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Famous Shifted Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Frost, Robert
...t it, then?"

 "Not so but I can find it.
No doubt it's grown up some to woods around it.
The mountain may have shifted since I saw it
In eighty-five."

 "As long ago as that?"

"If I remember rightly, it had sprung
A leak and emptied then. And forty years
Can do a good deal to bad masonry.
You won't see any Mormon swimming in it.
But you have said it, and we're off to find it.
Old as I am, I'm going to let myself
Be dragged by you all over everywh...Read More

by Browning, Robert

Over my head his arm he flung
Against the world; and scarce I felt
His sword (that dripped by me and swung)
A little shifted in its belt:
For he began to say the while
How South our home lay many a mile.


So 'mid the shouting multitude
We two walked forth to never more
Return. My cousins have pursued
Their life, untroubled as before
I vexed them. Gauthier's dwelling-place
God lighten! May his soul find grace!


Our elder boy has got the clear
...Read More

by Frost, Robert any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night....Read More

by Tebb, Barry
By Kirkgate Market

Alone at night

I wandered

The Parish Church’s

Stone lit by a

Hundred bulbs but

Its graveyard

Shifted aside.

Where are the banked

Stones of the dead?

Behind screens they raised

Their bones and counted

Their skulls and moved

Them in barrows.

The railway’s banks

Are buttressed with the

Moved memorial stones

The diggers wore sacking

Over their faces and

Burned their shovels.


Every garden and park

Is a hypothesis for ...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...esignation. You have made 
The cement of your churches out of tears 
And ashes, and the fabric will not stand: 
The shifted walls that you have coaxed and shored 
So long with unavailing compromise
Will crumble down to dust and blow away, 
And younger dust will follow after them; 
Though not the faintest or the farthest whirled 
First atom of the least that ever flew 
Shall be by man defrauded of the touch
God thrilled it with to make a dream for man 
When Science was unb...Read More

by Keats, John
...d so remain'd as he a corpse had been
All the long day; save when he scantly lifted
His eyes abroad, to see how shadows shifted
With the slow move of time,--sluggish and weary
Until the poplar tops, in journey dreary,
Had reach'd the river's brim. Then up he rose,
And, slowly as that very river flows,
Walk'd towards the temple grove with this lament:
"Why such a golden eve? The breeze is sent
Careful and soft, that not a leaf may fall
Before the serene father of them all
...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...especially secret gas-station 
 solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too, 
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in 
 dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and 
 picked themselves up out of basements hung 
 over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third 
 Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemploy- 
 ment offices, 
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on 
 the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the 
 East River to open to a room full of steamheat ...Read More

by Bishop, Elizabeth
...he pale bay wears a milky skin; the sky
no clouds except for one long, carded horse1s tail.

The islands haven't shifted since last summer,
even if I like to pretend they have
--drifting, in a dreamy sort of way,
a little north, a little south, or sidewise,
and that they're free within the blue frontiers of bay.

This month, our favorite one is full of flowers:
Buttercups, Red Clover, Purple Vetch,
Hackweed still burning, Daisies pied, Eyebright,
the Fragr...Read More

by Keats, John
...e other stepp'd serene,
 In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;
They pass'd, like figures on a marble urn,
 When shifted round to see the other side;
 They came again; as when the urn once more
Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
 And they were strange to me, as may betide
 With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.

How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
 How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
 To steal away, and le...Read More

by Paterson, Andrew Barton
...But the fighting man he kicked Bill's dog, and of course that meant a fight. 

So they sparred and fought, and they shifted ground, and never a sound was heard 
But the thudding fists on their brawny ribs, and the seconds' muttered word, 
Till the fighting man shot home his left on the ribs with a mighty clout, 
And his right flashed up with a half-arm blow -- and Saltbush Bill "went out". 
He fell face down, and towards the blow; and their hearts with fear were fille...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
Shocked, in his mid-career.

Right on the Roman shield and sword
Did spear of the Rhine maids run;
But the shield shifted never,
The sword rang down to sever,
The great Rhine sang for ever,
And the songs of Elf were done.

And a great thunder of Christian men
Went up against the sky,
Saying, "God hath broken the evil spear
Ere the good man's blood was dry."

"Spears at the charge!" yelled Mark amain.
"Death on the gods of death!
Over the thrones of doom and ...Read More

by Bishop, Elizabeth
the irises backed and packed 
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
--It was more like the tipping 
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
--if you could call it a lip 
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler,
When close to his right hand a heap
Of grey stones and a rocky ledge
Reminded him that he could make.
If he but shifted a few stones,
A shelter till the daylight broke.

But while he fumbled with the stones
They toppled over; 'Were it not
I have a lucky wooden shin
I had been hurt'; and toppling brought
Before his eyes, where stones had been,
A dark deep hollow in the rock.
He gave a gasp and thought to have fled,
Being certain it was no right rock
Because an ...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...cup she were --
But we lived on the square, like a true-married pair,
 An' I learned about women from 'er!

Then we was shifted to Neemuch
 (Or I might ha' been keepin' 'er now),
An' I took with a shiny she-devil,
 The wife of a ****** at Mhow;
'Taught me the gipsy-folks' bolee;
 Kind o' volcano she were,
For she knifed me one night 'cause I wished she was white,
 And I learned about women from 'er!

Then I come 'ome in a trooper,
 'Long of a kid o' sixteen --
'Girl from a co...Read More

by Gordon, Adam Lindsay
...hing up our lungs, 
Din of many tongues. 

Once again, one struggle good, 
One vain effort;—he must dwell 
Near the shifted post, that stood 
Where the splinters of the wood, 
Lying in the torn tracks, tell 
How he struck and fell. 

Crest where cold drops beaded cling, 
Small ear drooping, nostril full, 
Glazing to a scarlet ring, 
Flanks and haunches quivering, 
Sinews stiffening, void and null, 
Dumb eyes sorrowful. 

Satin coat that seems to shine 
Duller now,...Read More

by Pinsky, Robert
...lked-off lines
In the grass, white and green
The immaculate uniform,
And white the unpigmented
Halo of his hair
When he shifted his cap:

So ordinary and distinct,
So close up, that I felt
As if I could have made him up,
Imagined him as I imagined

The ball, a scintilla
High in the black backdrop
Of the sky. Tight red stitches.
Rawlings. The bleached

Horsehide white: the color
Of nothing. Color of the past
And of the future, of the movie screen
At rest and of...Read More

by Stevens, Wallace

It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,

For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:

The exact rock where his inexactness
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home....Read More

by Strand, Mark
...keep us apart.
The way it is, it would seem
the book of our lives is empty.
The furniture in the room is never shifted,
and the rugs become darker each time
our shadows pass over them.
It is almost as if the room were the world.
We sit beside each other on the couch,
reading about the couch.
We say it is ideal.
It is ideal.

We are reading the story of our lives,
as though we were in it,
as though we had written it.
This comes up again and a...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...dly well put on, 
It varied, till I don't think his own mother 
(If that he had a mother) would her son 
Have known, he shifted so from one to t'other; 
Till guessing from a pleasure grew a task, 
At this epistolary 'Iron Mask.' 


For sometimes he like Cerberus would seem — 
'Three gentlemen at once' (as sagely says 
Good Mrs. Malaprop); then you might deem 
That he was not even one; now many rays 
Were flashing round him; and now a thick steam 
Hid him from s...Read More

by Levis, Larry on their way back
From some routine exercise along
The Danube, even food was scarce that year.
And the languages shifted for no clear reason
From two hard quarries of Slavic into German,
Then to a shred of Latin spliced with oohs
And hisses. Even when I tried the simplest phrases,
The peasants passing over those uneven stones
Paused just long enough to look up once,
Uncomprehendingly. Then they turned
Quickly away, vanishing quietly into that
Moment, like bark ...Read More

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