A beautiful Alliteration Poem by Shel Silverstein

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

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Alliteration Poems

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Best Poem

Youth and Art

by Robert Browning

Robert Browning

It once might have been, once only:
We lodged in a street together,
You, a sparrow on the housetop lonely,
I, a lone she-bird of his feather.


Your trade was with sticks and clay,
You thumbed, thrust, patted and polished,
Then laughed “They will see some day
Smith made, and Gibson demolished.”


My business was song, song, song;
I chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered,
“Kate Brown’s on the boards ere long,
And Grisi’s existence embittered!”


I earned no more by a warble
Than you by a sketch in plaster;
You wanted a piece of marble,
I needed a music-master.


We studied hard in our styles,
Chipped each at a crust like Hindoos,
For air looked out on the tiles,
For fun watched each other’s windows.


You lounged, like a boy of the South,
Cap and blouse—nay, a bit of beard too;
Or you got it, rubbing your mouth
With fingers the clay adhered to.


And I—soon managed to find
Weak points in the flower-fence facing,
Was forced to put up a blind
And be safe in my corset-lacing.


No harm! It was not my fault
If you never turned your eye’s tail up
As I shook upon E in alt,
Or ran the chromatic scale up:


For spring bade the sparrows pair,
And the boys and girls gave guesses,
And stalls in our street looked rare
With bulrush and watercresses.


Why did not you pinch a flower
In a pellet of clay and fling it?
Why did not I put a power
Of thanks in a look, or sing it?


I did look, sharp as a lynx,
(And yet the memory rankles,)
When models arrived, some minx
Tripped up-stairs, she and her ankles.


But I think I gave you as good!
“That foreign fellow,—who can know
How she pays, in a playful mood,
For his tuning her that piano?”


Could you say so, and never say
“Suppose we join hands and fortunes,
And I fetch her from over the way,
Her, piano, and long tunes and short tunes?”


No, no: you would not be rash,
Nor I rasher and something over:
You’ve to settle yet Gibson’s hash,
And Grisi yet lives in clover.


But you meet the Prince at the Board,
I’m queen myself at bals-paré,
I’ve married a rich old lord,
And you’re dubbed knight and an R.A.


Each life unfulfilled, you see;
It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
We have not sighed deep, laughed free,
Starved, feasted, despaired,—been happy.


And nobody calls you a dunce,
And people suppose me clever:
This could but have happened once,
And we missed it, lost it for ever.
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When Life

by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Is cut close, blades and bones,
And the stench of sewers is everywhere,
Blood-sloshed floors,
And guards count the dead
With the blink of an eyelid, then hurry home
To supper and love, what saves us
From going mad is to carry a vacant stare,
And a quiet half-dead dream.
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Best Poem

We Real Cool

by Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We


Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We


Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We


Jazz June. We
Die soon.
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Best Poem

Vowel Movements

by Daryl Hine

Daryl Hine

Take a statement, the same as yesterday’s dictation:
Lately pain has been there waiting when I awake.
Creative despair and failure have made their patient.
Anyway, I’m afraid I have nothing to say.
Those crazy phrases I desecrated the paper
With against the grain … Taste has turned away her face
Temporarily, like a hasty, ill-paid waitress
At table, barely capable but very vague.
Mistaken praise and blame degrade profane and sacred
Places so strange you may not even know their names.
Vacant the gymnasium where words once played naked
Amazing games that always used to end in mate.


Better, then, the effort than preterite perfection,
I guess. Indeed, I envy the eminent dead
The special effects I am ready to inherit
Less than their sentiments and impenitent sense
Of aesthetic gesture. Unpleasant and pretentious,
The Western hemisphere has plenty to forget.
The mess men might yet make of themselves, given present
Events! Are many content to accept the best?
Precious as sex is, flesh, perenially wretched,
Begs the bread of heaven, blessing nevertheless
The unexpected sender’s address on a letter.
Every breathless sentence says not yet to death.


The past cannot matter except as an abstraction,
A flattering caricature of happy lands
Wherein many a grand, imaginary castle
In fact turns out to be a tourist trap at last,
A vast palace that adrastic phantoms inhabit.
Maps of madness, characteristically blank,
Ask vatic questions, exact a magic answer:
The family photograph album at a glance,
Granny, Dad, Aunt Sally, that dissatisfied madame
Who manages passion’s incalculable acts,
Paris, everyman’s romantic trash and tarry—
Abracadabra, and the vanished cast comes back!


If civilization isn’t a silly gimmick,
Is it the wit to wish, the will to make it stick?
The mathematical vision which built this system
Figures the width of a minute within an inch.
Primitive physics, a sophisticated fiction,
Insists that in principle everything is fixed.
Visitors picnic amid pretty Chichèn Itzá
With its sacrificial pit, artificial hills
And cricket pitch wherein the winner is the victim.
To think an instinct like iniquity exists!
Hidden riches fill big individual middens;
In the Wizard’s Pyramid little lizards live.


Specious sweets we reach for eagerly with Eve’s evil
Greed recede like the fleeting details of a dream.
It seems that we have been a brief season in Eden:
Chic unreal estates where immediately green
Trees repeated in completely meaningless series
Briefly yield to the weaker tyranny of weeds
Even as we seek relief in a secret clearing.
Prehistory can be too recent; need we read
These steles’ queried speech? Here undefeated peoples
Experienced deceit; here scenes of deepest grief
Teach us to weep the cheap and easy tears of reason;
Here the sea of being sleeps, a period peace.


Frustration, fuss, and lust are love’s unlucky colours.
Thunderstruck, the muscular monuments look dumb.
Judged by the numbers that once flourished in the jungle
In hundreds of miles of dull undercover scrub,
Unless somebody was insufferably ugly
Mistrust of one another must be in the blood.
Unsuccess in a dozen tough struggles instructs us
Justice is a mother-fucker. Suffering’s fun
For a month, but in a millenium no wonder
One becomes somewhat disgusted. Unsubtle skull,
The mysteries of dust are nothing to live up to.
Insulted by a touch, one mutters, “Summer sucks.”


Undone by the siesta and by sudden showers,
Is it uncomfortable in the hungry South?
Now cowed by Kulkulkan’s geometrical scowl,
Now wowed by the classic brown faces in a crowd,
You falter at mounds memorial to a thousand
Bleeding hearts in a single holiday cut out,
Submitted to the sun, insatiable flesh-flower
Of the universe, all-devouring powerhouse,
Confounded by our sound of pronounceable vowels.
Myths, as the guidebook says, are handed down by mouth.
Though mood and voice and person, gender, tense, and number
Predicate a verb, its cases explain a noun:


Proper noun or pronoun, indubitably human,
Whose beautiful excuse is usually youth
Doomed to the brutal usufructu of the future,
Consumed by the illusions of jejune amours.
You used to choose the rules with superfluous humour,
Tuned to the influential movements of the moon
Whose smooth, translucent route through roofless rooms illumines
From dewy moonrise unto lunar afternoon
Tulum and its improvements, tumulus and ruins,
Poorly reproduced, a too crudely stupid view.
Who knew nude truth from rumour, amusement from music
Soon would prove a fool. Beauty, useless, is a wound.


On and off; the impossible is honour’s motto,
Monotony the awful drawback of my song.
What was lost was often all we had got in common,
Our quasi-comic quandary depended on
Qu’en dirai-je? chronic, colossal hypochondry,
Neurotic complication or hypnotic calm.
Gods begotten of loss, not bronze nor terra cotta,
Haunt the province of law, of cause and conscious wrong.
Following the Long Count a lot has been forgotten:
Positive nonsense, fraud, false plots and hollow talk,
Soporific concepts toppled by fall or conquest,
The cosmos as a model watch that wants to stop.


At any moment the doors of the soul may open
And those reproachful ghosts invoked from the remote
Coasts of tomorrow begin to impose the order
Of bone and trophy, home and the odour of smoke.
O mornings that broke on the slopes of cold volcanos,
Almost frozen, golden and old-rose, like a scroll
Slowly unfolded, or a brocade robe thrown over
The throne of the mountains, cloaking their cones in snow!
Hope, an emotion swollen by every omen,
No psychotrope, only a semiprecious stone,
Topaz or opal, adorns the close of the strophe.
Woe wrote these notes in a code also known as prose.


Ode: this leafy, streamless land where coy waters loiter
Under the embroidered soil, subterfluous coin
Of another culture destroyed by lack of moisture,
Spoiled by the unavoidable poison of choice.
Archaeological lawyers exploit the foibles
Of a royalty that in time joined hoi polloi:
History’s unemployed, geography’s anointed,
Unlike the orchids of the forests, spin and toil.
Imperfectly convinced of final disappointment,
Persuaded of the possibility of joy,
Pen poised for the pointless impressions of those voices
That boil up like bubbles on the face of the void,


Finally I try to define why divine silence
Underlies the tidy designs of paradise.
Priceless as the insights of the inspired psyche,
Blind, violent as a geyser, right as a rhyme,
Fine ideas likely to undermine the idle
Mind divided between the types of fire and ice,
“Highly stylized” politely describes the bright eyesores
Shining like diamonds or rhinestones in the night sky,
Lifelike, provided life survives its vital cycle
And the tireless indictment of time’s diatribe,
While mankind, sightless, frightened, like a child in twilight,
Dies of the devices it was enlightened by.


Amazing games that always used to end in mate!
Precious as sex is, flesh, perennially wretched,
In fact turns out to be a tourist trap at last.
The mathematical vision which built this system
Of the universe, all-devouring powerhouse,
(The mysteries of dust are nothing to live up to!)
Briefly yields to the weaker tyranny of weeds.
You used to choose the rules with superfluous humour:
Monotony, the awful drawback of my song,
Slowly unfolded, like a brocade robe thrown over.
Persuaded of the possibility of joy,
Finally I tried to define why divine silence …
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Best Poem

Tree Ferns

by Stanley Plumly

Stanley Plumly

They were the local Ohio palm, tropic in the heat of trains.
They could grow in anything—pitch, whole grain,
cinders, ash and rust, the dirt
dumped back of the foundry, what


the men wore home. Little willows,
they were made to be brushed back by the traffic of boxcars
the way wind will dust the shade
of the small part of a river.—They’d


go from almost green to almost gray with each long passing,
each leaf, each branch a stain
on the winded air. They were too thin
for rain—nothing could touch them.


So we’d start with pocketknives, cutting and whittling them down,
from willow, palm, or any other name.
They were what they looked like. Horsewhip, whipweed.
They could lay on a fine welt if you wanted.


And on a hot, dry day, July, they could all but burn.
At a certain age you try to pull all kinds of things
out of the ground, out of the loose gravel thrown by trains.


Or break off what you can and cut it clean.
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Best Poem

Tone Deficit

by Kevin McFadden

Kevin McFadden

Can’t tell your oh from your ah? Go, go or else
go ga-ga. What, were you born in a barn? Oh.
Ah. What do you say when the dentist asks?
No novacaine? Nah. Then joke’s on us, Jack:


we gnaw ourselves when we really ought to know.
Can’t tell the force from the farce, nor our
cores from our cars. The horde works hard in this
new nation of shopkeeps, moles in malls, minding


our stores when we should be minding our stars.
Harmony, whoremoney—can we even tell
the showman from the shaman? Or are we
the worst kind of   tourists, doing La France


in low fronts, sporting shorts at Chartres
and so alone in our élan? Nope. We’re Napoleons
of nowhere, hopeless going on hapless,
unable to tell our Elbas from our elbows.
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Lovely Poem

To Sleep

by John Keats

John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.
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Lovely Poem

To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent

by John Keats

John Keats

To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with heart’s content,
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet’s bright career,
He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
E’en like the passage of an angel’s tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.
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Lovely Poem

To Bessie Drennan

by Mark Doty

Mark Doty

Because she could find no one else to paint a
picture of the old family place where she and her
sisters lived . . . she attended an adult education
class in Montpelier. In one evening Bessie
Drennan learned everything she would need to
accomplish her goals . . .
The Vermont Folklife Center Newsletter


Bessie, you’ve made space dizzy
with your perfected technique for snow:
white spatters and a dry brush
feathering everything in the world


seem to make the firmament fly.
Four roads converge on the heart of town,
this knot of white and yellow houses
angling off kilter, their astigmatic windows


almost all in rows. Lucky the skater
threading the yellow tavern’s quilt-sized pond,
the yellow dogs who punctuate the village
where our occupations are chasing


and being chaste, sleighing and sledding
and snowshoeing from house to house
in our conical, flamelike hats.
Even the barns are sliding in snow,


though the birches are all golden
and one maple blazes withough being consumed.
Is it from a hill nearby we’re watching,
or somewhere in the sky? Could we be flying


on slick runners down into the village?
Is that mare with the elegant legs
truly the size of a house,
and is this the store where everyone bought


those pointed hats, the snowshoes that angle
in contradictory directions?
Isn’t that Rin Tin Tin, bigtongued
and bounding and in two places at once?


Down there in the world’s corner two children
steal away onto the frozen pond,
carrying their toboggan. Even the weathervanes
—bounding fish, a sailing stag—look happy.


The houses are swaying, Bessie,
and nothing is grounded in shadow,
set loose by weather and art
from gravity’s contraints.


And though I think this man is falling,
is it anything but joyous,
the arc his red scarf
transcribes in the air?
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