Some of my favorite poems.


#art #poetry • 732 words


by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

From Shelley’s Poetry and Prose
Norton, 1977

via Poetry Foundation (website)


by Gregory Orr

Burden and blessing --
two blossoms
on the same branch.

To be so lost
in this radiant wilderness.

From The Blessing
Council Oak Books, 2002.

via Poetry Is Not A Luxury (Instagram)

Hymn of Apollo

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,
From the broad moonlight of the sky,
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,--
Waken me when their Mother, the gray Dawn,
Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

Then I arise, and climbing Heaven's blue dome,
I walk over the mountains and the waves,
Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam;
My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves
Are filled with my bright presence, and the air
Leaves the green Earth to my embraces bare.

The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;
All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray
Good minds and open actions take new might,
Until diminished by the reign of Night.

I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers,
With their ethereal colors; the Moon's globe,
And the pure stars in their eternal bowers,
Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;
Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine,
Are portions of one power, which is mine.

I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven;
Then with unwilling steps I wander down
Into the clouds of the Atlantic even;
For grief that I depart they weep and frown:
What look is more delightful than the smile
With which I soothe them from the western isle?

I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself, and knows it is divine;
All harmony of instrument or verse,
All prophecy, all medicine, is mine,
All light of art or nature; - to my song
Victory and praise in its own right belong.

via AllPoetry (website)

Ode on a Grecian Urn

by John Keats

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,

 Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,

Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

 A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape

 Of deities or mortals, or of both,

  In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

 What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

  What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

 Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,

 Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave

 Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

  Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;

 She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,

  For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

 Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;

And, happy melodist, unwearied,

 For ever piping songs for ever new;

More happy love! more happy, happy love!

 For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,

  For ever panting, and for ever young;

All breathing human passion far above,

 That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,

  A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

 To what green altar, O mysterious priest,

Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,

 And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?

What little town by river or sea shore,

 Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,

  Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?

And, little town, thy streets for evermore

 Will silent be; and not a soul to tell

  Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede

 Of marble men and maidens overwrought,

With forest branches and the trodden weed;

 Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!

 When old age shall this generation waste,

  Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,

 "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

  Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

via Poetry Foundation

Published 2023-12-12