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Famous Shipwreck Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Clampitt, Amy
...fling its millenniums
of quartz, granite, and basalt.
 It behaves
toward the permutations of novelty—
driftwood and shipwreck, last night's
beer cans, spilt oil, the coughed-up
residue of plastic—with random
impartiality, playing catch or tag
ot touch-last like a terrier,
turning the same thing over and over,
over and over. For the ocean, nothing
is beneath consideration.
 The houses
of so many mussels and periwinkles
have been abandoned here, it's hopeless
to kno...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...hell, shall he create
A madness or a gloom to shut quite out
A cleaving daylight, and a last great calm
Triumphant over shipwreck and all storms.
He might have given Aristotle creeps,
But surely would have given him his katharsis.

He'll not be going yet. There's too much yet
Unsung within the man. But when he goes,
I'd stake ye coin o' the realm his only care
For a phantom world he sounded and found wanting
Will be a portion here, a portion there,
Of this or ...Read More

by Agustini, Delmira
...awaits me in unseen worlds?Perhaps a freshly picked bouquet of fragrant laurels,The golden fleece, a diamond scepter,A shipwreck, or the eternal crown of the Anointed Ones?… ...Read More

by Donne, John
Of springs, snares, fetters and manacles;
The brow becalms us when 'tis smooth and plain,
And when 'tis wrinkled shipwrecks us again— 
Smooth, 'tis a paradise where we would have
Immortal stay, and wrinkled 'tis our grave.
The nose (like to the first meridian) runs
Not 'twixt an East and West, but 'twixt two suns;
It leaves a cheek, a rosy hemisphere,
On either side, and then directs us where
Upon the Islands Fortunate we fall,
(Not faint Canaries, but Ambrosial)
H...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...damsel in the port,
And Philip Ray the miller's only son,
And Enoch Arden, a rough sailor's lad
Made orphan by a winter shipwreck, play'd
Among the waste and lumber of the shore,
Hard coils of cordage, swarthy fishing-nets,
Anchors of rusty fluke, and boats updrawn,
And built their castles of dissolving sand
To watch them overflow'd, or following up
And flying the white breaker, daily left
The little footprint daily wash'd away. 

A narrow cave ran in beneath the cliff:
I...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
Who with mistaken course salute the sand, 
And threatening rocks misapprehend for land, 
While baleful Tritons to the shipwreck guide, 
And corposants along the tackling slide, 
The passengers all wearied out before, 
Giddy, and wishing for the fatal shore, 
Some lusty mate, who with more careful eye 
Counted the hours, and every star did spy, 
The help does from the artless steersman strain, 
And doubles back unto the safer main. 
What though a while they grumble disco...Read More

by Clare, John
...of scorn and noise,
 Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
 But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
Even the dearest, that I love the best,
Are strange—nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes, where man hath never trod,
 A place where woman never smiled or wept—
There to abide with my Creator, God,
 And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling, and untroubled where I lie,
The grass below—above th...Read More

by Thomas, Dylan
...y the fin-green stubble,
Be by the ships' sea broken at the manstring anchored
The stoved bones' voyage downward
In the shipwreck of muscle;
Give over, lovers, locking, and the seawax struggle,
Love like a mist or fire through the bed of eels.

And in the pincers of the boiling circle,
The sea and instrument, nicked in the locks of time,
My great blood's iron single
In the pouring town,
I, in a wind on fire, from green Adam's cradle,
No man more magical, clawed out the cr...Read More

by Desnos, Robert
...ept your presence
Long long ago I went through the surf on a lonely day
The waves were unreal even then
The hulk of the shipwreck you knew about - remember that night of storms and
kisses? - was it a ship or a delicate woman's hat rolled by the wind in the spring
rain? - was there too
After that its happiness and dancing in the hawthornes!
The aperitifs had changed the names and colors
Of the rainbows framing the mirrors.

Long long ago you loved me....Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...My clumsiest dear, whose hands shipwreck vases,
At whose quick touch all glasses chip and ring,
Whose palms are bulls in china, burs in linen,
And have no cunning with any soft thing

Except all ill-at-ease fidgeting people:
The refugee uncertain at the door
You make at home; deftly you steady
The drunk clambering on his undulant floor.

Unpredictable dear, the taxi drivers' terror,
S...Read More

by Meredith, George
...All other joys of life he strove to warm, 
And magnify, and catch them to his lip: 
But they had suffered shipwreck with the ship, 
And gazed upon him sallow from the storm. 
Or if Delusion came, 'twas but to show 
The coming minute mock the one that went. 
Cold as a mountain in its star-pitched tent, 
Stood high Philosophy, less friend than foe: 
Whom self-caged Passion, from its prison-bars, 
Is always watching with a wondering hate. 
Not till the ...Read More

by Neruda, Pablo
...s full of bones that do not make a sound,
the heart moving through a tunnel,
in it darkness, darkness, darkness,
like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,
as though we were drowning inside our hearts,
as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul.

And there are corpses,
feet made of cold and sticky clay,
death is inside the bones,
like a barking where there are no dogs,
coming out from bells somewhere, from graves somewhere,
growing in the damp air like te...Read More

by Swinburne, Algernon Charles>

Because man's soul is man's God still,
What wind soever waft his will
Across the waves of day and night
To port or shipwreck, left or right,
By shores and shoals of good and ill;
And still its flame at mainmast height
Through the rent air that foam-flakes fill
Sustains the indomitable light
Whence only man hath strength to steer
Or helm to handle without fear.

Save his own soul's light overhead,
None leads him, and none ever led,
Across birth's hidden harbour-bar,
P...Read More

by Watts, Isaac
...Deliverance from storms and shipwreck; or, The seaman's song.

Would you behold the works of God,
His wonders in the world abroad,
Go with the mariners, and trace
The unknown regions of the seas.

They leave their native shores behind,
And seize the favor of the wind;
Till God command, and tempests rise
That heave the ocean to the skies.

Now to the heav'ns they mount amain...Read More

by Watts, Isaac
His heart that fixed on God relies,
Though waves and tempests roar around:
Safe on the rock he sits, and sees
The shipwreck of his enemies,
And all their hope and glory drowned.

The wicked shall his triumph see,
And gnash their teeth in agony,
To find their expectations crossed;
They and their envy, pride, and spite,
Sink down to everlasting night,
And all their names in darkness lost.]...Read More

by Hannah, Sophie
The sharp north wind must blow away the sand

And every storm to rage, however grand,
Will end in pain and shipwreck and debris
And each time there's a voice I have to strand
On a bare rock, hardened against its plea;
I know the rules....Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...e of white,
But ( snatch her along! ) we're going
To find our master to-night.

For we hold that in all disaster
Of shipwreck, storm, or sword,
A Man must stand by his Master
When once he has pledged his word.

Raging seas have we rowed in
But we seldom saw them thus,
Our master is angry with Odin--
Odin is angry with us!
Heavy odds have we taken,
But never before such odds.
The Gods know they are forsaken.
We must risk the wrath of the Gods!

Over the crest s...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...ry nerve to meet the worst,
He read it, and into his pounding brain
Tumbled a horror. Like a roaring sea
Foreboding shipwreck, came the message plain:
"This is two years ago! What of Christine?"
He fled the cellar, in his agony
Running to outstrip Fate, and save his holy shrine.

The darkened buildings echoed to his feet
Clap-clapping on the pavement as he ran.
Across moon-misted squares clamoured his fleet
And terror-winged steps. His heart began
To labour...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington now in Rome; and if your faith exceed 
The shadow cast of hope, say not of me
Too surely or too soon that years and shipwreck, 
And all the many deserts I have crossed 
That are not named or regioned, have undone 
Beyond the brevities of our mortal healing 
The part of me that is the least of me.
You see an older man than he who fell 
Prone to the earth when he was nigh Damascus, 
Where the great light came down; yet I am he 
That fell, and he that saw, and he that he...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...And on a throne o'erlaid with starlight, caught
Upon those wandering isles of aery dew
Which highest shoals of mountain shipwreck not,
She sate, and heard all that had happened new
Between the earth and moon since they had brought
The last intelligence: and now she grew
Pale as that moon lost in the watery night,
And now she wept, and now she laughed outright.

These were tame pleasures.--She would often climb
The steepest ladder of the crudded rack
Up to some beaked ...Read More

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