Famous Poems

Famous Poems

Best Classic Poems On Life's Struggles

Since the dawn of civilization, artists of all forms have sought to express the essence of the human condition and the full range of human experience. Poetry has been one of the most common forms of this expression from the ancients until now. These words have an ability to capture the abstract emotions and concrete experiences that have been part of our humanity throughout the ages. Turning to the words of classic poems can help us to clarify and understand our own experiences better by connecting us to those others who have sought to do the same.

28 Poems by Famous Poets

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  1. 1. The Sin Of Omission

    "The Sin of Omission" by Margaret E. Sangster is a poignant reflection on the regrets that stem from missed opportunities for kindness and compassion. Through the use of evocative language and emotional imagery, the poem emphasizes the significance of actions not taken. With a consistent rhyme scheme and rhythmic flow, Sangster effectively conveys the weight of these omitted gestures, encouraging readers to consider the impact of their choices on both themselves and others.

    Famous Poem


    • By Margaret E. Sangster

    It isn't the thing you do, dear,
    It's the thing you leave undone
    That gives you a bit of a heartache
    At the setting of the sun.

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  3. 2. Clinching The Bolt

    In the poem "Clinching The Bolt" by Edgar A. Guest, the poet reflects on the difference between those who do their work diligently and take pride in their craftsmanship and those who are careless and seek shortcuts. Through the imagery of a bolt that needs an extra turn to be secure, Guest highlights the importance of attention to detail and thoroughness in one's work. The poem contrasts two types of individuals: the slip-shod worker who is eager to finish quickly and the diligent worker who goes the extra mile to ensure the task is completed properly. The poem suggests that the small extra efforts and additional time invested in a task can make a significant difference in the outcome. Guest emphasizes the importance of taking pride in one's work and being thorough, as it ultimately leads to better results and fewer repairs in the long run.

    Famous Poem


    It needed just an extra turn to make the bolt secure,
    A few more minutes on the job and then the work was sure;
    But he begrudged the extra turn, and when the task was through,
    The man was back for more repairs in just a day or two.

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  5. 3. The Old Mill

    The Old Mill's by J. R. Eastwood captures the essence of a century-long journey through the life of a mill, using poignant imagery and repetition to convey the constancy of nature's rhythms amidst the passage of time. Through the mill's enduring presence, the poem reminds us of the unchanging beauty of the world, the cycle of generations, and the eternal embrace of love and faith.

    Famous Poem


    • By J. R. Eastwood

    One hundred years the mill has stood:
    One hundred years the dashing flood
    Has turned the wheel with roaring sound,
    Through foaming waters, round and round.

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  6. 4. The Bridge

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Bridge" weaves a vivid scene using poetic techniques. The poem paints a picture of standing on a bridge at midnight as clocks chime. It employs vivid imagery, such as the moon rising over the city and its reflection in the water, creating a serene and almost mystical atmosphere. It also uses metaphor, with the moon resembling a "golden goblet," and symbolism, as the bridge becomes a symbol of life's journey. The poem explores themes of longing, change, and the passage of time, evoking a sense of nostalgia and the enduring nature of human experience.

    Famous Poem

    I stood on the bridge at midnight,
    As the clocks were striking the hour,
    And the moon rose o'er the city,
    Behind the dark church tower.

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  7. 5. Little Things

    "Little Things" by Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney (1823-1908) highlights the significance of small actions and moments in shaping our lives and the world around us. The poem begins by emphasizing the cumulative power of little drops of water and grains of sand that ultimately form vast oceans and pleasant lands. Similarly, the little minutes, though seemingly insignificant, contribute to the creation of mighty ages and eternity. The poem then shifts its focus to the impact of little deeds of kindness and words of love, which have the ability to bring happiness to Earth and emulate the harmony of heaven. However, the poem also cautions that little errors can lead the soul astray from the path of virtue and into sin. Overall, the poem celebrates the transformative potential of seemingly small things, encouraging readers to recognize the importance of their actions and choices in shaping their lives and the world they inhabit.

    Famous Poem

    • By Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney

    Little drops of water,
    Little grains of sand,
    Make the mighty ocean
    And the pleasant land.

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  8. 6. Loss And Gain

    In "Loss and Gain" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet employs the poetic technique of juxtaposition to compare what has been lost with what has been gained. This technique highlights the contrast between the two and creates a reflective tone. Longfellow acknowledges the moments of defeat or missed opportunities and conveys a sense of humility. The poem ultimately suggests that what may seem like a loss can, in fact, be a hidden victory, emphasizing the idea that even in defeat, there is the potential for a positive turn of events.

    Famous Poem

    When I compare
    What I have lost with what I have gained,
    What I have missed with what attained,
    Little room do I find for pride.

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  9. 7. My Wage

    This poem encourages us to get the most out of life and push the boundaries. Famous poet Jessie B. Rittenhouse encourages us not to become complacent. We need to keep pushing forward. Sometimes we aim too low, and where you aim, you will hit.

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    I bargained with Life for a penny,
    And Life would pay no more,
    However I begged at evening
    When I counted my scanty store;

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  10. 8. Undergrowth

    In "Undergrowth" by Douglas Malloch, the poem highlights the idea that it's often the small, overlooked things in life that can have a significant impact. The speaker compares the obstacles in life to undergrowth on a trail. They suggest that it's not the towering trees that impede progress, but rather the pesky vines that trip and hinder one's journey. The poem extends this metaphor to personal challenges, emphasizing that it's not always the biggest burdens that lead to defeat. Instead, it's the unnoticed faults or harmful habits that can unexpectedly derail one's path. The poem serves as a reminder to pay attention to the seemingly insignificant aspects of life, as they can have a greater influence than anticipated

    Famous Poem

    It ain't the trees that block the trail,
    It ain't the ash or pine;
    For, if you fall or if you fail,
    It was some pesky vine

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  11. 9. Who Am I?

    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) writes this poem in the form of a free verse riddle. It follows no specific structure or rhyme scheme. When we find out the answer to the riddle, we see that this poem uses personification to describe it. Carl Sandburg’s interest in President Abraham Lincoln (“Honest Abe”) led him to write two multi-volume biographies. These biographies brought Sandburg the honor of the 1939 Pulitzer Prize in History.

    Famous Poem

    My head knocks against the stars.
    My feet are on the hilltops.
    My finger-tips are in the valleys and shores of universal life.
    Down in the sounding foam of primal things I reach my hands and play with pebbles of destiny.

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  12. 10. The Door Of Dreams

    The poem "The Door of Dreams" by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse explores the theme of missed opportunities and the transformative power of seizing the right moment. The narrator reflects on their past hesitations and missed chances to explore the possibilities presented by the Door of Dreams. The open door symbolizes opportunities and aspirations that the narrator has previously overlooked. However, on one fateful day, the narrator discovers that the door is open, and this time, they encounter someone, "You," standing there. This encounter signifies a turning point where the narrator decides to take a chance and step through the door. The poem uses vivid imagery to convey the allure of the Door of Dreams and the significance of encountering someone who inspires them to take action. The repetition of the open door motif emphasizes the recurring opportunities in life, urging readers not to miss their chance for personal growth and fulfillment

    Famous Poem

    I often passed the Door of Dreams
    But never stepped inside,
    Though sometimes, with surprise, I saw
    The door was open wide.

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  13. 11. Life Is Fine

    In this poem, the speaker is considering giving up on life, but he can’t go through with it. He finds that since he hasn’t died, he has something to live for. This poem has a strong sense of structure. It’s made up of single lines and quatrains with the ABCB rhyme scheme.

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    I went down to the river,
    I set down on the bank.
    I tried to think but couldn't,
    So I jumped in and sank.

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    Featured Shared Story

    Everyone is born for a purpose, but we forget that in pursuit of money. Then God gifted me with poetry and uses it as a medium to educate people, and in each of my poems there is a story...

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  14. 12. On Good And Evil

    And one of the elders of the city said, Speak to us of Good and Evil.
    And he answered:

    Famous Poem

    Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil.
    For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
    Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.

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  15. 13. A Blade Of Grass

    This poem employs personification to imbue a blade of grass with human-like qualities. The grass becomes a symbol of empathy and compassion. The poet contrasts the seemingly emotionless stream with the grass's ability to feel and respond to the water's implied sorrow. The poem explores the idea of empathetic projection, as the grass takes on the emotional burden of the stream.

    Famous Poem

    A blade of grass is bending
    Above the moaning stream,
    In sympathy is blending
    Where troubles only seem.

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  16. 14. All The World's A Stage

    William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is regarded by many as one of the greatest poets/playwrights in history. This poem is an excerpt from his play "As You Like It." The poem compares the world to a stage and life to a play, and catalogs seven stages in a man's life: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, aging man, and finally facing imminent death. The poem suggests that each stage in a man's life calls upon him to play another role.

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    All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,

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    He gets tired of his childhood and hastens to grow up; then he becomes nostalgic about his childhood. To gain wealth, he would endanger his health; then to regain his lost health, he spends...

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  17. 15. I, Too

    Langston Hughes (1902-1967) settled in Harlem, New York, in 1924 and was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, he wrote of the reality that faced many in the black community and how they were regarded as “less than” by other people. The poem ends with the hope that one day it would be different. He shared the expectation that those who looked down on them would be ashamed.

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    I, too, sing America.

    I am the darker brother.
    They send me to eat in the kitchen

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  18. 16. Let America Be America Again

    For many people, it has been a struggle to attain the American dream. Langston Hughes (1902-1967) shares how many groups of people have not been able to experience the America that people dream it to be. They have struggled for freedom and equality. Langston Hughes himself experienced the difficulty of living out his dream of being a writer because it was difficult to earn money in that profession. Although this poem has a very somber feel, hope is presented at the end. Many of the lines in this poem use alliteration (multiple words beginning with the same sound).

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    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

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  19. 17. Ozymandias

    "Ozymandias" is a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley that explores the theme of the transience of power and the inevitable decline of all human empires. The poem describes a traveler who encounters the ruins of a statue in the desert, which once depicted a mighty ruler named Ozymandias (believed to be a reference to the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II). However, the statue is now broken and deteriorated, with only the legs and a shattered visage remaining. Despite the ruler's boastful inscription declaring his greatness and power, the passage of time has rendered him and his empire insignificant and forgotten. Through this narrative, Shelley conveys the idea that no matter how powerful or imposing a leader may seem in their own time, they are ultimately subject to the ravages of time and will be forgotten by future generations.

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    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

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  20. 18. Harlem

    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.

    Famous Poem

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?

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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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  21. 19. The Bells

    "The Bells" was published in 1849 after the death of Edgar Allan Poe. The poem has four parts to it; each part becomes darker and darker as the poem progresses from "the jingling and the tinkling" and "rhyming and the chiming" of the bells in Parts 1 and 2 to the "clamor and the clangor" of the bells in Part 3 and finally the "moaning and the groaning" of the bells in part 4. The poem makes extensive use of Onomatopoeia, a poetic device where words are used that imitate sounds. Tinkle, wells, cells, swells, shriek are just a few examples of the many words in the poem used to vividly express the noise of THE BELLS!

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    I.

    Hear the sledges with the bells—
    Silver bells!

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  22. 20. Though All The Fates

    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American author, poet, abolitionist, and historian. Ralph Waldo Emerson was Thoreau’s neighbor, mentor, and friend. Both had Transcendental ideas, which was the American version of Romantic Idealism. Transcendentalists believed in focusing on the spiritual instead of material concerns. They believed society had tarnished the purity of an individual. Themes of Transcendentalism can be found in this poem. Though something seems firm and unwavering, you don’t see what is happening below the surface. Staying true to who we are will pay off in the end and keep you from destruction. This poem is made up of rhyming couplets.

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    Though all the fates should prove unkind,
    Leave not your native land behind.
    The ship, becalmed, at length stands still;
    The steed must rest beneath the hill;

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