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Famous Why Not Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Why Not poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous why not poems. These examples illustrate what a famous why not poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Frost, Robert

One day she asked her father
 To give her a garden plot
To plant and tend and reap herself,
 And he said, "Why not?"

In casting about for a corner
 He thought of an idle bit
Of walled-off ground where a shop had stood,
 And he said, "Just it."

And he said, "That ought to make you
 An ideal one-girl farm,
And give you a chance to put some strength
 On your slim-jim arm."

It was not enough of a garden,
 Her father said, to plough;
So she had to work it a...Read More

by Browning, Robert some way must be,-- 
Once feel about, and soon or late you hit 
Some sense, in which it might be, after all. 
Why not, "The Way, the Truth, the Life?" 

--That way 
Over the mountain, which who stands upon 
Is apt to doubt if it be meant for a road; 
While, if he views it from the waste itself, 
Up goes the line there, plain from base to brow, 
Not vague, mistakeable! what's a break or two 
Seen from the unbroken desert either side? 
And then (to bring in fresh phil...Read More

by Prelutsky, Jack
there are flavors in my freezer
you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations
too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor,
try the flavors on my list:


by Keats, John
...rch face peep'd,--an Oread as I guess'd.

 "Why did I dream that sleep o'er-power'd me
In midst of all this heaven? Why not see,
Far off, the shadows of his pinions dark,
And stare them from me? But no, like a spark
That needs must die, although its little beam
Reflects upon a diamond, my sweet dream
Fell into nothing--into stupid sleep.
And so it was, until a gentle creep,
A careful moving caught my waking ears,
And up I started: Ah! my sighs, my tears,
My clenched h...Read More

by Keats, John these arms? in this sweet spot
Pillow my chin for ever? ever press
These toying hands and kiss their smooth excess?
Why not for ever and for ever feel
That breath about my eyes? Ah, thou wilt steal
Away from me again, indeed, indeed--
Thou wilt be gone away, and wilt not heed
My lonely madness. Speak, my kindest fair!
Is--is it to be so? No! Who will dare
To pluck thee from me? And, of thine own will,
Full well I feel thou wouldst not leave me. Still
Let me entwin...Read More

by Moore, Marianne
and in stipulating quiet:
"I should like to be alone;"
to which the visitor replies,
"I should like to be alone;
why not be alone together?"
Below the incandescent stars
below the incandescent fruit,
the strange experience of beauty;
its existence is too much;
it tears one to pieces
and each fresh wave of consciousness
is poison.
"See her, see her in this common world,"
the central flaw
in that first crystal-fine experiment,
this amalgamation which can never be mor...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...we, by your new patent, 
Would seem to be two kings here by the wayside,
With our two hats off to his Excellency. 
Why not his Majesty, and done with it? 
Forgive me if I shook your meditation, 
But you that weld our credit should have eyes 
To see what’s coming. Bury me first if I do.


There’s always in some pocket of your brain 
A care for me; wherefore my gratitude 
For your attention is commensurate 
With your concern. Yes, Burr, we are two king...Read More

by Milton, John
...owerful destiny ordained 
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood 
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised 
Ambition! Yet why not some other Power 
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, 
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great 
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within 
Or from without, to all temptations armed. 
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? 
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse, 
But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all...Read More

by Milton, John
...but much more sweet thus cropt, 
'Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit 
'For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men: 
'And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more 
'Communicated, more abundant grows, 
'The author not impaired, but honoured more? 
'Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve! 
'Partake thou also; happy though thou art, 
'Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be: 
'Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods 
'Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined, 
'But so...Read More

by Milton, John what might lead 
To happier life, knowledge of good and evil; 
Of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil 
Be real, why not known, since easier shunned? 
God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just; 
Not just, not God; not feared then, nor obeyed: 
Your fear itself of death removes the fear. 
Why then was this forbid? Why, but to awe; 
Why, but to keep ye low and ignorant, 
His worshippers? He knows that in the day 
Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear, 
Yet are...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...any lies, 
Your world could not be otherwise.” 

“One might say that and then be shot,” 
I told him; and he said: “Why not?” 
I ceased, and gave him rather more 
Than he was counting of my store. 
“And since I have it, thanks to you, 
Don’t ask me what I mean to do,” 
Said he. “Believe that even I 
Would rather tell the truth than lie— 
On Christmas Eve. No matter why.” 

His unshaved, educated face,
His inextinguishable grace. 
And his hard smile, ar...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...y and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939. Summer. Fontannyi Dom (4)]


You will come anyway - so why not now?
I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door
For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish. Burst in
Like a shell of noxious gas. Creep up on me
Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation,
Or, with a simp...Read More

by Masefield, John
...and it , since it can't be mended?" 
And in my heart I heard him plain, 
"Throw yourself down and end it, Kane." 

"Why not?" said I. "Why not? But no. 
I won't. I've never had my go. 
I've not had all the world can give. 
Death by and by, but first I'll live. 
The world owes me my time of times, 
And that time's coming now, by crimes." 

A madness took me then. I felt 
I'd like to hit the world a belt. 
I felt that I could fly through ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...r her! patient, and prayerful, meek, 
Pale-blooded, she will yield herself to God.' 

And Isolt answered, `Yea, and why not I? 
Mine is the larger need, who am not meek, 
Pale-blooded, prayerful. Let me tell thee now. 
Here one black, mute midsummer night I sat, 
Lonely, but musing on thee, wondering where, 
Murmuring a light song I had heard thee sing, 
And once or twice I spake thy name aloud. 
Then flashed a levin-brand; and near me stood, 
In fuming sulphu...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles probably the
ugliest man in town and this might have had something to do with it. 
"Drink?" I asked. 
"Sure, why not?" 
I don't suppose there was anything unusual in our conversation that night, it was
simply in the feeling Cass gave. She had chosen me and it was as simple as that. No
pressure. She liked her drinks and had a great number of them. She didn't seem quite of
age but they served he anyhow. Perhaps she had forged i.d., I don't...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...made to kill 
Time by the fire in winter.' 
'Kill him now, 
The tyrant! kill him in the summer too,' 
Said Lilia; 'Why not now?' the maiden Aunt. 
'Why not a summer's as a winter's tale? 
A tale for summer as befits the time, 
And something it should be to suit the place, 
Heroic, for a hero lies beneath, 
Grave, solemn!' 
Walter warped his mouth at this 
To something so mock-solemn, that I laughed 
And Lilia woke with sudden-thrilling mirth 
An echo like a ghostly w...Read More

by Khayyam, Omar was all the Harvest that I reap'd --
"I came like Water and like Wind I go." 

Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing. 

Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Master-Knot of Human Fate. 

There was the Do...Read More

by Frost, Robert
A good old-timer dating back along;
But a house isn't sentient; the house
Didn't feel anything. And if it did,
Why not regard it as a sacrifice,
And an old-fashioned sacrifice by fire,
Instead of a new-fashioned one at auction?

Out of a house and so out of a farm
At one stroke (of a match), Brad had to turn
To earn a living on the Concord railroad,
As under-ticket-agent at a station
Where his job, when he wasn't selling tickets,
Was setting out, up track and down, n...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...less voice, nor far nor near,
He seemed to hear and not to hear. 

"Tears kindle not the doubtful spark.
If so, why not? Of this remark
The bearings are profoundly dark." 

"Her speech," he said, "hath caused this pain.
Easier I count it to explain
The jargon of the howling main, 

"Or, stretched beside some babbling brook,
To con, with inexpressive look,
An unintelligible book." 

Low spake the voice within his head,
In words imagined more than said,
Soun...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...en Tithon became grey--
Or how much, Venus, of thy silver heaven
Wouldst thou have yielded, ere Proserpina
Had half (oh why not all?) the debt forgiven
Which dear Adonis had been doomed to pay--
To any witch who would have taught you it
The Heliad doth not know its value yet.

'Tis said in after times her spirit free
Knew what love was, and felt itself alone.
But holy Dian could not chaster be
Before she stooped to kiss Endymion
Than now this Lady,--like a sexless bee...Read More

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