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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 | |

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 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

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.

More great poems below...

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.

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.

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 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 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 Joyce Sutphen | |


  The second half of my life will be black
to the white rind of the old and fading moon.
The second half of my life will be water over the cracked floor of these desert years.
I will land on my feet this time, knowing at least two languages and who my friends are.
I will dress for the occasion, and my hair shall be whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old birthday, counting the years as usual, but I will count myself new from this inception, this imprint of my own desire.
The second half of my life will be swift, past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder, asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed, fingers shifting through fine sands, arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.
There will be new dreams every night, and the drapes will never be closed.
I will toss my string of keys into a deep well and old letters into the grate.
The second half of my life will be ice breaking up on the river, rain soaking the fields, a hand held out, a fire, and smoke going upward, always up.

by Robert William Service | |


 Let us have birthdays every day,
(I had the thought while I was shaving)
Because a birthday should be gay,
And full of grace and good behaving.
We can't have cakes and candles bright, And presents are beyond our giving, But let lt us cherish with delight The birthday way of lovely living.
For I have passed three-score and ten And I can count upon my fingers The years I hope to bide with men, (Though by God's grace one often lingers.
) So in the summers left to me, Because I'm blest beyond my merit, I hope with gratitude and glee To sparkle with the birthday spirit.
Let me inform myself each day Who's proudmost on the natal roster; If Washington or Henry Clay, Or Eugene Field or Stephen Foster.
oh lots of famous folks I'll find Who more than measure to my rating, And so thanksgivingly inclined Their birthdays I'll be celebrating.
For Oh I know the cheery glow| Of Anniversary rejoicing; Let me reflect its radiance so My daily gladness I'll be voicing.
And though I'm stooped and silver-haired, Let me with laughter make the hearth gay, So by the gods I may be spared Each year to hear: "Pop, Happy Birthday.

by Robert William Service | |


 (16th January 1949)

I thank whatever gods may be
For all the happiness that's mine;
That I am festive, fit and free
To savour women, wit and wine;
That I may game of golf enjoy,
And have a formidable drive:
In short, that I'm a gay old boy
Though I be
My daughter thinks.
because I'm old (I'm not a crock, when all is said), I mustn't let my feet get cold, And should wear woollen socks in bed; A worsted night-cap too, forsooth! To humour her I won't contrive: A man is in his second youth When he is Seventy-and-five.
At four-score years old age begins, And not till then, I warn my wife; At eighty I'll recant my sins, And live a staid and sober life.
But meantime let me whoop it up, And tell the world that I'm alive: Fill to the brim the bubbly cup - Here's health to Seventy-and-five!

by Robert William Service | |

Eighty Not Out

 In the gay, gleamy morn I adore to go walking,
And oh what sweet people I meet on my way!
I hail them with joy for I love to be talking,
Although I have nothing important to say.
I cheer the old grannies whose needles are plying; I watch the wee kiddies awhoop at their play: When sunny the sky is, you'll not be denying The morning's the bonniest bit of the day.
With hair that is silver the look should be smiling, And lips that are ageful should surely be wise; And so I go gaily with gentle beguiling, Abidding for cheer in the bright of your eyes.
I look at the vines and the blossoms with loving; I listen with glee to the thrush on the spray: And so with a song in my heart I am proving That life is more beautiful every day.
For I think that old age is the rapture of living, And though I've had many a birthday of cheer, Of all the delectable days of God's giving, The best of the bunch is my eightieth year.
So I will go gay in the beam of the morning Another decade,--Oh I haven't a doubt! Adoring the world of the Lord's glad adorning, And sing to the glory of Ninety-not-Out.

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 | |


 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.

by Barry Tebb | |


 The years become you as Oxford becomes you,

As you became Oxford through the protest years;

From Magdalen’s grey gargoyles to its bridge in May,

From the cement buttresses of Wellington Square

To Balliol, Balliol in the rain.
The years become you as the Abbey Road becomes you, As you became that road through silent years, From the famous crossing to the stunted bridge Caparisoned with carnivals of children, Cohorts of coloured clowns and Father Christmases.
The years become you as the Clothworkers’ Hall in gold Became you, and you became it through the protest years, When the Brotherton’s Portland stone, its white stone Of innocence was snow in the School of English garden, ‘A living sculpture’, a Grene Knicht awaiting spring.
The years become you, Oxford, Leeds and London, As you became them through the years of poems, Through passing, silent crowds, through the cherry blossom You sat under, plucked and ploughed, ‘a dissenting voice’, And Balliol, Balliol in the rain.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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!

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 Stanley Kunitz | |

Passing Through

 Nobody in the widow's household
ever celebrated anniversaries.
In the secrecy of my room I would not admit I cared that my friends were given parties.
Before I left town for school my birthday went up in smoke in a fire at City Hall that gutted the Department of Vital Statistics.
If it weren't for a census report of a five-year-old White Male sharing my mother's address at the Green Street tenement in Worcester I'd have no documentary proof that I exist.
You are the first, my dear, to bully me into these festive occasions.
Sometimes, you say, I wear an abstracted look that drives you up the wall, as though it signified distress or disaffection.
Don't take it so to heart.
Maybe I enjoy not-being as much as being who I am.
Maybe it's time for me to practice growing old.
The way I look at it, I'm passing through a phase: gradually I'm changing to a word.
Whatever you choose to claim of me is always yours: nothing is truly mine except my name.
I only borrowed this dust.

by Sidney Lanier | |

A Birthday Song. To S. G.

 For ever wave, for ever float and shine
Before my yearning eyes, oh! dream of mine
Wherein I dreamed that time was like a vine,

A creeping rose, that clomb a height of dread
Out of the sea of Birth, all filled with dead,
Up to the brilliant cloud of Death o'erhead.
This vine bore many blossoms, which were years.
Their petals, red with joy, or bleached by tears, Waved to and fro i' the winds of hopes and fears.
Here all men clung, each hanging by his spray.
Anon, one dropped; his neighbor 'gan to pray; And so they clung and dropped and prayed, alway.
But I did mark one lately-opened bloom, Wherefrom arose a visible perfume That wrapped me in a cloud of dainty gloom.
And rose -- an odor by a spirit haunted -- And drew me upward with a speed enchanted, Swift floating, by wild sea or sky undaunted, Straight through the cloud of death, where men are free.
I gained a height, and stayed and bent my knee.
Then glowed my cloud, and broke and unveiled thee.
"O flower-born and flower-souled!" I said, "Be the year-bloom that breathed thee ever red, Nor wither, yellow, down among the dead.
"May all that cling to sprays of time, like me, Be sweetly wafted over sky and sea By rose-breaths shrining maidens like to thee!" Then while we sat upon the height afar Came twilight, like a lover late from war, With soft winds fluting to his evening star.
And the shy stars grew bold and scattered gold, And chanting voices ancient secrets told, And an acclaim of angels earthward rolled.