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Famous Sterile Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Swinburne, Algernon Charles days like earth thy face shall be,
Yea, like sea-marsh made thick with brine and mire,
Sad with sick leavings of the sterile sea.
This is the end of every man's desire. 

The burden of long living. Thou shalt fear
Waking, and sleeping mourn upon thy bed;
And say at night "Would God the day were here,"
And say at dawn "Would God the day were dead."
With weary days thou shalt be clothed and fed,
And wear remorse of heart for thine attire,
Pain for thy girdle ...Read More

by Austin, Alfred
...onday noise,
He at a tranquil height enjoys 
The starlight of renown. 

Thus hence we something more may take 
Than sterile grief, than formless ache, 
Or vainly utter’d vow; 
Death hath bestow’d what life withheld 
And he round whom detraction swell’d 
Hath peace with honor now. 

The open jeer, the covert taunt, 
The falsehood coin’d in factious haunt,
These loving gifts reprove. 
They never were but thwarted sound 
Of ebbing waves that bluster round 
A rock tha...Read More

by Crowley, Aleister
That holds my heaven and holds my hell.

In her I live, a mote minute
Dancing a moment in the sun:
In her I die, a sterile shoot
Of nightshade in oblivion.

In her my elf dissolves, a grain
Of salt cast careless in the sea;
My passion purifies my pain
To peace past personality.

Love of my life, God grant the years
Confirm the chrism - rose to rood!
Anointing loves, asperging tears
In sanctifying solitude! 

Man is so infinitely small
In all these stars, determin...Read More

by Swinburne, Algernon Charles
 That knows not where is that Leucadian grave 
Which hides too deep the supreme head of song. 
 Ah, salt and sterile as her kisses were, 
 The wild sea winds her and the green gulfs bear 
Hither and thither, and vex and work her wrong, 
 Blind gods that cannot spare. 

Thou sawest, in thine old singing season, brother, 
 Secrets and sorrows unbeheld of us: 
 Fierce loves, and lovely leaf-buds poisonous, 
Bare to thy subtler eye, but for none other 
 Blowing by ...Read More

by Pound, Ezra
...hen sweet wine, water mixed with white flour
Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death's-heads;
As set in Ithaca, sterile bulls of the best
For sacrifice, heaping the pyre with goods,
A sheep to Tiresias only, black and a bell-sheep.
Dark blood flowed in the fosse,
Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides
Of youths and of the old who had borne much;
Souls stained with recent tears, girls tender,
Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads,
Battle spoil, bearing ...Read More

by Crowley, Aleister
The kisses that foam and bleed,
The joys of a million years,
The flowers that bear no seed.
My life is bitter and sterile,
Its flame is a wandering star.
Ye shall pass in pleasure and peril
Across the mystic bar
That is set for wrath and weeping
Against the children of earth;
But ye in singing and sleeping
Shall pass in measure and mirth!
I lift my wand and wave you
Through hill to hill of delight :
My rosy rivers lave you
In innermost lustral light..
I lead...Read More

by Keats, John
With daily boon of fish most delicate:
They knew not whence this bounty, and elate
Would strew sweet flowers on a sterile beach.

 "Why was I not contented? Wherefore reach
At things which, but for thee, O Latmian!
Had been my dreary death? Fool! I began
To feel distemper'd longings: to desire
The utmost privilege that ocean's sire
Could grant in benediction: to be free
Of all his kingdom. Long in misery
I wasted, ere in one extremest fit
I plung'd for life or d...Read More

by Stojanovic, Dejan
...o be too good, 
Even when trying to be bad, 
Is too good for the bad 
Too bad for the good. 

Perfection seems sterile; 
It is final, no mystery in it; 
It's a product of an assembly line. 

To accomplish the perfect perfection, 
A little imperfection helps.
...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...that so, 
 My right foot still the lower, I climbed. 

 No more I gazed. Around, a slope of sand 
 Was sterile of all growth on either hand, 
 Or moving life, a spotted pard except, 
 That yawning rose, and stretched, and purred and leapt 
 So closely round my feet, that scarce I kept 
 The course I would. 
 That sleek and lovely thing, 
 The broadening light, the breath of morn and spring, 
 The sun, that with his stars in Aries lay, 
 As when Divine Lov...Read More

by Belieu, Erin,

their nightgowns furl and
unfurl around their legs.

Only women could be this
white. Like mules,

they are sterile
and it appears that

their mouths are always
open. Because they are thin

as weeds, the albinos
look hungry. If you drive out

to the farm, tree branches will
point the way. No map will show

where, no phone is listed.
It will seem that the moon, plump

above their shoulders, is constant,
orange as harvest all year

long. We say, ...Read More

by Swinburne, Algernon Charles
...names are spoken,
A nameless sign of death shall his name be.

Deathless shall be the death, the name be nameless;
Sterile of stars his twilight time of breath;
With fire of hell shall shame consume him shameless,
And dying, all the night darken his death.

The years are as thy garments, the world's ages
As sandals bound and loosed from thy swift feet;
Time serves before thee, as one that hath for wages
Praise or shame only, bitter words or sweet.

Thou sayest "W...Read More

by Hope, Alec Derwent (A D)
...introit of this mass emotion 
She comes, she comes, a balanced pillar of blood, 
Guides through the desert, divides the sterile ocean, 
Brings sceptic Didymus his berserk food, 

Sits deftly, folding elegant thighs, and takes 
Her time. She skins her little leather hands, 
Conscious that wavering towards her like tame snakes 
The polyp eyes converge.... The prophet stands 

Dreading the answer from her burning bush: 
This unconsuming flame, the outlaw's bl...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...Feel truth at blood-heat and falsehood at zero rate,
Make of the want of the age no mystery;
Contrast the fructuous and sterile eras,
Show---monarchy ever its uncouth cub licks
Out of the bear's shape into Chimra's,
While Pure Art's birth is still the republic's.


Then one shall propose in a speech (curt Tuscan,
Expurgate and sober, with scarcely an ``_issimo,_'')
To end now our half-told tale of Cambuscan,
And turn the bell-tower's _alt_ to _altissimo_:
And fi...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...endlessly rocking, 
Out of the mocking-bird’s throat, the musical shuttle, 
Out of the Ninth-month midnight, 
Over the sterile sands, and the fields beyond, where the child, leaving his bed, wander’d
 alone, bare-headed, barefoot, 
Down from the shower’d halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows, twining and twisting as if they were alive, 
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries, 
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me, 
From your memories, sad brother—from...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ty, traditions, statute-books, now? 
Where are your jibes of being now?
Where are your cavils about the Soul now? 

A sterile landscape covers the ore—there is as good as the best, for all the forbidding
There is the mine, there are the miners; 
The forge-furnace is there, the melt is accomplish’d; the hammers-men are at hand with
 and hammers; 
What always served, and always serves, is at hand.

Than this, nothing has better served—it has se...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar

For three long years they will not sow
Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer's heart would taint
Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God's kindly earth
Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
Out of his heart a white!
For wh...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
They carved her sweet hills out
and still I couldn't answer.


That winter she came
part way back
from her sterile suite
of doctors, the seasick
cruise of the X-ray,
the cells' arithmetic
gone wild. Surgery incomplete,
the fat arm, the prognosis poor, I heard
them say.

During the sea blizzards
she had here
own portrait painted.
A cave of mirror
placed on the south wall;
matching smile, matching contour.
And you resembled me; unacquainted
with my ...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...s teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
there were water
 And no rock
 If there were rock
 And also water
 And water 
 A spring
 A pool among the rock
 If there were the sound of water only
 Not the cicada
 And dry grass singing
 But sound of water over ...Read More

by Milligan, Spike
...naked, defenseless
By the hand of one
Whose good name
Was graven on a brass plate
in Wimpole Street,
and dropped on the sterile floor
of a foot operated plastic waste
There was no Queens Counsel
To take my brief.
The cot I might have warmed
Stood in Harrod's shop window.
When my passing was told
My father smiled.
No grief filled my empty space.
My death was celebrated
With tickets to see Danny la Rue
Who was pretending to be a woman
Like my mother ...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...neither stand nor lie nor sit                              340
  There is not even silence in the mountains
  But dry sterile thunder without rain
  There is not even solitude in the mountains
  But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
  From doors of mudcracked houses
                                                           If there were water
  And no rock
  If there were rock
  And also water
  And water                                                              ...Read More

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