Stephen Spender

(28 February 1909 – 16 July 1995 / England)

The Shapes of Death

Shapes of death haunt life,
Neurosis eclipsing each in special shadow:
Unrequited love not solving
One’s need to become another’s body
Wears black invisibility:
The greed for property
Heaps a skyscraper over the breathing ribs:
The speedlines of dictators
Cut their own stalks:
From afar, we watch the best of us –
Whose adored desire was to die for the world.

Ambition is my death. That flat thin flame
I feed, that plants my shadow. This prevents love
And offers love of being loved or loving.
The humorous self-forgetful drunkenness
It hates, demands the slavish pyramids
Be built. Who can prevent
His death’s industry, which when he sleeps
Throws up its towers? And conceals in slackness
The dreams of revolution, the birth of death?

Also the swallows by autumnal instinct
Comfort us with their effortless exhaustion
In great unguided flight to their complete South.
There on my fancied pyramids they lodge
But for delight, their whole compulsion.
Not teaching me to love, but soothing my eyes;
Not saving me from death, but saving me for speech.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Shapes of Death by Stephen Spender )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley Updates

Poem of the Day

poet Edmund Spenser

Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love like the spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
...... Read complete »

[Hata Bildir]