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Famous Skills Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
...l fin’.

O! a’ ye flocks o’er a, the hills,
By mosses, meadows, moors, and fells,
Come, join your counsel and your skills
 To cowe the lairds,
An’ get the brutes the power themsel’s
 To choose their herds.

Then Orthodoxy yet may prance,
An’ Learning in a woody dance,
An’ that fell cur ca’d Common Sense,
 That bites sae sair,
Be banished o’er the sea to France:
 Let him bark there.

Then Shaw’s an’ D’rymple’s eloquence,
M’Gill’s close nervous excellence
M’Quhae...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
...eve hides what She can her pains,
And He to lessen hers his Sorrow feigns:
Yet both perceiv'd, yet both conceal'd their Skills,
And so diminishing increast their ills:
That whether by each others grief they fell,
Or on their own redoubled, none can tell.
And now Eliza's purple Locks were shorn,
Where she so long her Fathers fate had worn:
And frequent lightning to her Soul that flyes,
Devides the Air, and opens all the Skyes:
And now his Life, suspended by her breath,
Ran...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...the while, 
Things He admires and mocks too,--that is it. 
Because, so brave, so better though they be, 
It nothing skills if He begin to plague. 
Look, now, I melt a gourd-fruit into mash, 
Add honeycomb and pods, I have perceived, 
Which bite like finches when they bill and kiss,-- 
Then, when froth rises bladdery, drink up all, 
Quick, quick, till maggots scamper through my brain; 
Last, throw me on my back i' the seeded thyme, 
And wanton, wishing I were born a bi...Read More

by Milosz, Czeslaw
...we are better than they,
The gullible, hot-blooded weaklings, careless with their lives.

Treasure your legacy of skills, child of Europe.
Inheritor of Gothic cathedrals, of baroque churches.
Of synagogues filled with the wailing of a wronged people.
Successor of Descartes, Spinoza, inheritor of the word 'honor',
Posthumous child of Leonidas
Treasure the skills acquired in the hour of terror.

You have a clever mind which sees instantly
The good and bad ...Read More

by Browning, Robert
In some strange sort, were the land's portion. 'See
Or shut your eyes,' said Nature peevishly,
'It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
'Tis the Last Judgement's fire must cure this place,
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.'

If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock's harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to balk
All hope of greene...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...nded physical recipiency, 
Increase our power, supply fresh oil to life, 
Repair the waste of age and sickness: no, 
It skills not! life's inadequate to joy, 
As the soul sees joy, tempting life to take. 
They praise a fountain in my garden here 
Wherein a Naiad sends the water-bow 
Thin from her tube; she smiles to see it rise. 
What if I told her, it is just a thread 
From that great river which the hills shut up, 
And mock her with my leave to take the same? 
The a...Read More

by Rilke, Rainer Maria
...r spirits from
freely proceeding onward.

Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
to no longer use skills on had barely time to acquire;
not to observe roses and other things that promised
so much in terms of a human future, no longer
to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
to even discard one's own name as easily as a child
abandons a broken toy.
Strange, not to desire to continue wishing one's wishes.
Strange to notice all that was relat...Read More

by Hunt, James Henry Leigh
...ning they were wont
To fly their grey-goose quills
At butts, or wands, or trees, or twigs,
Till theirs was the skill of skills.

With swords too they played lustily,
And at quarter-staff;
Many a hit would have made some cry,
Which only made them laugh.

The horn was then their dinner-bell;
When like princes of the wood,
Under the glimmering summer trees,
Pure venison was their food.

Pure venison and a little wine,
Except when the skies were rough;
Or when they ha...Read More

by Gregory, Rg
...(getting nowhere and seeing nothing) -

all of which rings a human bell or two
such an ineffable fool - but look at its skills
able to hover and fly backwards - aztec
and mayan gods associated with the bird
judged to have such harmony and beauty 
(a vibration of pure joy) mortals gobsmacked

age stores its humming birds inside
exotic memories hovering in the mind
homages to a sun impossible to reach
sleeplessly-stirred bright feathers parade
their love charms - their essence ...Read More

by Gregory, Rg
...h's dogs
prefer more stately
avenues to piss up

the air is fresh
i'm moving briskly
getting a lift from
my negotiating skills

take a buggy on 
two wheels to skirt
a sudden pool a twirl
past faeces - a kind of
hop-scotch over jags
of milky glass - and come
to stop on a hillside
where slopes of grass drop
sleekly on what were
backs of houses

i'm out of breath
a darkness ripples
past my eyes and knocks
on my unfitness
i am locked for one
brief aeon as a rock
that's held its p...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...slope the way to crime; 
Then, when he most required commandment, then 
Had Lara's daring boyhood govern'd men. 
It skills not, boots not, step by step to trace 
His youth through all the mazes of its race; 
Short was the course his restlessness had run, 
But long enough to leave him half undone. 


And Lara left in youth his fatherland; 
But from the hour he waved his parting hand 
Each trace wax'd fainter of his course, till all 
Had nearly ceased his memo...Read More

by Fu, Du
...ed the crimson road. All the ten thousand people amazed by my silver head, I trusted to the riding and shooting skills of my rosy-cheeked youth. How could I know that bursting its chest, hooves chasing the wind, That racing horse, red with sweat, breathing spurts of jade, Would unexpectedly take a tumble and end up injuring me? In human life, taking pleasure often leads to shame. That's why I'm feeling sad, lying on quilts and pillows, Being in...Read More

by Matthews, William
...limate whose winter
and house whose isolation could be
stern enough to his wrath and pity
as to make them seem survival skills
he'd learned on the job, farming
fifty acres of pasture and woods.
For cash crops he had sweat and doubt
and moralizing rage, those staples
of the barter system. And these swift
and aching summers, like the blackberries
I've been poaching down the road
from the house where no one's home --
acid at first and each little globe
of the berry too t...Read More

by Gregory, Rg
thugs from the next village - so adept 
with fingers and feet she could put herself 
about as the whole team - her skills 
at batting bowling fielding keeping score
prodigious in the eyes of bemused suitors
she’s the innermost feminine dream
thread of life weaver of stories – the duck
machismo gets bowled over and out for...Read More

by Estep, Maggie
...ho became my best friend. Hope and I were flunking math
class so we became speed freaks. This honed our algebra skills and we quickly
became whiz kids. For about 5 minutes. Then, our brains started to fry
and we were just teenage speed freaks.

Then, we decided to to seek gainful employment.

We got hired on as part time maids at the Holiday Inn while a maid strike
was happening. We were scab maids on speed and we were coming to clean
your room.Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
..., hides what she can her pains, 
And he to lessen hers his sorrow feigns: 
Yet both perceived, yet both concealed their skills, 
And so diminishing increased their ills: 
That whether by each other's grief they fell, 
Or on their own redoubled, none can tell. 

And now Eliza's purple locks were shorn, 
Where she so long her Father's fate had worn: 
And frequent lightning to her soul that flies, 
Divides the air, and opens all the skies: 
And now his life, suspended by her...Read More

by Gregory, Rg

you are not interested in me
a receiver of food and a giver of ****
my brain knuckled under

i have rendered the skills of my 
limbs to generations of caesars
and caesar's gods have siphoned off my spirit
by day i have been trained to dismember my own brothers
my own pieces travel through the night yearning for union

in every land i am the bulk
the bricks you build with
in every land mine is the back that bends
the face that gets shoved in the earth

i am told how cos...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...of infinite space plumbed

With your finely honed probes

What days of unending distress lightened 

With your wisdom, skills and jouissance?

Conquistadores of the unconscious

For three decades how often have I come to you

And from your teachings gathered the manna

Of meaning eluding me alone in my northern eyrie?

Chance or God’s guidance – being a poet I chose the latter – 

Brought me to dip my ankle like an amah’s blessing

Into the Holy Ganges of prelude and grosse ...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard, your numbers do but raise
 Confusion and divided will;
In storm, the mindless deep obeys
 Not multitudes but single skills.
In calm, your numbers, closely pressed,
Must breed a mutiny or pest.

"We even on unchallenged seas,
 Dare not adventure where we would,
But forfeit brave advantages
 For lack of men to make 'em good;
Whereby, to England's double cost,
Honour and profit both are lost!"...Read More

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