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Famous Ship Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...ictory secure, 
To kings low prostrate at their bloody shrines. 
No more with vain uncertainty perplex 
Mistaken worshippers, or give unseen 
Response ambiguous in some mystic sound, 
And hollow murmer from the dark recess. 
No more of Lybian Jove; Dodona's oaks, 
In sacred grove give prophecy no more. 
Th' infernal deities retire abash'd, 
Our God himself on earth begins his reign; 
Pure revelation beams on ev'ry land, 
On ev'ry heart exerts a sov'reign sway, 
An...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...the noble character of mechanics and farmers, especially the young men, 
Responding their manners, speech, dress, friendships—the gait they have of persons
 never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors, 
The freshness and candor of their physiognomy, the copiousness and decision of their
The picturesque looseness of their carriage, their fierceness when wrong’d, 
The fluency of their speech, their delight in music, their curiosity, good tempe...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...een the daylight peer
Into a darkened room, and drawn the curtain,
And with dull eyes and wearied from some dear
And worshipped body risen, they for certain
Will never know of what I try to sing,
How long the last kiss was, how fond and late his lingering.

The moon was girdled with a crystal rim,
The sign which shipmen say is ominous
Of wrath in heaven, the wan stars were dim,
And the low lightening east was tremulous
With the faint fluttering wings of flying dawn,
Ere f...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...x or soup, and followed the 
 brilliant Spaniard to converse about America 
 and Eternity, a hopeless 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...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, 
the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! 
O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. 
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; R...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington in him 
That makes him only more to me a man 
Than any other I have ever known. 


I grant you that his worship is a man. 
I’m not so much at home with mysteries,
May be, as you—so leave him with his fire: 
God knows that I shall never put it out. 
He has not made a cripple of himself 
In his pursuit of me, though I have heard 
His condescension honors me with parts.
Parts make a whole, if we’ve enough of them; 
And once I figured a sufficiency 
To be...Read More

by Milton, John
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill 
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, 
And joined their vocal worship to the quire 
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake 
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs: 
Then commune, how that day they best may ply 
Their growing work: for much their work out-grew 
The hands' dispatch of two gardening so wide, 
And Eve first to her husband thus began. 
Adam, well may we labour still to dress 
This garden, st...Read More

by Whitman, Walt given in marriage, 
The oceans to be cross’d, the distant brought near,
The lands to be welded together. 

(A worship new, I sing; 
You captains, voyagers, explorers, yours! 
You engineers! you architects, machinists, your! 
You, not for trade or transportation only,
But in God’s name, and for thy sake, O soul.) 

Passage to India! 
Lo, soul, for thee, of tableaus twain, 
I see, in one, the Suez canal initiated, open’d, 
I see the procession of steamships, the Em...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
O for the girl, my mate! O for the happiness with my mate!
O the young man as I pass! O I am sick after the friendship of him who, I fear, is
 to me. 

O the streets of cities! 
The flitting faces—the expressions, eyes, feet, costumes! O I cannot tell how welcome
 are to me. 

O to have been brought up on bays, lagoons, creeks, or along the coast! 
O to continue and be employ’d there all my life!
O the briny and damp smell—the shore—the salt...Read More

by Ashbery, John
...but not coarse, merely on another scale,
Like a dozing whale on the sea bottom
In relation to the tiny, self-important ship
On the surface.) But your eyes proclaim
That everything is surface. The surface is what's there
And nothing can exist except what's there.
There are no recesses in the room, only alcoves,
And the window doesn't matter much, or that
Sliver of window or mirror on the right, even
As a gauge of the weather, which in French is
Le temps, the word ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...f growing out-doors, 
Of men that live among cattle, or taste of the ocean or woods, 
Of the builders and steerers of ships, and the wielders of axes and mauls, and
 the drivers of horses; 
I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out. 

What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me;
Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns; 
Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me; 
Not asking the sky to come down to my good will...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ties! you strong curbs at the edges! 
You ferries! you planks and posts of wharves! you timber-lined sides! you distant ships!
You rows of houses! you window-pierc’d façades! you roofs! 
You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards! 
You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much! 
You doors and ascending steps! you arches! 
You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden crossings!
From all that has been near you, I believe you have imparted to y...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
Who brought the cross to me,
Since on you flaming without flaw
I saw the sign that Guthrum saw
When he let break his ships of awe,
And laid peace on the sea.

Do you remember when we went
Under a dragon moon,
And `mid volcanic tints of night
Walked where they fought the unknown fight
And saw black trees on the battle-height,
Black thorn on Ethandune?
And I thought, "I will go with you,
As man with God has gone,
And wander with a wandering star,
The wandering heart of t...Read More

by Cowper, William
...ll bereft,
His floating home for ever left.

No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he with whom he went,
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast,
With warmer wishes sent.
He lov'd them both, but both in vain,
Nor him beheld, nor her again.

Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,
Or courage die away;
But wag'd with death a lasting strife,
Supported by despair of life.

He shouted: nor his friends had fail...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...Of love at large with tree and flower and stream,
And list the lark descant upon my theme,
Heaven's musical accepted worshipper. 
Thy smile outfaceth ill: and that old feud
'Twixt things and me is quash'd in our new truce;
And nature now dearly with thee endued
No more in shame ponders her old excuse,
But quite forgets her frowns and antics rude,
So kindly hath she grown to her new use. 

The very names of things belov'd are dear,
And sounds will gather beauty from ...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis how it happened. 

The Bellman, who was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to. They knew it was not of the slightest use to appeal to the Bellman about it--he would only refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instruct...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...True be thy sword, thy friend sincere,
     Thy lady constant, kind, and dear,
     And lost in love's and friendship's smile
     Be memory of the lonely isle!

     Song Continued.

     'But if beneath yon southern sky
          A plaided stranger roam,
     Whose drooping crest and stifled sigh,
     And sunken cheek and heavy eye,
          Pine for his Highland home;
     Then, warrior, then be thine to show
     The care that soothes a wand...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...e edifying Ithyphallics of Savagius, wishing to keep the proper veil over them, if his grave but somewhat indiscreet worshipper will suffer it; but certainly these teachers of 'great moral lessons' are apt to be found in strange company. 


Saint Peter sat by the celestial gate: 
His keys were rusty, and the lock was dull, 
So little trouble had been given of late; 
Not that the place by any means was full, 
But since the Gallic era 'eight-eight' 
The devils had ta'...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...d may I be
As prodigal in what lacks me.

She is a small island, asleep and peaceful,
And I am a white ship hooting: Goodbye, goodbye.
The day is blazing. It is very mournful.
The flowers in this room are red and tropical.
They have lived behind glass all their lives, they have been cared for
Now they face a winter of white sheets, white faces.
There is very little to go into my suitcase.

There are the clothes of a fat ...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...ion or love's art --
In awful silence lips melt into one
And out of love to pieces bursts the heart.

And friendship here is impotent, and years
Of happiness sublime in fire aglow,
When soul is free and does not hear
The dulling of sweet passion, long and slow.

Those who are striving toward it are in fever,
But those that reach it struck with woe that lingers.
Now you have understood, why forever
My heart does not beat underneath your fingers.

...Read More

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