Selected poetry from:
Alysion's Bucket List of Poems to Read Before You Die.


Quill
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Robert Frost
William Blake
Gelett Burgess
William Blake
William Ernest Henley
Edgar Allan Poe
Various Authors
Bashō Matsuo
Dan George
Robert Frost
Stephen Crane
Emily Dickinson
T. S. Eliot
Henry David Thoreau
Emily Dickinson
Edgar Allan Poe
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
John Donne
Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Robert Frost
E. A. Robinson
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Thomas Hardy
Siddhārtha Gautama
'The Old Master' Laozi
Bartholomew Griffin
Robert W. Service
Emile Dickinson
Robert Herrick
Dylan Thomas
Robert Frost
Emily Dickinson
Christopher Marlowe
Lord Byron
Li Po
William Wordsworth
Alfred Tennyson
Lewis Carroll
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Lord Byron
Edward Lear
Rudyard Kipling
Emily Dickinson
John Donne
William Shakespeare
Edgar Allan Poe
Robert Frost
Jianzhi Sengcan
Ben Jonson
Robert Burns
Lewis Carroll
A. E. Robinson
Wallace Stevens
Issa Kobayashi
William Wordsworth
Robert Frost
Lewis Carroll
Edgar Allan Poe
William Cullen Bryant
Percy Bysshe Shelley
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Langston Hughes
Edgar Allan Poe
Carl Sandburg
Rudyard Kipling
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
     


"The most important tribute any human being can pay to a poem or a piece of prose he or she really loves is to learn it by heart. Not by brain, by heart; the expression is vital." —George Steiner

Some argue that to properly appreciate a poem you should memorize it, and that if you haven't, well, you have not paid proper homage to the poet. Most popular poems roll off the tongue like song lyrics and, perhaps for that reason, best loved poems are easy to memorize. Favorite poems bear repetition. Memorize them and you can recite them at odd moments to amuse yourself. There may even be occasions when, instead of merely quoting a famous line from a poem, you'll want to offer the complete stanza or the whole poem for consideration.

Poets often labor mightily over a poem. If you like what they've done, commit it to memory. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 he imagined book lovers committing entire books to memory. Doing the same for a few poems is effort well spent with interest to be accrued over a lifetime.

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Index by Author:— Collect'em all!

Blake, William:—To See a World (in a grain of sand); The Tyger
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett:—Sonnets from the Portuguese XIV & XLIII
Bryant, William Cullen:—Thanatopsis
Burgess, Gelett:—The Purple Cow
Burns, Robert:—A Red, Red Rose
Byron, Lord:—She Walks In Beauty like the night; So we'll go no more a roving
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor:—Kubla Khan; Rime of the Ancient Mariner (lavishly illustrated)
Carroll, Lewis:—The Walrus and the Carpenter; Father William; Jabberwocky
Crane, Stephen:—I Stood upon a High Place
Dickinson, Emily:—Much Madness is Divinest Sense; I'm nobody! Who are you?;
     Because I could not stop for Death; If I can stop one heart from breaking; Heart, we will forget him!
Donne, John:—Death be not proud; For Whom the Bell Tolls
Eliot, T S:—Macavity — The Mystery Cat
Emerson, Ralph Waldo:—Brahma
Frost, Robert:—Fire and Ice; Nothing Gold Can Stay; Dust of Snow;
     Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening; The Road Not Taken; Mending Wall
George, Dan:—Talk to Animals
Gautama, Siddhārtha:—This Fleeting World
Griffin, Bartholomew:—The Passionate Pilgrim, XI
Hardy, Thomas:—The Man He Killed
Henley, William Ernest:—Invictus
Herrick, Robert:—To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Hughes, Langston:—Harlem or Dream Defered
Jonson, Ben:—Song To Celia—II
Kipling, Rudyard:—Sestina of the Tramp Royal; If
Kobayashi, Issa:—In This World
Laozi:—Earth is Like a Vessel
Lear, Edward:—The Owl And The Pussy-Cat
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth:—The Rainy Day; Hiawatha's Childhood
Magee, Jr., John Gillespie:—High Flight
Marlowe, Christopher:—The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Matsuo, Bashō:—The Old Pond
Millay, Edna St. Vincent:—First Fig
Po, Li:—Alone and Drinking Under the Moon
Poe, Edgar Allan:—Eldorado; A Dream within a Dream; The Conqueror Worm;
     Annabel Lee; The Raven (illustrated by Dore); The Bells; To Helen; Ulalume; Alone
Robinson, E.A.:—Richard Cory; Miniver Cheevy
Sandburg, Carl:—Fog
Sengcan, Jianzhi:—Xinxin Ming or Trust in the Heart
Service, Robert W.:—The Cremation of Sam McGee
Shakespeare, William:—Sonnets by Will (XVIII, XXIX, LXXIII, CXVI, CXXX); Speeches by Will;
     Sigh No More, Ladies...
Shelley, Percy Bysshe:—Ozymandias
Stevens, Wallace:—The Snow Man
Tennyson, Alfred:—The Charge of the Light Brigade
Thayer, Ernest Lawrence:—Casey at the Bat
Thomas, Dylan:—Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Thoreau, Henry David:—My Life Has Been the Poem
Wordsworth, William:—The World Is Too Much With Us; The Daffodils or
     I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

Index by First Lines:— Name that poem!

A bather whose clothing was strewed By winds that left her quite nude, Saw a man come along...
A monkey sprang down from a tree And angrily cursed Charles D. "I hold with the Bible..."
A pot of wine, under the flowering trees; I drink alone, for no friend is near to me....
A wonderful bird is the pelican, His bill will hold more than his belican, He can take in his beak...
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their...
Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves...
But he followed the pair to Pawtucket, The man and the girl with the bucket; And he said to the man...
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun...
By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis...
COME live with me and be my Love, And we will all the pleasures prove...
Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so...
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage...
Drink to me only with thine eyes, And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kiss but in the cup...
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil...
From childhood's hour I have not been As others were; I have not seen As others saw; I could not...
Gaily bedight, A gallant knight, In sunshine and in shadow, Had journeyed long, Singing a song...
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today...
Had he and I but met By some old ancient inn, We should have set us down to wet Right many...
Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred...
Hear the sledges with the bells— Silver bells! What a world of merriment their melody foretells!...
Heart, we will forget him! You an I, tonight! You may forget the warmth he gave...
Helen, thy beauty is to me Like those Nicean barks of yore, That gently, o'er a perfumed sea...
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My...
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the...
I never saw a purple cow I hope I never see one, But I can tell you this right now...
I stood upon a high place, And saw, below, many devils Running, leaping, and carousing in sin...
I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd...
I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!...
If I can stop one Heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one Life the Aching...
If the red slayer think he slays, Or if the slain think he is slain, They know not well...
If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love's sake only. Do not say...
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If...
If you talk to animals they will talk with you And you will know each other...
In this world we walk on the roof of hell...
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran...
It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three. "By thy long grey beard and glittering eye...
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom...
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it...
Lo! 't is a gala night Within the lonesome latter years. An angel throng, bewinged, bedight...
Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw— For he's the master criminal who can defy...
Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn, Grew lean while he assailed the seasons; He wept that he was ever...
Much madness is divinest sense To a discerning eye; Much sense the starkest madness...
My candle burns at both ends, It will not last the night, But ah my foes and oh my friends...
My life has been the poem I would have writ...
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white...
Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower...
Neither a borrower nor a lender be: For loan oft loses both itself and friend; And borrowing dulls...
No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main...
O my Luve's like a red, red rose That's newly sprung in June; O my Luve's like the melodie...
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings...
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious...
One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with...
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever...
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do...
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies, And all that's best...
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever, One foot in sea and one on shore...
So, we'll go no more a roving So late into the night, Though the heart be still as loving...
Some say the world will end in fire; Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire...
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it...
Speakin' in general, I 'ave tried 'em all— The 'appy roads that take you o'er the world...
Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow...
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon...
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; The vine still clings...
The fog comes on little cat feet...
The old pond—a frog jumps in...
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day: The score stood four to two, with but one...
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat, They took some honey, and...
The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose; Do not like, do not dislike...
The quality of mercy is not strain'd. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place...
The skies they were ashen and sober; The leaves they were crispéd and sere— The leaves they were...
The sun was shining on the sea, Shining with all his might: He did his very best to make...
The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart...
The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers...
There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold...
There once was a fellow named Hall Who fell in the spring in the fall; 'Twould have been a sad thing...
There once was a man from Nantucket Who kept all his cash in a bucket. But his daughter named...
There once was a person from Lyme Who married three wives at a time. When asked, "Why...
There was a young lady named Bright, Whose speed was much faster than light. She set out...
There was an Old Man with a beard, Who said "It is just as I feared! - Two Owls and a Hen,...
Those who would take over the Earth And shape it to their will Never, I notice, succeed...
Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; A flash of lightning...
To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and...
To him who in the love of nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks...
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last...
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower. Hold Infinity in the palm...
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wade; All mimsy were the...
Two brothers devised what at sight Seemed a bicycle crossed with a kite. They predicted...
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler...
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye...
Venus, with young Adonis sitting by her Under a myrtle shade, began to woo him: She told the...
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and movement...
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore...
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf...
Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a...
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not...
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, and we petty men Walk under his...
"You are old, father William," the young man said, "And your hair has become very white...

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External Links

  • Poets.org
  • From the Academy of American Poets.