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Famous Shell Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...sang to the hero's praise, 
While round their woods and barren heaths was heard 
The shrill calm echo of th' enchanting shell. 
Than all those halls and lordly palaces 
Where in the days of chivalry, each knight, 
And baron brave in military pride 
Shone in the brass and burning steel of war; 
For in this hall more worthy of a strain 
No envious sound forbidding peace is heard, 
Fierce song of battle kindling martial rage 
And desp'rate purpose in heroic minds: 
But sacre...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...lody in woodland rill-
Or (music of the passion-hearted)
Joy's voice so peacefully departed
That like the murmur in the shell,
Its echo dwelleth and will dwell-
Oh, nothing of the dross of ours-
Yet all the beauty- all the flowers
That list our Love, and deck our bowers-
Adorn yon world afar, afar-
The wandering star.

'Twas a sweet time for Nesace- for there
Her world lay lolling on the golden air,
Near four bright suns- a temporary rest-
An oasis in desert of the blest....Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington itself 
To the familiar pattern of his rug, 
Wherein I may have sought a consolation—
As one may gaze in sorrow on a shell, 
Or a small apple. So it had come, I thought; 
And heard, no longer with a wonderment, 
The faint recurring footsteps of his wife, 
Who, knowing less than I knew, yet knew more.
Now I could read, I fancied, through the fear 
That latterly was living in her eyes, 
To the sure source of its authority. 
But he went on, and I was there to list...Read More

by Aldington, Richard
...le put 
A chrysalis in a match-box, 
"To see," they told me, "what sort of moth would come." 
But when it broke its shell 
It slipped and stumbled and fell about its prison 
And tried to climb to the light 
For space to dry its wings. 

That's how I was. 
Somebody found my chrysalis 
And shut it in a match-box. 
My shrivelled wings were beaten, 
Shed their colours in dusty scales 
Before the box was opened 
For the moth to fly. 


I hate that town; 
I...Read More

by Larkin, Philip
...e is found
Only in separation--marriage and birth 
And death and thoughts of these--for which was built
This special shell? For though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth 
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is 
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet 
Are recognisd and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete 
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more ...Read More

by Keats, John
...and hymns of festival
Upon the gold clouds metropolitan,
Voices of soft proclaim, and silver stir
Of strings in hollow shells; and there shall be
Beautiful things made new, for the surprise
Of the sky-children; I will give command:
Thea! Thea! Thea! where is Saturn?"
This passion lifted him upon his feet,
And made his hands to struggle in the air,
His Druid locks to shake and ooze with sweat,
His eyes to fever out, his voice to cease.
He stood, and heard not Thea's sobbi...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...s of Hell 
 Compassed, and where we walked the darkness fell. 

Canto V 

 MOST like the spirals of a pointed shell, 
 But separate each, go downward, hell from hell, 
 The ninefold circles of the damned; but each 
 Smaller, concentrate in its greater pain, 
 Than that which overhangs it. 
 who reach 
 The second whorl, on entering, learn their bane 
 Where Minos, hideous, sits and snarls. He hears, 
 Decides, and as he girds himself they go. 

 B...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
&Aelig;olus their sails inspires with eastern wind, 
Puffs them along, and breathes upon them kind. 
With pearly shell the Tritons all the while 
Sound the sea-march and guide to Sheppey Isle. 

So I have seen in April's bud arise 
A fleet of clouds, sailing along the skies; 
The liquid region with their squadrons filled, 
Their airy sterns the sun behind does gild; 
And gentle gales them steer, and heaven drives, 
When, all on sudden, their calm bosom rives 
With ...Read More

by Milton, John
...r the Punick coast, or where 
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat 
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell, 
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board 
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape 
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths 
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed 
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold 
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground 
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed. 
Mean while our p...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...lights and opened the door
For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish. Burst in
Like a shell of noxious gas. Creep up on me
Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation,
Or, with a simple tale prepared by you
(And known by all to the point of nausea), take me
Before the commander of the blue caps and let me
The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore...Read More

by Whittier, John Greenleaf
...on the drift-wood coals; 
The chowder on the sand-beach made, 
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot, 
With spoons of clam-shell from the pot. 
We heard the tales of witchcraft old, 
And dream and sign and marvel told 
To sleepy listeners as they lay 
Stretched idly on the salted hay, 
Adrift along the winding shores, 
When favoring breezes deigned to blow 
The square sail of the gundelow 
And idle lay the useless oars. 

Our mother, while she turned her wheel 
Or run th...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...nd and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither;) 
If nothing lay more develop’d, the quahaug in its callous shell were

Mine is no callous shell; 
I have instant conductors all over me, whether I pass or stop; 
They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me. 

I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy; 
To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I can stand.

Is this then a touch? quiverin...Read More

by Lanier, Sidney, ye shall cast my church a bell,'
Loud cried the Future from the farthest hills:
`Ye groaning forces, crack me every shell
Of customs, old constraints, and narrow ills;
Thou, lithe Invention, wake and pry and guess,
Till thy deft mind invents me Happiness.'

"And I beheld high scaffoldings of creeds
Crumbling from round Religion's perfect Fane:
And a vast noise of rights, wrongs, powers, needs,
-- Cries of new Faiths that called `This Way is plain,'
-- Grindings of upp...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...Mary sat in stall
With a golden Christ at play.

It was wrought in the monk's slow manner,
From silver and sanguine shell,
Where the scenes are little and terrible,
Keyholes of heaven and hell.

In the river island of Athelney,
With the river running past,
In colours of such simple creed
All things sprang at him, sun and weed,
Till the grass grew to be grass indeed
And the tree was a tree at last.

Fearfully plain the flowers grew,
Like the child's book to read,
O...Read More

by Browning, Robert
Horseshoes they hammer which turn on a swivel
And won't allow the hoof to shrivel.
Then they cast bells like the shell of the winkle
That keep a stout heart in the ram with their tinkle;
But the sand---they pinch and pound it like otters;
Commend me to Gipsy glass-makers and potters!
Glasses they'll blow you, crystal-clear,
Where just a faint cloud of rose shall appear,
As if in pure water you dropped and let die
A bruised black-blooded mulberry;
And that other sort, t...Read More

by Eluard, Paul
On my reunited houses 
I write your name 

On the fruit cut in two 
Of the mirror and of my room 
On my bed, an empty shell 
I write your name 

On my dog, young and greedy 
On his pricked-up ears 
On his clumsy paw 
I write your name 

On the springboard of my door 
On the familiar objects 
On the wave of blessed fire 
I write your name 

On all harmonious flesh 
On the face of my friends 
On every out-stretched hand 
I write your name 

On the window-pane of surprises 
On...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...with [[blank]] light
The Sun as he the stars. Like the young moon
When on the sunlit limits of the night
Her white shell trembles amid crimson air
And whilst the sleeping tempest gathers might
Doth, as a herald of its coming, bear
The ghost of her dead Mother, whose dim form
Bends in dark ether from her infant's chair,
So came a chariot on the silent storm
Of its own rushing splendour, and a Shape
So sate within as one whom years deform
Beneath a dusky hood & double cape...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...e of Dogs.
 Weialala leia
 Wallala leialala
 Elizabeth and Leicester
 Beating oars 
 The stern was formed
 A gilded shell
 Red and gold
 The brisk swell
 Rippled both shores
 Southwest wind
 Carried down stream
 The peal of bells
 White towers
 Weialala leia 
 Wallala leialala
"Trams and dusty trees.
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe."
"My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart
Unde...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...good-by with admirable restraint, 
Went from the church to catch his train to hell; 
And died-saving his batman from a shell. 

We went down to Devon, 
 In a warm summer rain, 
Knowing that our happiness 
 Might never come again; 
I, not forgetting, 
 'Till death us do part,' 
Was outrageously happy 
 With death in my heart. 
Lovers in peacetime 
 With fifty years to live, 
Have time to tease and quarrel 
 And question what to give; 
But lovers in wartime 
 Be...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...big sea. Far off, far off, I feel the first wave tug
Its cargo of agony toward me, inescapable, tidal.
And I, a shell, echoing on this white beach
Face the voices that overwhelm, the terrible element.

I am a mountain now, among mountainy women.
The doctors move among us as if our bigness
Frightened the mind. They smile like fools.
They are to blame for what I am, and they know it.
They hug their flatness like a kind of health.
And...Read More

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