectory 
Learning how to roll 
Bandages, and always 
Saving light and coal.
Oh, that house was bitter
As winter closed in,
In spite of heavy stockings
And woollen next the skin.
I was cold and wretched,
And never unaware
Of John more cold and wretched
In a trench out there.

All that long winter I wanted so much to complain, 
But my mother-in-Iaw, as far as I could see,
Felt no such impulse, though she was always in pain, 
An, as the win...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
...and dear
And a solemn wedding bed
Which the garlands for the head
Your young cherubs held above -
A city loved with bitter love.

The subject of my prayers
Were you, moody, calm, and austere.
There first the groom came to me
Having shown me the pathway holy,
And that sad muse of mine
Led me like one blind.

 * II * 

December 9, 1913
The darkest days of the year
Must become the most clear.
I can't find words to compare -
Your lips ar...Read more of this...

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