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Famous Ephemeral Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Hardy, Thomas

How much of consciousness informs Thy will 
 Thy biddings, as if blind, 
 Of death-inducing kind, 
Nought shows to us ephemeral ones who fill 
 But moments in Thy mind. 

Perhaps Thy ancient rote-restricted ways 
 Thy ripening rule transcends; 
 That listless effort tends 
To grow percipient with advance of days, 
 And with percipience mends. 

For, in unwonted purlieus, far and nigh, 
 At whiles or short or long, 
 May be discerned a wrong 
Dying as of self-slaught...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...n on the proud feet that spurn them lying low.

"The sun comes forth, and many reptiles spawn;
He sets, and each ephemeral insect then
Is gathered into death without a dawn,
And the immortal stars awake again;
So is it in the world of living men:
A godlike mind soars forth, in its delight
Making earth bare and veiling heaven, and when
It sinks, the swarms that dimmed or shared its light
Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit's awful night."

Thus ceased she...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...r the while you con it." 
And, veritably, Sol is right enough. 
The general tuckermanities are arrant 
Bubbles- ephemeral and so transparent- 
But this is, now- you may depend upon it- 
Stable, opaque, immortal- all by dint 
Of the dear names that he concealed within 't....Read More

by Belloc, Hilaire

But since I would not, since I could not stay,
Let me remember even in this my day
How, when the ephemeral vision's lure is past
All, all, must face their Passion at the last

Was there not one that did to Heaven complain
How, driving through the midnight and the rain,
He struck, the Atlantic seethe and surge before,
Wrecked in the North along a lonely shore
To make the lights of home and hear his name no
Was there not one that from a desperat...Read More

by Milosz, Czeslaw
...a pelvis,
Is it you? me? We are more than this.
No clock counts hours and years for us.

How could a creature, ephemeral, eternal,
Measure for me necessity and fate?
You are locked with me in a letter-crystal.
No matter that you're not a living maid....Read More

by Swinburne, Algernon Charles,
Eastward and westward, under all men's skies?
For if thou sleep, we perish, and thy name
Dies with the dying of our ephemeral breath;
And if the dust of death o'ergrows thy flame,
Heaven also is darkened with the dust of death.
If thou be mortal, if thou change or cease,
If thine hand fail, or thine eyes turn from Greece,
Thy firstborn, and the firstfruits of thy fame,
God is no God, and man is moulded out of shame.

STR. 3

Is there change in the secret skies...Read More

by Petrarch, Francesco
...ours (how few serene!)The sweet and bitter tide of thought have fed:Ephemeral world! in pride and sorrow bred,Who hope in thee, are blind as I have been;I hoped in thee, and thus my heart's loved queenHath borne it mid her nerveless, kindred dead.Her form decay'd—its beauty still survives,For in h...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...or supernatural stories run.

Natural and supernatural with the self-same ring are wed.
As man, as beast, as an ephemeral fly begets, Godhead begets 
For things below are copies, the Great Smaragdine Tablet said.

Yet all must copy copies, all increase their kind;
When the conflagration of their passion sinks, damped by the 
 body or the mind,
That juggling nature mounts, her coil in their embraces 

The mirror-scaled serpent is multiplicity...Read More

by Turner Smith, Charlotte
...under'd myriads, by the means
Too often legaliz'd by power abus'd,
Feel all the horrors of the fatal change,
When their ephemeral greatness, marr'd at once
(As a vain toy that Fortune's childish hand
Equally joy'd to fashion or to crush),
Leaves them expos'd to universal scorn
For having nothing else; not even the claim
To honour, which respect for Heroes past
Allows to ancient titles; Men, like these,
Sink even beneath the level, whence base arts
Alone had rais'd them;--unla...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...thing divine that his effete
Negation may have tasted, 
Saw truth in his own image, rather small, 
Forbore to fever the ephemeral, 
Found any barren height a good retreat 
From any swarming street,
And in the sun saw power superbly wasted; 
And when the primitive old-fashioned stars 
Came out again to shine on joys and wars 
More primitive, and all arrayed for doom, 
He may have proved a world a sorry thing
In his imagining, 
And life a lighted highway to the tomb. 

Or, ...Read More

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