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Famous Shadow Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Ginsberg, Allen
...less 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 tobacco haze of Ca...Read More



by Keats, John
...d;
Spaces of fire, and all the yawn of hell.---
Search, Thea, search! 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 s...Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom....Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...ght
Into the meadow's dawn,
Ivory limbed and brown-eyed,
Flashes my Faun!

He skips through the copses singing,
And his shadow dances along,
And I know not which I should follow,
Shadow or song!

O Hunter, snare me his shadow!
O Nightingale, catch me his strain!
Else moonstruck with music and madness
I track him in vain!...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...houghts be clear, 
 And all thy once intent, infirmed of fear, 
 Broken, then art thou as scared beasts that shy 
 From shadows, surely that they know not why 
 Nor wherefore. . . Hearken, to confound thy fear, 
 The things which first I heard, and brought me here. 
 One came where, in the Outer Place, I dwell, 
 Suspense from hope of Heaven or fear of Hell, 
 Radiant in light that native round her clung, 
 And cast her eyes our hopeless Shades among 
 (Eyes w...Read More



by Byron, George (Lord)
...sure or the general care; 
He did not follow what they all pursued, 
With hope still baffled, still to be renew'd; 
Nor shadowy honour, nor substantial gain, 
Nor beauty's preference, and the rival's pain: 
Around him some mysterious circle thrown 
Repell'd approach, and showed him still alone; 
Upon his eye sate something of reproof, 
That kept at least frivolity aloof; 
And things more timid that beheld him near, 
In silence gazed, or whisper'd mutual fear; 
And they the wi...Read More

by St Vincent Millay, Edna
...s' laughter
Is there, nor any sign of you at all
Swells fungous from the rotten bough, grey mother of Pieria!

Only her shadow once upon a stone
I saw,—and, lo, the shadow and the garden, too, were gone.

I tell you you have done her body an ill,
You chatterers, you noisy crew!
She is not anywhere!
I sought her in deep Hell;
And through the world as well;
I thought of Heaven and I sought her there;
Above nor under ground
Is Silence to be found,
That was the very warp and ...Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wal...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...to the south
Where a thick green forest stopped the mouth,
Giving darkness in his den.

And the man was come like a shadow,
From the shadow of Druid trees,
Where Usk, with mighty murmurings,
Past Caerleon of the fallen kings,
Goes out to ghostly seas.

Last of a race in ruin--
He spoke the speech of the Gaels;
His kin were in holy Ireland,
Or up in the crags of Wales.

But his soul stood with his mother's folk,
That were of the rain-wrapped isle,
Where Patrick and...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...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 I dreamed
Perchance in sleep—for in itself a thought,
A slumbering thought, is capable...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...wreckage lies:
Or, strutting on hot meridian banks, surprise
The silence: over plains in the moonlight bare
I chase my shadow, and perch where no bird dare
In treetops torn by fiercest winds of the skies. 
Poor simple birds, foolish birds! then I cry,
Ye pretty pictures of delight, unstir'd
By the only joy of knowing that ye fly;
Ye are not what ye are, but rather, sum'd in a word,
The alphabet of a god's idea, and I
Who master it, I am the only bird. 

23
O weary pi...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...into waste fields far away; 
There was I beaten down by little men, 
Mean knights, to whom the moving of my sword 
And shadow of my spear had been enow 
To scare them from me once; and then I came 
All in my folly to the naked shore, 
Wide flats, where nothing but coarse grasses grew; 
But such a blast, my King, began to blow, 
So loud a blast along the shore and sea, 
Ye could not hear the waters for the blast, 
Though heapt in mounds and ridges all the sea 
Drove like a ca...Read More

by Blake, William
...son usurps its place &
governs the unwilling.
And being restraind 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 adopte...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, 105 
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor: 
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor 
Shall be lifted¡ªnevermore! ...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...rought,
For Notion hath its source in Thought." 

So passed they on with even pace:
Yet gradually one might trace
A shadow growing on his face. 


The Second Voice 


THEY walked beside the wave-worn beach;
Her tongue was very apt to teach,
And now and then he did beseech 

She would abate her dulcet tone,
Because the talk was all her own,
And he was dull as any drone. 

She urged "No cheese is made of chalk":
And ceaseless flowed her dreary talk,
Tuned to the foo...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...s towards the tomb
Pored on the trodden worms that crawled beneath,
And others mournfully within the gloom
Of their own shadow walked, and called it death ...
And some fled from it as it were a ghost,
Half fainting in the affliction of vain breath.
But more 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 thir...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...loud of witnesses. 
But such a cloud! No land e'er saw a crowd 
Of locusts numerous as the heavens saw these; 
They shadow'd with their myriads space; their loud 
And varied cries were like those of wild geese 
(If nations may be liken'd to a goose), 
And realised the phrase of 'hell broke loose.' 

LIX 

Here crash'd a sturdy oath of stout John Bull, 
Who damn'd away his eyes as heretofore: 
There Paddy brogued, 'By Jasus!' — 'What's your wull?' 
The temperate Scot e...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...eats,
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 you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 
 Frisch weht der Wind
 Der Heimat zu
 Mein Irisch Kind,
 Wo weilest du?
"You gave me hyacinths fir...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...ess. I, too, create corpses.

I shall move north. I shall move into a long blackness.
I see myself as a shadow, neither man nor woman,
Neither a woman, happy to be like a man, nor a man
Blunt and flat enough to feel no lack. I feel a lack.
I hold my fingers up, ten white pickets.
See, the darkness is leaking from the cracks.
I cannot contain it. I cannot contain my life.

I shall be a heroine of the peripheral.
I shall not be accuse...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...at place, where, leaning to the windows
The tender birches make dry rustling sound,
The voices will be ringing of the shadows
And roses will in blackened wreaths be wound.

And further onward still -- the light is generous
Unbearably as though ¡®t were red hot wine..
And now the wind, all redolent and heated,
In perfect vigor has enflamed my mind.



x x x

Oh, this was a cold day
In Peter's wonderful town!
The shadow grew dense, and the sund...Read More

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