Famous Short Poems

Published: June 2018

Famous Short Poems - Examples Of Short Poems By Famous Poets

29 Famous Short Poems - Examples Of Short Poems By Famous Poets

Examples of short famous poems by famous poets such as Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Sara Teasdale. Short Funny poems by famous poets such as Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein and short poems for children by famous poets including A. A. Milne and Christina Rossetti.

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    Langston Hughes was an American poet who became famous for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He was the first African American to support himself as a writer. In this poem, Langston Hughes shares the importance of having dreams. Without dreams, our lives do not feel complete. We do not have anything to work toward, so holding onto the dreams strengthens and empowers us. In this short poem, he pulls the reader’s attention to this theme by using the repetition of the phrase, “Hold fast to dreams.” Dreams is written in Quatrains (4 line stanzas) and follows the ABCB rhyme scheme.

    Dreams

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.

    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.

    Dreams By Langston Hughes

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    I so get it. Dreams are hope to a lot of us. I've heard it said that before you get it you have to dream it. I think when we stop dreaming we stop reaching, and when we stop reaching we stop...

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    Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) wove lessons into his poems for children. In Hug O' War, he shares the importance of showing kindness to others instead of trying to overpower them.

    Hug O' War

    in Famous Friendship Poems

    I will not play at tug o' war.
    I'd rather play at hug o' war,
    Where everyone hugs
    Instead of tugs,
    Where everyone giggles
    And rolls on the rug,
    Where everyone kisses,
    And everyone grins,
    And everyone cuddles,
    And everyone wins

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    Thanks for the simple but profound poem. I am a bus driver and I strive to be the open heart and guide for my children who ride with me. It is not always easy to hear what they have to say or...

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    This poem is by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). Like all the rest of her poems, the poem does not have a title and is called by the first line of the poem. Dickinson had the gift of saying a tremendous amount in a few perfectly succinct words. The poem's message is simple and self-explanatory. If I can ease the burden of a fellow living creature, "I shall not live in vain."

    If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    If I can stop one heart from breaking,
    I shall not live in vain;
    If I can ease one life the aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain.

    If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking By Emily Dickinson

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    The poem transmits the meaning of helping from the heart, reaching out to those in need and soothing the pain felt by others. It doesn't need a hero to work wonders, only need a heart to...

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    Shel Silverstein's (1930-1999) comedic genius is demonstrated in this short, funny poem that is sure to bring a smile to children of all ages and adults as well.

    Bonus pleasure points: If you're sharing this poem with a child be sure to catch the look on their face as they figure out why snowballs don't make good pets!

    Snowball

    in Famous Children Poems

    I made myself a snowball
    As perfect as could be.
    I thought I'd keep it as a pet
    And let it sleep with me.
    I made it some pajamas
    And a pillow for its head.
    Then last night it ran away,
    But first it wet the bed.

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    I love the humor, innocence and whimsy of this poem. But there's more here than meets the eye. If you look a bit deeper, you can see how we sometimes don't properly interpret our experiences,...

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    Robert Frost is one of the most famous poets from the 1900s. He never earned a formal college degree, but he did receive honorary degrees from more than 40 colleges and universities. This famous poem shows that everything in life is cyclical and that the beauty in nature only lasts for a short period of time. Even though life ends, there is new life waiting to come forth.

    Nothing Gold Can Stay

    in Famous Nature Poems

    Nature's first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf's a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.

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    April is a month of tumultuous weather. Some days are dry, sunny, and pristine. Others are cold, stormy, and unenjoyable. Ogden Nash compares women to the month of April. They can be unpredictable. Sometimes they’re sweet and tender. Other times they’re cruel and angry, but in the end, they are loved for who they are.

    Always Marry An April Girl

    in Famous Love Poems

    Praise the spells and bless the charms,
    I found April in my arms.
    April golden, April cloudy,
    Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
    April soft in flowered languor,
    April cold with sudden anger,
    Ever changing, ever true --
    I love April, I love you.

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    Langston Hughes (1902-1967) had a lonely childhood, but he was raised by his grandmother who had a love of literature, so Hughes turned to books during those lonely years. This poem shows that even through the hardships of life, it’s possible to keep pushing forward. In this poem, Langston Hughes does not follow the rules of grammar, but that adds to the frazzled feel of the poem’s content.

    Still Here

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    I been scarred and battered.
    My hopes the wind done scattered.
    Snow has friz me,
    Sun has baked me,

    Looks like between 'em they done
    Tried to make me

    Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
    But I don't care!
    I'm still here!

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    This poem was in a textbook of mine from the sixth grade. As a child, it resonated with me. It inspired me to write poetry. As a child, educated by white folk, I had no idea who Langston...

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    This famous poem by Ogden Nash uses descriptive language to show the beauty of snow. Winter is unlike any other season where snow blankets everything it touches. It transforms the land into a magical experience. Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was well-known and appreciated during his lifetime.

    Winter Morning Poem

    in Famous Nature Poems

    Winter is the king of showmen,
    Turning tree stumps into snow men
    And houses into birthday cakes
    And spreading sugar over lakes.
    Smooth and clean and frosty white,
    The world looks good enough to bite.
    That's the season to be young,
    Catching snowflakes on your tongue!
    Snow is snowy when it's snowing.
    I'm sorry it's slushy when it's going.

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    A.A. Milne was an English author who lived from 1882-1956. He is best known for his stories about Winnie the Pooh, which were inspired by his son, Christopher Robin Milne's, stuffed animals. In this poem, a young child recounts the previous five years and how life was just beginning. But six, oh, six is the best year.

    Now We Are Six

    in Famous Children Poems

    When I was One,
    I had just begun.
    When I was Two,
    I was nearly new.
    When I was Three
    I was hardly me.
    When I was Four,
    I was not much more.
    When I was Five,
    I was just alive.
    But now I am Six,
    I'm as clever as clever,
    So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

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    I was entered into a competition where I had to say a short poem so picked this and kept reading it until I knew it by heart. The day came, I recited it without stumbling, when I had finished...

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    This poem was written by Ogden Nash (1902-1971). Nash was know as a writer of humorous poetry. He wrote over 500 pieces of comic verse. In this poem, Nash sets his vision on the relationship between husband and wife. He points out that silence is often the best policy.

    A Word To Husbands

    in Famous Funny Poems

    To keep your marriage brimming
    With love in the loving cup,
    Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
    Whenever you're right, shut up.

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    Interesting. Years ago for our children I made this little rule. They had to periodically repeat it after me.

    When you're wrong, admit it.
    When you're right, shut up.

    I'm an avid...

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    A poem about the end of days, when the world will end by either fire or ice. "Fire and Ice" is one of Robert Frost's most popular poems. It was first published in 1920 in Harper's Magazine.

    Fire And Ice

    in Famous Life Poems

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I've tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

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    Robert Frost is a poet of great repute. It is not within our jurisdiction to comment on such a literary giant. However, in view of your invitation, I would say that he might have been in...

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    This poem is about the value of friendship and priorities. Even while working, take the time to chat with your friend; the work will still be there when you come back. Friends and family are what's important in life.

    A Time To Talk

    in Famous Friendship Poems

    When a friend calls to me from the road
    And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
    I don't stand still and look around
    On all the hills I haven't hoed,
    And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
    No, not as there is a time to talk.
    I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
    Blade-end up and five feet tall,
    And plod: I go up to the stone wall
    For a friendly visit.

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    Excellent! The case almost unattended in today's crazily hasty waste of morality and spirituality in favor of modernity! A nice moral lesson for those entrapped in the network of virtual...

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    Although Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) wrote poetry for young children, adults can glean many lessons from his pieces. This poem is filled with lessons on dreaming and persevering. Don’t allow others to get you down, because in the end, anything is possible.

    Listen To The MUSTN'TS

    in Famous Children Poems

    Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
    Listen to the DON'TS
    Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
    The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT'S
    Listen to the NEVER HAVES
    Then listen close to me-
    Anything can happen, child,
    ANYTHING can be

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    I love this poem because I have been writing love letters to my two teenagers and eight year old for fifteen years reminding them of what they shouldn't.

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    There are many pretty sights in this world, some of which are manmade, but nothing compares to the beauty found in nature. The beauty of clouds and rainbows cannot be replicated by human hands.

    The Rainbow

    in Famous Children Poems

    Boats sail on the rivers,
    And ships sail on the seas;
    But clouds that sail across the sky
    Are prettier far than these.

    There are bridges on the rivers,
    As pretty as you please;
    But the bow that bridges heaven,
    And overtops the trees,
    And builds a road from earth to sky,
    Is prettier far than these.

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    My 11-year-old daughter loved this and learned quickly to recite it.

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    Some thought “I Shall Not Care” was a suicide note written by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933), but this poem was published more than a decade before she took her life. Each stanza of this poem has a different focus. The first stanza shares about no longer having any cares or pain after death. In contrast, the second stanza focuses on another person, almost as if saying that person will only come to realize his love for the speaker after her death.

    I Shall Not Care

    in Famous Sad Love Poems

    When I am dead and over me bright April
    Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
    Tho' you should lean above me broken-hearted,
    I shall not care.

    I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
    When rain bends down the bough,
    And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
    Than you are now.

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    The poem "I Shall Not Care" by Sara Teasdale is beautifully written tho' it does cause the reader to wonder what pain and hurt she was going through at the time of writing, the thought...

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    Christina Rossetti reflects on things that are heavy, brief, frail, and deep. She shares both concrete items and metaphorical ones, whether it’s a state of mind or moment in time. It’s a poem that makes the reader reflect on the meaning of life.

    What Are Heavy?

    in Famous Life Poems

    What are heavy? Sea-sand and sorrow;
    What are brief? Today and tomorrow;
    What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth;
    What are deep? The ocean and truth.

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    It’s pure perfection, this poem. It couldn't have been said any better and yet be any more poetic and precise. Beautiful.

    This poem shall stand the test of time,
    For it's got so much...

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    In this poem, Edna St. Vincent Millay powerfully portrays the heartbreak of losing a lover. She uses a shrinking pool of water as a metaphor for the feelings of loss and heartbreak.

    Ebb

    in Famous Sad Love Poems

    I know what my heart is like
    Since your love died:
    It is like a hollow ledge
    Holding a little pool
    Left there by the tide,
    A little tepid pool,
    Drying inward from the edge.

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    Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) was a famous American poet. In 1913 she courted two men before deciding to marry Ernst Filsinger. Some wonder if she wished she chose Vachel Lindsay because her marriage to Filsinger ended in divorce in 1929. "The Kiss" shows that not all things are as wonderful as they first appear to be.

    The Kiss

    in Famous Sad Love Poems

    I hoped that he would love me,
    And he has kissed my mouth,
    But I am like a stricken bird
    That cannot reach the south.

    For though I know he loves me,
    To-night my heart is sad;
    His kiss was not so wonderful
    As all the dreams I had.

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    Yes! Been there! It kinda takes away from the romance. It might be best to keep trying to fly south.
    Jac Judy A Campbell

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    Children, teenagers, and adults as well, can all identify with the message of this poem for children from Shel Silverstein published in his book, "Every Thing On It." Sometimes we all feel like no one really truly knows us, as if we are wearing a mask and our true self is hidden from all underneath our face.

    Underface

    in Famous Children Poems

    Underneath my outside face
    There's a face that none can see.
    A little less smiley,
    A little less sure,
    But a whole lot more like me

    Underface By Shel Silverstein

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    What a perfect poem! At times we could basically tell how people were feeling despite their facial expressions. It was in their eyes the tell- tale signs that led us to see at least the...

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    We all dream of what we want to experience in life, but what happens when those dreams are put on hold or ignored? That’s what Langston Hughes attempts to answer in this poem. None of the possibilities are positive, making the reader realize the importance of pursuing dreams. Langston Hughes was a key contributor during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. He wrote many poems about what life was like for African Americans.

    Harlem

    in Famous Sad Poems

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore—
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over—
    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?

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    A wonderful poem by Langston Hughes, some dreams drift off with the morning mist, others come through if one persists.....

    A dream differed is a dream put on hold
    until the time comes for...

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