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Famous Stairway Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Service, Robert William
...ouldn't spot them old familiar faces.
The bedrock burned, and so he turned, and climbed with footsteps fleeter,
The stairway straight to Heaven's gate, and there, of course, was Peter.
"I cannot see my mates," sez he, "among those damned forever.
I have a hunch some of the bunch in Heaven I'll discover."
Said Peter: "True; and this I'll do (since Sourdoughs are my failing)
You see them guys in Paradise, lined up against the railing -
As bald as coots, in birth...Read More



by Harjo, Joy
...r>The way back is deer breath on icy windows.

The next dance none of us predicted.She borrowed a chair for the stairway
to heaven and stood on a table of names.And danced in the room of children 
without shoes.

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille With four hungry children and a
crop in the field.

And then she took off her clothes.She shook loose memory, waltzed with the
empty lover we'd all become.

She was the myth slipped down through ...Read More

by Stevenson, Robert Louis
...ose
You, hunting in the garden rows,
Or in the lumbered attic, or
The cellar - a nail-studded door
And dark, descending stairway found
That led to kingdoms underground:
There standing, you should hear with ease
Strange birds a-singing, or the trees
Swing in big robber woods, or bells
On many fairy citadels:

There passing through (a step or so -
Neither mamma nor nurse need know!)
From your nice nurseries you would pass,
Like Alice through the Looking-Glass
Or Gerda following...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
..., 
Take what the god has given. 
Though like waves breaking it may be, 
Or like a changed familiar tree, 
Or like a stairway to the sea, 
Where down the blind are driven....Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...ange 
Of level pavement where the King would pace 
At sunrise, gazing over plain and wood; 
And down from this a lordly stairway sloped 
Till lost in blowing trees and tops of towers; 
And out by this main doorway past the King. 
But one was counter to the hearth, and rose 
High that the highest-crested helm could ride 
Therethrough nor graze: and by this entry fled 
The damsel in her wrath, and on to this 
Sir Gareth strode, and saw without the door 
King Arthur's gift, ...Read More



by Dyke, Henry Van
...bow in the sky;
And glad the pilgrim, in the lonely night,
For whom the hills of Haran, tier on tier,
Built up a secret stairway to the height
Where stars like angel eyes were shining clear.
From mountain-peaks, in many a land and age,
Disciples of the Persian seer
Have hailed the rising sun and worshipped thee;
And wayworn followers of the Indian sage
Have found the peace of God beneath a spreading tree.

But One, but One,--ah, child most dear,
And perfect image of t...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...hro' the brain.


That night came Arthur home, and while he climb'd,
All in a death-dumb autumn-dripping gloom,
The stairway to the hall, and look'd and saw
The great Queen's bower was dark,--about his feet
A voice clung sobbing till he question'd it,
"What art thou?" and the voice about his feet
Sent up an answer, sobbing, "I am thy fool,
And I shall never make thee smile again."...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...p, bang-bang! you jazzmen, bang altogether drums, traps, banjoes, horns, tin cans—make two people fight on the top of a stairway and scratch each other’s eyes in a clinch tumbling down the stairs.

Can the rough stuff … now a Mississippi steamboat pushes up the night river with a hoo-hoo-hoo-oo … and the green lanterns calling to the high soft stars … a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills … go to it, O jazzmen....Read More

by Service, Robert William
...ome,
That gorgeous palace in Madrid,
The grinning guide-chap showed me where
He rode his bronco up the stair.

That stairway grand of marbled might,
The most majestic in the land,
In statured splendour, flight on flight,
He urged his steed with whip in hand.
No lackey could restrain him for
He gained the gilded corridor.

He burst into the Royal suite,
And like a cowboy whooped with glee;
Dodging the charger's flying feet
The Chamberlain was shocked to see:
Imagin...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
...he so still,
i ached for her life,
just being there
under the 
covers.

i kissed her in the,
forehead,
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
car,
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
drive.
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
pedal,
I entered the world
once
more,
drove down the 
hill
past the houses
full and emptey
of
people,
i saw the mailman,
honked,
he waved
back
at me....Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
...ass in," the angels say, 
"In to the upper doors, 
Nor count compartments of the floors, 
But mount to paradise 
By the stairway of surprise." 

Blameless master of the games, 
King of sport that never shames, 
He shall daily joy dispense 
Hid in song's sweet influence. 
Forms more cheerly live and go, 
What time the subtle mind 
Sings aloud the tune whereto 
Their pulses beat, 
And march their feet, 
And their members are combined. 

By Sybarites beguiled, 
He sh...Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
...in, pass in, the angels say,
In to the upper doors;
Nor count compartments of the floors,
But mount to Paradise
By the stairway of surprise.

Blameless master of the games,
King of sport that never shames;
He shall daily joy dispense
Hid in song's sweet influence.
Things more cheerly live and go,
What time the subtle mind
Plays aloud the tune whereto
Their pulses beat,
And march their feet,
And their members are combined.

By Sybarites beguiled
He shall no task d...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...and marked it well, 
Whereon the shadow of the finger fell; 
And, coming back at midnight, delved, and found 
A secret stairway leading underground. 
Down this he passed into a spacious hall, 
Lit by a flaming jewel on the wall; 
And opposite, in threatening attitude, 
With bow and shaft a brazen statue stood. 
Upon its forehead, like a coronet, 
Were these mysterious words of menace set: 
"That which I am, I am; my fatal aim 
None can escape, not even yon luminous f...Read More

by Cather, Willa
...pleasure, 
And hold of vanished power, 
And crypt of faith forgotten, 
A came to Ludlow tower. 

A-top of arch and stairway, 
Of crypt and donjan cell, 
Of council hall, and chamber, 
Of wall, and ditch, and well, 

High over grated turrets 
Where clinging ivies run, 
A thousand scarlet poppies 
Enticed the rising sun, 

Upon the topmost turret, 
With death and damp below,-- 
Three hundred years of spoilage,-- 
The crimson poppies grow. 

This hall it was that bred h...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...by their merry eyes 
They are plotting and planning together 
To take me by surprise. 

A sudden rush from the stairway, 
A sudden raid from the hall! 
By three doors left unguarded 
They enter my castle wall! 

They climb up into my turret 
O'er the arms and back of my chair; 
If I try to escape, they surround me; 
They seem to be everywhere. 

They almost devour me with kisses, 
Their arms about me entwine, 
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen 
In...Read More

by Seeger, Alan
...er in a very shower
Of motley blossoms like a broidered gown.
Outside, ascending from the garden grove,
A crumbling stairway winds to the one room above.

And whoso mounts by this dismantled stair
Finds the old pleasure-hall, long disarrayed,
Brick-tiled and raftered, and the walls foursquare
Ringed all about with a twofold arcade.
Backward dense branches intercept the glare
Of afternoon with eucalyptus shade;
Eastward the level valley-plains expand,
Sweet as a qu...Read More

by Betjeman, John
...y-green bents, the pale sea-pinks,
The prospect from the seventh;

To the ninth tee the uphill climb,
A grass and sandy stairway,
And at the top the scent of thyme
And long extent of fairway.

He knew how on a summer day
The sea's deep blue grew deeper,
How evening shadows over Bray
Made that round hill look steeper.

He knew the ocean mists that rose
And seemed for ever staying,
When moaned the foghorn from Trevose
And nobody was playing;

The flip of cards on winter...Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
...ur tremulous arcs of light at random,
Now here, now there, seeing a plane, an angle,
An edge, a curve, a wall, a broken stairway
Leading to who knows what; but never seeing
The whole at once . . . We grope our way a little,
And then grow tired. No matter what we touch,
Dust is the answer—dust: dust everywhere.
If this were all—what were the use, you ask?
But this is not: for why should we be seeking,
Why should we bring this need to seek for beauty,
To lif...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...gh the brain. 

That night came Arthur home, and while he climbed, 
All in a death-dumb autumn-dripping gloom, 
The stairway to the hall, and looked and saw 
The great Queen's bower was dark,--about his feet 
A voice clung sobbing till he questioned it, 
`What art thou?' and the voice about his feet 
Sent up an answer, sobbing, `I am thy fool, 
And I shall never make thee smile again.'...Read More

by Atwood, Margaret
...ect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and as you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary....Read More

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