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Vachel Lindsay Poems

A collection of select Vachel Lindsay famous poems that were written by Vachel Lindsay or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Lindsay, Vachel
 "Bring me soft song," said Aladdin.
"This tailor-shop sings not at all.
Chant me a word of the twilight,
Of roses that mourn in the fall.
Bring me a song like hashish
That will comfort the stale and the sad,
For I would be mending my spirit,
Forgetting these days that are bad,
Forgetting companions too shallow,
Their quarrels and arguments thin,
Forgetting the shouting Muezzin:"-- 
"I AM YOUR...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel

(After seeing the reel called "Oil and Water.")

Beauty has a throne-room
In our humorous town,
Spoiling its hob-goblins,
Laughing shadows down.
Rank musicians torture
Ragtime ballads vile,
But we walk serenely
Down the odorous aisle.
We forgive the squalor
And the boom and squeal
For the Great Queen flashes
From the moving reel.

Just a prim blonde stranger
In her early day,
Hiding brilliant weapons,
Too averse to play,
Then she burst upon us
Dancing...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 OLD Euclid drew a circle 
On a sand-beach long ago. 
He bounded and enclosed it 
With angles thus and so. 
His set of solemn greybeards 
Nodded and argued much 
Of arc and circumference, 
Diameter and such. 
A silent child stood by them 
From morning until noon 
Because they drew such charming 
Round pictures of the moon....Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel

Galahad . . . soldier that perished . . . ages ago,
Our hearts are breaking with shame, our tears overflow.
Galahad . . . knight who perished . . . awaken again,
Teach us to fight for immaculate ways among men.
Soldiers fantastic, we pray to the star...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 [To be sung to the tune of The Blood of the Lamb with indicated instrument] 


[Bass drum beaten loudly.]

Booth led boldly with his big bass drum --
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely and they said: "He's come."
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel

(Being a reminiscence of certain private theatricals.)

Oh, cabaret dancer, I know a dancer,
Whose eyes have not looked on the feasts that are vain.
I know a dancer, I know a dancer,
Whose soul has no bond with the beasts of the plain:
Judith the dancer, Judith the dancer,
With foot like the snow, and with step like the rain.

Oh, thrice-painted...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 (Note: — Pocahontas is buried at Gravesend, England.)

"Pocahontas' body, lovely as a poplar, sweet as a red haw in November or a pawpaw in May — did she wonder? does she remember — in the dust — in the cool tombs?" 



Powhatan was conqueror,
Powhatan was emperor.
He was akin to wolf and bee,
Brother of the hickory tree.
Son of...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 Once I loved a fairy, 
Queen Mab it was. Her voice 
Was like a little Fountain 
That bids the birds rejoice. 
Her face was wise and solemn, 
Her hair was brown and fine. 
Her dress was pansy velvet, 
A butterfly design. 

To see her hover round me 
Or walk the hills of air, 
Awakened love's deep pulses 
And boyhood's...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 I saw wild domes and bowers 
And smoking incense towers 
And mad exotic flowers 
In Illinois. 
Where ragged ditches ran 
Now springs of Heaven began 
Celestial drink for man 
In Illinois. 

There stood beside the town 
Beneath its incense-crown 
An angel and a clown 
In Illinois. 
He was as Clowns are: 
She was snow and star 
With eyes that...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel

(To be read in your own variety of ***** dialect.)

Legree's big house was white and green.
His cotton-fields were the best to be seen.
He had strong horses and opulent cattle,
And bloodhounds bold, with chains that would rattle.
His garret was full of curious things:
Books of magic, bags of gold,
And rabbits' feet on long twine strings.
But he went...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 A Song in Chinese Tapestries

"How, how," he said. "Friend Chang," I said,
"San Francisco sleeps as the dead—
Ended license, lust and play:
Why do you iron the night away?
Your big clock speaks with a deadly sound,
With a tick and a wail till dawn comes round.
While the monster shadows glower and creep,
What can be better for man than sleep?"

"I will tell you...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel

Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room,
Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable,
Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table, 
A deep rolling bass.
Pounded on the table,
Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
Hard as they were able,
Boom, boom, BOOM,
With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
THEN I had religion, THEN...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 Though I have watched so many mourners weep
O'er the real dead, in dull earth laid asleep—
Those dead seemed but the shadows of my days
That passed and left me in the sun's bright rays.
Now though you go on smiling in the sun
Our love is slain, and love and you were one.
You are the first, you I have known so long,
Whose...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 [Concerning O. Henry (Sidney Porter)]

"He could not forget that he was a Sidney."

Is this Sir Philip Sidney, this loud clown, 
The darling of the glad and gaping town? 

This is that dubious hero of the press 
Whose slangy tongue and insolent address 
Were spiced to rouse on Sunday afternoon 
The man with yellow journals round him strewn. 
We laughed...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 [How different people and different animals look upon the moon: showing that each creature finds in it his own mood and disposition]

The Old Horse in the City

The moon's a peck of corn. It lies 
Heaped up for me to eat. 
I wish that I might climb the path 
And taste that supper sweet. 

Men feed me straw and scanty...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 A chant for a children's pantomime dance, suggested by a picture painted by George Mather Richards.

I saw a proud, mysterious cat,
I saw a proud, mysterious cat
Too proud to catch a mouse or rat—
Mew, mew, mew.

But catnip she would eat, and purr,
But catnip she would eat, and purr.
And goldfish she did much prefer—
Mew, mew, mew.

I saw a cat—'twas but a...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel

I hate this yoke; for the world's sake here put it on:
Knowing 'twill weigh as much on you till life is gone.
Knowing you love your freedom dear, as I love mine—
Knowing that love unchained has been our life's great wine:
Our one great wine (yet spent too soon, and serving none;
Of the two cups free love at last the deadly...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 [In memory of E. S. Frazee, Rush County, Indiana]

Into the acres of the newborn state 
He poured his strength, and plowed his ancient name, 
And, when the traders followed him, he stood 
Towering above their furtive souls and tame. 

That brow without a stain, that fearless eye 
Oft left the passing stranger wondering 
To find such knighthood in the...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 A Fantasy, dedicated to the little poet Alice Oliver Henderson, ten years old. 

The Fantasy shows how tiger-hearts are the cause of war in all ages. It shows how the mammoth forces may be either friends or enemies of the struggle for peace. It shows how the dream of peace is unconquerable and eternal.


Peace-of-the-Heart, my own for long,
Whose shining...Read more of this...

by Lindsay, Vachel
 I am unjust, but I can strive for justice. 
My life's unkind, but I can vote for kindness. 
I, the unloving, say life should be lovely. 
I, that am blind, cry out against my blindness. 

Man is a curious brute — he pets his fancies — 
Fighting mankind, to win sweet luxury. 
So he will be, tho' law be...Read more of this...

Book: Shattered Sighs