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Famous Sound Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shakespeare, William
...too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything....Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt

America, curious toward foreign characters, stands by its own at all hazards,
Stands removed, spacious, composite, sound—initiates the true use of precedents, 
Does not repel them, or the past, or what they have produced under their forms, 
Takes the lesson with calmness, perceives the corpse slowly borne from the house, 
Perceives that it waits a little while in the door—that it was fittest for its days, 
That its life has descended to the stalwart and well-shaped heir ...Read more of this...

by Dickinson, Emily Claw upon the Air,

Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls,
Nor rolled on wheels of snow
Till I was out of sight, in sound,
The House encore me so—

Nor any know I know the Art
I mention—easy—Here—
Nor any Placard boast me—
It's full as Opera—


After great pain, a formal feeling comes—
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs—
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round—
Or Ground, o...Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar
...orial Fates
Forbid it, and the closing shears refrain.
Lift up your heads ye everlasting gates!
Ye argent clarions, sound a loftier strain
For the vile thing he hated lurks within
Its sombre house, alone with God and memories of sin.

Still what avails it that she sought her cave
That murderous mother of red harlotries?
At Munich on the marble architrave
The Grecian boys die smiling, but the seas
Which wash AEgina fret in loneliness
Not mirroring their beauty; so our ...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
...e-door flew ope
In smoothest silence, save what solemn tubes,
Blown by the serious Zephyrs, gave of sweet
And wandering sounds, slow-breathed melodies;
And like a rose in vermeil tint and shape,
In fragrance soft, and coolness to the eye,
That inlet to severe magnificence
Stood full blown, for the God to enter in.

 He enter'd, but he enter'd full of wrath;
His flaming robes stream'd out beyond his heels,
And gave a roar, as if of earthly fire,
That scar'd away the meek e...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...ocean-weight of woe 
 The darkness closed us. 
 Sighs, and wailings loud, 
 Outcries perpetual of recruited pain, 
 Sounds of strange tongues, and angers that remain 
 Vengeless for ever, the thick and clamorous crowd 
 Of discords pressed, that needs I wept to hear, 
 First hearing. There, with reach of hands anear, 
 And voices passion-hoarse, or shrilled with fright, 
 The tumult of the everlasting night, 
 As sand that dances in continual wind, 
 Turns on itself f...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...From all communion he would start away: 
And then, his rarely call'd attendants said, 
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried tread 
O'er the dark gallery, where his fathers frown'd 
In rude but antique portraiture around. 
They heard, but whisper'd — "/that/ must not be known — 
The sound of words less earthly than his own. 
Yes, they who chose might smile, but some had seen 
They scarce knew what, but more than should have been. 
Why gazed he so upon...Read more of this...

by St Vincent Millay, Edna
...She will love well," I said,
"If love be of that heart inhabiter,
The flowers of the dead;
The red anemone that with no sound
Moves in the wind, and from another wound
That sprang, the heavily-sweet blue hyacinth,
That blossoms underground,
And sallow poppies, will be dear to her.
And will not Silence know
In the black shade of what obsidian steep
Stiffens the white narcissus numb with sleep?
(Seed which Demeter's daughter bore from home,
Uptorn by desperate fingers long ...Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar
And ere the crimson after-glow was passed,
I stood within Ravenna's walls at last!


How strangely still! no sound of life or joy
Startles the air; no laughing shepherd-boy
Pipes on his reed, nor ever through the day
Comes the glad sound of children at their play:
O sad, and sweet, and silent! surely here
A man might dwell apart from troublous fear,
Watching the tide of seasons as they flow
From amorous Spring to Winter's rain and snow,
And have no thought of sorro...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore, and
 dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn; 
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice, words loos’d to the eddies
 of the wind; 
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms; 
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag; 
The delight alone, or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song ...Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
...e yawning tree in the twilight
The King unbound his sword,
Severed the harp of all his goods,
And there in the cool and soundless woods
Sounded a single chord.

Then laughed; and watched the finches flash,
The sullen flies in swarm,
And went unarmed over the hills,
With the harp upon his arm,

Until he came to the White Horse Vale
And saw across the plains,
In the twilight high and far and fell,
Like the fiery terraces of hell,
The camp fires of the Danes--

The fires of...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...frowns and antics rude,
So kindly hath she grown to her new use. 

The very names of things belov'd are dear,
And sounds will gather beauty from their sense,
As many a face thro' love's long residence
Groweth to fair instead of plain and sere:
But when I say thy name it hath no peer,
And I suppose fortune determined thence
Her dower, that such beauty's excellence
Should have a perfect title for the ear. 
Thus may I think the adopting Muses chose
Their sons by name, ...Read more of this...

by Carroll, Lewis
...Again, the first "o" in "borogoves" is pronounced like the "o" in "borrow." I have heard people try to give it the sound of the"o" in "worry." Such is Human Perversity. This also seems a fitting occasion to notice the other hard works in that poem. Humpty-Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a port{-} manteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. 

For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind t...Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William
...ith Betty all was not so well,  And to the road she turns her ears,  And thence full many a sound she hears,  Which she to Susan will not tell.   Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,  "As sure as there's a moon in heaven,"  Cries Betty, "he'll be back again;  They'll both be here, 'tis almost ten,  They'll both be here before eleven."  &nb...Read more of this...

by Carroll, Lewis
...but she regarded not. 

She waited not for his reply,
But with a downward leaden eye
Went on as if he were not by 

Sound argument and grave defence,
Strange questions raised on "Why?" and "Whence?"
And wildly tangled evidence. 

When he, with racked and whirling brain,
Feebly implored her to explain,
She simply said it all again. 

Wrenched with an agony intense,
He spake, neglecting Sound and Sense,
And careless of all consequence: 

"Mind - I believe - is Essen...Read more of this...

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe in its calm sweep
"Bent the soft grass & kept for ever wet
The stems of the sweet flowers, and filled the grove
With sound which all who hear must needs forget
"All pleasure & all pain, all hate & love,
Which they had known before that hour of rest:
A sleeping mother then would dream not of
"The only child who died upon her breast
At eventide, a king would mourn no more
The crown of which his brow was dispossest
"When the sun lingered o'er the Ocean floor
To gild his rival...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...celestial gate, 
And nodded o'er his keys; when, lo! there came 
A wondrous noise he had not heard of late — 
A rushing sound of wind, and stream, and flame; 
In short, a roar of things extremely great, 
Which would have made aught save a saint exclaim; 
But he, with first a start and then a wink, 
Said, 'There's another star gone out, I think!' 


But ere he could return to his repose, 
A cherub flapp'd his right wing o'er his eyes — 
At which St. Peter yawn'd, and...Read more of this...

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 
 Frisch weht der Wind
 Der Heimat zu
 Mein Irisch Kind,
 Wo weil...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
...atching at my sleep, and entering my side.
My daughter has no teeth. Her mouth is wide.
It utters such dark sounds it cannot be good.

What is it that flings these innocent souls at us?
Look, they are so exhausted, they are all flat out
In their canvas-sided cots, names tied to their wrists,
The little silver trophies they've come so far for.
There are some with thick black hair, there are some bald.
Their skin tints are pink or sallow, br...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
...grown colder than ice.

But soon that place, where, leaning to the windows
The tender birches make dry rustling sound,
The voices will be ringing of the shadows
And roses will in blackened wreaths be wound.

And further onward still -- the light is generous
Unbearably as though ¡®t were red hot wine..
And now the wind, all redolent and heated,
In perfect vigor has enflamed my mind.

x x x

Oh, this was a cold day
In Peter's wonderful ...Read more of this...

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