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Famous Index Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
...HIS face with smile eternal drest,
Just like the Landlord’s to his Guest’s,
High as they hang with creaking din,
To index out the Country Inn.
He looked just as your sign-post Lions do,
With aspect fierce, and quite as harmless too.
——————A head, pure, sinless quite of brain and soul,
The very image of a barber’s Poll;
It shews a human face, and wears a wig,
And looks, when well preserv’d, amazing big....Read More



by Holmes, Oliver Wendell
...y cost,--
What is there to hinder your picking out phrases
For an epic as clever as "Paradise Lost"?

Don't mind if the index of sense is at zero,
Use words that run smoothly, whatever they mean;
Leander and Lilian and Lillibullero
Are much the same thing in the rhyming machine.

There are words so delicious their sweetness will smother
That boarding-school flavor of which we're afraid,
There is "lush"is a good one, and "swirl" is another,--
Put both in one stanza, its fo...Read More

by Popa, Vasko
...
First slow then fast 
Then faster and faster 

That one plays with his head 
Juggles it in the air 
Meets it with his index finger 
Or doesn't meet it at all 

Nobody rests...Read More

by Crane, Hart
....

We will sidestep, and to the final smirk
Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb
That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us,
Facing the dull squint with what innocence
And what surprise!

And yet these fine collapses are not lies
More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane;
Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise.
We can evade you, and all else but the heart:
What blame to us if the heart live on.

The game enforces smirks; but we have seen
The moon in ...Read More

by Milosz, Czeslaw
...guous words.
Consign clear words to lexical limbo.

Judge no words before the clerks have checked
In their card index by whom they were spoken.

The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason.
The passionless cannot change history.

6
Love no country: countries soon disappear
Love no city: cities are soon rubble.

Throw away keepsakes, or from your desk
A choking, poisonous fume will exude.

Do not love people: people soon perish.
Or t...Read More



by Whitman, Walt
...sive, love-flesh tremulous, aching;
The divine list, for myself or you, or for any one, making; 
The face—the limbs—the index from head to foot, and what it arouses; 
The mystic deliria—the madness amorous—the utter abandonment; 
(Hark close, and still, what I now whisper to you, 
I love you—-O you entirely possess me,
O I wish that you and I escape from the rest, and go utterly off—O free and lawless, 
Two hawks in the air—two fishes swimming in the sea not more lawless than...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...with what may be, 
He reads a planet out of tune
For cause of his jarred harmony,— 

If here he venture to unroll 
His index of adagios, 
And he be given to console 
Humanity with what he knows,—

He may by contemplation learn 
A little more than what he knew, 
And even see great oaks return 
To acorns out of which they grew. 

He may, if he but listen well,
Through twilight and the silence here, 
Be told what there are none may tell 
To vanity’s impatient ear; 

And he ...Read More

by Pastan, Linda
...'d add a stroke of vermilion
to the skin of a flower.
Just so I stopped you
at the door this morning
and licking my index finger, removed
an invisible crumb
from your vermilion mouth. As if
at the ritual moment of departure
I had to show you still belonged to me.
As if revision were
the purest form of love....Read More

by Masters, Edgar Lee
...You observe the carven hand
With the index finger pointing heavenward.
That is the direction, no doubt.
But how shall one follow it?
It is well to abstain from murder and lust,
To forgive, do good to others, worship God
Without graven images.
But these are external means after all
By which you chiefly do good to yourself.
The inner kernel is freedom,
It is light, purity --
I can...Read More

by Kizer, Carolyn
...d lid from landlord.

2.

Dice the pork and chop the celery,
Chop the onions, chop the carrots,
Chop the tender index finger.
Put the kettle on the burner,
Drop the lentils into kettle:
Two quarts water, two cups lentils.
Afternoon is wearing on.

3. 

Sauté pork and add the veggies,
Add the garlic, cook ten minutes,
Add to lentils, add to ham bone;
Add the bayleaf, cloves in cheesecloth,
Add the cayenne! Got no cayenne!
Got paprika, salt and pepper.Read More

by Strode, William
...I am the faythfull deputy
Unto your fading memory.
Your Index long in search doth hold;
Your folded wrinkles make books olde:
But I the Scripture open plaine,
And what you heard soone teach againe:
By mee the Welchman well may bring
Himselfe to Heaven in a string....Read More

by Jong, Erica
...ere once,
watching the bubbles
rise up through the sand
like ascending souls,
tracing the line of the foam,
drawing our index fingers
along the horizon
pointing home....Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...is done or said returns at last to me. 

Through me the afflatus surging and surging—through me the current and
 index.

I speak the pass-word primeval—I give the sign of democracy; 
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the
 same terms. 

Through me many long dumb voices; 
Voices of the interminable generations of slaves; 
Voices of prostitutes, and of deform’d persons;
Voices of the diseas’d and despairing, and o...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...one.
I carry his eyes and his
brain bone at every position.
I know his male sex and I do
march over him with my index finger.
His mouth and his anus are one.
I am at the center of feeling.

A subway train is
traveling across my crossbow.
I have a blood bolt
and I have made it mine.
With this man I take in hand
his destiny and with this gun
I take in hand the newspapers and
with my heat I will take him.
he will bend down toward me
and his veins ...Read More

by Berryman, John
...ur twilight universal curse.

Children are faultless in the wood,
Untouched. If they are later made
Scandal and index to their time,
It is that twilight brings for bread
The faculty of crime.
Only the idiot and the dead
Stand by, while who were young before
Wage insolent and guilty war
By night within that ancient house,
Immense, black, damned, anonymous....Read More

by Carruth, Hayden
...ave a nip or two from the small inexpensive cognac that

 makes us smile and sigh.
For a while we close the immense index of images

 which is
Our lives--for instance, the child on the Mescalero reservation

 in New Mexico in 1966
Sitting naked in the dirt outside his family's hut of tin and

 cardboard,
Covered with sores, unable to speak. But of course the child is

 here with us now,
We cannot close the index. How will we survive? We don't and

 cannot know.Read More

by Blake, William
...sprouting from systematic reasoning:
Thus Swedenborg boasts that what he writes is new; tho' it
is only the Contents or Index of already publish'd books
A man carried a monkey about for a shew, & because he was a
little wiser than the monkey, grew vain, and conciev'd himself as
much wiser than seven men. It is so with Swedenborg; he shews the
folly of churches & exposes hypocrites, till he imagines that all
are religious. & himself the single [PL 22] One on earth that...Read More

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