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Famous Spelling Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Whitman, Walt
...oon to sail out over the measureless seas, 
On the Soul’s voyage. 

Only a lot of boys and girls?
Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes? 
Only a Public School? 

Ah more—infinitely more; 
(As George Fox rais’d his warning cry, “Is it this pile of brick and
 mortar—these dead floors, windows, rails—you call the church? 
Why this is not the church at all—the Church is living, ever living Souls.”)

And you, America, 
Cast you the real reckoning for your ...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...I need a fire and slippers, -4 outside just isn’t me.

Sorry, Chris Torrance, I can’t make your Welsh eyrie

Just spelling Gymmercher Isaf Pontneathvaughan quite fazes me.

Sorry, Seamus Famous, your hide away in Dublin Bay

No doubt is bloody grand but I can’t face the journey to a far off foreign land.

Sorry James Kirkup, your Andorran niche

Is just too complicated for me to ever reach.

Apologies especially to Emily Bronte’s ghost -

You are the mos...Read More

by Milton, John Syrinx well might wait on her.
Such a rural Queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.

Note: 22 hunderd] Milton's own spelling here is hundred. But in
the Errata to Paradise Lost (i. 760) he corrects hundred to hunderd....Read More

by Sidney, Sir Philip sweetly swelling,
Do inuite a stealing kisse.
Now will I but venture this;
Who will reade, must first learne spelling.

Oh, sweet kisse! but ah, shes waking!
Lowring beautie chastens me:
Now will I for feare hence flee;
Foole, more Foole for no more taking.

Third Song.

If Orpheus voyce had force to breathe such musickes loue
Through pores of senceles trees, as it could make them moue;
If stones good measure daunc'd, the Theban walles to...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...wallflower grows

On the ravaged bank.

I pluck the last leaf

Of the mauve forget-me-knot,

The market-man’s mis-spelling

Got to the matter’s heart,

Folding the leaf in my book

With the melody of Gl?ck.


The maze in Roundhay Park

Near Soldiers’ Field

Was the labyrinth I cried

To be released from:

Margaret, you ran and

Brought me out.

The maze memory grew

Into the road across

The Hollows, forty years

On I ran to meet you in

Your worn-out f...Read More

by Thomas, Dylan
With fists of turnips punishes the land,
Some let me make of you the heartless words.
The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry
Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.
By the sea's side hear the dark-vowelled birds....Read More

by Thomas, Dylan
Whose wizard shape I trace in the cavernous skull,
Vessel of abscesses and exultation's shell,
Endure burial under the spelling wall,
The invoked, shrouding veil at the cap of the face,
Who should be furious,
Drunk as a vineyard snail, flailed like an octopus,
Roaring, crawling, quarrel
With the outside weathers,
The natural circle of the discovered skies
Draw down to its weird eyes?

How shall it magnetize,
Towards the studded male in a bent, midnight blaze
That melts the l...Read More

by Hugo, Victor
As a big schoolboy sneaking a day off.
The air is pure, the sky smiles; there's a constant 
Soft noise of children spelling things aloud.
The waters flow; a linnet flies; and I say: "Thank you! 
Thank you, Almighty God!"--So, then, I live:
Peacefully, hour by hour, with little fuss, I shed 
My days, and think of you, my lady fair!
I hear the children chattering; and I see, at times, 
Sailing across the high seas in its pride,
Over the gables of the tranquil village, ...Read More

by Trethewey, Natasha my books until
I nearly broke their spines, and in the cotton field,
I repeated whole sections I'd learned by heart,
spelling each word in my head to make a picture
I could see, as well as a weight I could feel
in my mouth. So now, even as I write this
and think of you at home, Goodbye

is the waving map of your palm, is
a stone on my tongue....Read More

by Butler, Ellis Parker
...from his own name he unloaded
And wrote it Georg Adolfus Nit.

Six other men in that same city
Who longed to see a Spelling Heaven
Formed of themselves a strong committee
And asked Georg Nit to make it seven.

He joined the other six with pleasure,
Proud such important men to know,
Agreeing that their first great measure
Should be to shorten the word though.

But G. Adolfus Nit was lazy;
He dilly-dallied every day;
His life was dreamy, slow and hazy,
And indo...Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for prof...Read More

by Milton, John seldom por'd on.
Cries the stall-reader, bless us! what a word on
A title page is this! and some in file
Stand spelling fals, while one might walk to Mile-
End Green. Why is it harder Sirs then Gordon,
Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek 
That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.
Thy age, like ours, O Soul of Sir John Cheek,
Hated not Learning wors then Toad or Asp;
When thou taught'st Cambridge, and King ...Read More

by Atwood, Margaret
...My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.


I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.


A child is not a poem,
a poem is not a child.
There is no either / or.


I return to the story
of the woman caught in the war
& in labour, her thighs tied
toge...Read More

by Nemerov, Howard
...hat long for the mind 
To waken, yawn and stretch, to see 
With opened eyes emptied of speech 
The real world where the spelling mind 
Imposes with its grammar book 
Unreal relations on the blue 
Swallows. Perhaps when you will have 
Fully awakened, I shall show you 
A new thing: even the water 
Flowing away beneath those birds 
Will fail to reflect their flying forms, 
And the eyes that see become as stones 
Whence never tears shall fall again. 

O swallows, swallows...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns) heirs of city directors;               180
  Departed, have left no addresses.

  Line 161 ALRIGHT. This spelling occurs also in
  the Hogarth Press edition— Editor.

  By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . .
  Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
  Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
  But at my back in a cold blast I hear
  The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.
  A rat...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...ey saw reflected in the coming time.

And thus forever with reverted look
The mystic volume of the world they read,
Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book,
Till life became a Legend of the Dead.

But ah! what once has been shall be no more!
The groaning earth in travail and in pain
Brings forth its races, but does not restore,
And the dead nations never rise again....Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have le...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...departing forms, o'er the serene
Of the white streams and of the forest green.

All day the Wizard Lady sat aloof;
Spelling out scrolls of dread antiquity
Under the cavern's fountain-lighted roof;
Or broidering the pictured poesy
Of some high tale upon her growing woof,
Which the sweet splendor of her smiles could dye
In hues outshining heaven--and ever she
Added some grace to the wrought poesy:--

While on her hearth lay blazing many a piece
Of sandal-wood, rare gums, a...Read More

by Hugo, Victor
...t set me dreaming still. 
 'Twas my delight to watch your will, 
 And mark you point with finger-tips 
 To help your spelling out a word; 
 To see the pearls between your lips 
 When I your joyous laughter heard; 
 Your honest brows that looked so true, 
 And said "Oh, yes!" to each intent; 
 Your great bright eyes, that loved to view 
 With admiration innocent 
 My fine old Sèvres; the eager thought 
 That every kind of knowledge sought; 
 The elbow push with "Co...Read More

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