Robert Lowell

American poet

Robert Traill Spence Lowell, IV (March 1, 1917September 12, 1977) was an American poet.

Among his relatives were James Russell Lowell, Percival Lowell and Amy Lowell.


  • A brackish reach of shoal off Madaket--
    The sea was still breaking violently and night
    Had steamed into our North Atlantic Fleet,
    When the drowned sailor clutched the drag-net. Light
    Flashed from his matted head and marble feet,
    He grappled at the net
    With the coiled, hurdling muscles of his thighs:
    The corpse was bloodless, a botch of reds and whites,
    Its open, staring eyes
    Were lustreless dead-lights
    Or cabin-windows on a stranded hulk
    Heavy with sand.
  • Once fishing was a rabbit's foot--
    O wind blow cold, O wind blow hot,
    Let suns stay in or suns step out:
    Life danced a jig on the sperm-whale's spout--
    The fisher's fluent and obscene
    Catches kept his conscience clean.

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