CURIOSITY POEMS

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Four Quartets 4: Little Gidding

I

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
.....
T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot
Absent Place—an April Day

927

Absent Place—an April Day—
Daffodils a-blow
.....
Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
The Nightingale

NO easy matter 'tis to hold,
Against its owner's will, the fleece
Who troubled by the itching smart
Of Cupid's irritating dart,
.....

Jean De La Fontaine
An Octopus

of ice. Deceptively reserved and flat,
it lies “in grandeur and in mass”
beneath a sea of shifting snow-dunes;
dots of cyclamen-red and maroon on its clearly defined
.....
Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore
The Iliad Of Homer: Translated Into English Blank Verse: Book I.

Argument Of The First Book.


The book opens with an account of a pestilence that prevailed in the Grecian camp, and the cause of it is assigned. A council is called, in which fierce altercation takes place between Agamemnon and Achilles. The latter solemnly renounces the field. Agamemnon, by his heralds, demands Brisë is, and Achilles resigns her. He makes his complaint to Thetis, who undertakes to plead his cause with Jupiter. She pleads it, and prevails. The book concludes with an account of what passed in Heaven on that occasion.
.....
William Cowper

William Cowper
Vacation

When I asked my mother why they were called sand tarts,
she couldn't answer me-

perhaps this ravenous curiosity causes my brother
.....

Elizabeth Wilcox
Lancelot 08

For longer war they came, and with a fury
That only Modred's opportunity,
Seized in the dark of Britain, could have hushed
And ended in a night. For Lancelot,
.....
Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson
The Odyssey: Book 23

Euryclea now went upstairs laughing to tell her mistress that her
dear husband had come home. Her aged knees became young again and
her feet were nimble for joy as she went up to her mistress and bent
over her head to speak to her. “Wake up Penelope, my dear child,”
.....

Homer
Captain Craig Iii

I found the old man sitting in his bed,
Propped up and uncomplaining. On a chair
Beside him was a dreary bowl of broth,
A magazine, some glasses, and a pipe.
.....
Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson
Recreation

WE took our work, and went, you see,
To take an early cup of tea.
We did so now and then, to pay
The friendly debt, and so did they,
.....

Jane Taylor
Zaccheus

Zaccheus climbed the tree,
And thought himself unknown;
But how surprised was he
When Jesus called him down!
.....

John Newton
Four Quartets 3: The Dry Salvages

(The Dry Salvages-presumably les trois sauvages
- is a small group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E.
coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced
to rhyme with assuages. Groaner: a whistling buoy.)
.....
T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot
Lillian

I. PROEM.
This was a sweet white wildwood violet
I found among the painted slips that grow
Where, under hot-house glass, the flowers forget
.....

Arthur Symons
A City Winter

1
I understand the boredom of the clerks
fatigue shifting like dunes within their eyes
a frightful nausea gumming up the works
.....

Frank O'hara
The Creole Girl; Or, The Physician-s Story

I.

SHE came to England from the island clime
Which lies beyond the far Atlantic wave;
.....
Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton
I Watched The Moon Around The House (629)

I watched the Moon around the House
Until upon a Pane --
She stopped -- a Traveller's privilege -- for Rest --
And there upon
.....
Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
The 'utopia'

The table was filled with many objects

The wild tribesmen in the hills,
whose very robes were decorated with designs
.....

Lee Harwood
The Disciples

"To Lionel Engers-Kennedy: to the memory of Hargrave Jennings: and
to A. C. W. G. and H. E. H."


.....
Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley
The Star-splitter

You know Orien always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
.....

Robert Lee Frost
Inventory

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I'd been better without:
.....
Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker
Absent Place'an April Day

927

Absent Place-an April Day-
Daffodils a-blow
.....
Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
The Killing

That was the day they killed the Son of God
On a squat hill-top by Jerusalem.
Zion was bare, her children from their maze
Sucked by the dream of curiosity
.....

Edwin Muir
The Widows

Vauvenargues says that in public gardens there are alleys haunted principally by thwarted ambition, by unfortunate inventors, by aborted glories and broken hearts, and by all those tumultuous and contracted souls in whom the last sighs of the storm mutter yet again, and who thus betake themselves far from the insolent and joyous eyes of the well-to-do. These shadowy retreats are the rendezvous of life's cripples. To such places above all others do the poet and philosopher direct their avid conjectures. They find there an unfailing pasturage, for if there is one place they disdain to visit it is, as I have already hinted, the place of the joy of the rich. A turmoil in the void has no attractions for them. On the contrary they feel themselves irresistibly drawn towards all that' is feeble, ruined, sorrowing, and bereft.
An experienced eye is never deceived. In these rigid and dejected lineaments ; in these eyes, wan and hollow, or bright with the last fading gleams of the combat against fate; in these numerous profound wrinkles and in the slow and troubled gait, the eye of experience deciphers unnumbered legends of mistaken devotion, of unrewarded effort, of hunger and cold humbly and silently supported.
Have you not at times seen widows sitting on the deserted benches? Poor widows, I mean. Whether in mourning or not they are easily recognised. Moreover, there is always something wanting in the mourning of the poor; a lack of harmony which but renders it the more heart-breaking. It is forced to be niggardly in its show of grief. They are the rich who exhibit a full complement of sorrow.
Who is the saddest and most saddening of widows: she who leads by the hand a child who cannot share her reveries, or she who is quite alone? I do not know.... It happened that I once followed for several long hours an aged and afflicted woman of this kind : rigid and erect, wrapped in a little worn shawl, she carried in all her being the pride of stoicism.
.....
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
Voyaging

for Maxime du Camp

I.

.....
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
The Glass-vendor

There are some natures purely contemplative and antipathetic to action, who nevertheless, under a mysterious and inexplicable impulse, sometimes act with a rapidity of which they would have believed themselves incapable. Such a one is he who, fearing to find some new vexation awaiting him at his lodgings, prowls about in a cowardly fashion before the door without daring to enter; such a one is he who keeps a letter fifteen days without opening it, or only makes up his mind at the end of six months to undertake a journey that has been a necessity for a year past. Such beings sometimes feel themselves precipitately thrust towards action, like an arrow from a bow.
The novelist and the physician, who profess to know all things, yet cannot explain whence comes this sudden and delirious energy to indolent and voluptuous souls; nor how, incapable of accomplishing the simplest and most necessary things, they are at some certain moment of time possessed by a superabundant hardihood which enables them to execute the most absurd and even the most dangerous acts.
One of my friends, the most harmless dreamer that ever lived, at one time set fire to a forest, in order to ascertain, as he said, whether the flames take hold with the easiness that is commonly affirmed. His experiment failed ten times running, on the eleventh it succeeded only too well.
Another lit a cigar by the side of a powder barrel, in order to see, to know, to tempt Destwiy, for a jest, to have the pleasure of suspense, for no reason at all, out of caprice, out of idleness. This is a kind of energy that springs from weariness and reverie; and those in whom it manifests so stubbornly are in general, as I have said, the most indolent and dreamy beings.
.....
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
The Damp

When I am dead, and doctors know not why,
And my friends' curiosity
Will have me cut up to survey each part,-
When they shall find your picture in my heart,
.....
John Donne

John Donne
The Hills Erect Their Purple Heads

1688

The Hills erect their Purple Heads
The Rivers lean to see
.....
Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
Every Man His Chimera

Beneath a broad grey sky, upon a vast and dusty plain devoid of grass, and where not even a nettle or a thistle was to be seen, I met several men who walked bowed down to the ground.
Each one carried upon his back an enormous Chimera as heavy as a sack of flour or coal, or as the equipment of a Roman foot-soldier.
But the monstrous beast was not a dead weight, rather she enveloped and oppressed the men with her powerful and elastic muscles, and clawed with her two vast talons at the breast of her mount. Her fabulous head reposed upon the brow of the man like one of those horrible casques by which ancient warriors hoped to add to the terrors of the enemy.
I questioned one of the men, asking him why they went so. He replied that he knew nothing, neither he nor the others, but that evidently they went somewhere, since they were urged on by an unconquerable desire to walk.
.....
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
Pelayo And The Merchant's Daughter - Prose

It is the common lamentation of Spanish historiographers, that, for an obscure and melancholy space of time immediately succeeding the conquest of their country by the Moslems, its history is a mere wilderness of dubious facts, groundless fables, and rash exaggerations. Learned men, in cells and cloisters, have worn out their lives in vainly endeavoring to connect incongruous events, and to account for startling improbabilities, recorded of this period. The worthy Jesuit, Padre Abarca, declares that, for more than forty years during which he had been employed in theological controversies, he had never found any so obscure and inexplicable as those which rise out of this portion of Spanish history, and that the only fruit of an indefatigable, prolix, and even prodigious study of the subject, was a melancholy and mortifying state of indecision.1 During this apocryphal period, flourished PELAYO, the deliverer of Spain, whose name, like that of William Wallace, will ever be linked with the glory of his country, but linked, in like manner, by a bond in which fact and fiction are inextricably interwoven.

The quaint old chronicle of the Moor Rasis, which, though wild and fanciful in the extreme, is frequently drawn upon for early facts by Spanish historians, professes to give the birth, parentage, and whole course of fortune of Pelayo, without the least doubt or hesitation. It makes him a son of the Duke of Cantabria, and descended, both by father and mother's side, from the Gothic kings of Spain. I shall pass over the romantic story of his childhood, and shall content myself with a scene of his youth, which was spent in a castle among the Pyrenees, under the eye of his widowed and noble-minded mother, who caused him to be instructed in everything befitting a cavalier of gentle birth. While the sons of the nobility were revelling amid the pleasures of a licentious court, and sunk in that vicious and effeminate indulgence which led to the perdition of unhappy Spain, the youthful Pelayo, in his rugged mountain school, was steeled to all kinds of hardy exercise. A great part of his time was spent in hunting the bears, the wild boars, and the wolves, with which the Pyrenees abounded; and so purely and chastely was he brought up, by his good lady mother, that, if the ancient chronicle from which I draw my facts may be relied on, he had attained his one-and-twentieth year, without having once sighed for woman!

.....

Washington Irving
How The Helpmate Of Blue-beard Made Free With A Door

A maiden from the Bosphorus,
With eyes as bright as phosphorus,
Once wed the wealthy bailiff
Of the caliph
.....

Guy Wetmore Carryl
The Voyage

Ã? Maxime du Camp
I
For the child, in love with globe, and stamps,
the universe equals his vast appetite.
.....
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
Egotism. A Letter To J. T. Becher. [1]

1.

If Fate should seal my Death to-morrow,
(Though much I hope she will postpone it,)
.....

George Gordon Byron
The Missing All-prevented Me

985

The Missing Allâ??prevented Me
From missing minor Things.
.....
Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
Kora In Hell: Improvisations Xvii

1


Little round moon up thereâ??wait awhileâ??do not walk so quickly. I could sing you a songâ??: Wine clear the sky is and the stars no bigger than sparks! Wait for me and next winter we'll build a fire and shake up twists of sparks out of it and you shall see yourself in the ashes, youngâ??as you were one time.
.....
William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams
Guilt And Sorrow Or Incidents Upon Salisbury Plain

I

A Traveler on the skirt of Sarum's Plain
Pursued his vagrant way, with feet half bare;
.....
William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
The Cloud Messenger - Part 02

Your naturally beautiful reflection will gain entry into the clear waters of the
Gambhira River, as into a clear mind. Therefore it is not fitting that you, out
of obstinancy, should render futile her glances which are the darting leaps of
little fish, as white as night-lotus flowers.
.....

Kalidasa
An Ode : On Exodus Iii. 14

On Exodus iii. 14. 'I am that I am.'

Man! foolish man!
Scarce know'st thou how thyself began,
.....
Matthew Prior

Matthew Prior
The Home-wrecker

MISCHIEVOUS and full of fun,
Eyes that sparkle like the sun;
Mouth that's always in a smile,
Hands in trouble all the while.
.....
Edgar Albert Guest

Edgar Albert Guest
The Double Chamber

A chamber that is like a reverie; a chamber truly spiritual, where the stagnant atmosphere is lightly touched with rose and blue.
There the soul bathes itself in indolence made odorous with regret and desire. There is some sense of the twilight, of things tinged with blue and rose: a dream of delight during an eclipse. The shape of the furniture is elongated, low, languishing; one would think it endowed with the somnambulistic vitality of plants and minerals.
The tapestries speak an inarticulate language, like the flowers, the skies, the dropping suns.
There are no artistic abominations upon the walls.
.....
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
The Invitation To The Voyage

It is a superb land, a country of Cockaigne, as they say, that I dream of visiting with an old friend. A strange land, drowned in our northern fogs, that one might call the East of the West, the China of Europe; a land patiently and luxuriously decorated with the wise, delicate vegetations of a warm and capricious phantasy.
A true land of Cockaigne, where all is beautiful, rich, tranquil, and honest; where luxury is pleased to mirror itself in order; where life is opulent, and sweet to breathe; from whence disorder, turbulence, and the unforeseen are excluded; where happiness is married to silence; where even the food is poetic, rich and exciting at the same time; where all things, my beloved, are like you.
Do you know that feverish malady that seizes hold of us in our cold miseries; that nostalgia of a land unknown; that anguish of curiosity? It is a land
which resembles you, where all is beautiful, rich, tranquil and honest, where phantasy has built and decorated an occidental China, where life is sweet to breathe, and happiness married to silence. It is there that one would live; there that one would die.
.....
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
Topsy Turvy

Topsy Turvy is her name;
She's a curiosity:
Never sees the world the same
As it seems to you and me.
.....
Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein
English Writers On America - Prose

Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation, rousting herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; methinks I see her as an eagle, mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her endazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam.
- MILTON ON THE LIBERTY OF THE PRESS.


.....

Washington Irving
Solomon On The Vanity Of The World, A Poem. In Three Books. - Knowledge. Book I.

The bewailing of man's miseries hath been elegantly and copiously set forth by many, in the writings as well of philosophers as divines; and it is both a pleasant and a profitable contemplation.
~ Lord Bacon's Advancement of Learning.

The Argument
.....
Matthew Prior

Matthew Prior
Blaney's Last Directions

It is usual
for people in this country
(out of pretended respect
but rather from an impertinent curiosity)
.....
Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson
Pippa Passes: Part Ii: Noon

Scene. Over Orcana. The house of Jules, who crosses its threshold with Phene: she is silent, on which Jules begins


Do not die, Phene! I am yours now, you
.....
Robert Browning

Robert Browning
Dipsychus - Part Ii

Scene I.

The interior Arcade of the Doge's Palace.

.....
Arthur Hugh Clough

Arthur Hugh Clough
Angkor

I
Out of the Forest into a terrible splendour
Of noon, the pinnacles of the temple--portals,
Stone Faces, immense in carven ruin
.....

Robert Laurence Binyon
The Excursion - Book Seventh - The Churchyard Among The Mountains - (continued)

While thus from theme to theme the Historian passed,
The words he uttered, and the scene that lay
Before our eyes, awakened in my mind
Vivid remembrance of those long-past hours;
.....
William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
No, Not The Moon, But Simple Dial-plate

No, not the moon, but simple dial-plate
Is lightning me, and â??tis my nasty fate,
That lights of stars I feel as light internal!

.....

Osip Emilevich Mandelstam
The Virtuoso

Whilom by silver Thames's gentle stream,
In London town there dwelt a subtile wight;
A wight of mickle wealth, and mickle fame,
Book-learn'd and quaint: a Virtuoso hight.
.....
Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside