Adventure Poems

Adventure poems take the reader to different times, places, and into surprising situations. A reader might find themselves exploring an unknown region or learning about an incredible, romantic quest. These poems might be entirely realistic or include supernatural or surrealistic elements.

La Belle Dame sans Merci

by John Keats

‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ is a poignant reflection of Keats’ own life and emotions, encapsulating themes of unrequited love, illness, and social barriers.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,

Alone and palely loitering?

The sedge has withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.

Part I: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner By S.T. Coleridge

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ is a lyrical ballad about a mysterious sea-faring wedding guest who tells a long story of a dangerous journey. It was written between 1797 and 1798.

He holds him with his glittering eye—

The Wedding-Guest stood still,

And listens like a three years' child:

The Mariner hath his will.

Far over the misty mountains cold

by J.R.R. Tolkien

‘Far over the misty mountains cold’ by J.R.R. Tolkien depicts the destruction of Thorin Oakenshield’s home and his desire to win it back from Smaug. 

This poem speaks of a perilous journey through deep dungeons and caverns to reclaim the treasure stolen by a dragon. It's an ideal adventure poem that contains many of the best elements of the genre.

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away ere break of day

To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The Shadow Bride

by J.R.R. Tolkien

‘The Shadow Bride’ conceptualizes the contrast between light and darkness, as well as stillness and movement through personification.

Although the poem is not as engaging or explosive as Tolkien's 'The Hobbit,' it still follows two characters that overcome adversity and are joined together after struggling.

There was a man who dwelt alone

Beneath the moon in shadow.

He sat as long as lasting stone,

And yet he had no shadow.


by Marilyn Nelson

‘Star-Fix’ by Marilyn Nelson is a poem that lionizes the noble role of the navigator onboard an aircraft.

Nelson's poem carries a spirit of adventure in its celebration of the navigator as this heroic figure who guides his crew across the skies.

At his cramped desk under the astrodome, the navigator looks

thousands of light-years everywhere but down. He gets a celestial fix,

measuring head-winds; checking the log; plotting wind-speed,

altitude, drift in a circle of protractors, slide-rules, and pencils.

To Beachey, 1912

by Carl Sandburg

‘To Beachey, 1912‘ by Carl Sandburg is a poem that expresses the author’s appreciation for aviation. The main character of the poem is flying in an airplane, and from high up, he is able to really appreciate the beauty of the blue sky.

This is a great adventure poem that taps into the thrilling aspects of this genre. It promotes bravery and confidence even in the face of danger.

Riding against the east,

A veering, steady shadow

Purrs the motor-call

Of the man-bird

How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix

by Robert Browning

‘How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix’ by Robert Browning depicts three riders’ attempting to gallop from Ghent to Aix. The speaker makes it there, delivering a critical, although unknown, piece of news.

I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;

I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;

‘Good speed!'’ cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew;

‘Speed!’ echoed the wall to us galloping through;

On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer

by John Keats

This poem captures John Keats’ awe upon reading George Chapman’s English translation of Homer, likening the experience to discovering “realms of gold.”

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;

Round many western islands have I been

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.

Explore more Adventure poems

The Express

by Stephen Spender

‘The Express’ is an enthralling and uncanny poem which explores the feelings of awe and concern after a new train leaves the station.

The Maldive Shark

by Herman Melville

‘The Maldive Shark’ is a poem that describes the relationship between sharks and the pilot-fish that swim along beside them.


by Edna St. Vincent Millay

‘Travel’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay speaks of one narrator’s unquenchable longing for the opportunity to escape from her everyday life. 

The railroad track is miles away,

    And the day is loud with voices speaking,

Yet there isn't a train goes by all day

    But I hear its whistle shrieking.


by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The dramatic monologue ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson presents the indomitable courage and adventurous zeal of old Ulysses: a man of adventure.

It little profits that an idle king,

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,

Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole

Unequal laws unto a savage race,

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