"Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Beautiful rhythm and word choices. It's also a nice diversion from Shelley's other works, like "Ode to the West Wind," and the other writers of the Romantic Period (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and Keats). Sure, loving nature is fine, but the futility and paradoxical message of this piece just about sweeps every other poem during the era.
"The Lady's Dressing Room" by Jonathan Swift
I would post this poem in its full form, but it's pretty long.
Most people think of "Gulliver's Travels" or "A Modest Proposal" when they hear Swift. And although the former is unique and the latter probably the best essay in the history of literature, Swift is most shocking for actually writing an excellent poem. He also uses the word "Shit" in this poem, something that you don't see in a lot of the literature during his time.
The poem is basically shattering the notion that ladies are very different from men. A man, Strephon, enters a lady's dressing room and finds a lot of disgusting filth that obviously came from the lady of his dreams. A couple of hilarious excerpts, including the pinnacle of the poem during which Swift uses profanity:
"Hard by a filthy basin stands,
Fouled with the scouring of her hands;
The basin takes whatever comes,
The scrapings of her teeth and gums,
A nasty compound of all hues,
For here she spits, and here she spews.
But oh! it turned poor Strephon's bowels,
When he beheld and smelt the towels,
Begummed, besmattered, and beslimed
With dirt, and sweat, and ear-wax grimed."
And the best part of Swift's classic:
"So things which must not be exprest,
When plumpt into the reeking chest,
Send up an excremental smell
To taint the parts from whence they fell,
The petticoats and gown perfume,
Which waft a stink round every room.
Thus finishing his grand survey,
Disgusted Strephon stole away
Repeating in his amorous fits,
Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!"
Finally, a rather overlooked piece from Edgar Allen Poe:
The Conqueror Worm
Lo! 'tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly-
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
That motley drama- oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!- it writhes!- with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
Out- out are the lights- out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
First, the perfection of Poe's construction should always be noted. So many times when people talk about poetry, they forget to mention the godly poetic skill of Poe. It's not just because he writes about dark and dreary things. The technical superiority of his poetry is nearly unrivaled. It flows like almost nothing else. The last couple of lines of this particular poem are surprising and tragic.