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Famous Swan Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Paterson, Andrew Barton 
Like bullets into your open eye 
And knock it out of the back of your head. 

"There isn't a turkey or goose or swan, 
Or a duck that quacks, or a hen that clucks, 
Can make a difference on a run 
When a grasshopper plague has once begun; 
'If you'd finance us,' I says, 'I'd buy 
Ten thousand emus and have a try; 
The job,' I says, 'is too big for ducks! 

"'You must fetch a duck when you come to stay; 
A great big duck -- a Muscovy toff -- 
Ready and fit,' I says, 'f...Read more of this...

by Crowley, Aleister
...u are even here and now
Miner, utterly mine, my sister and my wife,
Mother of my children, mistress of my life!

O wild swan winging through the morning mist!
The thousand thousand kisses that we kissed, 
The infinite device our love devised
If by some chance its truth might be surprised,
Are these all past? Are these to come? Believe me,
There is no parting; they can never leave me.
I have built you up into my heart and brain
So fast that we can never part again.
Why...Read more of this...

by Smart, Christopher
 That live in peace or prey; 
They that make music, or that mock, 
The quail, the brave domestic cock, 
 The raven, swan, and jay. 

Of fishes—ev'ry size and shape, 
Which nature frames of light escape, 
 Devouring man to shun: 
The shells are in the wealthy deep, 
The shoals upon the surface leap, 
 And love the glancing sun. 

Of beasts—the beaver plods his task, 
While the sleek tigers roll and bask, 
 Nor yet the shades arouse: 
Her cave the minin...Read more of this...

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
He paused, a wide and melancholy waste
Of putrid marshes. A strong impulse urged
His steps to the sea-shore. A swan was there,
Beside a sluggish stream among the reeds.
It rose as he approached, and, with strong wings
Scaling the upward sky, bent its bright course
High over the immeasurable main.
His eyes pursued its flight:--'Thou hast a home, 
Beautiful bird! thou voyagest to thine home,
Where thy sweet mate will twine her downy neck
With thine, and welcome...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
Swifter than sight was gone--even before
The teeming earth a sudden witness bore
Of his swift magic. Diving swans appear
Above the crystal circlings white and clear;
And catch the cheated eye in wild surprise,
How they can dive in sight and unseen rise--
So from the turf outsprang two steeds jet-black,
Each with large dark blue wings upon his back.
The youth of Caria plac'd the lovely dame
On one, and felt himself in spleen to tame
The other's fierceness. ...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...e a crawling spread of the square miles far and near;
Where the humming-bird shimmers—where the neck of the long-lived swan is
 curving and winding; 
Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human
Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden, half hid by the high weeds;

Where band-neck’d partridges roost in a ring on the ground with their heads
Where burial coaches enter the arch’d gates of a cemetery;
Where wint...Read more of this...

by Lanier, Sidney
...e with forms of ancient mien?

"Bright ladies and brave knights of Fatherland;
Sad mariners, no harbor e'er may hold,
A swan soft floating tow'rds a magic strand;
Dim ghosts, of earth, air, water, fire, steel, gold,
Wind, grief, and love; a lewd and lurking band
Of Powers -- dark Conspiracy, Cunning cold,
Gray Sorcery; magic cloaks and rings and rods;
Valkyries, heroes, Rhinemaids, giants, gods!

* * * * *

"O Wagner, westward bring thy heavenly art,
No trifler thou: Siegfrie...Read more of this...

by Sexton, Anne
...f rhymes,
my typewriter and my suitcases.

All that summer I learned life
back into my own
seven rooms, visited the swan boats,
the market, answered the phone,
served cocktails as a wife
should, made love among my petticoats

and August tan. And you came each
weekend. But I lie.
You seldom came. I just pretended
you, small piglet, butterfly
girl with jelly bean cheeks,
disobedient three, my splendid

stranger. And I had to learn
why I would rather
die ...Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...le, his horse in great estate,
Now certainly he was a fair prelate;
He was not pale as a forpined* ghost; *wasted
A fat swan lov'd he best of any roast.
His palfrey was as brown as is a berry.

A FRIAR there was, a wanton and a merry,
A limitour , a full solemne man.
In all the orders four is none that can* *knows
So much of dalliance and fair language.
He had y-made full many a marriage
Of younge women, at his owen cost.
Unto his order he was a noble ...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord drops from thunder, showers of flowers 
Fell as we past; and men and boys astride 
On wyvern, lion, dragon, griffin, swan, 
At all the corners, named us each by name, 
Calling, "God speed!" but in the ways below 
The knights and ladies wept, and rich and poor 
Wept, and the King himself could hardly speak 
For grief, and all in middle street the Queen, 
Who rode by Lancelot, wailed and shrieked aloud, 
"This madness has come on us for our sins." 
So to the Gate of the ...Read more of this...

by Scott, Sir Walter
     And when a space was gained between,
     Closer she drew her bosom's screen;—
     So forth the startled swan would swing,
     So turn to prune his ruffled wing.
     Then safe, though fluttered and amazed,
     She paused, and on the stranger gazed.
     Not his the form, nor his the eye,
     That youthful maidens wont to fly.

     On his bold visage middle age
     Had slightly pressed its signet sage,
     Yet had not quenched the open...Read more of this...

by Shakespeare, William
Keep the obsequy so strict.

Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music can,
Be the death-defying swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right.

And thou, treble-dated crow,
That thy sable gender mak'st
With the breath thou giv'st and tak'st,
'Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.

Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.

So they lov'd, as love in twain
Had the essence but in ...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...Fopling upwards cast,
Those Eyes are made so killing---was his last:
Thus on Meander's flow'ry Margin lies
Th' expiring Swan, and as he sings he dies.

When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down,
Chloe stept in, and kill'd him with a Frown;
She smil'd to see the doughty Hero slain,
But at her Smile, the Beau reviv'd again. 

Now Jove suspends his golden Scales in Air,
Weighs the Mens Wits against the Lady's Hair;
The doubtful Beam long nods from side to side;
At leng...Read more of this...

by Pound, Ezra with hard ice-flakes, where hail-scur flew,
There I heard naught save the harsh sea
And ice-cold wave, at whiles the swan cries,
Did for my games the gannet's clamour,
Sea-fowls, loudness was for me laughter,
The mews' singing all my mead-drink.
Storms, on the stone-cliffs beaten, fell on the stern
In icy feathers; full oft the eagle screamed
With spray on his pinion.
Not any protector
May make merry man faring needy.
This he little believes, who aye in winsome...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...thus they spake, the angelic caravan, 
Arriving like a rush of mighty wind, 
Cleaving the fields of space, as doth the swan 
Some silver stream (say Ganges, Nile, or Inde, 
Or Thames, or Tweed), and 'midst them an old man 
With an old soul, and both extremely blind, 
Halted before the gate, and in his shroud 
Seated their fellow traveller on a cloud. 


But bringing up the rear of this bright host 
A Spirit of a different aspect waves 
His wings, like thunder-cloud...Read more of this...

by Masefield, John

Beauty in desolation was her pride, 
Her crowned array a glory that had been; 
She faltered tow'rds us like a swan that died, 
But altogether ruined she was still a queen. 

"Put back with all her sails gone," went the word; 
Then, from her signals flying, rumor ran, 
"The sea that stove her boats in killed her third; 
She has been gutted and has lost a man." 

So, as though stepping to a funeral march, 
She passed defeated homewards whence she came, 
Ragged...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
...ers: doves and words,
Stars and showers of gold--conceptions, conceptions!
I remember a white, cold wing

And the great swan, with its terrible look,
Coming at me, like a castle, from the top of the river.
There is a snake in swans.
He glided by; his eye had a black meaning.
I saw the world in it--small, mean and black,
Every little word hooked to every little word, and act to act.
A hot blue day had budded into something.

I wasn't ready. The white cl...Read more of this...

by Neruda, Pablo sick of being a man.
And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes.

The smell of barbershops makes me break into hoarse
The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool.
The only thing I want is to see no more stores, no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators.

It so happens that I am sick of my feet and my nails
an...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
...s dour
And I don't fear to recall
Anything - even the final hour.

Village of the Tsar Statue

Upon the swan pond maple leaves
Are gathered already, you see,
And bloodied are the branches dark
Of slowly blooming quicken-tree.

Blindingly elegant is she,
Crossing her legs that don't feel cold
Upon the northern stone sits she
And calmly looks upon the road.

I felt the gloomy, dusky fear
Before this woman of delight
As on her shoulders played...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
...ingdoves chanting, but easing nothing.

12 Ledas: Leda, the maiden who was raped by Zeus in the guise of a swan....Read more of this...

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