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Famous Shaft Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Bryant, William Cullen
...The groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned 
To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave, 
And spread the roof above them,---ere he framed 
The lofty vault, to gather and roll back 
The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood, 
Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down, 
And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks 
And supplication. For his simple heart 
Might not resist the sacred influences, 
Which, fro...Read More

by Nash, Ogden
...he rat who betrayed my gal."

The lift doth rise with groans and sighs
Like a duchess for the waltz,
Then in middle shaft, like a duchess daft,
It changes its mind and halts.
The bum bites lip as the landlocked ship
Doth neither fall nor rise,
But Maxie the elevator boy
Regards him with burning eyes.
"First, to explore the thirteenth floor,"
Says Maxie, "would be wise."

Quoth the bum, "There is moss on your double cross,
I have been this way before,
I have ca...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...ything that is not God consumed with intellectual fire.


The purity of the unclouded moon
Has flung its atrowy shaft upon the floor.
Seven centuries have passed and it is pure,
The blood of innocence has left no stain.
There, on blood-saturated ground, have stood
Soldier, assassin, executioner.
Whether for daily pittance or in blind fear
Or out of abstract hatred, and shed blood,
But could not cast a single jet thereon.
Odour of blood on the ancestral...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...Artemis that jealous maid
To please Athena, and the dappled hide
Of a tall stag who in some mountain glade
Had met the shaft; and then the herald cried,
And from the pillared precinct one by one
Went the glad Greeks well pleased that they their simple vows had

And the old priest put out the waning fires
Save that one lamp whose restless ruby glowed
For ever in the cell, and the shrill lyres
Came fainter on the wind, as down the road
In joyous dance these country f...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...ionally rides—
You may have met Him—did you not
His notice sudden is—

The Grass divides as with a Comb—
A spotted shaft is seen—
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on—

He likes a Boggy Acre
A Floor too cool for Corn—
Yet when a Boy, and Barefoot—
I more than once at Noon
Have passed, I thought, a Whip lash
Unbraiding in the Sun
When stooping to secure it
It wrinkled, and was gone—

Several of Nature's People
I know, and they know me—
I fee...Read More

by Keats, John
Fondles the flower amid the sobbing rain.
The archers too, upon a wider plain,
Beside the feathery whizzing of the shaft,
And the dull twanging bowstring, and the raft
Branch down sweeping from a tall ash top,
Call'd up a thousand thoughts to envelope
Those who would watch. Perhaps, the trembling knee
And frantic gape of lonely Niobe,
Poor, lonely Niobe! when her lovely young
Were dead and gone, and her caressing tongue
Lay a lost thing upon her paly lip,
And very, v...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half und...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
..., if the swamp's dank fumes permit, 
 The outcome of their beacon shows in view, 
 Severing the liquid filth." 
 No shaft can slit 
 Impalpable air, from any corded bow, 
 As came that craft towards us, cleaving so, 
 And with incredible speed, the miry wave. 
 To where we paused its meteor course it clave, 
 A steersman rising in the stern, who cried, 
 "Behold thy doom, lost spirit!" To whom my guide, 
 "Nay, Phlegyas, Phlegyas, here thy cries are 
 We need thine ai...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ey seem'd to fly — 
Now was the time, he waved his hand on high, 
And shook — Why sudden droops that plumed crest? 
The shaft is sped — the arrow's in his breast! 
That fatal gesture left the unguarded side, 
And Death hath stricken down yon arm of pride. 
The word of triumph fainted from his tongue; 
That hand, so raised, how droopingly it hung! 
But yet the sword instinctively retains, 
Though from its fellow shrink the falling reins; 
These Kaled snatches: dizzy with t...Read More

by St Vincent Millay, Edna
...rigid bosom weaned away,
If only she therewith be given me back?"
I sought her down that dolorous labyrinth,
Wherein no shaft of sunlight ever fell,
And in among the bloodless everywhere
I sought her, but the air,
Breathed many times and spent,
Was fretful with a whispering discontent,
And questioning me, importuning me to tell
Some slightest tidings of the light of day they know no more,
Plucking my sleeve, the eager shades were with me where I went.
I paused at every gr...Read More

by Campbell, Thomas
...e storm, 
Deflowering Nature's grassy robe, 
And trampling on her faded form:- 
Till light's returning lord assume 
The shaft the drives him to his polar field, 
Of power to pierce his raven plume 
And crystal-covered shield. 
Oh, sire of storms! whose savage ear 
The Lapland drum delights to hear, 
When frenzy with her blood-shot eye 
Implores thy dreadful deity, 
Archangel! power of desolation! 
Fast descending as thou art, 
Say, hath mortal invocation 
Spells to touch ...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...the kitchen pans: Shout All Over God’s Heaven.
When the rain slants on the potato hills and the sun plays a silver shaft on the last shower, sing to the bush at the backyard fence: Mighty Lak a Rose.
When the icy sleet pounds on the storm windows and the house lifts to a great breath, sing for the outside hills: The Ole Sheep Done Know the Road, the Young Lambs Must Find the Way.. . .
Spring slips back with a girl face calling always: “Any new songs f...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von>
Joining in lofty union with the Fates,
On Graces and on Muses calm relying,
With freely-offered bosom he awaits
The shaft that soon against him will be flying
From the soft bow necessity creates.

Favorites beloved of blissful harmony,
Welcome attendants on life's dreary road,
The noblest and the dearest far that she,
Who gave us life, to bless that life bestowed!
That unyoked man his duties bears in mind,
And loves the fetters that his motions bind,
That Chance with ...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...with the salt of death.

"And the heart of the locked battle
Is the happiest place for men;
When shrieking souls as shafts go by
And many have died and all may die;
Though this word be a mystery,
Death is most distant then.

"Death blazes bright above the cup,
And clear above the crown;
But in that dream of battle
We seem to tread it down.

"Wherefore I am a great king,
And waste the world in vain,
Because man hath not other power,
Save that in dealing death for d...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
..., Time shall not see 
The hour that tears my soul from thee: 
Even Azrael, [18] from his deadly quiver 
When flies that shaft, and fly it must, 
That parts all else, shall doom for ever 
Our hearts to undivided dust!" 


He lived — he breathed — he moved — he felt; 
He raised the maid from where she knelt; 
His trance was gone — his keen eye shone 
With thoughts that long in darkness dwelt; 
With thoughts that burn — in rays that melt. 
As the streams late conce...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord) the steed;
Some fly behind the nearest rock,
And there await the coming shock,
Nor tamely stand to bleed
Beneath the shaft of foes unseen,
Who dare not quit their craggy screen.
Stern Hassan only from his horse
Disdains to light, and keeps his course,
Till fiery flashes in the van
Proclaim too sure the robber-clan
Have well secured the only way
Could now avail the promised prey;
Then curled his very beard with ire,
And glared his eye with fiercer fire:
‘Though far and ...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...d may dure.
His sleep, his meat, his drink is *him byraft*, *taken away from him*
That lean he wex*, and dry as any shaft. *became
His eyen hollow, grisly to behold,
His hue sallow, and pale as ashes cold,
And solitary he was, ever alone,
And wailing all the night, making his moan.
And if he hearde song or instrument,
Then would he weepen, he might not be stent*. *stopped
So feeble were his spirits, and so low,
And changed so, that no man coulde know
His speec...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...est, with murmuring prayer,
     A slender crosslet framed with care,
     A cubit's length in measure due;
     The shaft and limbs were rods of yew,
     Whose parents in Inch-Cailliach wave
     Their shadows o'er Clan-Alpine's grave,
     And, answering Lomond's breezes deep,
     Soothe many a chieftain's endless sleep.
     The Cross thus formed he held on high,
     With wasted hand and haggard eye,
     And strange and mingled feelings woke,
     While his ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...nd, leg and arm with love-knots gay 
About me leap'd and laugh'd 
The modish Cupid of the day, 
And shrill'd his tinsel shaft. 

"I swear (and else may insects prick 
Each leaf into a gall) 
This girl, for whom your heart is sick, 
Is three times worth them all. 

"For those and theirs, by Nature's law, 
Have faded long ago; 
But in these latter springs I saw 
Your own Olivia blow, 

"From when she gamboll'd on the greens 
A baby-germ, to when 
The maiden blossoms of ...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
That is, the Present Company." 

Baffled, she gave a wolfish bark:
He, aiming blindly in the dark,
With random shaft had pierced the mark. 

She felt that her defeat was plain,
Yet madly strove with might and main
To get the upper hand again. 

Fixing her eyes upon the beach,
As though unconscious of his speech,
She said "Each gives to more than each." 

He could not answer yea or nay:
He faltered "Gifts may pass away."
Yet knew not what he meant to s...Read More

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