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Famous Whale Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Sexton, Anne
...br> 
I know it well. 
Not there. 

Where did you go? 
45 Mercy Street, 
with great-grandmother 
kneeling in her whale-bone corset 
and praying gently but fiercely 
to the wash basin, 
at five A.M. 
at noon 
dozing in her wiggy rocker, 
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry, 
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid, 
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower 
on her forehead to cover the curl 
of when she was good and when she was.....Read more of this...



by Smart, Christopher
...ke a bastion's mole
 His chest against his foes: 
Strong, the gier-eagle on his sail, 
Strong against tide, th'enormous whale 
 Emerges as he goes. 

 LXXVII 
But stronger still in earth and air, 
And in the sea, the man of pray'r; 
 And far beneath the tide; 
And in the seat to faith assign'd, 
Where ask is have, where seek is find, 
 Where knock is open wide. 

 LXXVIII 
Beauteous the fleet before the gale; 
Beauteous the multitudes in mail, 
 Rank'd arms and creste...Read more of this...

by Thomas, Dylan
...The bows glided down, and the coast
Blackened with birds took a last look
At his thrashing hair and whale-blue eye;
The trodden town rang its cobbles for luck.

Then good-bye to the fishermanned
Boat with its anchor free and fast
As a bird hooking over the sea,
High and dry by the top of the mast,

Whispered the affectionate sand
And the bulwarks of the dazzled quay.
For my sake sail, and never look back,
Said the looking land.

Sails drank the...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
...oar
Were emblem'd in the woof; with every shape
That skims, or dives, or sleeps, 'twixt cape and cape.
The gulphing whale was like a dot in the spell,
Yet look upon it, and 'twould size and swell
To its huge self; and the minutest fish
Would pass the very hardest gazer's wish,
And show his little eye's anatomy.
Then there was pictur'd the regality
Of Neptune; and the sea nymphs round his state,
In beauteous vassalage, look up and wait.
Beside this old man lay a pe...Read more of this...

by Thomas, Dylan
...steeple of spindrift
Rings out the Dead Sea scale;
And, clapped in water till the triton dangles,
Strung by the flaxen whale-weed, from the hangman's raft,
Hear they the salt glass breakers and the tongues of burial.

(Turn the sea-spindle lateral,
The grooved land rotating, that the stylus of lightning
Dazzle this face of voices on the moon-turned table,
Let the wax disk babble
Shames and the damp dishonours, the relic scraping.
These are your years' recorders. ...Read more of this...



by Ali, Muhammad
...ind first,
For claiming to be King of the Jungle.
For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don't get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a ...Read more of this...

by Campbell, Thomas
...r-borne car to ride 
With barren darkness at his side, 
Round the shore where loud Lofoden 
Whirls to death the roaring whale, 
Round the hall where runic Odin 
Howls his war-song to the gale; 
Save when adown the ravaged globe 
He travels on his native storm, 
Deflowering Nature's grassy robe, 
And trampling on her faded form:- 
Till light's returning lord assume 
The shaft the drives him to his polar field, 
Of power to pierce his raven plume 
And crystal-covered shield.Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
...ing what centuries alone digest:
The mammoth, lumbering statuary of sorrow,
Indissoluble enough to riddle the guts
Of a whale with holes and holes, and bleed him white
Into salt seas. Hercules had a simple time,
Rinsing those stables: a baby's tears would do it.
But who'd volunteer to gulp the Laocoon,
The Dying Gaul and those innumerable pietas
Festering on the dim walls of Europe's chapels,
Museums and sepulchers? You.
 You
Who borrowed feathers for your feet, n...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...taste the savage taste of blood! to be so devilish! 
To gloat so over the wounds and deaths of the enemy.

9
O the whaleman’s joys! O I cruise my old cruise again! 
I feel the ship’s motion under me—I feel the Atlantic breezes fanning me, 
I hear the cry again sent down from the mast-head—There—she blows! 
—Again I spring up the rigging, to look with the rest—We see—we descend,
 wild
 with excitement, 
I leap in the lower’d boat—We row toward our prey, where he lies,
We ...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...poising his lance; 
I see the Siberian on his slight-built sledge, drawn by dogs;
I see the porpoise-hunters—I see the whale-crews of the South Pacific and the North
 Atlantic; 
I see the cliffs, glaciers, torrents, valleys, of Switzerland—I mark the long winters, and
 the
 isolation. 

I see the cities of the earth, and make myself at random a part of them; 
I am a real Parisian; 
I am a habitan of Vienna, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Constantinople;
I am of Adelaide, Si...Read more of this...

by Ashbery, John
...delicate meshes
That only argue its further detention.
(Big, but not coarse, merely on another scale,
Like a dozing whale on the sea bottom
In relation to the tiny, self-important ship
On the surface.) But your eyes proclaim
That everything is surface. The surface is what's there
And nothing can exist except what's there.
There are no recesses in the room, only alcoves,
And the window doesn't matter much, or that
Sliver of window or mirror on the right, even
A...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...Thanksgiving dinner; 
The pilot seizes the king-pin—he heaves down with a strong arm; 
The mate stands braced in the whale-boat—lance and harpoon are ready; 
The duck-shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches;
The deacons are ordain’d with cross’d hands at the altar; 
The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel; 
The farmer stops by the bars, as he walks on a First-day loafe, and looks at the
 oats and rye; 
The lunatic is carried at last...Read more of this...

by Crowley, Aleister
...els, I am.
I am in him, as he in me; 
And like a satyr ravishing a lamb
So either seems, or as the sea
Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram
Beats its own head
Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.

XXVIII

Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!
Pile me the roses and the thorns,
Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!
He may return. A million morns
May follow that first dire daemonic dawn
When he did split
My spirit with his lightnings and e...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...harge, the Petticoat.
Oft have we known that sev'nfold Fence to fail;
Tho' stiff with Hoops, and arm'd with Ribs of Whale.
Form a strong Line about the Silver Bound,
And guard the wide Circumference around.

Whatever spirit, careless of his Charge,
His Post neglects, or leaves the Fair at large,
Shall feel sharp Vengeance soon o'ertake his Sins,
Be stopt in Vials, or transfixt with Pins.
Or plung'd in Lakes of bitter Washes lie,
Or wedg'd whole Ages in a Bodki...Read more of this...

by Walcott, Derek
...e.
One night, in a fever, radiantly ill,
she say, "Bring me the book, the end has come."
She said, "I dreamt of whales and a storm,"
but for that dream, the book had no answer.
A next night I dreamed of three old women
featureless as silkworms, stitching my fate,
and I scream at them to come out of my house,
and I try beating them away with a broom,
but as they go out, so they crawl back again,
until I start screaming and crying, my flesh
raining with sweat, and s...Read more of this...

by Pound, Ezra
...ring them widest draweth.
So that but now my heart burst from my breast-lock,
My mood 'mid the mere-flood,
Over the whale's acre, would wander wide.
On earth's shelter cometh oft to me,
Eager and ready, the crying lone-flyer,
Whets for the whale-path the heart irresistibly,
O'er tracks of ocean; seeing that anyhow
My lord deems to me this dead life
On loan and on land, I believe not
That any earth-weal eternal standeth
Save there be somewhat calamitous
That, ere a man...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...out of bounds o'er th' ethereal blue, 
Splitting some planet with its playful tail, 
As boats are sometimes by a wanton whale. 

III 

The guardian seraphs had retired on high, 
Finding their charges past all care below; 
Terrestrial business fill'd nought in the sky 
Save the recording angel's black bureau; 
Who found, indeed, the facts to multiply 
With such rapidity of vice and woe, 
That he had stripp'd off both his wings in quills, 
And yet was in arrear of human ill...Read more of this...

by Nash, Ogden
...One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
metaphor.
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to
go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when w...Read more of this...

by Doty, Mark
...us ,
and I moved carefully through my life
while I waited. . . Enough,

it wasn't that way at all. The whale
—exuberant, proud maybe, playful,
like the early music of Beethoven—

cruised the footings for smelts
clustered near the pylons
in mercury flocks. He

(do I have the gender right?)
would negotiate the rusty hulls
of the Portuguese fishing boats

—Holy Infant, Little Marie—
with what could only be read
as pleasure, coming close

then diving, trailin...Read more of this...

by Lowell, Robert
...t lights bring out "Bobbie,"
Porcellian '29,
a replica of Louis XVI
without the wig--
redolent and roly-poly as a sperm whale,
as he swashbuckles about in his birthday suit
and horses at chairs.

These victorious figures of bravado ossified young.

In between the limits of day,
hours and hours go by under the crew haircuts
and slightly too little nonsensical bachelor twinkle
of the Roman Catholic attendants.
(There are no Mayflower
screwballs in the Catholic Churc...Read more of this...

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Book: Reflection on the Important Things