Get Your Premium Membership

Famous Slums Poems by Famous Poets

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

See also:

by Service, Robert William piteous plight
 Seemed to implore.

By Deed to them I gave my name,
 And never will they know
That from the evil slums they came,
 Two waifs of want and woe;
I fostered them with love and care
 As if they were my own:
Now John, my son, is tall and fair,
 And dark is Joan.

My boy's a member of the Bar,
 My girl a nurse serene;
Yet when I think of what they are
 And what they might have been,
With shuddering I glimpse a hell
 Of black and bitter fruit . . .<...Read More

by Larkin, Philip to heal, and drives
Shame out of hiding. All the unhurried day,
Your mind lay open like a drawer of knives.

Slums, years, have buried you. I would not dare
Console you if I could. What can be said,
Except that suffering is exact, but where
Desire takes charge, readings will grow erratic?
For you would hardly care
That you were less deceived, out on that bed,
Than he was, stumbling up the breathless stair
To burst into fulfillment's desolate attic....Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
...he dark, 
The moon comes, pale with sleep.

My heart is torn with the sound of raucous voices, 
They shout from the slums, from the streets, from the crowded places, 
And tunes from the hurdy-gurdy that coldly rejoices 
Shoot arrows into my heart.


Dead Cleopatra lies in a crystal casket, 
Wrapped and spiced by the cunningest of hands. 
Around her neck they have put a golden necklace, 
Her tatbebs, it is said, are worn with sands.

Dead Cleopatra was onc...Read More

by Yevtushenko, Yevgeny
...they set up the monument, fenced off
by a chain, with due pomp, right in the center,
although the poet had lived in the slums.
Then there was some minor overthrow or other,
and the poet was thrown out, beyond the gates.
 they removed
 the pedestal
to a filthy little red-light district.
And the poet stood,
 as the sailor's adopted brother,
against a background
 you might call native to him.
Our Bilbao loved cracking jokes.
He would say:
 'On this ...Read More

by Larkin, Philip large as rooms that face all ways
And block the ends of streets with giant loaves,
Screen graves with custard, cover slums with praise
Of motor-oil and cuts of salmon, shine
Perpetually these sharply-pictured groves
Of how life should be. High above the gutter
A silver knife sinks into golden butter,
A glass of milk stands in a meadow, and
Well-balanced families, in fine
Midsummer weather, owe their smiles, their cars,
Even their youth, to that small cube each hand
Str...Read More

by Lawson, Henry
...But, ah! to dreader things than these our fair young city comes,
For in its heart are growing thick the filthy dens and slums,
Where human forms shall rot away in sties for swine unmeet,
And ghostly faces shall be seen unfit for any street 
 Rotting out, rotting out,
 For the lack of air and meat 
In dens of vice and horror that are hidden from the street. 

I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor?
Ah! Mammon...Read More

by Larkin, Philip
...a shave.

I listen to money singing. It's like looking down
 From long French windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
 In the evening sun. It is intensely sad....Read More

by Lawson, Henry
...they spoke the gutter language with the easy flow that comes 
Only to the men whose childhood knew the brothels and the slums. 
Then they spat in turns, and halted; and the one that came behind, 
Spitting fiercely on the pavement, called on Heaven to strike him blind. 

Let us first describe the captain, bottle-shouldered, pale and thin, 
For he was the beau-ideal of a Sydney larrikin; 
E'en his hat was most suggestive of the city where we live, 
With a gallows-tilt t...Read More

by Lindsay, Vachel
That made those glowering witch-men smile.


A good old ***** in the slums of the town
Heavy bass. With a literal imitation of camp-meeting racket, and trance.
Preached at a sister for her velvet gown.
Howled at a brother for his low-down ways,
His prowling, guzzling, sneak-thief days.
Beat on the Bible till he wore it out
Starting the jubilee revival shout.
And some had visions, as they stood on chairs,
A...Read More

by Lawson, Henry
...gress an' thump empty thunder from out of your drums,
While two of your `marvellous cities' are reeking with alleys an' slums.
An' the landsharks, an' robbers, an' idlers an' -! Yes, I had best draw it mild
But whenever I think o' Eureka my talking is apt to run wild.

"Even now in my tent when I'm dreaming I'll spring from my bunk, strike a light,
And feel for my boots an' revolver, for the diggers' march past in the night.
An' the faces an' forms of old mates an...Read More

by Walcott, Derek sailor with sea-green eyes
that they nickname Shabine, the patois for
any red ******, and I, Shabine, saw
when these slums of empire was paradise.
I'm just a red ****** who love the sea,
I had a sound colonial education,
I have Dutch, ******, and English in me,
and either I'm nobody, or I'm a nation,

But Maria Concepcion was all my thought
watching the sea heaving up and down
as the port side of dories, schooners, and yachts
was painted afresh by the strokes of the su...Read More

by Patchen, Kenneth
...That should be obvious
Of course it won't
Any fool knows that.
Even in the winter.
Consider for a moment.
Consider what!
They never have.
Why now?
Certainly it means nothing.
It's all a lie.
What else could it be?
That's right.
Any way you look at it.
A silk hat.
A fat belly.
A nice church to squat in...Read More

Dont forget to view our wonderful member Slums poems.