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Famous Change Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Wilde, Oscar
...hen all the strings of boyish life were stirred
To quick response or more melodious rhyme
By every forest idyll; - do I change?
Or rather doth some evil thing through thy fair pleasaunce range?

Nay, nay, thou art the same: 'tis I who seek
To vex with sighs thy simple solitude,
And because fruitless tears bedew my cheek
Would have thee weep with me in brotherhood;
Fool! shall each wronged and restless spirit dare
To taint such wine with the salt poison of own despair!

Thou a...Read more of this...

by Sexton, Anne
...ouble with being a woman, Skeezix, 
is being a little girl in the first place. 
Not all the books of the world will change that. 
I have swallowed an orange, being woman. 
You have swallowed a ruler, being man. 
Yet waiting to die we are the same thing. 
Jehovah pleasures himself with his axe 
before we are both overthrown. 
Skeezix, you are me. La de dah. 
You grow a beard but our drool is identical. 

Forgive us, Father, for we know not.<...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
Awaiting for Hyperion's command.
Fain would he have commanded, fain took throne
And bid the day begin, if but for change.
He might not:---No, though a primeval God:
The sacred seasons might not be disturb'd.
Therefore the operations of the dawn
Stay'd in their birth, even as here 'tis told.
Those silver wings expanded sisterly,
Eager to sail their orb; the porches wide
Open'd upon the dusk demesnes of night
And the bright Titan, phrenzied with new woes,
Unus...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
 They were. Slaves rise to rule their lords. She 
 And empties, godlike in her mood. No pause 
 Her changes leave, so many are those who call 
 About her gates, so many she dowers, and all 
 Revile her after, and would crucify 
 If words could reach her, but she heeds nor hears, 
 Who dwells beyond the noise of human laws 
 In the blest silence of the Primal Spheres. 

 - But let us to the greater woes descend. 
 The stars from their meridian fall,...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...h, if not yet harden'd in their course, 
Might be redeem'd, nor ask a long remorse. 


And they indeed were changed — 'tis quickly seen, 
Whate'er he be, 'twas not what he had been: 
That brow in furrow'd lines had fix'd at last, 
And spake of passions, but of passion past; 
The pride, but not the fire, of early days, 
Coldness of mien, and carelessness of praise; 
A high demeanour, and a glance that took 
Their thoughts from others by a single look; 
And that sar...Read more of this...

by Frost, Robert
...ot to explore too deep in others' business.

Did you but know of him, New Hampshire has
One real reformer who would change the world
So it would be accepted by two classes,
Artists the minute they set up as artists,
Before, that is, they are themselves accepted,
And boys the minute they get out of college.
I can't help thinking those are tests to go by.

And she has one I don't know what to call him,
Who comes from Philadelphia every year
With a great flock of chi...Read more of this...

by Angelou, Maya
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into yo...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...I flew, and underneath beheld 
The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide 
And various: Wondering at my flight and change 
To this high exaltation; suddenly 
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, 
And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked 
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night 
Related, and thus Adam answered sad. 
Best image of myself, and dearer half, 
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep 
Affects me equally; nor can I like 
This uncouth ...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt his wares and his cattle; 
As the fare-collector goes through the train, he gives notice by the jingling of
 loose change;
The floor-men are laying the floor—the tinners are tinning the
 roof—the masons are calling for mortar; 
In single file, each shouldering his hod, pass onward the laborers; 
Seasons pursuing each other, the indescribable crowd is gather’d—it is
 the Fourth of Seventh-month—(What salutes of cannon and small arms!) 
Seasons pursuing each other, t...Read more of this...

by Shakespeare, William
...llen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
   For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings
   That then I scorn to change my state with kings....Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
...ropic rain.

Where Ind's enamelled peaks arise
Around that inmost one,
Where ancient eagles on its brink,
Vast as archangels, gather and drink
The sacrament of the sun.

And men brake out of the northern lands,
Enormous lands alone,
Where a spell is laid upon life and lust
And the rain is changed to a silver dust
And the sea to a great green stone.

And a Shape that moveth murkily
In mirrors of ice and night,
Hath blanched with fear all beasts and birds,
As death ...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all; upon a tone,
A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow,
And his cheek change tempestuously—his heart
Unknowing of its cause of agony.
But she in these fond feelings had no share:
Her sighs were not for him; to her he was
Even as a brother—but no more; 'twas much,
For brotherless she was, save in the name
Her infant friendship had bestowed on him;
Herself the solitary scion left
Of a time-honoured race.—It was a name
Wh...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...wert that wilt thou ever be,
My choice, my best, my loved, and only fair. 
Farewell, yet think not such farewell a change
From tenderness, tho' once to meet or part
But on short absence so could sense derange
That tears have graced the greeting of my heart;
They were proud drops and had my leave to fall,
Not on thy pity for my pain to call. 

When sometimes in an ancient house where state
From noble ancestry is handed on,
We see but desolation thro' the gate,
And ...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
The highest virtue, mother of them all; 
For when the Lord of all things made Himself 
Naked of glory for His mortal change, 
`Take thou my robe,' she said, `for all is thine,' 
And all her form shone forth with sudden light 
So that the angels were amazed, and she 
Followed Him down, and like a flying star 
Led on the gray-haired wisdom of the east; 
But her thou hast not known: for what is this 
Thou thoughtest of thy prowess and thy sins? 
Thou hast not lost thyself to ...Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...possible is, since thou hast her presence,
And art a knight, a worthy and an able,
That by some cas*, since fortune is changeable, *chance
Thou may'st to thy desire sometime attain.
But I that am exiled, and barren
Of alle grace, and in so great despair,
That there n'is earthe, water, fire, nor air,
Nor creature, that of them maked is,
That may me helpe nor comfort in this,
Well ought I *sterve in wanhope* and distress. *die in despair*
Farewell my life, my lust*, an...Read more of this...

by Scott, Sir Walter
...he night!—
     Again returned the scenes of youth,
     Of confident, undoubting truth;
     Again his soul he interchanged
     With friends whose hearts were long estranged.
     They come, in dim procession led,
     The cold, the faithless, and the dead;
     As warm each hand, each brow as gay,
     As if they parted yesterday.
     And doubt distracts him at the view,—
     O were his senses false or true?
     Dreamed he of death or broken vow,
     Or is ...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
Of clay obscures our best conceptions, saving 
Johanna Southcote, or Bob Southey raving. 


'Twas the archangel Michael; all men know 
The make of angels and archangels, since 
There's scarce a scribbler has not one to show, 
From the fiends' leader to the angels' prince; 
There also are some altar-pieces, though 
I really can't say that they much evince 
One's inner notions of immortal spirits; 
But let the connoisseurs explain their merits. 


Micha...Read more of this...

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...ght a carved dolphin swam.
Above the antique mantel was displayed
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
"Jug Jug" to dirty ears.
And other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls; staring forms
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
Footsteps shuffled on th...Read more of this...

by Miller, Alice Duer
From a small white town on a deep-cut bay 
In the smallest state in the U.S.A. 
I meant to tell him, but changed my mind—
I needed a friend, and he seemed kind; 
So I put my gloved hand into his glove,
And we danced together— and fell in love.

Young and in love-how magical the phrase! 
How magical the fact! Who has not yearned 
Over young lovers when to their amaze 
They fall in love and find their love returned, 
And the lights brighten, and their eyes...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
When, flight past us, the unreasoned wind
Interrupts speech that's barely begun.

But not for anything will we change the pompous
Granite city of glory, pain and lies,
The glistening wide rivers' ice
Sunless and murky gardens, and the voice,
Though barely audible, of the Muse.

x x x

I remember you only rarely
And your fate I do not view
But the mark won't be stripped from my soul
Of the meaningless meeting with you.

Your red house I avoi...Read more of this...

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Book: Reflection on the Important Things