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Famous Drug Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Kipling, Rudyard
 The pain will neutralize all we give.

Here are the needles. See that he dies
 While the effects of the drug endure. . . .
What is the question he asks with his eyes?--
 Yes, All-Highest, to God, be sure.]...Read more of this...

by Rich, Adrienne
...e grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the notations.

They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.

I want you to see this before I leave:
the experience of repetition as death
the failure of criticism to locate the pain
the poster in the bus that said:
my bleeding is under control

A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths.

A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go u...Read more of this...

by McKay, Claude
...came with sleep and sleep was long and deep, 
Gained without effort, sweet like early love. 

But now no balm--nor drug nor weed nor wine-- 
Can bring true rest to cool my body's fever, 
Nor sweeten in my mouth the acid brine, 
That salts my choicest drink and will forever....Read more of this...

by Yeats, William Butler
...e upon her lap
Honey of generation had betrayed,
And that must sleep, shriek, struggle to escape
As recollection or the drug decide,
Would think her Son, did she but see that shape
With sixty or more winters on its head,
A compensation for the pang of his birth,
Or the uncertainty of his setting forth?


Plato thought nature but a spume that plays
Upon a ghostly paradigm of things;
Solider Aristotle played the taws
Upon the bottom of a king of kings;
World-famous golden-t...Read more of this...

by Browning, Robert
...of true snakestone--rarer still, 
One of the other sort, the melon-shaped, 
(But fitter, pounded fine, for charms than drugs) 
And writeth now the twenty-second time. 

My journeyings were brought to Jericho; 
Thus I resume. Who studious in our art 
Shall count a little labour unrepaid? 
I have shed sweat enough, left flesh and bone 
On many a flinty furlong of this land. 
Also, the country-side is all on fire 
With rumours of a marching hitherward: 
Some say Ves...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt icebergs crunch as they go. 

This is a face of bitter herbs—this an emetic—they need no label; 
And more of the drug-shelf, laudanum, caoutchouc, or hog’s-lard.

This face is an epilepsy, its wordless tongue gives out the unearthly cry, 
Its veins down the neck distended, its eyes roll till they show nothing but their whites, 
Its teeth grit, the palms of the hands are cut by the turn’d-in nails, 
The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground while he specula...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
...Fill for me a brimming bowl
And in it let me drown my soul:
But put therein some drug, designed
To Banish Women from my mind:
For I want not the stream inspiring
That fills the mind with--fond desiring,
But I want as deep a draught
As e'er from Lethe's wave was quaff'd;
From my despairing heart to charm
The Image of the fairest form
That e'er my reveling eyes beheld,
That e'er my wandering fancy spell'd.
In vain! away I cannot chace
...Read more of this...

by Levine, Philip
...irst time I drank gin
I thought it must be hair tonic.
My brother swiped the bottle
from a guy whose father owned
a drug store that sold booze
in those ancient, honorable days
when we acknowledged the stuff
was a drug. Three of us passed
the bottle around, each tasting
with disbelief. People paid
for this? People had to have
it, the way we had to have
the women we never got near.
(Actually they were girls, but
never mind, the important fact
was their impenetra...Read more of this...

by Thomas, Dylan
...could drown me as it broke
Dead on the sweethearts' toes.

This world is half the devil's and my own,
Daft with the drug that's smoking in a girl
And curling round the bud that forks her eye.
An old man's shank one-marrowed with my bone,
And all the herrings smelling in the sea,
I sit and watch the worm beneath my nail
Wearing the quick away.

And that's the rub, the only rub that tickles.
The knobbly ape that swings along his sex
From damp love-darkness and t...Read more of this...

by Xavier, Emanuel
...It rained the day they buried Tito Puente
The eyes of drug dealers following me
as I walked through the streets
past shivering prostitutes
women of every sex
young boys full of piss
and lampposts like ghosts in the night
past Jimmy the hustler boy 
with the really big dick 
cracked out on the sidewalk
wrapped in a blanket donated by the trick
that also gave him genital herpes 
and Fruit Loops for breakfast
past...Read more of this...

by Thomas, Dylan
...s the spittle like bubbles with broken rooms,
An enamoured man alone by the twigs of his eyes, two fires,
Camped in the drug-white shower of nerves and food,
Savours the lick of the times through a deadly wood of hair
In a wind that plucked a goose,
Nor ever, as the wild tongue breaks its tombs,
Rounds to look at the red, wagged root.
Because there stands, one story out of the bum city,
That frozen wife whose juices drift like a fixed sea
Secretly in statuary,
Shall I, st...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...t scorn'd of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things. 

Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to proof,
In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof. 

Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and fall. 

Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken sleep,
To thy widow'd ...Read more of this...

by Lowell, Amy
...s it merely a jest.
He answered my unasked request:
"All books are either dreams or swords,
You can cut, or you can drug, with words.
My firm is a very ancient house,
The entries on my books would rouse
Your wonder, perhaps incredulity.
I inherited from an ancestry
Stretching remotely back and far,
This business, and my clients are
As were those of my grandfather's days,
Writers of books, and poems, and plays.
My swords are tempered for every speech,
For fenci...Read more of this...

by Lowell, Amy
I ask your pardon for our foolish joke.
It started in a wager ere you came.
The talk somehow had fall'n on drugs, a jar
I brought from China, herbs the natives smoke,
Was with me, and I thought merely to play a game.

Its properties are to induce a sleep
Fraught with adventure, and the flight of time
Is inconceivable in swiftness. Deep
Sunken in slumber, imageries sublime
Flatter the senses, or some fearful dream
Holds them enmeshed. Years pass whi...Read more of this...

by Scott, Duncan Campbell
...among them,
Crawling between their feet,
Borne on their shoulders;)
Rolling their shaggy heads
Wild with the unheard-of
Drug of the sunshine;
Tears that had eaten
The half of their eyelids
Dry on their cheeks;
Blood in their stiffened hair
Clouted and darkened;
Down in their cavern hearts
Hunger the tiger,
Leaping, exulting;
Sighs that had choked them
Burst into triumphing;
On they come, Victory!
Up to the wheat-fields,
Dreamed of in visions
Bred by the hunger,
Seen for the f...Read more of this...

by Aiken, Conrad
...Why, then, was it forgotten?
Because he would not need it?

Then, just as he was grouping his thoughts again
About that drug-store corner, under an arc-lamp,
Where first he met the girl whom he would marry,—
That blue-eyed innocent girl, in a soft blouse,—
He waved his hand for signal, and up he went
In the dusty chute that hugged the wall;
Above the tree; from girdered floor to floor;
Above the flattening roofs, until the sea
Lay wide and waved before him . . . A...Read more of this...

by Berry, Wendell
...Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
That the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
De...Read more of this...

by Abercrombie, Lascelles
...or he dreamed a dream; and(like a man 
Who, having eaten poison, and with all 
Force of his life turned out the crazing drug, 
Has only a weak and wrestled nature left 
That gives in foolishly to some bad desire 
A healthy man would laught at; so our king 
Is left desiring by his venomous dream. 
But, being a king, the whole land aches with him. 
What dream was that? 

Captain A palace made of souls; -- 
Ay, there's a folly for a man to dream! 
He saw a palace...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
...that genius insane:
Spitting and slinking,
Sneering and vain,
He sprawled to your grassy throne, drunk on The Leaf,
The drug that was cunning and splendor and grief.
He had fled from the mammoth by day,
He had blasted the mammoth by night,
War was his drunkenness,
War was his dreaming,
War was his love and his play.
And he hissed at your heavenly glory
While his councillors snarled in delight,
Asking in irony: "What shall we learn
From this whisperer, fragile and whit...Read more of this...

by Hoagland, Tony
...e stereo
until it shakes the traffic light, until it
dryhumps the eardrum of the crossing guard.

Testosterone is a drug,
and they say No, No, No until
they are overwhelmed and punch
their buddy in the face for joy,

or make a joke about gravy and bottomless holes
to a middle-aged waitress who is gently
setting down the plate in front of them.

If they are grotesque, if
what they say and do is often nothing more
than a kind of psychopathic fart,

it is only because of...Read more of this...

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