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Famous Red Light Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Graves, Robert
...the least mistake.
Seven-seventy-one. (Look! there’s a plover! 
It’s gone!) Who’s that Saint by the lake? 
The red light from his mantle passes 
Across the broad memorial brasses. 

It’s pleasant here for dreams and thinking,
Lolling and letting reason nod, 
With ugly serious people linking 
Sad prayers to a forgiving God…. 
But a dumb blast sets the trees swaying 
With furious zeal like madmen praying....Read More

by Sorley, Charles
...the downs more chill
Blew, the sun sank and all the road
Was darkened, that it only showed
Right at the end the town's red light
And twilight glimmering into night.

The horses never slackened till
They reached the doorway and stood still.
Then came the knock, the unlading; then
The honey-sweet converse of men,
The splendid bath, the change of dress,
Then - oh the grandeur of their Mess,
The henchmen, the prim stewardess!
And oh the breaking of old ground,
The tales,...Read More

by Yevtushenko, Yevgeny
 Like a seasoned lion,
Neruda buys bread in the shop.
He asks for it to be wrapped in paper
And solemly puts it under his arm:
"Let someone at least think
that at some time
 I bought a book…"
Waving his hand in farewell,
like a Roman
 rather dreamily royal, 
in the air scented with mollusks, 
he walks with the bread through Va...Read More

by Service, Robert William
Such a beautiful cave they had for a house,
And a brood of a dozen young.
And Wung would start by the dawn's red light
On the trailing of bird or beast,
And crawl back tired on the brink of night
With food for another feast.

Then the young would dance in their naked glee,
And Choo would fuel the fire;
Fur and feather, how good to see,
And to gorge to heart's desire!
Flesh of rabbit and goose and deer,
With fang-like teeth they tore,
And laughed with faces a bl...Read More

by Service, Robert William
 How would my mug look in his place?

That oblong of wall-paper wan!
 And while she prattled prettily
I sensed the red light going on,
 So I refused a cup of tea,
And took my gold-topped cane and hat--
 My going seemed to leave her flat.

Horatio was a decent guy,
 And when she ravished from her heart
A damsite better man than I,
 She seemed to me,--well, just a tart:
Her lack of tact I can't explain.
 His picture,--is it hung again?...Read More

by Montgomery, Lucy Maud bars, 
Gaze the calm, cold eyes of the early stars. 

But here, in this long, low-raftered room,
Where the blood-red light is crouching and leaping, 
The fire that colors the heart of the gloom
The lost sunshine of old summers is keeping­
The wealth of forests that held in fee 
Many a season's rare alchemy, 
And the glow and gladness without a name 
That dwells in the deeps of unstinted flame. 

Gather we now round the opulent blaze
With the face that loves and the...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...passed I know not. For the ground 
 Trembled that heard him, and a fearful sound 
 Of issuing wind arose, and blood-red light 
 Broke from beneath our feet, and sense and sight 
 Left me. The memory with cold sweat once more 
 Reminds me of the sudden-crimsoned night, 
 As sank I senseless by the dreadful shore. 

Canto IV 

 ARISING thunder from the vast Abyss 
 First roused me, not as he that rested wakes 
 From slumbrous hours, but one rude fury shakes 
 ...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...back up the line to my hand. The line felt like

sound. It was like an ambulance siren coming straight at

me, red light flashing, and then going away again and then

taking to the air and becoming an air-raid siren.

 The fish jumped a few more times and it still looked like

a frog, but it didn't have any legs. Then the fish grew tired

and sloppy, and I swung and splashed it up the surface of

the creek and into my net.

 The fish was a twelve-inch rai...Read More

by Williams, Hugo
...Everyone who made love the night before 
was walking around with flashing red lights 
on top of their heads-a white-haired old gentlemen, 
a red-faced schoolboy, a pregnant woman 
who smiled at me from across the street 
and gave a little secret shrug, 
as if the flashing red light on her head 
was a small price to pay for what she knew....Read More

by McGonagall, William Topaz
...It was the duty of Carl's father to watch the bridge on stormy nights,
And warn the on-coming trains of danger with the red lights;
So, on this stormy night, the boy Carl hobbled along
Slowly and fearlessly upon his crutches, because he wasn't strong. 

He struggled on manfully with all his might
Through the fearful darkness of the night,
And half-blinded by the heavy rain,
But still resolved the bridge to gain. 

But when within one hundred yards of the bridge, it ga...Read More

by Crane, Stephen
...The impact of a dollar upon the heart
Smiles warm red light,
Sweeping from the hearth rosily upon the white table,
With the hanging cool velvet shadows
Moving softly upon the door.

The impact of a million dollars
Is a crash of flunkeys,
And yawning emblems of Persia
Cheeked against oak, France and a sabre,
The outcry of old beauty
Whored by pimping merchants
To submission before wine and chatter.
S...Read More

by Bishop, Elizabeth
...the smell of salt hay.
An iron bridge trembles 
and a loose plank rattles
but doesn't give way.

On the left, a red light
swims through the dark:
a ship's port lantern.
Two rubber boots show,
illuminated, solemn.
A dog gives one bark.

A woman climbs in 
with two market bags,
brisk, freckled, elderly.
"A grand night. Yes, sir,
all the way to Boston."
She regards us amicably.

Moonlight as we enter 
the New Brunswick woods,
hairy, scratchy, ...Read More

by Montgomery, Lucy Maud
...the seas and plains ye rove,
Come over the meadows and up the lane to my door set open wide,
And sit ye down where the red light shines from my welcoming fireside. 

I keep for you all your childhood dreams, your gladness and delights,
The joy of days in the sun and rain, the sleep of carefree nights,
All the sweet faiths ye have lost and sought again shall be your own,
Darlings, come to my empty heart­I am old and still and alone!...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...e neither good nor bad.

And, having followed, you would find him 
Where properly the play begins; 
But look for no red light behind him-- 
No fumes of many-colored sins, 
Fanned high by screaming violins. 
God knows what good it was to blind him 
Or whether man or woman wins.

And by the same eternal token, 
Who knows just how it will all end?-- 
This drama of hard words unspoken, 
This fireside farce without a friend 
Or enemy to comprehend 
What augurs when two...Read More

by McGonagall, William Topaz
...r the sea with a wistful eye,
Hoping that some passing vessel she might descry,
And to the westward she espied a bright red light,
But as the little craft passed on it vanished from her sight. 

But alas; no vessel could she see around anywhere,
And at last the poor soul began to despair,
And there the lonely woman sat looking out to the heavens above,
Praying to God for succour with her heart full of love. 

At last the Columbine began to strike on submerged rocks,
A...Read More

by Eliot, George
Those watched a life that love had sent.
O solemn hour!
O hidden power!

Two parents by the evening fire:
The red light fell about their knees
On heads that rose by slow degrees
Like buds upon the lily spire.
O patient life!
O tender strife!

The two still sat together there,
The red light shone about their knees;
But all the heads by slow degrees
Had gone and left that lonely pair.
O voyage fast! 
O vanished past!

The red light shone upon the floor
And mad...Read More

by Service, Robert William
...n Holy Christmas Eve.

With double natures we are vext,
And what we feel, we are;
A saint one day, a sinner next,
A red light or a star;
A prostitute or proselyte,
And in each part sincere:
So I become a vestal white
One week in every year.

For this I say without demur
From out life's lurid lore,
Each righteous women has in her
A tincture of the whore;
While every harpy of the night,
As I have learned too well;
Holds in her heart a heaven-light
To ransom her from hel...Read More

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