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Famous Sixteen Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Ginsberg, Allen
...o good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. 
 Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us 
 all work sixteen hours a day. Help. 
America this is quite serious. 
America this is the impression I get from looking in 
 the television set. 
America is this correct? 
I'd better get right down to the job. 
It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes 
 in precision parts factories, I'm nearsighted and 
 psychopathic anyway. 
Amer...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
In them before they are begun. But this one 
Begins in the beginning—when he came. 
I was a boy at school, sixteen years old, 
And on my way, in all appearances, 
To mark an even-tempered average
Among the major mediocrities 
Who serve and earn with no especial noise 
Or vast reward. I saw myself, even then, 
A light for no high shining; and I feared 
No boy or man—having, in truth, no cause.
I was enough a leader to be free, 
And not enough a hero to be ...Read More

by Tebb, Barry God or chance made hearts

Beat like a butterfly’s wing

In January cold?

Good and bad are choice not chance

At sixteen I decided to be a poet,

Writing another’s love poems,

Earning my first praise. My verses

Were appalling until I learned

From Eliot and Alvarez - praise

Where praise is due.


The caf? staff are chatting in subdued tones,

Wearing white, wondering if they’ll survive

The winter, so do I; at fifty-four I must decide

For poetry, my ...Read More

by Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
Maketh answer to the clock,
Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;
Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over loud;
Some say, she sees my lady's shroud.

Is the night chilly and dark?
The night is chilly, but not dark.
The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
And yet she looks both small and dull.
The night is chill, the cloud is gray:
'T is a ...Read More

by Jeffers, Robinson
Intolerable God.
The sword: that is:
I have two sons whom I love. They are twins, they were born 
 in nineteen sixteen, which seemed to us a dark year
Of a great war, and they are now of the age
That war prefers. The first-born is like his mother, he is so 
That persons I hardly know have stopped me on the street to 
 speak of the grave beauty of the boy's face.
The second-born has strength for his beauty; when he strips 
 for swimming the hero sho...Read More

by Viorst, Judith
...My pants could maybe fall down when I dive off the diving board.My nose could maybe keep growing and never quit.Miss Brearly could ask me to spell words like stomach and special. (Stumick and speshul?)I could play tag all day and always be "it."Jay Spievack, who's fourteen feet tall, could want to fig...Read More

by Atwood, Margaret in your house. It's two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were no...Read More

by Hughes, Langston
...hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

 But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

 But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I ...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...n County. He liked the works of George Orwell, Richard

Aldington and Edmund Wilson.

 He learned about life at sixteen, first from Dostoevsky

and then from the whores of New Orleans.

 The bookstore was a parking lot for used graveyards.

Thousands of graveyards were parked in rows like cars.

Most of the kooks were out of print, and no one wanted to

read them any more and the people who had read the books

had died or forgotten about them, but through ...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard

 He left the next day for the mountains.

 Hours later, when he arrived in the mountains, the first

 sixteen campgrounds he stopped at were filled with people.

 He was a little surprised. He had no idea the mountains

 would be so crowded.

 At the seventeenth campground, a man had just died of a

 heart attack and the ambulance attendants were taking down

 his tent. They lowered the center pole and then pulled up the

 corner stakes. ...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...thing happened that afternoon, they went fishing

below the falls and caught half a dozen trout, good ones, too,

from sixteen to twenty-three inches long.

 "That was June 13, 1805.

 "No, I don't think Lewis would have understood it if the

Missouri River had suddenly begun to look like a Deanna Dur-

bin movie, like a chorus girl who wanted to go to college, "

Trout Fishing in America said.


I've come home from Trout Fishing...Read More

by Nin, Anais
...cupation for me. . . At the ages of nine, ten, eleven, I believe I approximated sainthood. And then, at sixteen, resentful of controls, disillusioned with a God who had not granted my prayers (the return of my father), who performed no miracles, who left me fatherless in a strange country, I rejected all Catholicism with exaggeration. Goodness, virtue, charity, submission, stifled me. I took up the words of Lawrence: "They stress only pain, sacrifice, ...Read More

by Masefield, John
...the fire, Jack?" 
"Damned if I know. Out Preston way." 
"No. It's at Chancey's Pitch, they say." 
"It's sixteen ricks at Pauntley burnt." 
"You back old Darby out, I durn't." 
They ran the big red engine out, 
And put 'em to with damn and shout. 
And then they start to raise the shire, 
"Who brought the news, and where's the fire?" 
They's moonlight, lamps, and gas to light 'em. 
I give a screech-owl's screech to fright 'em, 
And snatch from un...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
Four coffins for the little dead man,
Four fine coffins,
And one of them Captain Bennett's dining-table!
And sixteen splendid Chinamen, all strong and able
And of assured neutrality.
Ah! George of England, Lord Bathhurst & Co.
Your princely munificence makes one's heart glow.
Huzza! Huzza! For the Lion of England!
Tap! Tap! Tap!
Marble likeness of an Emperor,
Dead man, who burst your heart against a world too narrow,
The hammers drum you to your last th...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard of ancient tile,
And in drouthy middle August, when the bones of meadows
We can trace the lines they followed sixteen hundred years ago.

Then Julius Fabricius died as even Prefects do,
And after certain centuries, Imperial Rome died too.
Then did robbers enter Britain from across the Northern main
And our Lower River-field was won by Ogier the Dane.

Well could Ogier work his war-boat --well could Ogier wield his
Much he knew of foaming waters-...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.


Come gather round me, players all:
Come praise Nineteen-Sixteen,
Those from the pit and gallery
Or from the painted scene
That fought in the Post Office
Or round the City Hall,
praise every man that came again,
Praise every man that fell.

From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.

Who was the first man shot that day?
The player Connolly,
Close to the City Hall he died;
Catriage and voice had he...Read More

by Ondaatje, Michael
...ries. Just
don't be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I've given you.
You're 'sweet sixteen' you said.
I'd rather be your closest friend
than your father. I'm not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
--but that is greed.
And sometimes I've gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your r...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...ves; lay by those airs,
Which well might suit your former years,
Nor ape in vain the childish mien,
And airy follies of sixteen.

We pardon faults in youth's gay flow,
While beauty prompts the cheek to glow,
While every glance has power to warm,
And every turn displays a charm,
Nor view a spot in that fair face,
Which smiles inimitable grace.

But who, unmoved with scorn, can see
The grey coquette's affected glee,
Her ambuscading tricks of art
To catch the beau's un...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...bout to tie the knot, a handsome lothario

In his midforties winked at me constantly,

Dancing with practised ease with sixteen year olds

Who all seemed to know him and determined to show him.

Three hours passed in as many minutes and then the crowds

Disappeared to catch the last bus home. The young aren’t 

As black as they are painted, one I danced with reminded me

Of how Margaret would have been at sixteen

With straw gold hair Yeats would have immortalised.Read More

by Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
Milwaukee beer topped with sea foam
Beau Fleuve of Buffalo suddenly become salt
Manhatten Island swept clean in sixteen seconds
buried masts of Amsterdam arise
as the great wave sweeps on Eastward
to wash away over-age Camembert Europe
manhatta steaming in sea-vines
the washed land awakes again to wilderness
the only sound a vast thrumming of crickets
a cry of seabirds high over
in empty eternity
as the Hudson retakes its thickets
and Indians reclaim their canoes...Read More

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