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Famous Water Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shakespeare, William
...eet design,
And credent soul to that strong-bonded oath
That shall prefer and undertake my troth.'

'This said, his watery eyes he did dismount,
Whose sights till then were levell'd on my face;
Each cheek a river running from a fount
With brinish current downward flow'd apace:
O, how the channel to the stream gave grace!
Who glazed with crystal gate the glowing roses
That flame through water which their hue encloses.

'O father, what a hell of witchcraft lies
In the s...Read More



by Whitman, Walt
...ed face, 
To him the hereditary countenance bequeath’d, both mother’s and father’s, 
His first parts substances, earth, water, animals, trees, 
Built of the common stock, having room for far and near, 
Used to dispense with other lands, incarnating this land,
Attracting it Body and Soul to himself, hanging on its neck with incomparable love, 
Plunging his seminal muscle into its merits and demerits, 
Making its cities, beginnings, events, diversities, wars, vocal in him, 
Mak...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...ery of night, 
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat 
 up smoking in the supernatural darkness of 
 cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities 
 contemplating jazz, 
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and 
 saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene- 
 ment roofs illuminated, 
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes 
 hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy 
 among the scholars of war, 
who were expelled from the academie...Read More

by Keats, John
...g light
Could glimmer on their tears; where their own groans
They felt, but heard not, for the solid roar
Of thunderous waterfalls and torrents hoarse,
Pouring a constant bulk, uncertain where.
Crag jutting forth to crag, and rocks that seem'd
Ever as if just rising from a sleep,
Forehead to forehead held their monstrous horns;
And thus in thousand hugest phantasies
Made a fit roofing to this nest of woe.
Instead of thrones, hard flint they sat upon,
Couches of rugged...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...e the unspoken thought - "is none 
 Beneath God's wrath who dies in field or town, 
 Or earth's wide space, or whom the waters drown, 
 But here he cometh at last, and that so spurred 
 By Justice, that his fear, as those ye heard, 
 Impels him forward like desire. Is not 
 One spirit of all to reach the fatal spot 
 That God's love holdeth, and hence, if Char 
 chide, 
 Ye well may take it. - Raise thy heart, for now, 
 Constrained of Heaven, he must thy course allow...Read More



by Whitman, Walt
...t! 
O to continue and be employ’d there all my life!
O the briny and damp smell—the shore—the salt weeds exposed at low water, 
The work of fishermen—the work of the eel-fisher and clam-fisher. 

O it is I! 
I come with my clam-rake and spade! I come with my eel-spear; 
Is the tide out? I join the group of clam-diggers on the flats,
I laugh and work with them—I joke at my work, like a mettlesome young man. 

In winter I take my eel-basket and eel-spear and travel out ...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...ill,
And breaks the gossamer-threads of early dew;
And down the river, like a flame of blue,
Keen as an arrow flies the water-king,
While the brown linnets in the greenwood sing.
A year ago! - it seems a little time
Since last I saw that lordly southern clime,
Where flower and fruit to purple radiance blow,
And like bright lamps the fabled apples glow.
Full Spring it was - and by rich flowering vines,
Dark olive-groves and noble forest-pines,
I rode at will; the moist...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...ve it,
Yet think of the small birds at roost and not
In nests. Shall I be counted less than they are?
Their bulk in water would be frozen rock
In no time out to-night. And yet to-morrow
They will come budding boughs from tree to tree
Flirting their wings and saying Chickadee,
As if not knowing what you meant by the word storm.”

“But why when no one wants you to go on?
Your wife—she doesn’t want you to. We don’t,
And you yourself don’t want to. Who else is...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak, 
And went where he sat on a log, and led him in and assured him, 
And brought water, and fill’d a tub for his sweated body and bruis’d
 feet,
And gave him a room that enter’d from my own, and gave him some coarse
 clean clothes, 
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness, 
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles; 
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass’d nort...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...an.

Seven spears, and the seventh
Was wrought as the faerie blades,
And given to Elf the minstrel
By the monstrous water-maids;

By them that dwell where luridly
Lost waters of the Rhine
Move among roots of nations,
Being sunken for a sign.

Under all graves they murmur,
They murmur and rebel,
Down to the buried kingdoms creep,
And like a lost rain roar and weep
O'er the red heavens of hell.

Thrice drowned was Elf the minstrel,
And washed as dead on sand;
And th...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...angels kisst
In pictures seen leaving their marble cist
To go before the throne of grace unblamed. 
Nor surer am I water hath the skill
To quench my thirst, or that my strength is freed
In delicate ordination as I will,
Than that to be myself is all I need
For thee to be most mine: so I stand still,
And save to taste my joy no more take heed. 

3
The whole world now is but the minister
Of thee to me: I see no other scheme
But universal love, from timeless dream
Wakin...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
...sp;Or in the castle he's pursuing,  Among the ghosts, his own undoing;  Or playing with the waterfall,"   At poor old Susan then she railed,  While to the town she posts away;  "If Susan had not been so ill,  Alas! I should have had him still,  My Johnny, till my dying day."   Poor Betty! in this sad distemper,  The doctor's self woul...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...e sometime attain.
But I that am exiled, and barren
Of alle grace, and in so great despair,
That there n'is earthe, water, fire, nor air,
Nor creature, that of them maked is,
That may me helpe nor comfort in this,
Well ought I *sterve in wanhope* and distress. *die in despair*
Farewell my life, my lust*, and my gladness. *pleasure
Alas, *why plainen men so in commune *why do men so often complain
Of purveyance of God*, or of Fortune, of God's providence?*
That giv...Read More

by Blake, William
...who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence. 

The cut worm forgives the plow.

Dip him in the river who loves water.

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
Eternity is in love with the productions of time. 
The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no
clock can measure.

All wholsom food is caught without a net or a t...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
..., with skill uncouth
And savage rapture, like a tooth
She wrenched some slow reluctant truth. 

Till, like a silent water-mill,
When summer suns have dried the rill,
She reached a full stop, and was still. 

Dead calm succeeded to the fuss,
As when the loaded omnibus
Has reached the railway terminus: 

When, for the tumult of the street,
Is heard the engine's stifled beat,
The velvet tread of porters' feet. 

With glance that ever sought the ground,
She moved her ...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...Under a mountain which from unknown time
"Had yawned into a cavern high & deep,
And from it came a gentle rivulet
Whose water like clear air in its calm sweep
"Bent the soft grass & kept for ever wet
The stems of the sweet flowers, and filled the grove
With sound which all who hear must needs forget
"All pleasure & all pain, all hate & love,
Which they had known before that hour of rest:
A sleeping mother then would dream not of
"The only child who died upon her breast
At eve...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...n images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 
 Frisch weht der Wind
 Der Heimat zu
 Mein Irisch Kind,
 Wo weilest du?
"...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...Sailing a yawl in Narragansett Bay; 
Happier perhaps when I was away, 
Free of an anxious daughter, 
He could sail blue water 
Day after day, 
Beyond Brenton Reef Lightship, and Beavertail, 
Past Cuttyhunk to catch a gale 
Off the Cape, while he thought of Hellas and Troy,
Chanting with joy
Greek choruses— those lines that he said
Must be written some day on a stone at his head:
'But who can know
As the long years go
That to live is happy, has found his heaven.'
My father...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...tints are pink or sallow, brown or red;
They are beginning to remember their differences.

I think they are made of water; they have no expression.
Their features are sleeping, like light on quiet water.
They are the real monks and nuns in their identical garments.
I see them showering like stars on to the world--
On India, Africa, America, these miraculous ones,
These pure, small images. They smell of milk.
Their footsoles are untouched. They are ...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...

God is unkind to gardeners and reapers.
Slanted rain coils and falls from up high
And the wide raincoats catch water,
That once had reflected the sky.

In underwater realm are fields and meadows
And the free currents sing a lot,
Plums rupture on bloated branches
And grass strands, lying down, rot.

And through the dense and watery net
I see your darling face,
A quiet park, a round porch
And a Chinese arbour-place.



x x x

All promised...Read More

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