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Famous Cryptic Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Sandburg, Carl
...e wilderness
Or huddling lumber of a sawmill waiting to be a roof.

Brother mystery to man and mob mystery,
Brother cryptic to lifted cryptic hands,
He is night and abyss, he is white sky of sun, he is the head of the people.
The heart of him the red drops of the people,
The wish of him the steady gray-eagle crag-hunting flights of the people.

Humble dust of a wheel-worn road,
Slashed sod under the iron-shining plow,
These of service in him, these and many cities...Read More



by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...and long ago
Made right for my duress; 
Where soon the sea, 
My foaming and long-clamoring enemy, 
Will have within the cryptic, old embrace 
Of her triumphant arms—a memory.
Why then, the place? 
What forage of the sky or of the shore 
Will make it any more, 
To me, than my award of what was left 
Of number, time, and space?

And what is on me now that I should heed 
The durance or the silence or the scorn? 
I was the gardener who had the seed 
Which holds within its hea...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...>-- D. H. Lawrence

I mentioned my demon to a friend
and the friend swam in oil and came forth to me
greasy and cryptic
and said,
"I'm thinking of taking him out of hock.
I pawned him years ago."

Who would buy?
The pawned demon,
Yellowing with forgetfulness
and hand at his throat?
Take him out of hock, my friend,
but beware of the grief
that will fly into your mouth like a bird.

My demon,
too often undressed,
too often a crucifix I bring forth,
too often...Read More

by Shapiro, Karl
...after roads are melted away will lie
Sidewise in the grave of the iron-old world,
Bitten at the edges,
Strong with its cryptic American,
Its dated beauty....Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...me to a stop
.. only .. when the stars high over
come to a stop.

Out of cabalistic to-morrows
come cryptic babies calling life
a strong and a lovely thing.
I have seen neither these
nor the stars high over
come to a stop.
Neither these nor the sea horses
running with the clocks of the moon.
Nor even a shooting star
snatching a pencil of fire
writing a curve of gold and white.
Like you .. I counted the shooting stars of a winter
nig...Read More



by Tebb, Barry
...and Harrison were my best mates once. You and I

Must meet.”



A whole year’s silence until the card with its cryptic message

‘Jimmy’s recovering slowly but better than expected’.



I never heard from Pegnall about the reading, the pamphlets he asked for

Went unacknowledged. Whalebone, the fellow-tutor he commended, also stayed silent.

Had the event been cancelled? Happening to be in Huddersfield on Good Friday

I staggered up three flights of stone ...Read More

by Crane, Stephen
...n,
Dead men who dreamed fragrance and light
Into their woof, their lives;
The rug of an honest bear
Under the feet of a cryptic slave
Who speaks always of baubles,
Forgetting state, multitude, work, and state,
Champing and mouthing of hats,
Making ratful squeak of hats,
Hats....Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...e was ancient at his birth: 
The saddest among kings of earth, 
Bowed with a galling crown, this man 
Met rancor with a cryptic mirth, 
Laconic--and Olympian. 

The love, the grandeur, and the fame 
Are bounded by the world alone; 
The calm, the smouldering, and the flame 
Of awful patience were his own: 
With him they are forever flown 
Past all our fond self-shadowings, 
Wherewith we cumber the Unknown 
As with inept Icarian wings. 

For we were not as other men: 
'...Read More

by Wagoner, David
...e fountain he produced at his fingertips
And fill it with his never-before-uttered
 Runes and obbligatos and pellucidly cryptic
 Duets from private pageants, from broken ends
Of fandangos with the amoeba chaos chaos
 Couchant and rampant. Then he would rise
 With an effort as heartfelt as a decision
To get out of bed on Sunday and carefully
 Relocate his center of gravity
 Above and beyond an imaginary axis
Between his feet and carry the good news
 Along the path and the ...Read More

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