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Famous Sleight Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
...ield ava,
Her darling bird that she lo’es best—
 Willie’s awa!


O Willie was a witty wight,
And had o’ things an unco’ sleight,
Auld Reekie aye he keepit tight,
 And trig an’ braw:
But now they’ll busk her like a fright,—
 Willie’s awa!


The stiffest o’ them a’ he bow’d,
The bauldest o’ them a’ he cow’d;
They durst nae mair than he allow’d,
 That was a law:
We’ve lost a birkie weel worth gowd;
 Willie’s awa!


Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks and fools,
Frae colleges and boardin...Read More



by Burns, Robert
...ight
Upon a fine, fat fodgel wight,
O’ stature short, but genius bright,
 That’s he, mark weel;
And wow! he has an unco sleight
 O’ cauk and keel.


By some auld, houlet-haunted biggin,
Or kirk deserted by its riggin,
It’s ten to ane ye’ll find him snug in
 Some eldritch part,
Wi’ deils, they say, L—d save’s! colleaguin
 At some black art.


Ilk ghaist that haunts auld ha’ or chaumer,
Ye gipsy-gang that deal in glamour,
And you, deep-read in hell’s black grammar,
 War...Read More

by Burns, Robert
...br>—
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw’d the Dead in their last dresses;
And (by some devilish cantraip sleight)
Each in its cauld hand held a light.
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer’s banes, in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi’ his last gasp his gabudid gape;
Five tomahawks, wi’ blude red-rusted:
Five scimitars, wi’ murder crusted;
A garter which a babe had stran...Read More

by Pound, Ezra
...ind that's come from birchen bowers. 
Green come the shoots, aye April in the branches, 
As winter's wound with her sleight hand she staunches, 
Hath of the trees a likeness of the savour: 
As white as their bark, so white this lady's hours....Read More

by Browning, Robert
...umpet's sound
Was finished, prone lay the false knight,
Prone as his lie, upon the ground:
Gismond flew at him, used no sleight
O' the sword, but open-breasted drove,
Cleaving till out the truth he clove.

XVII.

Which done, he dragged him to my feet
And said ``Here die, but end thy breath
``In full confession, lest thou fleet
``From my first, to God's second death!
``Say, hast thou lied?'' And, ``I have lied
``To God and her,'' he said, and died.

XVIII.

The...Read More



by Sidney, Sir Philip
...raunce;
Horsemen my skill in horsemanship aduaunce,
Towne folkes my strength; a daintier iudge applies
His praise to sleight which from good vse doth rise;
Some luckie wits impute it but to chance;
Others, because of both sides I doe take
My blood from them who did excell in this,
Thinke Nature me a man-at-armes did make.
How farre they shot awrie! The true cause is,
Stella lookt on, and from her heau'nly face
Sent forth the beames which made so faire my race.Read More

by Francis, Robert
...Two boys uncoached are tossing a poem together,
Overhand, underhand, backhand, sleight of hand, everyhand,
Teasing with attitudes, latitudes, interludes, altitudes,
High, make him fly off the ground for it, low, make him stoop,
Make him scoop it up, make him as-almost-as possible miss it,
Fast, let him sting from it, now, now fool him slowly,
Anything, everything tricky, risky, nonchalant,
Anything under the sun to outwit the prosy,
Ov...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...e woods,
Thrush music -- hark!
Now if it was dusk outside,
Inside it was dark.

Too dark in the woods for a bird
By sleight of wing
To better its perch for the night,
Though it still could sing.

The last of the light of the sun
That had died in the west
Still lived for one song more
In a thrush's breast.

Far in the pillared dark
Thrush music went --
Almost like a call to come in
To the dark and lament.

But no, I was out for stars;
I would not come in.
I...Read More

by Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
...ing
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
performing entrachats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be
For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little c...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ly rash, 
Vain Otho gave his bosom to the gash: 
He bled, and fell; but not with deadly wound, 
Stretch'd by a dextrous sleight along the ground. 
"Demand thy life!" He answer'd not: and then 
From that red floor he ne'er had risen again, 
For Lara's brow upon the moment grew 
Almost to blackness in its demon hue; 
And fiercer shook his angry falchion now 
Than when his foe's was levell'd at his brow; 
Then all was stern collectedness and art, 
Now rose the unleaven'd hat...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...and talents,
And found this new rebellion pleasing
As his old king-destroying treason.


Nor less avail'd his optic sleight,
And Scottish gift of second-sight.
No ancient sybil, famed in rhyme,
Saw deeper in the womb of time;
No block in old Dodona's grove
Could ever more orac'lar prove.
Nor only saw he all that could be,
But much that never was, nor would be;
Whereby all prophets far outwent he,
Though former days produced a plenty:
For any man with half an eye
W...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...tles lost,
Doom'd to worse suff'rings from the mob,
Than Satan's surg'ries used on Job;
What hope remains, but now with sleight
What's left of us to save by flight?


'Now raise thine eyes, for visions true
Again ascending wait thy view.'


"I look'd; and clad in early light,
The spires of Boston met my sight;
The morn o'er eastern hills afar
Illumed the varied scenes of war;
Great Howe had sweetly in the lap
Of Loring taken out his nap;
When all th' encircling hills arou...Read More

by Burns, Robert
...br>— 
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shawed the Dead in their last dresses;
And by some devilish cantraip sleight
Each in its cauld hand held a light,
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer's banes in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi' blude red-rusted;
Five scimitars, wi' murder crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled;...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...ge;
There could no man bring him in arrearage
There was no bailiff, herd, nor other hine* *servant
That he ne knew his *sleight and his covine* *tricks and cheating*
They were adrad* of him, as of the death *in dread
His wonning* was full fair upon an heath *abode
With greene trees y-shadow'd was his place.
He coulde better than his lord purchase
Full rich he was y-stored privily
His lord well could he please subtilly,
To give and lend him of his owen good,
And have a tha...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...rich Croesus *caitif in servage.*  *abased into slavery*
Thus may ye see, that wisdom nor richess,
Beauty, nor sleight, nor strength, nor hardiness
Ne may with Venus holde champartie*, *divided possession 
For as her liste the world may she gie*. *guide
Lo, all these folk so caught were in her las* *snare
Till they for woe full often said, Alas!
Suffice these ensamples one or two,
Although I could reckon a thousand mo'.

The statue of Venus, glorious to s...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...urned Satan, and about the Seas he fled,
To shake the new-sown peoples with insult, doubt, and dread;
 But, for all the sleight he used,
 There was never squadron loosed,
And the brands he flung flew dying and fell dead.

But to Dives came Atlantis and the Captains of the West --
And their hates were nothing weakened nor their angers unrest --
 And they pawned their utmost trade
 For the dry, decreeing blade;
And Dives lent and took of them their best.

Then Satan sai...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...corn y-ground:
And hardily* they durste lay their neck, *boldly
The miller should not steal them half a peck
Of corn by sleight, nor them by force bereave* *take away
And at the last the warden give them leave:
John hight the one, and Alein hight the other,
Of one town were they born, that highte Strother,
Far in the North, I cannot tell you where.
This Alein he made ready all his gear,
And on a horse the sack he cast anon:
Forth went Alein the clerk, and also John,
Wi...Read More

by Stevens, Wallace
...One's grand flights, one's Sunday baths,
One's tootings at the weddings of the soul
Occur as they occur. So bluish clouds
Occurred above the empty house and the leaves
Of the rhododendrons rattled their gold,
As if someone lived there. Such floods of white
Came bursting from the clouds. So the wind
Threw its contorted strength around the ...Read More

by Petrarch, Francesco
...>Good Hezekiah met my raptured sight,And Manoah's son, a prey to female sleight;And he, whose eye foresaw the coming flood,With mighty Nimrod nigh, a man of blood;Whose pride the heaven-defying tower design'd,But sin the rising fabric undermined.Great Maccabeus next my notice claim'd,Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...hat they may live. *naturally
And thus of one thing I may vaunte me,
At th' end I had the better in each degree,
By sleight, or force, or by some manner thing,
As by continual murmur or grudging,* *complaining
Namely* a-bed, there hadde they mischance, *especially
There would I chide, and do them no pleasance:
I would no longer in the bed abide,
If that I felt his arm over my side,
Till he had made his ransom unto me,
Then would I suffer him do his nicety.* *folly 17
...Read More

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