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Famous Skelter Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Wignesan, T
...standard: toffee-nosed scoffer
And Lemerre* retains with success poetry’s destiny.
More than one poet then helter-skelter
Sought to join the rest through the narrow fissure;
But Vanier at the very end made haste
The only lucky one to assume the rôle of Fisher*.
We are the writers of good taste.


Even if our stock exchange tends to dither
Princes hold sway: gentle folk and the divining caste.
Whatever one might say or pours forth the preacher...Read more of this...

by McGonagall, William Topaz
...mass they fled down the opposite side of the hill
In hundreds,driven by sheer force sore against their will;
And helter-skelter they did run,
For all their positions were carried and the victory won. 

Then on the 8th of August again Lord Roberts' march began
For to fight the rebel Ayoob Khan;
And with an army about seven thousand strong
On his way to Candahar he fearlessly marched along. 

And the battle that followed at Candahar was a complete victory,
And Lord Robe...Read more of this...

by Rossetti, Christina
...mure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter-skelter, hurry-skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes, --
Hugged her and kissed her;
Squeezed and caressed her;
Stretched up their dishes,
Panniers and plates:
"Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plu...Read more of this...

by Southey, Robert
The gnawing of their teeth he could hear.

And in at the windows and in at the door,
And through the walls helter-skelter they pour,
And down from the ceiling and up through the floor,
From the right and the left, from behind and before,
From within and without, from above and below,
And all at once to the Bishop they go.

They have whetted their teeth against the stones,
And now they pick the Bishop's bones:
They gnaw'd the flesh from every limb,
For they were sent...Read more of this...

by Padel, Ruth
...lanned his icicles, 

Working all day for that Mesopotamian magic

Of last light before the dark

In a suspended helter-skelter, lit

By almost horizontal rays

Making a mist-carousel from the House of Diamond,


A spiral of Pepsodent darkening to the shadowfrost

Of cedars at the Great Gate of Kiev.

Why it makes me think of opening the door to you

I can't imagine. No one could be less

Of an icicle. But there it is -

Having put me down in felt-tip

In the my...Read more of this...

by Paterson, Andrew Barton
...s Party's Joy, 
And his smile-that-won't-come-off would quite disarm ye; 
And he played the leadin' hand 
In the Helter-Skelter Band, 
Known as Jimmy Dooley's Circulating Army. 
When the rank and file they found, 
They were marchin' round and round, 
They one and all began to act unruly; 
And the letter that he wrote, 
Sure it got the Labor goat, 
So we set ourselves to deal with Captain Dooley. 

Whill-il-loo. High Ho! 
We'll all be there you know, 
The r...Read more of this...

by Graves, Robert
Or port when we dine. 
But angrily, wittily, 
Tenderly, prettily, 
Laughingly, learnedly, 
Sadly, madly, 
Helter-skelter John 
Rhymes serenely on, 
As English poets should. 
Old John, you do me good!...Read more of this...

by Masters, Edgar Lee
...r I went, and my daughters grew up
With a look as if some one were about to strike them;
And they married madly, helter-skelter,
Just to get out and have a change.
And what was the whole of the business worth?
Why, it wasn't worth a damn!...Read more of this...

by Graves, Robert
...When outside the icy rain 
Comes leaping helter-skelter, 
Shall I tie my restive brain 
Snugly under shelter? 

Shall I make a gentle song
Here in my firelit study, 
When outside the winds blow strong 
And the lanes are muddy? 

With old wine and drowsy meats 
Am I to fill my belly?
Shall I glutton here with Keats? 
Shall I drink with Shelley? 

Tobacco’s pleasant, firelight’s good: 
Poetry makes both bet...Read more of this...

by Graves, Robert
Rooks flap croaking across the lane. 
I eat and swallow and eat again. 

Here come raindrops helter-skelter; 
I munch and nibble unregarding:
Hawthorn leaves are juicy and firm. 
I’ll mind my business: I’m a good worm. 

When I’m old, tired, melancholy, 
I’ll build a leaf-green mausoleum 
Close by, here on this lovely spray,
And die and dream the ages away. 

Some say worms win resurrection, 
With white wings beating flitter-flutter, 
But wings...Read more of this...

by Hardy, Thomas
...t break
Nor Truth leave unaverred.

And as I silently retired
I turned and watched them still:
And they came helter-skelter out,
Driven forward like a rabble rout
Into the world they had so desired,
By the all-immanent Will....Read more of this...

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
However many rats I see,
How many weasels there may be,
I cleanse the place from ev'ry one,
All needs must helter-skelter run.

Sometimes the bard so full of cheer
As a child-catcher will appear,
Who e'en the wildest captive brings,
Whene'er his golden tales he sings.
However proud each boy in heart,
However much the maidens start,
I bid the chords sweet music make,
And all must follow in my wake.

Sometimes the skilful bard ye view
In the form of maiden-cat...Read more of this...

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