Wham Line / Poetry

  • "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning starts off as a standard Victorian romantic poem about a man waiting in a cold, "cheerless" cottage for his lover Porphyria to arrive. She comes in out of the driving rain, kindles a fire, and pledges her love for the narrator. Then we get this:
    "...That moment she was mine, mine, fair,/Perfectly pure and good: I found/A thing to do,and all her hair/In one long yellow string I wound/Three times her little throat around,/And strangled her..."
  • "And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head."
    • By the same poet (Edwin Arlington Robinson), we get the poem of Miniver Cheevey, who wishes he'd lived in the time of knightly chivalry. The last verse goes: "Miniver Cheevey, born too late/Scratched his head and kept on thinking/Miniver coughed and called it fate/And kept on drinking."
  • In "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley, the statement of the great king and the revelation after make up the Wham Phrase.
  • Randall Jarrell's "Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" goes from eerily metaphorical to shockingly literal in its final line:
    "When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose."