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Famous Not Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Not poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous not poems. These examples illustrate what a famous not poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Ginsberg, Allen
...Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship 
 to Africa, 
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving 
 behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees 
 and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire 
 place Chicago, 
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the 
 F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist 
 eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incom- 
 prehensible leaflets, 
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting 
 the narcotic to...Read more of this...



by Wilde, Oscar
...om to the rude control
Of what should be its servitor, - for sure
Wisdom is somewhere, though the stormy sea
Contain it not, and the huge deep answer ''Tis not in me.'

To burn with one clear flame, to stand erect
In natural honour, not to bend the knee
In profitless prostrations whose effect
Is by itself condemned, what alchemy
Can teach me this? what herb Medea brewed
Will bring the unexultant peace of essence not subdued?

The minor chord which ends the harmony,
And fo...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
...e silence round about his lair;
Forest on forest hung above his head
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer's day
Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
By reason of his fallen divinity
Spreading a shade: the Naiad 'mid her reeds
Press'd her cold finger closer to her lips.

 Along the margin-sand large foot-marks went,...Read more of this...

by Dickinson, Emily
...I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me....Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...pathless, lightless hours forgot, 
 I turn my tale to that which next befell, 
 When the dawn opened, and the night was not. 
 The hollowed blackness of that waste, God wot, 
 Shrank, thinned, and ceased. A blinding splendour hot 
 Flushed the great height toward which my footsteps fell, 
 And though it kindled from the nether hell, 
 Or from the Star that all men leads, alike 
 It showed me where the great dawn-glories strike 
 The wide east, and the utmost peaks of ...Read more of this...



by Shakur, Tupac
...red like gold 2 me
cuz I realize that I must return
2 my spot in poverty
But mock my words when I say
my heart will not exist
unless my destiny comes through
and puts an end 2 all of this ...Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William
...'d with a flitting Blush,  With downcast Eyes and modest Grace;  For well she knew, I could not choose    But gaze upon her Face.   I told her of the Knight, that wore  Upon his Shield a burning Brand;  And that for ten long Years he woo'd    The Lady of the Land.   I told her, how he pin'd: and, ah!  The low, t...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...es; 
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it; 
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it. 

The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it
 is odorless; 
It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it;
I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked; 
I am mad for it to be in contact with me. 

2
The smoke of my own breath; 
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, sil...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...
Healthy, free, the world before me, 
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose. 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune; 
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road. 

The earth—that is sufficient; 
I do not want the constellations any nearer; 
I know they are very well where they are; 
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old de...Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
...l man discern?
These lords may light the mystery
Of mastery or victory,
And these ride high in history,
But these shall not return.

Gored on the Norman gonfalon
The Golden Dragon died:
We shall not wake with ballad strings 
The good time of the smaller things,
We shall not see the holy kings
Ride down by Severn side.

Stiff, strange, and quaintly coloured
As the broidery of Bayeux
The England of that dawn remains,
And this of Alfred and the Danes
Seems like the tales...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...—they speak
Like sibyls of the future; they have power— 
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
They make us what we were not—what they will,
And shake us with the vision that's gone by,
The dread of vanished shadows—Are they so?
Is not the past all shadow?—What are they?
Creations of the mind?—The mind can make
Substances, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recall a vision which...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...they taught
Earth had this joy; but that 'twould ever be
That fortune should be perfected in me,
My heart of hope dared not engage the thought.
So I stood low, and now but to be caught
By any self-styled lords of the age with thee
Vexes my modesty, lest they should see
I hold them owls and peacocks, things of nought. 
And when we sit alone, and as I please
I taste thy love's full smile, and can enstate
The pleasure of my kingly heart at ease,
My thought swims like a s...Read more of this...

by Angelou, Maya
...s collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Children.
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live....Read more of this...

by Blake, William
...e Jehovah.
But in Milton; the Father is Destiny, the Son, a Ratio of the
five senses. & the Holy-ghost, Vacuum!
Note. The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of
Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he
was a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it


A Memorable Fancy.

As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the 
enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and
insanity. I collected...Read more of this...

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...ing, rapping at my chamber door. 
"'T is some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door; 5 
Only this and nothing more." 

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December 
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 
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 ...Read more of this...

by Carroll, Lewis
...as 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 nutriment to me.
Dinner is Dinner: Tea is Tea." 

And she "Yea so? Yet wherefore cease?
Let thy scant knowledge find increase.
Say 'Men are Men, and Geese are Geese.'" 

He...Read more of this...

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...ind me rose the day; the Deep
Was at my feet, & Heaven above my head
When a strange trance over my fancy grew
Which was not slumber, for the shade it spread
Was so transparent that the scene came through
As clear as when a veil of light is drawn
O'er evening hills they glimmer; and I knew
That I had felt the freshness of that dawn,
Bathed in the same cold dew my brow & hair
And sate as thus upon that slope of lawn
Under the self same bough, & heard as there
The birds, the fou...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...t hath been poetically observed —

'That fools rush in where angels fear to tread.' - Pope 

If Mr. Southey had not rushed in where he had no business, and where he never was before, and never will be again, the following poem would not have been written. It is not impossible that it may be as good as his own, seeing that it cannot, by any species of stupidity, natural or acquired, be worse. The gross flattery, the dull impudence, the renegado intolerance, and...Read more of this...

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...h in the winter.
 What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
...www.geocities.com/ilya_shambat/akhmatova.html

 * I * 

We thought we were beggars, we thought we had nothing at all
But then when we started to lose one thing after another,
Each day became
A memorial day --
And then we made songs
Of great divine generosity
And of our former riches.


Unification

I'll leave your quiet yard and your white house -
Let life be empty and with light complete.
I'll sing the glory to you in my verse
Like n...Read more of this...

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Book: Reflection on the Important Things