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Famous Reflection Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Ashbery, John
...this one,
That mean old cartoonist, but just look what he's 
Done to me now! I scarce dare approach me mug's attenuated
Reflection in yon hubcap, so jaundiced, so déconfit
Are its lineaments--fun, no doubt, for some quack phrenologist's
Fern-clogged waiting room, but hardly what you'd call
Companionable. But everything is getting choked to the point of
Silence. Just now a magnetic storm hung in the swatch of sky
Over the Fudds' garage, reducing it--drastically--
To th...Read More



by Keats, John
...ugh the hollow,
The silent mysteries of earth, descend!"

 He heard but the last words, nor could contend
One moment in reflection: for he fled
Into the fearful deep, to hide his head
From the clear moon, the trees, and coming madness.

 'Twas far too strange, and wonderful for sadness;
Sharpening, by degrees, his appetite
To dive into the deepest. Dark, nor light,
The region; nor bright, nor sombre wholly,
But mingled up; a gleaming melancholy;
A dusky empire and its...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...ant, with thine: 
'Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice barrier; 
For ever sep'rate, yet for ever near! 
Remembrance and Reflection how ally'd; 
What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide: 
And Middle natures,(25) how they long to join, 
Yet never pass th' insuperable line! 
Without this just gradation, could they be 
Subjected these to those, or all to thee? 
The pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone, 
Is not thy Reason all these pow'rs in one?

VIII. See, thro' this ai...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...that had pour'd their wrath 
In hurried desolation o'er his path, 
And left the better feelings all at strife 
In wild reflection o'er his stormy life; 
But haughty still, and loth himself to blame, 
He call'd on Nature's self to share the shame, 
And charged all faults upon the fleshly form 
She gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm; 
'Till he at last confounded good and ill, 
And half mistook for fate the acts of will: 
Too high for common selfishness, he could 
At tim...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...legy to their union was smothered by the wails of my crying heart. 

I looked upon slumbering Nature, and with deep reflection discovered the reality of a vast and infinite thing -- something no power could demand, influence acquire, nor riches purchase. Nor could it be effaced by the tears of time or deadened by sorrow; a thing which cannot be discovered by the blue lakes of Switzerland or the beautiful edifices of Italy. 

It is something that gathers strength w...Read More



by Robinson, Mary Darby
...less step, th'embow'ring woods,
O, let thy transitory beam,
Soothe my sad mind, with FANCY'S aëry dream. 

Wrapt in REFLECTION, let me trace 
O'er the vast ethereal space, 
Stars, whose twinkling fires illume 
Dark-brow'd NIGHT'S obtrusive gloom; 
Where across the concave wide; 
Flaming METEORS swiftly glide; 
Or along the milky way, 
Vapours shoot a silvery ray;
And as I mark, thy faint reclining head, 
Sinking on Ocean's pearly bed;
Let REASON tell my soul, thus all thi...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...with each mast and spar 
Across the moon, like a prison-bar, 
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified 
By its own reflection in the tide. 

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street 
Wanders and watches with eager ears, 
Till in the silence around him he hears 
The muster of men at the barrack door, 
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet, 
And the measured tread of the grenadiers 
Marching down to their boats on the shore. 

Then he climbed to...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...n, 
By invitations 
To friends and relations, 
By evitation 
Of amputation, 
By permutation 
In conversation, 
And deep reflection 
You'll avoid dejection. 

Learn well your grammar, 
And never stammer, 
Write well and neatly, 
And sing most sweetly, 
Be enterprising, 
Love early rising, 
Go walk of six miles, 
Have ready quick smiles, 
With lightsome laughter, 
Soft flowing after. 
Drink tea, not coffee;
Never eat toffy. 
Eat bread with butter. 
Once more, do...Read More

by Ashbery, John
...
Brought it to the size of the mirror, he set himself
With great art to copy all that he saw in the glass,"
Chiefly his reflection, of which the portrait
Is the reflection, of which the portrait
Is the reflection once removed.
The glass chose to reflect only what he saw
Which was enough for his purpose: his image
Glazed, embalmed, projected at a 180-degree angle.
The time of day or the density of the light
Adhering to the face keeps it
Lively and intact in a recurring...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...insect; 
Illustrious the attribute of speech—the senses—the body; 
Illustrious the passing light! Illustrious the pale reflection on the new moon in the
 western
 sky! 
Illustrious whatever I see, or hear, or touch, to the last. 

Good in all,
In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals, 
In the annual return of the seasons, 
In the hilarity of youth, 
In the strength and flush of manhood, 
In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
In the superb vistas of Death. 

...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von
...p once more
Ionia's flowers, in pristine bloom arrayed.
Over the spirit fairer Nature shed,
With soft refulgence, a reflection bright,
And through the graceful soul with stately tread
Advanced the mighty Deity of light.
Millions of chains were burst asunder then,
And to the slave then human laws applied,
And mildly rose the younger race of men,
As brethren, gently wandering side by side,
With noble inward ecstasy,
The bliss imparted ye receive,
And in the veil of mode...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ion but memory, that mirror which Affliction dashes to the earth, and looking down upon the fragments, only beholds the reflection multiplied. 

(7) Carasman Oglou, or Kara Osman Oglou, is the principle landholder in Turkey; he governs Magnesia. Those who, by a kind of feudal tenure, possess land on condition of service, are called Timariots; they serve as Spahis, according to the extent of territory, and bring a certain number into the field, generally cavalry. 
...Read More

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
...to repel,

All cover'd with crosses in metal.

The shroud he must have, and no rest will allow,

There remains for reflection no time;
On the ornaments Gothic the wight seizes now,

And from point on to point hastes to climb.
Alas for the warder! his doom is decreed!
Like a long-legged spider, with ne'er-changing speed,

Advances the dreaded pursuer.

The warder he quakes, and the warder turns pale,

The shroud to restore fain had sought;
When the end,--now can n...Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
...murderer, death.
I am the lover who keeps his appointment
At the doors of breath!'

She rose and stared at her own reflection,
Half dreading there to find
The dark-eyed ghost, waiting beside her,
Or reaching from behind
To lay pale hands upon her shoulders . . .
Or was this in her mind? . . .

She combed her hair. The sunlight glimmered
Along the tossing strands.
Was there a stillness in this hair,—
A quiet in these hands?

Death was a dre...Read More

by Walcott, Derek
...the port side of dories, schooners, and yachts
was painted afresh by the strokes of the sun
signing her name with every reflection;
I knew when dark-haired evening put on
her bright silk at sunset, and, folding the sea,
sidled under the sheet with her starry laugh,
that there'd be no rest, there'd be no forgetting.
Is like telling mourners round the graveside
about resurrection, they want the dead back,
so I smile to myself as the bow rope untied
and the Flight swing seaw...Read More

by Baudelaire, Charles
...t have you for me this morning? 
Your empty eyes are stocked with nocturnal visions, 
In your cheek's cold and taciturn reflection, 
I see insanity and horror forming. 
The green succubus and the red urchin, 
Have they poured you fear and love from their urns? 
The nightmare of a mutinous fist that despotically turns, 
Does it drown you at the bottom of a loch beyond searching? 

I wish that your breast exhaled the scent of sanity, 
That your womb of thought was not a tom...Read More

by Duffy, Carol Ann
...
like the careful undressing of love.

Here. 
It will blind you with tears 
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fi...Read More

by Swift, Jonathan
...upon the queen.
Then here's a letter finely penned
Against the Craftsman and his friend;
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication;
And Mr Henley's last oration.
The hawkers have not got 'em yet - 
Your honour please to buy a set?
Here's Woolston's tracts, the twelfth edition,
'Tis read by ev'ry politician:
The country members, when in town,
To all their boroughs send them down;
You never met a thing ...Read More

by Borges, Jorge Luis
..., not the one that stands still.

We are the river and we are that greek
that looks himself into the river. His reflection
changes into the waters of the changing mirror,
into the crystal that changes like the fire.

We are the vain predetermined river,
in his travel to his sea.

The shadows have surrounded him.
Everything said goodbye to us, everything goes away.

Memory does not stamp his own coin.

However, there is something that stays
however,...Read More

by Padel, Ruth
...teapot, sending coils of Lapsang Suchong
Floating to the ceiling in the shadows, tracing O and E 
In the window's black reflection, one finger 
Tendrilling her own breath on the glass. 
Like putting a shell to your ear to hear the sea 
*
When it's really your own red little sparkle, the echo 
Of marching blood. She's asking a phantom 
World of pearled-up mist for proof
That her man exists: that gamelans and tumbrils
Won't evade her. But now, among 
The kitchen gar...Read More

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