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Famous Steam Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Whitman, Walt
—How elate I stood and watch’d you, where, starting off, you march’d!

Pass;—then rattle, drums, again! 
Scream, you steamers on the river, out of whistles loud and shrill, your salutes! 
For an army heaves in sight—O another gathering army! 
Swarming, trailing on the rear—O you dread, accruing army! 
O you regiments so piteous, with your mortal diarrhoea! with your fever!
O my land’s maimed darlings! with the plenteous bloody bandage and the crutch! 
Lo! your pallid army ...Read More

by Lawrence, D. H.
...The hoar-frost crumbles in the sun, 
The crisping steam of a train 
Melts in the air, while two black birds 
Sweep past the window again. 

Along the vacant road, a red
Bicycle approaches; I wait 
In a thaw of anxiety, for the boy 
To leap down at our gate. 

He has passed us by; but is it 
Relief that starts in my breast?
Or a deeper bruise of knowing that still 
She has no rest....Read More

by Whittier, John Greenleaf sacrifice! 

Far more than all I dared to dream, 
Unsought before my door I see; 
On wings of fire and steeds of steam 
The world's great wonders come to me, 

And holier signs, unmarked before, 
Of Love to seek and Power to save,—
The righting of the wronged and poor, 
The man evolving from the slave; 

And life, no longer chance or fate, 
Safe in the gracious Fatherhood. 
I fold o'er-wearied hands and wait, 
In full assurance of the good. 

And w...Read More

by Milton, John
...lighted steeds
That draw the litter of close-curtained Sleep.
At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound
Rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes,
And stole upon the air, that even Silence
Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might
Deny her nature, and be never more,
Still to be so displaced. I was all ear,
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of Death. But, oh! ere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honoured La...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Wet with the mists and smitten by the lights, 
The Dragon of the great Pendragonship 
Blaze, making all the night a steam of fire. 
And even then he turned; and more and more 
The moony vapour rolling round the King, 
Who seemed the phantom of a Giant in it, 
Enwound him fold by fold, and made him gray 
And grayer, till himself became as mist 
Before her, moving ghostlike to his doom. 

Then she stretched out her arms and cried aloud 
`Oh Arthur!' there her voice ...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...with their shoes full of blood on 
 the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the 
 East River to open to a room full of steamheat 
 and opium, 
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment 
 cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime 
 blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall 
 be crowned with laurel in oblivion, 
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested 
 the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of 
who wept at the romance of the streets...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...s, desperate butterflies,
May be pinned any minute, anesthetized.

And here you come, with a cup of tea
Wreathed in steam.
The blood jet is poetry,
There is no stopping it.
You hand me two children, two roses....Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
...of the cordial meal of the cacao. 
Witness, ye stars of night, and thou the pale 
Moon, that o'ercame with the sick steam didst fail; 
Ye neighboring elms, that your green leaves did shed, 
And fawns that from the womb abortive fled; 
Not unprovoked, she tries forbidden arts, 
But in her soft breast love's hid cancer smarts, 
While she resoloves, at once, Sidney's disgrace 
And her self scorned for emulous Denham's face, 
And nightly hears the hated guards, away 
Gallopin...Read More

by Levine, Philip
...far hillside, 
or at daybreak gilds 
the roofs until they groan 
under the new weight, or 
after rain lifts haloes 
of steam from the rinsed, 
white aluminum siding, 
and those houses and all 
they contain live that day 
in the sight of heaven. 


In the blue, winking light 
of the International Institute 
of Social Revolution 
I fell asleep one afternoon 
over a book of memoirs 
of a Spanish priest who'd 
served his own private faith 
in a long forgotten war. 
A...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...It proved there was something.
They kept their thoughts away from when the maples
Stood uniform in buckets, and the steam
Of sap and snow rolled off the sugarhouse.
When they made her related to the maples,
It was the tree the autumn fire ran through
And swept of leathern leaves, but left the bark
Unscorched, unblackened, even, by any smoke.
They always took their holidays in autumn.
Once they came on a maple in a glade,
Standing alone with smooth arms lifted ...Read More

by Milton, John
...and all due rights performed: 
His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven 
Consumed with nimble glance, and grateful steam; 
The other's not, for his was not sincere; 
Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked, 
Smote him into the midriff with a stone 
That beat out life; he fell;and, deadly pale, 
Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused. 
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart 
Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried. 
O Teacher, some great misch...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
Lo, soul, for thee, of tableaus twain, 
I see, in one, the Suez canal initiated, open’d, 
I see the procession of steamships, the Empress Eugenie’s leading the van;
I mark, from on deck, the strange landscape, the pure sky, the level sand in the distance;

I pass swiftly the picturesque groups, the workmen gather’d, 
The gigantic dredging machines. 

In one, again, different, (yet thine, all thine, O soul, the same,) 
I see over my own continent the Pacific Railroad...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...have thousands of
 and all time. 

O the engineer’s joys!
To go with a locomotive! 
To hear the hiss of steam—the merry shriek—the steam-whistle—the laughing
To push with resistless way, and speed off in the distance. 

O the gleesome saunter over fields and hill-sides! 
The leaves and flowers of the commonest weeds—the moist fresh stillness of the woods,
The exquisite smell of the earth at day-break, and all through the forenoon. 

O the...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
That Leningrad hung around its prisons
Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang
Short songs of farewell
To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering,
As they, in regiments, walked along -
Stars of death stood over us
As innocent Russia squirmed
Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres
Of the black marias.


You were taken away at dawn. I followed you
As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Chil...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...e connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent
As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat, the plank is thrown for the
 shore-going passengers; 
The young sister holds out the skein, while the elder sister winds it off in a
 ball, and stops now and then for the knots; 
The one-year wife is recovering and happy, having a week ago borne her first
The clean-hair’d Yankee girl works with her sewing-machine, or in the
 factory...Read More

by Whitman, Walt rendezvous—vigorously clearing a path for herself—striding
 the confusion, 
By thud of machinery and shrill steam-whistle undismay’d,
Bluff’d not a bit by drain-pipe, gasometers, artificial fertilizers, 
Smiling and pleased, with palpable intent to stay, 
She ’s here, install’d amid the kitchen ware! 

But hold—don’t I forget my manners? 
To introduce the Stranger (what else indeed have I come for?) to thee, Columbia:
In Liberty’s name, welcome, Immortal! clasp ...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...ution, and the towel
dryly disclaims that fierce troll faces lurk
in its explicit folds? or when the window,
blind with steam, will not admit the dark
which shrouds our prospects in ambiguous shadow?

Twenty years ago, the familiar tub
bred an ample batch of omens; but now
water faucets spawn no danger; each crab
and octopus -- scrabbling just beyond the view,
waiting for some accidental break
in ritual, to strike -- is definitely gone;
the authentic sea denies them and will ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord 
In circle waited, whom the electric shock 
Dislinked with shrieks and laughter: round the lake 
A little clock-work steamer paddling plied 
And shook the lilies: perched about the knolls 
A dozen angry models jetted steam: 
A petty railway ran: a fire-balloon 
Rose gem-like up before the dusky groves 
And dropt a fairy parachute and past: 
And there through twenty posts of telegraph 
They flashed a saucy message to and fro 
Between the mimic stations; so that sport 
Went ...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
.... Malaprop); then you might deem 
That he was not even one; now many rays 
Were flashing round him; and now a thick steam 
Hid him from sight — like fogs on London days: 
Now Burke, now Tooke he grew to people's fancies, 
And certes often like Sir Philip Francis. 


I've an hypothesis — 'tis quite my own; 
I never let it out till now, for fear 
Of doing people harm about the throne, 
And injuring some minister or peer, 
On whom the stigma might perhaps be blown;...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
We have grown old by hundred years, and this
Happened to us in one hour then:
The brief summer was already ending,
Steamed the body of ploughed-up plain.

Suddenly glistened the quiet road,
Cry flew, ringing silverly..
Closing my face, I was praying to God
Before first battle to murder me.

From mind the shades of songs and passions
Disappeared like load from misuse.
To her -- descended -- the Almighty ordered
To be the fearful book of menac...Read More

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