34 Famous Poems 

Be encouraged and inspired by our collection of famous poems. What makes a poem famous? Is it the poet's fame? We feel a famous poem is one that has stood the test of time. They are truly classic verses that inspire and encourage us. Famous poems are ones that are shared and that inspire us.

Poetry is truly an art form, with words and verses that move us. Many times we can feel the passion of the poet. Poetry can make us stop and think. We may find ourselves reflecting on life as we know it and consider how others see a similar situation. The best poetry opens our hearts and our eyes and makes us realize that many of the issues we face today, people have faced the same challenges hundreds of years ago.

Our collection of famous poems also provides a link to more poems and a brief biography of the poet. We hope you find them inspiring and encouraging.

Short Poems   /   Famous Poems - related: Famous Poets



  1. Sacrifice
    Poet: Edgar A. Guest

    When he has more than he can eat
    To feed a stranger's not a feat.

    When he has more than he can spend
    It isn't hard to give or lend.

    Who gives but what he'll never miss
    Will never know what giving is.

    He'll win few praises from his Lord
    Who does but what he can afford.

    The widow's mite to heaven went
    Because real sacrifice it meant.



  2. My One Talent
    Poet: Berton Braley

    If I were but a painter
    I'd make your picture, dear,
    In hues which grow no fainter,
    But brighten year by year;

    And if I were a singer
    With voice that caroled true,
    That voice would be the bringer
    Of notes of love to you!

    A poet or a writer
    I'd pen your glory, too;
    A soldier or a fighter-
    The fight should be for you!

    But I'm so ordinary,
    So plain and commonplace,
    I know no way to vary
    The praises of your grace;

    My ways of turtle-doving
    Are simple, tried and few,
    My only art is lover-
    And all my love's for you



  3. Constancy
    Douglas Malloch

    Tall and trim the pine tree grows,
    Every limb with verdure glows;
    Winter keen or autumn sere
    Finds it green through all the year.
    Life hath snow like winter hath ;
    Cold winds blow across my path.
    Wind and drift go swirling by;
    Let me lift my head on high.
    Boreas, roll thy thunder car —
    Still my soul shall seek the star.
    Winds may sweep life's woodland through-
    I will keep my spirit true.



  4. Grandfather Clock
    Poet: Patience Strong

    There's a grandfather clock in the quiet old hall -
    And it strikes with a deep-throated chime;
    He booms out the hours with a terrible voice,
    And he cuts up our lives into Time.

    He's a century old and he looks with disdain
    On the folks who stare into his face;
    He knows that when their little lives flicker out,
    He'll be still standing there in his place. . . .

    And he whirrs and he chuckles deep down in his works-
    For he knows that we're all in his power -
    As, relentless, he roars our his challenge to men -
    And he can't take back one single hour.



  5. The Easier Task
    Poet: Strickland Gillilan

    No matter what the treatment he accord me,
    I will not let dislike embitter me;
    Whate'er unrest unkindness might afford me,
    I will keep sweet, however hard it be.
    For I have learned and oh, how slow the learning,
    And with what costly grief has it been mated!
    Hate in its author's heart has fiercest burning
    'Tis harder work to hate than to be hated.

    Year after year a man may hate his brother
    Each waking hour with bitterness be filled.
    This hate may bring discomfort to the other
    But, in the hater, joy is well-nigh killed.
    And so I will not harbor hate, nor hoard it
    I've learned my lesson, though perchance belated.
    The honest truth is this: I can't afford it;
    'Tis costlier to hate than to be hated.



  6. Believe This
    Poet: Wilhelmina Stitch

    You’re winning. You simply cannot fail.
    The only obstacle is doubt;
    There’s not a hill you cannot scale
    Once fear is put to rout.

    Don’t think defeat, don’t talk defeat,
    The word will rob you of your strength.
    "I will succeed," This phrase repeat
    Throughout the journey’s length.

    The minute that “I can’t is said –
    You slam a door right in your face.
    Why not exclaim, "I will" instead?
    Half won then is the race.

    You close the door to your success
    By entertaining one small fear.
    Think happiness, talk happiness,
    Watch joy then coming near.

    The word "impossible" is black.
    “I can" is like a flame of gold.
    No whining, heart! Eyes! look not back;
    Be strong, O Will! and bold.

    You’re winning, though the journey’s slow;
    You’re gaining steadily each day.
    O Courage! what a warmth and glow
    You shed along your way.



  7. Keep Forever At It
    Poet: David V. Bush

    A toast to the man who works like a trooper,
    Who makes hard work his great habit.
    The gods shall descend with life's blessing when
    A fellow forever keeps at it.

    There are prizes in life for the worker and toiler,
    To those who make work their chief habit.
    There are diamonds all set in life's coronet
    For the man who forever keeps at it.

    There are honors and friendships by work oft cemented.
    For those who make work their one habit.
    There are souls knit together to breast life's roughest weather,
    For those who forever keep at it.



  8. Now And Waitahile
    Poet: Nixon Waterman

    Little Jimmie Waitawhile and little Johnnie Now
    Grew up in homes just side by side; and that, you see, is how
    I came to know them both so well, for almost every day
    I used to watch them in their work and also in their play.

    Little Jimmie Waitawhile was bright and steady, too.
    But never ready to perform what he was asked to do;
    "Wait just a minute," he would say, "I'll do it pretty soon,"
    And things he should have done at morn were never done at noon.
    He put off studying until his boyhood days were gone;
    He put off getting him a home till age came stealing on;
    He put off everything and so his life was not a joy,
    And all because he waited ''just a minute" while a boy.

    But little Johnnie Now would say, when he had work to do,
    "There's no time like the present time," and gaily put it through.
    And when his time for play arrived he so enjoyed the fun;
    His mind was not distressed with thoughts of duties left undone.
    In boyhood he was studious and laid him out a plan
    Of action to be followed when he grew to be a man;
    And life was as he willed it, all because he'd not allow
    His tasks to be neglected, but would always do them "now."



  9. Today - Tomorrow
    Poet: John Imrie

    'Tis lessons from the past we borrow,-
    To-day is ours, but not to-morrow;
    Then, smile to-day, leave care and sorrow
    One day a-head, say - "Yes, to-morrow"

    Make friends to-day for use to-morrow,
    They'll help to drive away dull sorrow;
    And from their friendship sweetness borrow
    To bless each day and crown each morrow.

    "To-morrow never comes" but each "to-day,"
    Links out life's chain from cradle to decay!



  10. One Step At A Time
    Poet: Lillian E. Curtis

    If a long and toilsome ladder
    You were trying to climb,
    You would not reach the top at once,
    But by one step at a time.

    Doubtless all of you are trying,
    Different ladders to climb,
    But be sure you only take
    One step at a time.

    One step and take it surely,
    Not like a conceited fop,
    And soon you'll find my friend.
    That you have reached the top.



  11. A Little Word
    Poet: Daniel C. Colesworthy

    A little word in kindness spoken,
    A motion or a tear,
    Has often healed the heart that's broken,
    And made a friend sincere.

    A word -- a look -- has crushed to earth
    Full many a budding flower,
    Which, had a smile but owned its birth,
    Would bless life's darkest hour.

    Then deem it not an idle thing,
    A pleasant word to speak;
    The face you wear - the thoughts you bring -
    A heart may heal or break.



  12. A Will Is Half Of Labor
    Poet: J. J. Thorne

    A will is a way and preparation
    Our duties to fulfill,
    A field cleared and nicely walled
    For those that are willing to till.

    A plow to upturn the sod
    And also run the row
    A drill to sow and cover well
    That the seed may sprout and grow.

    A hoe to thin out the plants
    And keep the weeds away
    A crop flourishing to advance
    The tiller double pay.



  13. If You Can
    by William Arthur Ward

    If you can imagine it,
    You can possess it.
    If you can dream it,
    You can become it.
    If you can envision it,
    You can attain it.
    If you can picture it,
    You can achieve it.



  14. Four Things
    by Henry VanDyke

    Four things a man must learn to do
    If he would make his record true:

    To think without confusion clearly;
    To love his fellow-men sincerely;
    To act from honest motives purely;
    To trust in God and Heaven securely.



  15. Forgiveness
    by Mary C. Ryan

    Fair as a rainbow in summer
    After a chilling blast,
    Is the sweet smile of forgiveness
    When anger's clouds are past.

    For hearts estranged by mere trifles,
    Are united again,
    If both will relent and forget
    A transient throe of pain.



  16. Earnestness
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    The hurry of the times affects us so
    In this swift rushing hour, we crowd, and press,
    And thrust each other backward, as we go,
    And do not pause to lay sufficient stress
    Upon that good, strong, true word, Earnestness.
    In our impetuous haste, could we but know
    Its full, deep meaning, its vast import, oh,
    Then might we grasp the secret of success!

    In that receding age when men were great,
    The bone, and sinew, of their purpose lay
    In this one word. God likes an earnest soul -
    Too earnest to be eager. Soon or late
    It leaves the spent horde breathless by the way,
    And stands serene, triumphant, at the goal.



  17. My Creed
    Poet: Caleb Davis Bradlee

    To God I look, the Judge of all,
    My Father and my King!
    While at his feet I humbly fall.
    And grateful praises bring.

    In Christ I trust, God's Son, I know,
    The life, the truth, the way;
    And in whatever place I go
    My solace and my stay!

    God's Spirit is my comfort sure,
    In all the steps I take;
    And all things I can well endure,
    If that my conscience wake!

    The "Holy Book" God's blessed truth,
    Is all the "creed" I know;
    My help and light from early youth,
    My peace in joy and woe.



  18.  Intro Poem
    Poet: Arthur Franklin Fuller

    You who are gentle, generous, kind,
    Will care to own this book -
    Whose sympathies are all refined -
    Its faults will overlook;

    You will love the aspiration
    Esteem the work, the thought -
    Your warm appreciation
    Is all that's wished or sought.



  19. Silence
    Poet: Eloise A. Skimings

    "Silence is golden," Seneca spoke most truly;
    When envy and discord are borne on the stream.
    Pour oil on the waters when the waves prove unruly,
    nd joy and contentment will rule there supreme.

    Bless'd are the peacemakers, tis the Lord who has spoken,
    For they shall inherit the kingdom of Heaven;
    Then strew seeds of forgiveness, of silence mute token,
    And to him who requires most, let much be given.



  20. May
    Poet: Eugene Field

    I love the May because it seems to me
    So full of secrets and of whisperings;
    Telling the heart in confidence of things,
    Yet unaccomplished and mysteriously,
    Like a fleet harbinger of victory,
    With glowing, undefined prefigurings,
    Reveals an opulence of spoils ; and brings
    A present joy in what is yet to be.

    How like the far-off ringing of a chime.
    The soft south wind; and each succeeding day.
    Moved by this prelude of a sunnier clime.
    Sings a new song and finds a theme more gay.
    It is a gay, it is a hopeful time.
    And this is why I love the month of May.



  21. Nature
    Poet: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    As a fond mother, when the day is o’er,
    Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
    Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
    And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
    Still gazing at them through the open door,
    Nor wholly reassured and comforted
    By promises of others in their stead,
    Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
    So Nature deals with us, and takes away
    Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
    Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
    Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
    Being too full of sleep to understand
    How far the unknown transcends the what we know.



  22. Love's Nobility
    by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    For this is Love's nobility:
    Not to scatter bread and gold.
    Goods and raiment, bought and sold;
    But to hold fast our simple sense,
    And speak the speech of innocence,
    And with hand and body and blood
    To make our bosom counsel good.
    For he that feeds men serveth few;
    He serves all who dares be true.



  23. God's Gifts
    Poet: Ellwood Haines Stokes

    Up from the solemn sea,
    Lo! the bright sun! and as his beams unfold,
    Sky, clouds and sea, are all baptized with gold!
    The splendor widens - more than all can hold!
    So are God's gifts to me,
    And this sun-glory on the sea and sky,
    Is but overflowings of His throne on high.



  24. A Fair Exchange!
    Poet: Althea Randolph

    Teach me, little birdie,
    How to sing like you;
    I shall do exactly
    What you tell me to!

    Then in turn I'll show you
    How to talk like me;
    That will be, dear birdie.
    Fair as fair can be!



  25. I Thank Thee
    Poet: Alice Cary

    I thank Thee that the grass and the red rose
    Do what they can to tell
    How spirit through all forms of matter flows;
    For every thistle by the common way,
    Wearing its homely beauty; for each spring
    That, sweet and homeless, runneth where it will;
    For night and day;
    For the alternate seasons, - everything
    Pertaining to life's marvelous miracle.



  26. Immortal Spirit
    Poet: Phoebe Cary

    Let no kindness see the blindness
    Of my eyes' last, long eclipse.
    Never think of me as lying
    By the dismal mould o'erspread:
    But about the soft white piilow
    Folded underneath my head.
    And of summer flowers weaving
    Their rich broidery o'er my bed.
    Think of the immortal spirit
    Living up above the sky,
    And of how my face is wearing
    Light of immortality;
    Looking earthward, is o'erleaning
    The white bastion of tbe sky.



  27. A Fixed Idea
    Poet: Amy Lowell

    What torture lurks within a single thought
    When grown too constant, and however kind.
    However welcome still, the weary mind
    Aches with its presence. Dull remembrance taught
    Remembers on unceasingly; unsought
    The old delight is with us but to find
    That all recurring joy is pain refined.
    Become a habit, and we struggle, caught.
    You lie upon my heart ad on a nest.
    Folded in peace, for you can never know
    How crushed I am with having you at rest
    Heavy upon my life, I love you so
    You bind my freedom from its rightful quest.
    In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.



  28.  A Wish
    Poet: Christina Rossetti

    I wish I were a little bird
    That out of sight doth soar;
    I wish I were a song once heard
    But often pondered o'er,
    Or shadow of a lily stirred
    By wind upon the floor,
    Or echo of a loving word
    Worth all that went before,
    Or memory of a hope deferred
    That springs again no more.



  29. In My Thinking Castle
    Poet: James Henry Thomas

    'Tis in my castle snug and neat
    That thoughts both old and new;
    Are welcome. These I always greet,
    For they to me are true.
    New thoughts the old ones introduce;
    Their hands I grasp and shake,
    I tightly hold and turn not loose.
    To my dull senses wake.

    Old thoughts I reverence with care,
    For they have paved the way
    For new ones that are bright and rare, -
    Which Nature's truths convey.

    'Tis in my thinking castle that
    I with these thougihts converse,
    We have a pleasant social chat
    While them with care I nurse.

    Then by God's help I mold new ones,
    New thoughts formed in my mold.
    Each helpful thought that through me runs
    At some time will be told.



  30. Yesterday
    Poet: Ardeen Foster

    Where in the shadow is yesterday's dawn?
    Pah! but a mite in the whirlwind of space —
    Off, linking arms with the centuries gone:
    Though she has willed us to-day in her place.



  31. Calling The Flowers
    Poet: Mary Mapes Dodge

    Blow loud for the blossoms that live in the trees,
    And low for the daisies and clover;
    But as soft as I can for the violets shy,
    Yes softly — and over and over.



  32.  Alone
    Poet: Edgar Allan Poe

    From childhood's hour I have not been
    As others were - I have not seen
    As others saw - I could not bring
    My passions from a common spring -
    From the same source I have not taken
    My sorrow - I could not awaken
    My heart to joy at the same tone -
    And all I lov'd - I lov'd alone -
    Then - in my childhood - in the dawn
    Of a most stormy life - was drawn
    From ev'ry depth of good and ill
    The mystery which binds me still -
    From the torrent, or the fountain -
    From the red cliff of the mountain -
    From the sun that 'round me roll'd
    In its autumn tint of gold -
    From the lightning in the sky
    As it pass'd me flying by -
    From the thunder, and the storm -
    And the cloud that took the form
    (When the rest of Heaven was blue)
    Of a demon in my view



  33. Singing
    Poet: Robert Louis Stevenson

    Of speckled eggs the birdie sings
    And nests among the trees;
    The sailor sings of ropes and things
    In ships upon the seas.

    The children sing in far Japan,
    The children sing in Spain;
    The organ with the organ man
    Is singing in the rain.



  34. By Faith and Not By Sight
    Poet: Clara McAlister Brooks

    Following Jesus from day to day,
    Gently He leads me along the way;
    E’er will I trust Him all foes despite,
    By faith and not by sight.

    Walking with Jesus I’m in the light,
    Walking with Jesus in robes of white;
    Walking with Jesus my way is bright,
    By faith and not by sight.

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