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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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Written by R S Thomas | |

Ninetieth Birthday

 You go up the long track
That will take a car, but is best walked
On slow foot, noting the lichen
That writes history on the page
Of the grey rock.
Trees are about you At first, but yield to the green bracken, The nightjars house: you can hear it spin On warm evenings; it is still now In the noonday heat, only the lesser Voices sound, blue-fly and gnat And the stream's whisper.
As the road climbs, You will pause for breath and the far sea's Signal will flash, till you turn again To the steep track, buttressed with cloud.
And there at the top that old woman, Born almost a century back In that stone farm, awaits your coming; Waits for the news of the lost village She thinks she knows, a place that exists In her memory only.
You bring her greeting And praise for having lasted so long With time's knife shaving the bone.
Yet no bridge joins her own World with yours, all you can do Is lean kindly across the abyss To hear words that were once wise.

Written by Ben Jonson | |

Ode to Sir William Sidney, on His Birthday



                       Some sing,
    And all do strive to advance
The gladness higher;
                Wherefore should I
                Stand silent by,
                    Who not the least,    That I may tell to SIDNEY what
                       This day
                       Doth say,
    And he may think on that
Which I do tell;
                When all the noise
                Of these forced joys,
                    Are fled and gone,

    Are justly summ'd, that make you man;
                       Your vow
                       Must now
    Strive all right ways it can,
T' outstrip your peers :
                Since he doth lack
                Of going back
                    Little,  whose will

    Of nobles' virtue, shew in you ;
                       Your blood
                       So good
    And great, must seek for new,
And study more :
                Not weary, rest
                On what's deceas't.

                    For they, that swell

    Whose nephew, whose grandchild you are ;
                       And men
                       Will then
    Say you have follow'd far,
When well begun :
                Which must be now,
                They teach you how,
                    And he that stays

    If with this truth you be inspired ;
                       So may
                       This day
    Be more, and long desired ;
And with the flame
                Of love be bright,
                As with the light
                    Of bonfires !  then

    And some do drink, and some do dance,
                       Some ring,
                       Some sing,
    And all do strive to advance
The gladness higher;
                Wherefore should I
                Stand silent by,
                    Who not the least,

Written 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.

More great poems below...

Written by Maria Mazziotti Gillan | |


 It was not until later
that I knew, recognized the moment
for what it was, my life before it,
a gray landscape, shapeless and misty;
my life after, flowering full and leafy
as the cherry trees that only today
have torn into bloom.
Imagine: my cousin at 19, tall, slender.
She worked in New York City.
For my thirteenth birthday she took me to New York.
We ate at the Russian Tea Room where I was uncertain about which fork to use, intimidated by the women in their hats and furs, by the waiters who watched me as I struggled with the huge hunk of bread in the center of the onion soup in its steep bowl.
When we were ready to leave, I tried to give the tip back to my cousin.
I thought she had forgotten it.
She said, "No, it's for the waiter!" On 57th Street a man in a camel coat bumped into me, rushed on by.
My cousin said, "That was Eddie Fisher," but I said, "He's too short.
It can't be.
" I felt let down that Eddie Fisher, the star I was in love with that year, was so rude he never even said "excuse me.
" Then we went into the theater sat in the front row.
the stage sprang into colored light, and the glittery costumes, the singing, the magical story, drew me in, made me feel in that moment, that I would learn again and again, the miraculous language, the music of it.
My life, turning away from the constricted world of the 19th Street tenement, formed a line almost perpendicular to that old life, I moved toward it, breathed in this new air, racing toward a world filled with poems and music and books that freed me from everything that could have chained me to the ground.
Copyright © by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |


 A village Chorus is supposed to be assembled, and about to
commence its festive procession.
[Written for the birthday of the Duchess Louisa of Weimar.
THE festal day hail ye With garlands of pleasure, And dances' soft measure, With rapture commingled And sweet choral song.
Oh, how I yearn from out the crowd to flee! What joy a secret glade would give to me! Amid the throng, the turmoil here, Confined the plain, the breezes e'en appear.
Now order it truly, That ev'ry one duly May roam and may wander, Now here, and now yonder, The meadows along.
[The Chorus retreats gradually, and the song becomes fainter and fainter, till it dies away in the distance.
In vain ye call, in vain would lure me on; True my heart speaks,--but with itself alone.
And if I may view A blessing-fraught land, The heaven's clear blue, And the plain's verdant hue, Alone I'll rejoice, Undisturbed by man's voice.
And there I'll pay homage To womanly merit, Observe it in spirit, In spirit pay homage; To echo alone Shall my secret be known.
[Faintly mingling with Damon's song in the distance.
] To echo--alone-- Shall my secret--be known.
My friend, why meet I here with thee? Thou hast'nest not to join the festal throng? No longer stay, but come with me, And mingle in the dance and song.
Thou'rt welcome, friend! but suffer me to roam Where these old beeches hide me from man's view: Love seeks in solitude a home, And homage may retreat there too.
Thou seekest here a spurious fame, And hast a mind to-day to grieve me.
Love as thy portion thou mayst claim But homage thou must share with all, believe me! When their voices thousands raise, And the dawn of morning praise, Rapture bringing, Blithely singing On before us, Heart and ear in pleasure vie; And when thousands join in chorus, With the feelings brightly glowing, And the wishes overflowing, Forcibly they'll bear thee high.
[The Chorus gradually approaches, from the distance.
Distant strains are hither wending, And I'm gladden'd by the throng; Yes, they're coming,--yes, descending To the valley from the height, MENALCAS.
Let us haste, our footsteps blending With the rhythm of the song! Yes, they come; their course they're bending Tow'rd the wood's green sward so bright.
[Gradually becoming louder.
] Yes, we hither come, attending With the harmony of song, As the hours their race are ending On this day of blest delight.
Let none reveal The thoughts we feel, The aims we own! Let joy alone Disclose the story! She'll prove it right And her delight Includes the glory, Includes the bliss Of days like this! 1813.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |


 [Written and sung in honour of the birthday 
of the Pastor Ewald at the time of Goethe's happy connection with 
] IN ev'ry hour of joy That love and wine prolong, The moments we'll employ To carol forth this song! We're gathered in His name, Whose power hath brought us here; He kindled first our flame, He bids it burn more clear.
Then gladly glow to-night, And let our hearts combine! Up! quaff with fresh delight This glass of sparkling wine! Up! hail the joyous hour, And let your kiss be true; With each new bond of power The old becomes the new! Who in our circle lives, And is not happy there? True liberty it gives, And brother's love so fair.
Thus heart and heart through life With mutual love are fill'd; And by no causeless strife Our union e'er is chill'd.
Our hopes a God has crown'd With life-discernment free, And all we view around, Renews our ecstasy.
Ne'er by caprice oppress'd, Our bliss is ne'er destroy'd; More freely throbs our breast, By fancies ne'er alloy'd.
Where'er our foot we set, The more life's path extends, And brighter, brighter yet Our gaze on high ascends.
We know no grief or pain, Though all things fall and rise; Long may we thus remain! Eternal be our ties! 1775.

Written by A S J Tessimond | |

Nursery Rhyme For A Twenty-First Birthday

 You cannot see the walls that divide your hand
From his or hers or mine when you think you touch it.
You cannot see the walls because they are glass, And glass is nothing until you try to pass it.
Beat on it if you like, but not too hard, For glass will break you even while you break it.
Shout, and the sound will be broken and driven backwards, For glass, though clear as water, is deaf as granite.
This fraudulent inhibition is cunning: wise men Content themselves with breathing patterns on it.

Written by Richard Wilbur | |

For K.R. on her Sixtieth Birthday

 Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark, Who round with grace this dusky arc Of the grand tour which souls must take.
You who have sounded William Blake, And the still pool, to Plato's mark, Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark.
Yet, for your friends' benighted sake, Detain your upward-flying spark; Get us that wish, though like the lark You whet your wings till dawn shall break: Blow out the candles of your cake.

Written by Walter Savage Landor | |

On His Eightieth Birthday

 To my ninth decade I have tottered on, 
And no soft arm bends now my steps to steady; 
She, who once led me where she would, is gone, 
So when he calls me, Death shall find me ready.

Written by Walter Savage Landor | |

On His Seventy-fifth Birthday

 I strove with none, for none was worth my strife;
Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art;
I warmed both hands before the fire of Life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.

Written by Algernon Charles Swinburne | |

A Babys Death

 A little soul scarce fledged for earth
Takes wing with heaven again for goal
Even while we hailed as fresh from birth
A little soul.
Our thoughts ring sad as bells that toll, Not knowing beyond this blind world's girth What things are writ in heaven's full scroll.
Our fruitfulness is there but dearth, And all things held in time's control Seem there, perchance, ill dreams, not worth A little soul.
The little feet that never trod Earth, never strayed in field or street, What hand leads upward back to God The little feet? A rose in June's most honied heat, When life makes keen the kindling sod, Was not so soft and warm and sweet.
Their pilgrimage's period A few swift moons have seen complete Since mother's hands first clasped and shod The little feet.
The little hands that never sought Earth's prizes, worthless all as sands, What gift has death, God's servant, brought The little hands? We ask: but love's self silent stands, Love, that lends eyes and wings to thought To search where death's dim heaven expands.
Ere this, perchance, though love know nought, Flowers fill them, grown in lovelier lands, Where hands of guiding angels caught The little hands.
The little eyes that never knew Light other than of dawning skies, What new life now lights up anew The little eyes? Who knows but on their sleep may rise Such light as never heaven let through To lighten earth from Paradise? No storm, we know, may change the blue Soft heaven that haply death descries No tears, like these in ours, bedew The little eyes.
Was life so strange, so sad the sky, So strait the wide world's range, He would not stay to wonder why Was life so strange? Was earth's fair house a joyless grange Beside that house on high Whence Time that bore him failed to estrange? That here at once his soul put by All gifts of time and change, And left us heavier hearts to sigh 'Was life so strange?' Angel by name love called him, seeing so fair The sweet small frame; Meet to be called, if ever man's child were, Angel by name.
Rose-bright and warm from heaven's own heart he came, And might not bear The cloud that covers earth's wan face with shame.
His little light of life was all too rare And soft a flame: Heaven yearned for him till angels hailed him there Angel by name.
The song that smiled upon his birthday here Weeps on the grave that holds him undefiled Whose loss makes bitterer than a soundless tear The song that smiled.
His name crowned once the mightiest ever styled Sovereign of arts, and angel: fate and fear Knew then their master, and were reconciled.
But we saw born beneath some tenderer sphere Michael, an angel and a little child, Whose loss bows down to weep upon his bier The song that smiled.

Written by Algernon Charles Swinburne | |

A Ninth Birthday

 Three times thrice hath winter's rough white wing
Crossed and curdled wells and streams with ice
Since his birth whose praises love would sing
Three times thrice.
Earth nor sea bears flower nor pearl of price Fit to crown the forehead of my king, Honey meet to please him, balm, nor spice.
Love can think of nought but love to bring Fit to serve or do him sacrifice Ere his eyes have looked upon the spring Three times thrice.
Three times thrice the world has fallen on slumber, Shone and waned and withered in a trice, Frost has fettered Thames and Tyne and Humber Three times thrice, Fogs have swoln too thick for steel to slice, Cloud and mud have soiled with grime and umber Earth and heaven, defaced as souls with vice, Winds have risen to wreck, snows fallen to cumber, Ships and chariots, trapped like rats or mice, Since my king first smiled, whose years now number Three times thrice.
Three times thrice, in wine of song full-flowing, Pledge, my heart, the child whose eyes suffice, Once beheld, to set thy joy-bells going Three times thrice.
Not the lands of palm and date and rice Glow more bright when summer leaves them glowing, Laugh more light when suns and winds entice.
Noon and eve and midnight and cock-crowing, Child whose love makes life as paradise, Love should sound your praise with clarions blowing Three times thrice.

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written by Henry Van Dyke | |

Thomas Bailey Aldrich



Dear Aldrich, now November's mellow days
Have brought another Festa round to you,
You can't refuse a loving-cup of praise
From friends the fleeting years have bound to you.
Here come your Marjorie Daw, your dear Bad Boy, Prudence, and Judith the Bethulian, And many more, to wish you birthday joy, And sunny hours, and sky caerulean! Your children all, they hurry to your den, With wreaths of honour they have won for you, To merry-make your threescore years and ten.
You, old? Why, life has just begun for you! There's many a reader whom your silver songs And crystal stories cheer in loneliness.
What though the newer writers come in throngs? You're sure to keep your charm of only-ness.
You do your work with careful, loving touch, -- An artist to the very core of you, -- You know the magic spell of "not-too-much ": We read, -- and wish that there was more of you.
And more there is: for while we love your books Because their subtle skill is part of you; We love you better, for our friendship looks Behind them to the human heart of you.
November 24, 1906.
II MEMORIAL SONNET THIS is the house where little Aldrich read The early pages of Life's wonder-book: With boyish pleasure, in this ingle-nook He watched the drift-wood fire of Fancy spread Bright colours on the pictures, blue and red: Boy-like he skipped the longer words, and took His happy way, with searching, dreamful look Among the deeper things more simply said.
Then, came his turn to write: and still the flame Of Fancy played through all the tales he told, And still he won the laurelled poet's fame With simple words wrought into rhymes of gold.
Look, here's the face to which this house is frame, -- A man too wise to let his heart grow old!