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Famous Crisis Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Whitman, Walt
...own campaigning bound, 
Through untried roads, with ambushes, opponents lined, 
Through many a sharp defeat and many a crisis—often baffled, 
Here marching, ever marching on, a war fight out—aye here, 
To fiercer, weightier battles give expression....Read More



by Gregory, Rg
...crisis has a fact to get straight
it needn't be the end of the world
beginnings too are coated with death

because we've had enough of the old's
dirty jokes doesn't mean there's no
more grass ready to push itself up

or dreams can't go on being lived
the dreamers' necks having been twisted
(visions root in mists and spread outwards)
the chrysalis has to be t...Read More

by Cavafy, Constantine P
...ny fear, for whenever I want --
and I shall have the will, fortified
as I shall be by theory and study --
at moments of crisis I shall find again
my spirit, as before, ascetic."...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...unwaiting a moment, she sprang; 
(O superb! O Manhattan, my own, my peerless!
O strongest you in the hour of danger, in crisis! O truer than steel!) 
How you sprang! how you threw off the costumes of peace with indifferent hand; 
How your soft opera-music changed, and the drum and fife were heard in their stead; 
How you led to the war, (that shall serve for our prelude, songs of soldiers,) 
How Manhattan drum-taps led.

2
Forty years had I in my city seen soldiers paradi...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...Thank Heaven! the crisis- 
The danger is past, 
And the lingering illness 
Is over at last- 
And the fever called "Living" 
Is conquered at last. 
Sadly, I know 
I am shorn of my strength, 
And no muscle I move 
As I lie at full length- 
But no matter!-I feel 
I am better at length. 

And I rest so composedly, 
Now, in my bed 
That any beholder 
Might fancy me dead- 
...Read More



by Ginsberg, Allen
...y beguile 
my empty mind. A seagull passes alone wings 
spread silent over roofs. 

- May 20, 1975 Mayaguez Crisis ...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...signs,
And more things else--but all men know 'em,
If slightly versed in epic poem.
At once the crew, at this dread crisis,
Fall on, and bind him, ere he rises;
And with loud shouts and joyful soul,
Conduct him prisoner to the pole.
When now the mob in lucky hour
Had got their en'mies in their power,
They first proceed, by grave command,
To take the Constable in hand.
Then from the pole's sublimest top
The active crew let down the rope,
At once its other end in ha...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...efore the change.
Still shall you steer, on land or ocean,
By like eccentric lunar motion;
Eclips'd in many a fatal crisis,
And dimm'd when Washington arises.


"And see how Fate, herself turn'd traitor,
Inverts the ancient course of nature;
And changes manners, tempers, climes,
To suit the genius of the times!
See, Bourbon forms a gen'rous plan,
New guardian of the rights of man,
And prompt in firm alliance joins
To aid the Rebels' proud designs!
Behold from realms o...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...dully
And started down the gully.
Whole capes caked off in slices.
I felt my standpoint shaken
In the universal crisis.
But with one step backward taken
I saved myself from going.
A world torn loose went by me.
Then the rain stopped and the blowing,
And the sun came out to dry me....Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...ght turned to day and vaguely he applied 

For jobs as clerk and court usher and drank in pubs with yobs.

When the crisis came – "I feel my head coming off my body’ –

I was ready and unready, making the necessary calls

To get a bed, to keep him on the ward, to visit and reassure 

Us both that some way out could be found.

The ‘Care Home’ was the next disaster, trying to cure

Schizophrenia with sticking plaster: "We don’t want 

Carers’ input, we call patients ‘re...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
....

Who does remember me and who, almost alone.

Inspired my six novellas: we write and

Talk sometimes and in a crisis she is there for me,



Muse number four, though absent for a month in Indonesia.

Remains. I doubt if there will be a fifth.



There is a poet, too, who is a friend and writes to me

From Hampstead, from a caf? in South End Green.

His cursive script on rose pink paper symptomatic

Of his gift for eloquent prose and poetry sublime

H...Read More

by Owen, Wilfred
...t? -- Rifles go off . . .
Not sniped? No. (Later they found the English ball.)

It was the reasoned crisis of his soul.
Against the fires that would not burn him whole
But kept him for death's perjury and scoff
And life's half-promising, and both their riling.

With him they buried the muzzle his teeth had kissed,
And truthfully wrote the Mother "Tim died smiling."...Read More

by Aeschylus,
...your sires' tombs! For all we now contend!"
And from our side the rush of Persian speech
Replied. No longer might the crisis wait.
At once ship smote on ship with brazen beak;
A vessel of the Greeks began the attack,
Crushing the stem of a Phoenician ship.
Each on a different vessel turned its prow.
At first the current of the Persian host
Withstood; but when within the strait the throng
Of ships was gathered, and they could not aid
Each other, but by their own braz...Read More

by Lawson, Henry
...the past.
Yet they say that in spite o' the talkin' it all might have ended in smoke,
But just at the point o' the crisis, the voice of a quiet man spoke.

" `We have said all our say and it's useless, you must fight or be slaves!' said the voice;
" `If it's fight, and you're wanting a leader, I will lead to the end - take your choice!'
I looked, it was Pete! Peter Lalor! who stood with his face to the skies,
But his figure seemed nobler and taller, and brighter the ...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in
upon a platter,
I am no prophet-and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.


And would it have been worth it, af...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...Assam monkey how to drink.
He vexed her righteous soul until
She went up, and he went down hill.

Then came the crisis, strange to say,
 Which turned a good wife to a better.
A telegraphic peon, one day,
 Brought her -- now, had it been a letter
For Belial Machiavelli, I
Know Jane would just have let it lie.

But 'twas a telegram instead,
 Marked "urgent," and her duty plain
To open it. Jane Austen read:
 "Your Lilly's got a cough again.
Can't understa...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...n a swoon for hours, while thick
Phantasmagoria crowded his brain,
And his body shrieked in the clutch of pain.
The crisis passed, he would wake and smile
With a vacant joy, half-imbecile
And quite confused, not being certain
Why he was suffering; a curtain
Fallen over the tortured mind beguiled
His sorrow. Like a little child
He would play with his watches and gems, with glee
Calling the Shadow to look and see
How the spots on the ceiling danced prettily
When he flas...Read More

by Wheatley, Phillis
...kind Nereid's shield
Preserv'd from sinking, and thy form upheld:
And sure some heav'nly oracle design'd
At that dread crisis to instruct thy mind
Things of eternal consequence to weigh,
And to thine heart just feelings to convey
Of things above, and of the future doom,
And what the births of the dread world to come.

From tossing seas I welcome thee to land.
"Resign her, Nereid," 'twas thy God's command.
Thy spouse late buried, as thy fears conceiv'd,
Again retu...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...ifferentiation 

Of self and object or Rosine Josef Perelberg on ‘Dreaming and Thinking’

Or even the simpler ‘Rise and Crisis of Psychoanalysis in the United States’ 

So I went out with West Yorkshire on a Friday night.

Nothing dramatic happened; perhaps I’m a little too used

To acute wards or worse where chairs fly across rooms,

Windows disintegrate and double doors are triple locked

And every nurse carries a white panic button and black pager

To pinpoint the mome...Read More

by Cavafy, Constantine P
...th resolution and daring
we will alter the blows of destiny,
and we stand outside to do battle.

But when the great crisis comes,
our daring and our resolution vanish;
our soul is agitated, paralyzed;
and we run around the walls
seeking to save ourselves in flight.

Nevertheless, our fall is certain. Above,
on the walls, the mourning has already begun.
The memories and the sentiments of our days weep.
Bitterly Priam and Hecuba weep for us....Read More

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