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Best Famous Birthday Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Birthday poems. This is a select list of the best famous Birthday poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Birthday poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of birthday poems.

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by Christina Rossetti | |

A Birthday

 My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down; Hang it with vair and purple dyes; Carve it in doves and pomegranates, And peacocks with a hundred eyes; Work it in gold and silver grapes, In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys; Because the birthday of my life Is come, my love is come to me.


by Henry Van Dyke | |

A Prayer for a Mothers Birthday

 Lord Jesus, Thou hast known
A mother's love and tender care:
And Thou wilt hear, while for my own
Mother most dear I make this birthday prayer.
Protect her life, I pray, Who gave the gift of life to me; And may she know, from day to day, The deepening glow of Life that comes from Thee.
As once upon her breast Fearless and well content I lay, So let her heart, on Thee at rest, Feel fears depart and troubles fade away.
Her every wish fulfill; And even if Thou must refuse In anything, let Thy wise will A comfort bring such as kind mothers use.
Ah, hold her by the hand, As once her hand held mine; And though she may not understand Life's winding way, lead her in peace divine.
I cannot pay my debt For all the love that she has given; But Thou, love's Lord, wilt not forget Her due reward,--bless her in earth and heaven.


by Henry Van Dyke | |

A Health to Mark Twain

 At his Birthday Feast

With memories old and wishes new
We crown our cups again,
And here's to you, and here's to you
With love that ne'er shall wane!
And may you keep, at sixty-seven,
The joy of earth, the hope of heaven,
And fame well-earned, and friendship true,
And peace that comforts every pain,
And faith that fights the battle through,
And all your heart's unbounded wealth,
And all your wit, and all your health,--
Yes, here's a hearty health to you,
And here's to you, and here's to you,
Long life to you, Mark Twain.


by | |

In the Time of Tyrants

All that the hand may touch;
All that the hand may own;
Crumbles beyond time’s clutch
Down to oblivion.
Fear not the boasts which wound: Fear not the threats which bind: Always on broken ground The seeds fall from the mind.
Always in darkest loam A birthday is begun; And from its catacomb A candle lights the sun.


by Donald Justice | |

A Birthday Candle

 Thirty today, I saw
The trees flare briefly like
The candles on a cake,
As the sun went down the sky,
A momentary flash,
Yet there was time to wish


by Ted Kooser | |

A Birthday Poem

 Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing, feasting on every green moment till darkness calls, and with the others I walk away into the night, swinging the little tin bell of my name.


by Louise Gluck | |

Nostos

 There was an apple tree in the yard --
this would have been
forty years ago -- behind,
only meadows.
Drifts of crocus in the damp grass.
I stood at that window: late April.
Spring flowers in the neighbor's yard.
How many times, really, did the tree flower on my birthday, the exact day, not before, not after? Substitution of the immutable for the shifting, the evolving.
Substitution of the image for relentless earth.
What do I know of this place, the role of the tree for decades taken by a bonsai, voices rising from the tennis courts -- Fields.
Smell of the tall grass, new cut.
As one expects of a lyric poet.
We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory.


by Rg Gregory | |

doughnut denial

 (an ascetic poem for karen's birthday)

fancy having a birthday on a thursday
when you do the buying of the doughnuts
and others lick their sticky fingers
thinking good old karen letting
us share the eating of her birthday

not me of course - i sit at home (alone)
reflecting it is purification day
today and i do not have a doughnut
thank you karen for letting me have
a taste of self-denial on your birthday

and such a spiritual gain- in this way
you and i share the high-church position
while others lick the sugar off their lips
guzzling their souls away benightedly
with you great circe in your birthday play

luckily i have no envy of doughnuts
i sit here (alone) appreciating the pure
a step aside from doughy lust and greed
enjoying your birthday in its proper light 
-a time of abstinence starvation longing


by Suheir Hammad | |

daughter

 leaves and leaving call october home
her daughter releases wood
smoke from her skin
rich in scorpio
blood survived the first
flood each new year marks
a circle around her
thick bark middle
this the month summer and
winter fall into each
other and leave orange
yellow ashes
the vibrancy of death
carry it all
coiled in my belly
cut on the cusp 
of libra tail 
tips the scales
tonight it is raining in
the tradition of my parents
wanted a daughter not a writer
happy birthday poet
who loves you baby
the way your mama did
under her breast the way your
father did under his breath
leaves and leaving have known
my name intimately
i harvest pumpkins
to offer the river eat
buttered phoenix meat
to celebrate a new year
new cipher for my belly
i got a new name
secret nobody knows
the cold can't call me
leaving won't know 
where to find me 
october gonna hide me
in her harvest in
her seasons
happy birthday daughter
of the falling


by Dale Harcombe | |

For Joseph

 Your ears will never hear sounds
  that to me are ordinary as air.
From the hour that you were born the tight white shell of silence closed around you.
You edged away from friendship.
Silence clung and stung like sand, smothering words before they could break free.
Sand has a brittle sound as it stutters underfoot.
But you are no longer like sand.
Though your ears will still never hear, words gather, demanding as seagulls.
Now, you stretch wings towards the sky.
Glide closer to other lives.
Reach them with the rising tide of your imperfect speech.
*first published Westerly 1993 - Republished Central Western Daily January 12, 1996 recently republished in ‘On Common Water’ the Ginninderra 10th birthday anthology


by Thomas Hood | |

Past and Present

 I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor bought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.
I remember, I remember The roses, red and white, The violets, and the lily-cups-- Those flowers made of light! The lilacs where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday,-- The tree is living yet! I remember, I remember Where I was used to swing, And throught the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then That is so heavy now, And summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow.
I remember, I remember The fir frees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance, But now 'tis little joy To know I'm farther off from Heaven Than when I was a boy.


by Thomas Hood | |

I Remember I Remember

 I Remember, I Remember

I remember, I remember 
The house where I was born, 
The little window where the sun 
Came peeping in at morn; 
He never came a wink too soon 
Nor brought too long a day; 
But now, I often wish the night 
Had borne my breath away.
I remember, I remember The roses red and white, The violets and the lily cups-- Those flowers made of light! The lilacs where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday,-- The tree is living yet! I remember, I remember Where I was used to swing, And thought the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then That is so heavy now, The summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow.
I remember, I remember The fir-trees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance, But now 'tis little joy To know I'm farther off from Heaven Than when I was a boy.


by David Lehman | |

March 30

 Eighty-one degrees a record high for the day
which is not my birthday but will do until
the eleventh of June comes around and I know
what I want: a wide-brimmed Panama hat
with a tan hatband, a walk in the park
and to share a shower with a zaftig beauty
who lost her Bronx accent in Bronxville
and now wants me to give her back her virginity
so she slinks into my office and sits on the desk
and I, to describe her posture and pose,
will trade my Blake (the lineaments of a gratified
desire) for your Herrick (the liquefaction of
her clothes) though it isn't my birthday and
we're not still in college it's just a cup of coffee
and a joint the hottest thirtieth of March I've ever


by Dorothy Parker | |

The Gentlest Lady

 They say He was a serious child,
And quiet in His ways;
They say the gentlest lady smiled
To hear the neighbors' praise.
The coffers of her heart would close Upon their smaliest word.
Yet did they say, "How tall He grows!" They thought she had not heard.
They say upon His birthday eve She'd rock Him to His rest As if she could not have Him leave The shelter of her breast.
The poor must go in bitter thrift, The poor must give in pain, But ever did she get a gift To greet His day again.
They say she'd kiss the Boy awake, And hail Him gay and clear, But oh, her heart was like to break To count another year.


by Matthew Prior | |

On My Birthday July 21

 I, MY dear, was born to-day-- 
So all my jolly comrades say: 
They bring me music, wreaths, and mirth, 
And ask to celebrate my birth: 
Little, alas! my comrades know 
That I was born to pain and woe; 
To thy denial, to thy scorn, 
Better I had ne'er been born: 
I wish to die, even whilst I say-- 
'I, my dear, was born to-day.
' I, my dear, was born to-day: Shall I salute the rising ray, Well-spring of all my joy and woe? Clotilda, thou alone dost know.
Shall the wreath surround my hair? Or shall the music please my ear? Shall I my comrades' mirth receive, And bless my birth, and wish to live? Then let me see great Venus chase Imperious anger from thy face; Then let me hear thee smiling say-- 'Thou, my dear, wert born to-day.
'


by Robert William Service | |

Fortitude

 Time, the Jester, jeers at you;
Your life's a fleeting breath;
Your birthday's flimsy I.
O.
U.
To that old devil, Death.
And though to glory you attain, Or be to beauty born, Your pomp and vanity are vain: Time ticks you off with scorn.
Time, the Cynic, sneers at you, And stays you in your stride; He flouts the daring deeds you do, And pillories your pride.
The triumph of your yesterday He pages with the Past; He taunts you with the grave's decay And calls the score at last.
All this I now, yet what care I! Despite his dusty word, I hold my tattered banner high, And swing my broken sword.
In blackest night I glimpse a gleam, And nurse a faith sublime, To do, to dare, to hope, to dream, to fight you, Foeman Time; Yea, in the dark, a deathless beam To smite you, Tyrant Time.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Occasional Poems

 I Christmas Poem for Nancy

Noel, Noel
We live and we die
Between heaven and hell
Between the earth and the sky
And all shall be well
And all shall be unwell
And once again! all shall once again!
 All shall be well
By the ringing and the swinging
 of the great beautiful holiday bell
Of Noel! Noel!

II Salute Valentine

I'll drink to thee only with my eyes
When two are three and four,
And guzzle reality's rise and cries
And praise the truth beyond surmise
When small shots shout: More! More! More! More!

III Rabbi to Preach

Rabbi Robert Raaba will preach
 on "An Eye for an Eye"
 (an I for an I?)
(Two weeks from this week: "On the Sacred Would")
At Temple Sholem on Lake Shore Drive
- Pavel Slavensky will chant the liturgical responses
And William Leon, having now thirteen years
 will thank his parents that he exists
To celebrate his birthday of manhood, his chocolate 
Bar Mitzvah, his yum-yum kippered herring, his Russian
 Corona.


by Katherine Mansfield | |

A Joyful Song Of Five

 Come, let us all sing very high
And all sing very loud
And keep on singing in the street
Until there's quite a crowd;

And keep on singing in the house
And up and down the stairs;
Then underneath the furniture
Let's all play Polar bears;

And crawl about with doormats on,
And growl and howl and squeak,
Then in the garden let us fly
And play at hid and seek;

And "Here we gather Nuts and May,"
"I wrote a Letter" too,
"Here we go round the Mulberry Bush,"
"The Child who lost its shoe";

And every game we ever played.
And then--to stay alive-- Let's end with lots of Birthday Cake Because to-day you're five.


by Jonathan Swift | |

Stellas Birthday March 13 1719

 Stella this day is thirty-four, 
(We shan't dispute a year or more:)
However, Stella, be not troubled,
Although thy size and years are doubled,
Since first I saw thee at sixteen,
The brightest virgin on the green;
So little is thy form declin'd;
Made up so largely in thy mind.
Oh, would it please the gods to split Thy beauty, size, and years, and wit; No age could furnish out a pair Of nymphs so graceful, wise, and fair; With half the lustre of your eyes, With half your wit, your years, and size.
And then, before it grew too late, How should I beg of gentle Fate, (That either nymph might have her swain,) To split my worship too in twain.


by Barry Tebb | |

HAPPY THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY CARCANET BOOKS

 Sorry, I almost forgot, but I don't think

Its worth the effort to become a Carcanet poet

With my mug-shot on art gloss paper

In your catalogue as big as Mont Blanc

Easier to imagine, as Benjamin Peret did,

A wind that would unscrew the mountain

Or stars like apricot tarts strolling

Aimlessly along the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.