Famous Dark Poems by Famous Poets
These are examples of famous Dark poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous dark poems. These examples illustrate what a famous dark poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).
by Dickinson, Emily
...ill of its Inquisitor
The privilege to die—
That flickered in the night—
When it was dark enough to do
Without erasing sight—
A quiet—Earthquake Style—
Too subtle to suspect
By natures this side Naples—
The North cannot detect
The lips that never lie—
Whose hissing Corals part—and shut—
And Cities—ooze away—
They shut me up in Prose—
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet—
Because ...Read More
by Ginsberg, Allen
...o in the machin-
ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
among the scholars of war,
who were expelle...Read More
by Wilde, Oscar
The winter's icy sorrow breaks to tears,
And the brown thrushes mate, and with bright eyes the rabbit peers
From the dark warren where the fir-cones lie,
And treads one snowdrop under foot, and runs
Over the mossy knoll, and blackbirds fly
Across our path at evening, and the suns
Stay longer with us; ah! how good to see
Grass-girdled spring in all her joy of laughing greenery
Dance through the hedges till the early rose,
(That sweet repentance of the thorny briar!)
Burst ...Read More
by Keats, John
...its curtains of Aurorian clouds
Flush'd angerly: while sometimes eagles' wings,
Unseen before by Gods or wondering men,
Darken'd the place; and neighing steeds were heard
Not heard before by Gods or wondering men.
Also, when he would taste the spicy wreaths
Of incense, breath'd aloft from sacred hills,
Instead of sweets, his ample palate took
Savor of poisonous brass and metal sick:
And so, when harbor'd in the sleepy west,
After the full completion of fair day,---
For re...Read More
by Alighieri, Dante
ONE night, when half my life behind me lay,
I wandered from the straight lost path afar.
Through the great dark was no releasing way;
Above that dark was no relieving star.
If yet that terrored night I think or say,
As death's cold hands its fears resuming are.
Gladly the dreads I felt, too dire to tell,
The hopeless, pathless, lightless hours forgot,
I turn my tale to that which next befell,
When the dawn opened, and the night was not....Read More
by Byron, George (Lord)
Cold in the many, anxious in the few.
His hall scarce echoes with his wonted name,
His portrait darkens in its fading frame,
Another chief consoled his destined bride,
The young forgot him, and the old had died;
"Yet doth he live!" exclaims the impatient heir,
And sighs for sables which he must not wear.
A hundred scutcheons deck with gloomy grace
The Laras' last and longest dwelling-place;
But one is absent from the mouldering file,
That n...Read More
by Brontë, Emily
...Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree --
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most contantly?
The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who wil call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland...Read More
by Whitman, Walt
...nth morning upon the water, as I row, just before sunrise,
toward the buoys;
I pull the wicker pots up slantingly—the dark-green lobsters are desperate with their
claws, as I take them out—I insert wooden pegs in the joints of their pincers,
I go to all the places, one after another, and then row back to the shore,
There, in a huge kettle of boiling water, the lobsters shall be boil’d till their
Or, another time, mackerel-taking,
by Byron, George (Lord)
...She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-pl...Read More
by Frost, Robert
You make a little foursquare block of air,
Quiet and light and warm, in spite of all
The illimitable dark and cold and storm,
And by so doing give these three, lamp, dog,
And book-leaf, that keep near you, their repose;
Though for all anyone can tell, repose
May be the thing you haven’t, yet you give it.
So false it is that what we haven’t we can’t give;
So false, that what we always say is true.
I’ll have to turn the leaf if no one else will.
by Whitman, Walt
...rt, the passing of blood
and air through my lungs;
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore, and
dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn;
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice, words loos’d to the eddies
of the wind;
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms;
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag;
The delight alone, or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and
by Whitman, Walt
...from within, through embower’d gates, ever provoking
These yearnings, why are they? These thoughts in the darkness, why are they?
Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me, the sun-light expands my blood?
Why, when they leave me, do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?
Why are there trees I never walk under, but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
(I think they hang there winter and summer on those trees, and always drop fruit as I
by Chesterton, G K
...is the head of a man.
But who shall look from Alfred's hood
Or breathe his breath alive?
His century like a small dark cloud
Drifts far; it is an eyeless crowd,
Where the tortured trumpets scream aloud
And the dense arrows drive.
Lady, by one light only
We look from Alfred's eyes,
We know he saw athwart the wreck
The sign that hangs about your neck,
Where One more than Melchizedek
Is dead and never dies.
Therefore I bring these rhymes to you
Who brought the cr...Read More
by Bridges, Robert Seymour
A thousand times, and yet a thousand times.
I travel to thee with the sun's first rays,
That lift the dark west and unwrap the night;
I dwell beside thee when he walks the height,
And fondly toward thee at his setting gaze.
I wait upon thy coming, but always--
Dancing to meet my thoughts if they invite--
Thou hast outrun their longing with delight,
And in my solitude dost mock my praise.
Now doth my drop of time transcend the whole:
I see no fame in...Read More
by Carroll, Lewis
..."My father and mother were honest, though poor--"
"Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark--
We have hardly a minute to waste!"
"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
"And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
To help you in hunting the Snark.
"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
Remarked, when I bade him farewell--"
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!"...Read More
by Wordsworth, William
...joined the wandering gypsey-folk." "Or him that wicked pony's carried To the dark cave, the goblins' hall, Or in the castle he's pursuing, Among the ghosts, his own undoing; Or playing with the waterfall," At poor old Susan then she railed, While to the town she posts away; "If Susan had not been so ill, Alas! I should hav...Read More
by Blake, William
...ll? but he answerd. do not presume O young-man but
as we here remain behold thy lot which will soon appear when the
darkness passes away
So I remaind with him sitting in the twisted [PL 18] root of
an oak. he was suspended in a fungus which hung with the head
downward into the deep:
By degrees we beheld the infinite Abyss, fiery as the smoke
of a burning city; beneath us at an immense distance was the sun,
black but shining[;] round it were fiery tracks on which revo...Read More
by Carroll, Lewis
...as he sat -
It lightly bore away his hat,
All to the feet of one who stood
Like maid enchanted in a wood,
Frowning as darkly as she could.
With huge umbrella, lank and brown,
Unerringly she pinned it down,
Right through the centre of the crown.
Then, with an aspect cold and grim,
Regardless of its battered rim,
She took it up and gave it him.
A while like one in dreams he stood,
Then faltered forth his gratitude
In words just short of being rude:
For it ...Read More
by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...t as a spirit hastening to his task
Of glory & of good, the Sun sprang forth
Rejoicing in his splendour, & the mask
Of darkness fell from the awakened Earth.
The smokeless altars of the mountain snows
Flamed above crimson clouds, & at the birth
Of light, the Ocean's orison arose
To which the birds tempered their matin lay,
All flowers in field or forest which unclose
Their trembling eyelids to the kiss of day,
Swinging their censers in the element,
With orient incense li...Read More
by Akhmatova, Anna
I do not recognize sweet Muse's loving taste:
She looks ahead and does not let a word pass,
And bows a head in the dark garland dressed
Onto my chest, exhausted from the haste.
And only conscience, scarier with each day,
Wants a great ransom and for this abuses.
Closing the face, I answer her this way..
But there remain no tears and no excuses.
x x x
To lose the freshness of the words and sense, for us,
Is it same as for an artist ...Read More
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