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Famous Lost Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Whitman, Walt, whatever does not appear, we are beautiful or sinful in ourselves only. 

(O mother! O sisters dear! 
If we are lost, no victor else has destroy’d us; 
It is by ourselves we go down to eternal night.) 

Have you thought there could be but a single Supreme?
There can be any number of Supremes—One does not countervail another, any more than
 eyesight countervails another, or one life countervails another. 

All is eligible to all, 
All is for individuals—...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
As the fainting Bee—

Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums—
Counts his nectars—
Enters—and is lost in Balms.


Did the Harebell loose her girdle
To the lover Bee
Would the Bee the Harebell hallow
Much as formerly?

Did the "Paradise"—persuaded—
Yield her moat of pearl—
Would the Eden be an Eden,
Or the Earl—an Earl?


A taste a liquor never brewed—
From Tankards scooped in Pearl—
Not all the Vats on the Rhine
Yield such...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to 
 pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brook- 
 lyn Bridge, 
lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping 
 down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills 
 off Empire State out of the moon, 
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts 
 and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks 
 and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars, 
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days 
 and nights wi...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...chance that poppy-crowned god
Is like the watcher by a sick man's bed
Who talks of sleep but gives it not; his rod
Hath lost its virtue, and, when all is said,
Death is too rude, too obvious a key
To solve one single secret in a life's philosophy.

And Love! that noble madness, whose august
And inextinguishable might can slay
The soul with honeyed drugs, - alas! I must
From such sweet ruin play the runaway,
Although too constant memory never can
Forget the arched splendou...Read More

by Keats, John
...and tell me, if thou seest
A certain shape or shadow, making way
With wings or chariot fierce to repossess
A heaven he lost erewhile: it must---it must
Be of ripe progress---Saturn must be King.
Yes, there must be a golden victory;
There must be Gods thrown down, and trumpets blown
Of triumph calm, and hymns of festival
Upon the gold clouds metropolitan,
Voices of soft proclaim, and silver stir
Of strings in hollow shells; and there shall be
Beautiful things made new, fo...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...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...hy did I call him that?”

“It’s right enough.
That’s all you ever heard him called round here.
He seems to have lost off his Christian name.”

“Christian enough I should call that myself.
He took no notice, did he? Well, at least
I didn’t use it out of love of him,
The dear knows. I detest the thought of him
With his ten children under ten years old.
I hate his wretched little Racker Sect,
All’s ever I heard of it, which isn’t much.
But that’s not ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...and slain persons. 

Have you heard that it was good to gain the day?
I also say it is good to fall—battles are lost in the same spirit in which
 they are won. 

I beat and pound for the dead; 
I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest for them. 

Vivas to those who have fail’d! 
And to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea!
And to those themselves who sank in the sea! 
And to all generals that lost engagements! and all overcome heroes! 
...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...highway I travel! O public road! do you say to me, Do not leave me? 
Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost? 
Do you say, I am already prepared—I am well-beaten and undenied—adhere to me? 

O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave you—yet I love you;
You express me better than I can express myself; 
You shall be more to me than my poem. 

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all great poems also; 
I think I could stop he...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...ering Wessex men,
As grain out of the chaff
The few that were alive to die,
Laughing, as littered skulls that lie
After lost battles turn to the sky
An everlasting laugh.

The King went gathering Christian men,
As wheat out of the husk;
Eldred, the Franklin by the sea,
And Mark, the man from Italy,
And Colan of the Sacred Tree,
From the old tribe on Usk.

The rook croaked homeward heavily,
The west was clear and warm,
The smoke of evening food and ease
Rose like a blu...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour

Thus to thy beauty doth my fond heart look,
That late dismay'd her faithless faith forbore;
And wins again her love lost in the lore
Of schools and script of many a learned book:
For thou what ruthless death untimely took
Shalt now in better brotherhood restore,
And save my batter'd ship that far from shore
High on the dismal deep in tempest shook. 

So in despite of sorrow lately learn'd
I still hold true to truth since thou art true,
Nor wail the woe which thou to j...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...only I've stated it thrice."

The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care,
 Attending to every word:
But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair,
 When the third repetition occurred.

It felt that, in spite of all possible pains,
 It had somehow contrived to lose count,
And the only thing now was to rack its poor brains
 By reckoning up the amount.

"Two added to one--if that could but be done,"
 It said, "with one's fingers and thumbs!"
Recollecting with t...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
...o fear  Of sad mischances not a few,  That Johnny may perhaps be drown'd,  Or lost perhaps, and never found;  Which they must both for ever rue.   She prefaced half a hint of this  With, "God forbid it should be true!"  At the first word that Susan said  Cried Betty, rising from the bed,  "Susan, I'd gladly stay with you."  &...Read More

by Blake, William
...aind it by degrees becomes passive till it is
only the shadow of desire.
The history of this is written in Paradise Lost. & the Governor
or Reason is call'd Messiah.
And the original Archangel or possessor of the command of the
heavenly host, is calld the Devil or Satan and his children are
call'd Sin & Death
But in the Book of Job Miltons Messiah is call'd Satan.
For this history has been adopted by both parties
It indeed appear'd to Reason as if Desire was c...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
Eagerly I wished the morrow;¡ªvainly I had sought to borrow 
From my books surcease of sorrow¡ªsorrow for the lost Lenore, 10 
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore: 
Nameless here for evermore. 

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain 
Thrilled me¡ªfilled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; 
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 15 
"'T is some visitor entreating entrance at ...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
A while like one in dreams he stood,
Then faltered forth his gratitude
In words just short of being rude: 

For it had lost its shape and shine,
And it had cost him four-and-nine,
And he was going out to dine. 

"To dine!" she sneered in acid tone.
"To bend thy being to a bone
Clothed in a radiance not its own!" 

The tear-drop trickled to his chin:
There was a meaning in her grin
That made him feel on fire within. 

"Term it not 'radiance,'" said he:
"'Tis solid...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...e with motions which each other crost
Pursued or shunned the shadows the clouds threw
Or birds within the noonday ether lost,
Upon that path where flowers never grew;
And weary with vain toil & faint for thirst
Heard not the fountains whose melodious dew
Out of their mossy cells forever burst
Nor felt the breeze which from the forest told
Of grassy paths, & wood lawns interspersed
With overarching elms & caverns cold,
And violet banks where sweet dreams brood, but they
Pursue...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
Of Charon's ferry; you forget that his 
Reign is concluded; whatso'er betide, 
He won't be sovereign more: you've lost your labor, 
For at the best he will be but your neighbour. 


'However, I knew what to think of it, 
When I beheld you in your jesting way, 
Flitting and whispering round about the spit 
Where Belial, upon duty for the day, 
With Fox's lard was basting William Pitt, 
His pupil; I knew what to think, I say: 
That fellow even in hell breeds f...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...thinking? What?
"I never know what you are thinking. Think."
 I think we are in rats' alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.
 "What is that noise?"
wind under the door.
"What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?"
again nothing. 
"You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember
 I remember
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
"Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?"
O O O O that Shakespe...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...from the bridge to us,
As with both hands I was clutching
On my chest the rim of the cross.

On your arms, as I lost all my power,
Like a little girl you carried me,
That on deck of a yacht alabaster
Incorruptible day's light we'd meet.

x x x

When with a strong but tired hand
In dreary capital of nation
Upon the whiteness of the page
I did record my recantations,

And wind into the window round
Poured in a wet and silent stream
The sky was bu...Read More

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