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Famous Handful Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder.—R. B. [back]
Note 11. Steal out, unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed, harrowing it with anything you can conveniently draw after you. Repeat now and then: “Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is to be my true love, come after me and pou thee.” Look over your left shoulder, and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. So...Read More

by Williams, William Carlos (WCW)
.... It took root there. 
The color ran true but the plant is small. 

This falling spray of snow-flakes is 
a handful of dead Februaries 
prayed into flower by Rafael Arevalo Martinez 
of Guatemala. 
 Here's that old friend who 
went by my side so many years: this full, fragile 
head of veined lavender. Oh that April 
that we first went with our stiff lusts 
leaving the city behind, out to the green hill— 
May, they said she was. A hand for all of us: 
t...Read More

by Kooser, Ted
...a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer's retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell....Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...e Scottsboro boys. 
America when I was seven momma took me to Com-
 munist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a 
 handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the 
 speeches were free everybody was angelic and 
 sentimental about the workers it was all so sin-
 cere you have no idea what a good thing the 
 party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand 
 old man a real mensch Mother Bloor made me 
 cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody 
 must have been a spy.<...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...ot combatants-only
 Details guarding the line.)

Quick, ere the gift escape us!
 Out of the darkness we reach
For a handful of week-old papers
 And a mouthful of human speech.

And the monstrous heaven rejoices,
 And the earth allows again,
Meetings, greetings, and voices
 Of women talking with men....Read More

by Browning, Robert


Splash, went he, as under he ducked,
---At the bottom, I knew, rain-drippings stagnate:
Next, a handful of blossoms I plucked
To bury him with, my bookshelf's magnate;
Then I went in-doors, brought out a loaf,
Half a cheese, and a bottle of Chablis;
Lay on the grass and forgot the oaf
Over a jolly chapter of Rabelais.


Now, this morning, betwixt the moss
And gum that locked our friend in limbo,
A spider had spun his web across,
And sat in t...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
And wash out, like a tide that washes 
Out of the sand what a child has drawn there. 

God, what a shining handful of happiness, 
Made out of days and out of eternities, 
Were now the pulsing end of patience—
Could he but have what a ghost had stolen! 

What was a man before him, or ten of them, 
While he was here alive who could answer them, 
And in their teeth fling confirmations 
Harder than agates against an egg-shell?

But now the man was dead, and would com...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...r mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

(1961)...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...Jupiter, Venus, Mars;
This condensation of the Universe—(nay, here the only Universe, 
Here the IDEA—all in this mystic handful wrapt;) 
These burin’d eyes, flashing to you, to pass to future time, 
To launch and spin through space revolving, sideling—from these to emanate, 
To You, whoe’er you are—a Look.

A Traveler of thoughts and years—of peace and war, 
Of youth long sped, and middle age declining, 
(As the first volume of a tale perused and laid away, and this the...Read More

by Ashbery, John
...oesn't know
Which ones. Some day we will try
To do as many things as are possible
And perhaps we shall succeed at a handful
Of them, but this will not have anything
To do with what is promised today, our
Landscape sweeping out from us to disappear
On the horizon. Today enough of a cover burnishes
To keep the supposition of promises together
In one piece of surface, letting one ramble
Back home from them so that these
Even stronger possibilities can remain
Whole withou...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...Thalia closed and dead; 
Seal’d the stately rhythmus of Una and Oriana—ended the quest of the Holy Graal; 
Jerusalem a handful of ashes blown by the wind—extinct;
The Crusaders’ streams of shadowy, midnight troops, sped with the sunrise; 
Amadis, Tancred, utterly gone—Charlemagne, Roland, Oliver gone, 
Palmerin, ogre, departed—vanish’d the turrets that Usk reflected, 
Arthur vanish’d with all his knights—Merlin and Lancelot and Galahad—all
 gone—dissolv’d utterly, like an ex...Read More

by Bryant, William Cullen
Are shining on the sad abodes of death  
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread 
The globe are but a handful to the tribes 
That slumber in its bosom.¡ªTake the wings 50 
Of morning pierce the Barcan wilderness  
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods 
Where rolls the Oregon and hears no sound  
Save his own dashings ¡ªyet the dead are there: 
And millions in those solitudes since first 55 
The flight of years began have laid them down 
In thei...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...e deep in my 
Mother Earth; and place me with care upon my mother's breast. 
Cover me with soft earth, and let each handful be mixed 
With seeds of jasmine, lilies and myrtle; and when they 
Grow above me, and thrive on my body's element they will 
Breathe the fragrance of my heart into space; 
And reveal even to the sun the secret of my peace; 
And sail with the breeze and comfort the wayfarer. 

Leave me then, friends - leave me and depart on mute feet, 
As the sil...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
In that sleep I held an ice baby
and I rocked it
and was rocked by it.
Oh Madonna, hold me.
I am a small handful.


My mother died
unrocked, unrocked.
Weeks at her deathbed
seeing her thrust herself against the metal bars,
thrashing like a fish on the hook
and me low at her high stage,
letting the priestess dance alone,
wanting to place my head in her lap
or even take her in my arms somehow
and fondle her twisted gray hair.
But her r...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
He cannot hold the stars, or make 
Of seven years a century. 

So Time will give us what we earn 
Who flaunt the handful for the whole,
And leave us all that we may learn 
Who read the surface for the soul; 
And we’ll be steering to the goal, 
For we have said so to our sons: 
When we who ride can pay the toll,
Time humors the far-seeing ones. 

Down to our nose’s very end 
We see, and are invincible,— 
Too vigilant to comprehend 
The scope of what we cannot sell;
...Read More

by Walcott, Derek
...human. All you fate in my hand,
ministers, businessmen, Shabine have you, friend,
I shall scatter your lives like a handful of sand,
I who have no weapon but poetry and
the lances of palms and the sea's shining shield!

10 Out of the Depths

Next day, dark sea. A ****-aching dawn.
"Damn wind shift sudden as a woman mind."
The slow swell start cresting like some mountain range
with snow on the top.
 "Ay, skipper, sky dark!"
"This ain't right for August.Read More

by Frost, Robert
...have done by daylight, and indeed,
After the ground is frozen, I should have done
Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful
Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney
To make fun of my way of doing things,
Or else fun of Orion's having caught me.
Has a man, I should like to ask, no rights
These forces are obliged to pay respect to?'
So Brad McLaughlin mingled reckless talk
Of heavenly stars with hugger-mugger farming,
Till having failed at hugger-mugger farming
He bu...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 
 Frisch weht der Wind
 Der Heimat zu
 Mein Irisch Kind,
 Wo weilest du?
"You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
"They called me the hyacinth girl."
––Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 
Lo...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...h merciful Death! Mind not talk, for even fear reveals what the heart forbids. 

"Take a bushelful of my gold, or a handful of my slave's souls, but leave me. I have accounts with Life requiring settling; I have due from people much gold; my ships have not reached the harbor; my demand, but spare my life. Death, I own harems of supernatural beauty; your choice is my gift to you. Give heed, Death -- I have but one child, and I love him dearly for he is my only ...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...e of contentment? Who would sell me one beautiful thought for a ton of gold? Who would give me one moment of love for a handful of gems? Who would grant me an eye that can see others' hearts, and take all my coffers in barter?" 

As he reached the palace gates he turned and looked toward the city as Jeremiah gazed toward Jerusalem. He raised his arms in woeful lament and shouted, "Oh people of the noisome city, who are living in darkness, hastening toward misery, preachin...Read More

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