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Famous Shock Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
Build up a kingdom shadowing the earth, 
Unmov'd by thunder or impetuous storm 
Of civil war, dark treason, or the shock 
Of hostile nations, in dire league combin'd. 
They build a kingdom of a nobler date, 
Who build the kingdom of the Saviour God. 
This, not descending rain, nor mighty storm, 
Nor sea indignant, nor the raging fire, 
Nor time shall waste, or from firm basis move. 
Rounded on earth its head doth reach the skies, 
Secure from thunder, and imp...Read more of this...

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...ion; sleep,
Like a dark flood suspended in its course, 
Rolled back its impulse on his vacant brain.

Roused by the shock, he started from his trance--
The cold white light of morning, the blue moon
Low in the west, the clear and garish hills,
The distinct valley and the vacant woods,
Spread round him where he stood. Whither have fled
The hues of heaven that canopied his bower
Of yesternight? The sounds that soothed his sleep,
The mystery and the majesty of Earth,
The...Read more of this...

by Ginsberg, Allen
...t of the moon, 
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts 
 and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks 
 and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars, 
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days 
 and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the 
 Synagogue cast on the pavement, 
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a 
 trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic 
 City Hall, 
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind- 
 ings and m...Read more of this...

by Bryant, William Cullen
...urry weaves,
Beneath an ivied tree, his sheltering seat,
Of rushy flags and sedges tied in sheaves,
Or from the field a shock of stubble thieves.
There he doth dithering sit, and entertain
His eyes with marking the storm-driven leaves;
Oft spying nests where he spring eggs had ta'en,
And wishing in his heart 'twas summer-time again.

Thus wears the month along, in checker'd moods,
Sunshine and shadows, tempests loud, and calms;
One hour dies silent o'er the sleepy woo...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
With fresh alacrity and force renewed 
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, 
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock 
Of fighting elements, on all sides round 
Environed, wins his way; harder beset 
And more endangered than when Argo passed 
Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks, 
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned 
Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steered. 
So he with difficulty and labour hard 
Moved on, with difficulty and labour he; 
But, he o...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...lision of two bodies, grind 
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds 
Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock, 
Tine the slant lightning; whose thwart flame, driven down 
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine; 
And sends a comfortable heat from far, 
Which might supply the sun: Such fire to use, 
And what may else be remedy or cure 
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought, 
He will instruct us praying, and of grace 
Beseeching him; so as we need not fear ...Read more of this...

by Whittier, John Greenleaf
...mth and light. 

Within our beds awhile we heard 
The wind that round the gables roared, 
With now and then a ruder shock, 
Which made our very bedsteads rock. 
We heard the loosened clapboards tost, 
The board-nails snapping in the frost; 
And on us, through the unplastered wall, 
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall. 
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do 
When hearts are light and life is new; 
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew, 
Till in the summer-land of...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...bodies, and bodies by themselves—dabs of flesh upon the
 masts and spars, 
Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the soothe of waves, 
Black and impassive guns, litter of powder-parcels, strong scent, 
Delicate sniffs of sea-breeze, smells of sedgy grass and fields by the shore,
 death-messages given in charge to survivors, 
The hiss of the surgeon’s knife, the gnawing teeth of his saw,
Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, and long, d...Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
...d a Shape that moveth murkily
In mirrors of ice and night,
Hath blanched with fear all beasts and birds,
As death and a shock of evil words
Blast a man's hair with white.

And the cry of the palms and the purple moons,
Or the cry of the frost and foam,
Swept ever around an inmost place,
And the din of distant race on race
Cried and replied round Rome.

And there was death on the Emperor
And night upon the Pope:
And Alfred, hiding in deep grass,
Hardened his heart with...Read more of this...

by Lowell, Amy
...haste and knit another row.
Three hours at least must pass before his knock
Would startle her. It always was a shock.
She listened -- listened -- for so long before,
That when it came her hearing almost tore.
She caught herself just starting in to listen.
What nerves she had: rattling like brittle sticks!
She wandered to the window, for the glisten
Of a bright moon was tempting. Snuffed the wicks
Of her two candles. Still she could not fix
To anyt...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...Starlight of his Boyhood;—as he stood
Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came
The selfsame aspect and the quivering shock
That in the antique Oratory shook
His bosom in its solitude; and then— 
As in that hour—a moment o'er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced—and then it faded as it came,
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke
The fitting vows, but heard not his own words,
And all things reeled around him; he could see
Not that which was, nor that wh...Read more of this...

by Masefield, John
...And when we broke, as I foresaw, 
He swung his right in for the jaw. 
I stopped it on my shoulder bone, 
And at the shock I heard Bill groan 
A little groan or moan or grunt 
As though I'd hit his wind a bunt. 
At that, I clinched, and while we clinched, 
His old time right arm dig was flinched, 
And when we broke he hit me light 
As though he didn't trust his right, 
He flapped me somehow with his wrist 
As though he couldn't use his fist, 
And when he hit he winced ...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...the stars; 
And the wind fell, and on the seventh night 
I heard the shingle grinding in the surge, 
And felt the boat shock earth, and looking up, 
Behold, the enchanted towers of Carbonek, 
A castle like a rock upon a rock, 
With chasm-like portals open to the sea, 
And steps that met the breaker! there was none 
Stood near it but a lion on each side 
That kept the entry, and the moon was full. 
Then from the boat I leapt, and up the stairs. 
There drew my sword.Read more of this...

by Scott, Sir Walter
     But thundering as he came prepared,
     With ready arm and weapon bared,
     The wily quarry shunned the shock,
     And turned him from the opposing rock;
     Then, dashing down a darksome glen,
     Soon lost to hound and Hunter's ken,
     In the deep Trosachs' wildest nook
     His solitary refuge took.
     There, while close couched the thicket shed
     Cold dews and wild flowers on his head,
     He heard the baffled dogs in vain
     Rave thr...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...knew, had held sometime with pain 
His own against him, and now yearned to shake 
The burthen off his heart in one full shock 
With Tristram even to death: his strong hands gript 
And dinted the gilt dragons right and left, 
Until he groaned for wrath--so many of those, 
That ware their ladies' colours on the casque, 
Drew from before Sir Tristram to the bounds, 
And there with gibes and flickering mockeries 
Stood, while he muttered, `Craven crests! O shame! 
What faith have...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...llow fields: and here were telescopes 
For azure views; and there a group of girls 
In circle waited, whom the electric shock 
Dislinked with shrieks and laughter: round the lake 
A little clock-work steamer paddling plied 
And shook the lilies: perched about the knolls 
A dozen angry models jetted steam: 
A petty railway ran: a fire-balloon 
Rose gem-like up before the dusky groves 
And dropt a fairy parachute and past: 
And there through twenty posts of telegraph 
They flas...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...Pious Maid beware!
This to disclose is all thy Guardian can.
Beware of all, but most beware of Man!

He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leapt up, and wak'd his Mistress with his Tongue.
'Twas then Belinda, if Report say true,
Thy Eyes first open'd on a Billet-doux.
Wounds, Charms, and Ardors, were no sooner read,
But all the Vision vanish'd from thy Head. 

And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd,
Each Silver Vase in mystic Order laid...Read more of this...

by Petrarch, Francesco
...e, her charms conceal'd,And led the foes of Latium to the field.The shock at ancient Rome was felt afar,And Tyber trembled at the distant warOf foes she held in scorn: but soon she foundThat Mars his native tribes with conquest crown'dAnd by her haughty foes in triumph led,The last warm tears of i...Read more of this...

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...when their lightnings mingle
And die in rain,--the fiery band which held
Their natures, snaps . . . ere the shock cease to tingle
One falls and then another in the path
Senseless, nor is the desolation single,
Yet ere I can say where the chariot hath
Past over them; nor other trace I find
But as of foam after the Ocean's wrath
Is spent upon the desert shore.--Behind,
Old men, and women foully disarrayed
Shake their grey hair in the insulting wind,
Limp in the ...Read more of this...

by Masefield, John
...e muzzle like a half-tide rock, 
Drowned to the mainmast with the seas she shipped; 
Her cable-swivels clanged at every shock. 

And like a never-dying force, the wind 
Roared till we shouted with it, roared until 
Its vast virality of wrath was thinned, 
Had beat its fury breathless and was still. 

By dawn the gale had dwindled into flaw, 
A glorious morning followed: with my friend 
I climbed the fo'c's'le-head to see; we saw 
The waters hurrying shoreward without ...Read more of this...

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