Classic Poems📜

Here are some of my favorite poems (90+ poems from 45+ poets – for now). More to come!

image*If I have written a review for any poem on this list, I have marked it with an asterisk.  Search author, country, or poem in the sidebar.

Anonymous: Soldier, Soldier

Blake, William: The Shepherd, Infant Joy, Nurse’s Song, The Little Black Boy, The Chimney Sweeper, The Lamb, The Fly, and The Tyger

Bridges, Robert: London Snow

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett: How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways (Sonnet 43)

Browning, Robert: Forever in Joy and The Patriot

Burns, Robert: *My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose, For A’ That, To a Mouse, and Auld Lang Syne

Byron, Lord (George Gordon): The Isle of Greece and She Walks in Beauty

Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Squire and The Miller (The Canterbury Tales)

Clarke, Austin: Over Wales

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: Kubla Khan

De La Mare, Walter: The Listeners

Dickinson, Emily: There is no Frigate Like a Book

Donne, John: Death be Not Proud

Eliot, T.S.: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Rhapsody on a Windy Night

Frost, Robert: Birches, The Road Less Taken, and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Gibran, Kahlil: The Prophet

Hardy, Thomas: The Darkling Thrush

Hecht, Anthony: 1945, Judith, Memory, and Late Afternoon: The Onslaught of Love

Herrick, Robert: To Daffodils

Hopkins, Gerard Manley: Pied Beauty

Hughes, Langston: The Weary Blues

Jonson, Ben: To Celia

Lear, Edward: The Dong with a Luminous Nose and The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

Kavanagh, Patrick: A Christmas Childhood, In Memory of My Mother, and Spraying the Potatoes

Keats, John: To Autumn, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Ode to a Grecian Urn, and Ode to a Nightingale

Khayyám, Omar: *Rubáiyát

Lawrence, D.H.: Snake

Ledwidge, Francis: Thomas MacDonagh

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth: The Children’s Hour and Paul Revere’s Ride

MacDonagh, Donagh: Dublin Made Me and A Warning to Conquerors

MacNeice Louis: Dublin

Millay, Edna St. Vincent: Love is not All, *Travel

Noyes, Alfred: The Highwayman

Parker, Dorothy: Afternoon

Poe, Edgar Allan: Annabel Lee and The Raven

Rossetti, Christina: An Apple Gathering

Scott, Sir Walter: Coronach and The Stag Hunt

Shakespeare, William: Fear no More the Heat o’ the Sun, *Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? (Sonnet 18), and Winter

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: The Cloud and To a Skylark

Spenser, Edmund: One Day I Wrote her Name upon the Strand (Sonnet 75)

Stevens, Wallace: The Emperor of Ice-Cream

St. John Gogarty, Oliver: Golden Stockings

Tennyson, Alfred: The Eagle, The Lady of Shalott, and Morte d’Arthur

Thomas, Dylan: And Death Shall Have no Dominion and Do not go Gentle into that Good Night

Whitman, Walt: O Captain! My Captain!, Song of Myself, and There Was a Child Went Forth

Wilde, Oscar: The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Wordsworth, William: The Daffodils, The Solitary Reaper, Surprised by Joy, and Upon Westminster Bridge

Yeats, W.B.: The Ballad of Father Gilligan, Down by the Salley Gardens, Easter 1916, The Fiddler of Dooney, He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, *The Lake Isle of Innisfree, and The Wild Swans at Coole

Carpe Librum!📚Seize the Book…and let the page-turning begin!

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8 responses to “Classic Poems📜

  1. Marcus

    Hi Sarah,
    I thought I would share this poem with you. It is by Adolf Avraham Berman – a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto. He was with Russian troops when they reached Treblinka concentration camp at the end of WWII.
    He recalled in 1961,”I saw a sight which I shall never forget, a tremendous area of many kilometers, and all over this area there were scattered skulls, bones – tens of thousands; and piles of shoes – among them tens of thousands of little shoes”

    Touring Poland

    Yes, I have seen the great caches,
    Rooms full of shoes and eyeglasses
    Inside the barbed fence of Auschwitz.
    And in Treblinka, plowed in rows,
    The tiny little shoes and clothes.
    Where is the field of teddy bears?
    “They did not come this far with those,
    They only came here with their clothes.”
    One million little girls and boys
    Would not have come without their toys.
    They must have come with teddy bears
    Held tightly with little fingers.
    Would not have come without their toys.
    “They did not come this far with those,
    They only came here with their clothes.”
    Where is the room where you keep those
    Ten million little child-fingers
    And the ten million tiny toes?
    “In Poland now, nobody knows.”
    You’re wrong, I said, GOD knows. GOD knows!

    By the way, Sarah, I read “Touring Poland” at this year’s Waterford Writer’s Festival.

    Like

    • Thank you Marcus for sharing this poem by Berman. It is a very distressing poem. Although WWII ended 75 years ago, the images in the poem evoke immediate emotions: rage against the murderers, and pity for the little children. The vivid image of the teddy bear as the universal child’s toy – symbolizing lost innocence – is very effective.
      Sarah

      Like

  2. Marcus J Copley

    Here is one of my favourites Sarah – (but there are many more of course!). It’s by the Welsh poet Ronald Stuart Thomas.

    The Lonely Farmer

    “Poor hill farmer astray in the grass;
    There came a movement and he looked up, but
    All that he saw was the wind pass.
    There was a sound of voice on the air.
    But where, where? It was only the glib stream talking
    Softly to itself. And once when he was walking
    Along a lane in spring he was deceived
    By a shrill; whistle coming through the leaves;
    Wait a minute, wait a minute-four swift notes;
    He turned, and it was nothing, only a Thrush
    In the thorn bushes easing its throat.
    He swore at himself for paying heed,
    The poor hill farmer, so often again
    Stopping, staring, listening, in vain,
    His ear betrayed by the heart’s need.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marcus J Copley

    Here is another of my favourites Sarah – by Ernest Dowson:

    Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae

    (I am not as I was under the reign of the good Cynara – Horace)

    LAST night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine; And I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

    All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat, Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay; Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet; But I was desolate and sick of an old passion, When I awoke and found the dawn was gray: I have been faithful to you, Cynara! in my fashion.

    I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind, Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng, Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind; But I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, all the time, because the dance was long; I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

    I cried for madder music and for stronger wine, But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire, Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine; And I am desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
    Ernest Dowson

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcus, I absolutely love this poem. I had never heard of it before. The theme of the lover being faithful to Cyrana… “in my fashion” reminds me of a song from the musical KISS ME KATE, based on Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew. And the song’s title?: “I am always true to you, Darling, in my fashion.”
      In the words of Lysander from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

      Like

  4. Marcus J Copley

    Here is just one small section of Henry King’s poem Sarah – he wrote it after his wife passed away:

    “Sleep on, my love, in thy cold bed,
    Never to be disquieted!
    My last good-night! Thou wilt not wake
    Till I thy fate shall overtake;
    Till age, or grief, or sickness must
    Marry my body to that dust
    It so much loves, and fill the room
    My heart keeps empty in thy tomb.
    Stay for me there, I will not fail
    To meet thee in that hollow vale.
    And think not much of my delay;
    I am already on the way.”

    Liked by 1 person

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