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Best Famous Childhood Poems

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

Search for the best famous Childhood poems, articles about Childhood poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Childhood poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

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Written by Billy Collins |

Nostalgia

 Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade, and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular, the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon, and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow.
" Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.
Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet marathons were the rage.
We used to dress up in the flags of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.
The 1790's will never come again.
Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.
I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment, time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps, or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me recapture the serenity of last month when we picked berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.
Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.
As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past, letting my memory rush over them like water rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine, a dance whose name we can only guess.

Written by James Tate |

Dream On

 Some people go their whole lives
without ever writing a single poem.
Extraordinary people who don't hesitate to cut somebody's heart or skull open.
They go to baseball games with the greatest of ease.
and play a few rounds of golf as if it were nothing.
These same people stroll into a church as if that were a natural part of life.
Investing money is second nature to them.
They contribute to political campaigns that have absolutely no poetry in them and promise none for the future.
They sit around the dinner table at night and pretend as though nothing is missing.
Their children get caught shoplifting at the mall and no one admits that it is poetry they are missing.
The family dog howls all night, lonely and starving for more poetry in his life.
Why is it so difficult for them to see that, without poetry, their lives are effluvial.
Sure, they have their banquets, their celebrations, croquet, fox hunts, their sea shores and sunsets, their cocktails on the balcony, dog races, and all that kissing and hugging, and don't forget the good deeds, the charity work, nursing the baby squirrels all through the night, filling the birdfeeders all winter, helping the stranger change her tire.
Still, there's that disagreeable exhalation from decaying matter, subtle but everpresent.
They walk around erect like champions.
They are smooth-spoken and witty.
When alone, rare occasion, they stare into the mirror for hours, bewildered.
There was something they meant to say, but didn't: "And if we put the statue of the rhinoceros next to the tweezers, and walk around the room three times, learn to yodel, shave our heads, call our ancestors back from the dead--" poetrywise it's still a bust, bankrupt.
You haven't scribbled a syllable of it.
You're a nowhere man misfiring the very essence of your life, flustering nothing from nothing and back again.
The hereafter may not last all that long.
Radiant childhood sweetheart, secret code of everlasting joy and sorrow, fanciful pen strokes beneath the eyelids: all day, all night meditation, knot of hope, kernel of desire, pure ordinariness of life seeking, through poetry, a benediction or a bed to lie down on, to connect, reveal, explore, to imbue meaning on the day's extravagant labor.
And yet it's cruel to expect too much.
It's a rare species of bird that refuses to be categorized.
Its song is barely audible.
It is like a dragonfly in a dream-- here, then there, then here again, low-flying amber-wing darting upward then out of sight.
And the dream has a pain in its heart the wonders of which are manifold, or so the story is told.

Written by Pablo Neruda |

A Song Of Despair

 The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.
Deserted like the dwarves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one! Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.
In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.
You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time.
In you everything sank! It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.
Pilot's dread, fury of blind driver, turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank! In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank! You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire, sadness stunned you, in you everything sank! I made the wall of shadow draw back, beyond desire and act, I walked on.
Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost, I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.
Like a jar you housed infinite tenderness.
and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar.
There was the black solitude of the islands, and there, woman of love, your arms took me in.
There was thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and ruins, and you were the miracle.
Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms! How terrible and brief my desire was to you! How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid.
Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs, still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds.
Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs, oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies.
Oh the mad coupling of hope and force in which we merged and despaired.
And the tenderness, light as water and as flour.
And the word scarcely begun on the lips.
This was my destiny and in it was my voyage of my longing, and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank! Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you, what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned! From billow to billow you still called and sang.
Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel.
You still flowered in songs, you still brike the currents.
Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.
Pale blind diver, luckless slinger, lost discoverer, in you everything sank! It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour which the night fastens to all the timetables.
The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.
Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.
Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
Only tremulous shadow twists in my hands.
Oh farther than everything.
Oh farther than everything.
It is the hour of departure.
Oh abandoned one!

More great poems below...

Written by Philip Larkin |

I Remember I Remember

 Coming up England by a different line
For once, early in the cold new year,
We stopped, and, watching men with number plates
Sprint down the platform to familiar gates,
'Why, Coventry!' I exclaimed.
'I was born here.
' I leant far out, and squinnied for a sign That this was still the town that had been 'mine' So long, but found I wasn't even clear Which side was which.
From where those cycle-crates Were standing, had we annually departed For all those family hols? .
.
.
A whistle went: Things moved.
I sat back, staring at my boots.
'Was that,' my friend smiled, 'where you "have your roots"?' No, only where my childhood was unspent, I wanted to retort, just where I started: By now I've got the whole place clearly charted.
Our garden, first: where I did not invent Blinding theologies of flowers and fruits, And wasn't spoken to by an old hat.
And here we have that splendid family I never ran to when I got depressed, The boys all biceps and the girls all chest, Their comic Ford, their farm where I could be 'Really myself'.
I'll show you, come to that, The bracken where I never trembling sat, Determined to go through with it; where she Lay back, and 'all became a burning mist'.
And, in those offices, my doggerel Was not set up in blunt ten-point, nor read By a distinguished cousin of the mayor, Who didn't call and tell my father There Before us, had we the gift to see ahead - 'You look as though you wished the place in Hell,' My friend said, 'judging from your face.
' 'Oh well, I suppose it's not the place's fault,' I said.
'Nothing, like something, happens anywhere.
'

Written by Edward Taylor |

Dream On

 Some people go their whole lives
without ever writing a single poem.
Extraordinary people who don't hesitate to cut somebody's heart or skull open.
They go to baseball games with the greatest of ease.
and play a few rounds of golf as if it were nothing.
These same people stroll into a church as if that were a natural part of life.
Investing money is second nature to them.
They contribute to political campaigns that have absolutely no poetry in them and promise none for the future.
They sit around the dinner table at night and pretend as though nothing is missing.
Their children get caught shoplifting at the mall and no one admits that it is poetry they are missing.
The family dog howls all night, lonely and starving for more poetry in his life.
Why is it so difficult for them to see that, without poetry, their lives are effluvial.
Sure, they have their banquets, their celebrations, croquet, fox hunts, their sea shores and sunsets, their cocktails on the balcony, dog races, and all that kissing and hugging, and don't forget the good deeds, the charity work, nursing the baby squirrels all through the night, filling the birdfeeders all winter, helping the stranger change her tire.
Still, there's that disagreeable exhalation from decaying matter, subtle but everpresent.
They walk around erect like champions.
They are smooth-spoken and witty.
When alone, rare occasion, they stare into the mirror for hours, bewildered.
There was something they meant to say, but didn't: "And if we put the statue of the rhinoceros next to the tweezers, and walk around the room three times, learn to yodel, shave our heads, call our ancestors back from the dead--" poetrywise it's still a bust, bankrupt.
You haven't scribbled a syllable of it.
You're a nowhere man misfiring the very essence of your life, flustering nothing from nothing and back again.
The hereafter may not last all that long.
Radiant childhood sweetheart, secret code of everlasting joy and sorrow, fanciful pen strokes beneath the eyelids: all day, all night meditation, knot of hope, kernel of desire, pure ordinariness of life seeking, through poetry, a benediction or a bed to lie down on, to connect, reveal, explore, to imbue meaning on the day's extravagant labor.
And yet it's cruel to expect too much.
It's a rare species of bird that refuses to be categorized.
Its song is barely audible.
It is like a dragonfly in a dream-- here, then there, then here again, low-flying amber-wing darting upward then out of sight.
And the dream has a pain in its heart the wonders of which are manifold, or so the story is told.

Written by Edgar Allan Poe |

Alone

 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 loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn Of a most stormy life- was drawn From every 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 rolled In its autumn tint of gold, From the lightning in the sky As it passed 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.

Written by William Cullen Bryant |

The Past

THOU unrelenting Past! 
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain  
And fetters sure and fast  
Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.
Far in thy realm withdrawn 5 Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom And glorious ages gone Lie deep within the shadow of thy womb.
Childhood with all its mirth Youth Manhood Age that draws us to the ground 10 And last Man's Life on earth Glide to thy dim dominions and are bound.
Thou hast my better years; Thou hast my earlier friends the good the kind Yielded to thee with tears¡ª 15 The venerable form the exalted mind.
My spirit yearns to bring The lost ones back¡ªyearns with desire intense And struggles hard to wring Thy bolts apart and pluck thy captives thence.
20 In vain; thy gates deny All passage save to those who hence depart; Nor to the streaming eye Thou giv'st them back¡ªnor to the broken heart.
In thy abysses hide 25 Beauty and excellence unknown; to thee Earth's wonder and her pride Are gathered as the waters to the sea; Labors of good to man Unpublished charity unbroken faith 30 Love that midst grief began And grew with years and faltered not in death.
Full many a mighty name Lurks in thy depths unuttered unrevered; With thee are silent fame 35 Forgotten arts and wisdom disappeared.
Thine for a space are they¡ª Yet shalt thou yield thy treasures up at last: Thy gates shall yet give way Thy bolts shall fall inexorable Past! 40 All that of good and fair Has gone into thy womb from earliest time Shall then come forth to wear The glory and the beauty of its prime.
They have not perished¡ªno! 45 Kind words remembered voices once so sweet Smiles radiant long ago And features the great soul's apparent seat.
All shall come back; each tie Of pure affection shall be knit again; 50 Alone shall Evil die And Sorrow dwell a prisoner in thy reign.
And then shall I behold Him by whose kind paternal side I sprung And her who still and cold 55 Fills the next grave¡ªthe beautiful and young.

Written by Louise Gluck |

First Memory

 Long ago, I was wounded.
I lived to revenge myself against my father, not for what he was-- for what I was: from the beginning of time, in childhood, I thought that pain meant I was not loved.
It meant I loved.

Written by Sylvia Plath |

Insomniac

 The night is only a sort of carbon paper,
Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars
Letting in the light, peephole after peephole --
A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.
Under the eyes of the stars and the moon's rictus He suffers his desert pillow, sleeplessness Stretching its fine, irritating sand in all directions.
Over and over the old, granular movie Exposes embarrassments--the mizzling days Of childhood and adolescence, sticky with dreams, Parental faces on tall stalks, alternately stern and tearful, A garden of buggy rose that made him cry.
His forehead is bumpy as a sack of rocks.
Memories jostle each other for face-room like obsolete film stars.
He is immune to pills: red, purple, blue -- How they lit the tedium of the protracted evening! Those sugary planets whose influence won for him A life baptized in no-life for a while, And the sweet, drugged waking of a forgetful baby.
Now the pills are worn-out and silly, like classical gods.
Their poppy-sleepy colors do him no good.
His head is a little interior of grey mirrors.
Each gesture flees immediately down an alley Of diminishing perspectives, and its significance Drains like water out the hole at the far end.
He lives without privacy in a lidless room, The bald slots of his eyes stiffened wide-open On the incessant heat-lightning flicker of situations.
Nightlong, in the granite yard, invisible cats Have been howling like women, or damaged instruments.
Already he can feel daylight, his white disease, Creeping up with her hatful of trivial repetitions.
The city is a map of cheerful twitters now, And everywhere people, eyes mica-silver and blank, Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed.

Written by Anne Bronte |

Memory

 Brightly the sun of summer shone,
Green fields and waving woods upon,
And soft winds wandered by;
Above, a sky of purest blue,
Around, bright flowers of loveliest hue,
Allured the gazer's eye.
But what were all these charms to me, When one sweet breath of memory Came gently wafting by? I closed my eyes against the day, And called my willing soul away, From earth, and air, and sky; That I might simply fancy there One little flower -- a primrose fair, Just opening into sight; As in the days of infancy, An opening primrose seemed to me A source of strange delight.
Sweet Memory! ever smile on me; Nature's chief beauties spring from thee, Oh, still thy tribute bring! Still make the golden crocus shine Among the flowers the most divine, The glory of the spring.
Still in the wall-flower's fragrance dwell; And hover round the slight blue bell, My childhood's darling flower.
Smile on the little daisy still, The buttercup's bright goblet fill With all thy former power.
For ever hang thy dreamy spell Round mountain star and heather bell, And do not pass away From sparkling frost, or wreathed snow, And whisper when the wild winds blow, Or rippling waters play.
Is childhood, then, so all divine? Or Memory, is the glory thine, That haloes thus the past? Not all divine; its pangs of grief, (Although, perchance, their stay be brief,) Are bitter while they last.
Nor is the glory all thine own, For on our earliest joys alone That holy light is cast.
With such a ray, no spell of thine Can make our later pleasures shine, Though long ago they passed.

Written by Rainer Maria Rilke |

Childhood

 It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely --and why?

We're still reminded--: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on

as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.
And became as lonely as a sheperd and as overburdened by vast distances, and summoned and stirred as from far away, and slowly, like a long new thread, introduced into that picture-sequence where now having to go on bewilders us.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Self-Portrait

 After Adam Zagajewski



I am child to no one, mother to a few,
wife for the long haul.
On fall days I am happy with my dying brethren, the leaves, but in spring my head aches from the flowery scents.
My husband fills a room with Mozart which I turn off, embracing the silence as if it were an empty page waiting for me alone to fill it.
He digs in the black earth with his bare hands.
I scrub it from the creases of his skin, longing for the kind of perfection that happens in books.
My house is my only heaven.
A red dog sleeps at my feet, dreaming of the manic wings of flushed birds.
As the road shortens ahead of me I look over my shoulder to where it curves back to childhood, its white line bisecting the real and the imagined the way the ridgepole of the spine divides the two parts of the body, leaving the soft belly in the center vulnerable to anything.
As for my country, it blunders along as well intentioned as Eve choosing cider and windfalls, oblivious to the famine soon to come.
I stir pots, bury my face in books, or hold a telephone to my ear as if its cord were the umbilicus of the world whose voices still whisper to me even after they have left their bodies.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

A Child Asleep

 How he sleepeth! having drunken
Weary childhood's mandragore,
From his pretty eyes have sunken
Pleasures, to make room for more---
Sleeping near the withered nosegay, which he pulled the day before.
Nosegays! leave them for the waking: Throw them earthward where they grew.
Dim are such, beside the breaking Amaranths he looks unto--- Folded eyes see brighter colours than the open ever do.
Heaven-flowers, rayed by shadows golden From the paths they sprang beneath, Now perhaps divinely holden, Swing against him in a wreath--- We may think so from the quickening of his bloom and of his breath.
Vision unto vision calleth, While the young child dreameth on.
Fair, O dreamer, thee befalleth With the glory thou hast won! Darker wert thou in the garden, yestermorn, by summer sun.
We should see the spirits ringing Round thee,---were the clouds away.
'Tis the child-heart draws them, singing In the silent-seeming clay--- Singing!---Stars that seem the mutest, go in music all the way.
As the moths around a taper, As the bees around a rose, As the gnats around a vapour,--- So the Spirits group and close Round about a holy childhood, as if drinking its repose.
Shapes of brightness overlean thee,--- Flash their diadems of youth On the ringlets which half screen thee,--- While thou smilest, .
.
.
not in sooth Thy smile .
.
.
but the overfair one, dropt from some aethereal mouth.
Haply it is angels' duty, During slumber, shade by shade: To fine down this childish beauty To the thing it must be made, Ere the world shall bring it praises, or the tomb shall see it fade.
Softly, softly! make no noises! Now he lieth dead and dumb--- Now he hears the angels' voices Folding silence in the room--- Now he muses deep the meaning of the Heaven-words as they come.
Speak not! he is consecrated--- Breathe no breath across his eyes.
Lifted up and separated, On the hand of God he lies, In a sweetness beyond touching---held in cloistral sanctities.
Could ye bless him---father---mother ? Bless the dimple in his cheek? Dare ye look at one another, And the benediction speak? Would ye not break out in weeping, and confess yourselves too weak? He is harmless---ye are sinful,--- Ye are troubled---he, at ease: From his slumber, virtue winful Floweth outward with increase--- Dare not bless him! but be blessed by his peace---and go in peace.

Written by William Stafford |

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

 If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind, a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail, but if one wanders the circus won't find the park, I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy, a remote important region in all who talk: though we could fool each other, we should consider-- lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe-- should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Written by Edgar Allan Poe |

The Sleeper

 At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim, Exhales from out her golden rim, And, softly dripping, drop by drop, Upon the quiet mountain top, Steals drowsily and musically Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave; The lily lolls upon the wave; Wrapping the fog about its breast, The ruin molders into rest; Looking like Lethe, see! the lake A conscious slumber seems to take, And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies Irene, with her Destinies! O, lady bright! can it be right- This window open to the night? The wanton airs, from the tree-top, Laughingly through the lattice drop- The bodiless airs, a wizard rout, Flit through thy chamber in and out, And wave the curtain canopy So fitfully- so fearfully- Above the closed and fringed lid 'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid, That, o'er the floor and down the wall, Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall! Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear? Why and what art thou dreaming here? Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas, A wonder to these garden trees! Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress, Strange, above all, thy length of tress, And this all solemn silentness! The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep, Which is enduring, so be deep! Heaven have her in its sacred keep! This chamber changed for one more holy, This bed for one more melancholy, I pray to God that she may lie For ever with unopened eye, While the pale sheeted ghosts go by! My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep As it is lasting, so be deep! Soft may the worms about her creep! Far in the forest, dim and old, For her may some tall vault unfold- Some vault that oft has flung its black And winged panels fluttering back, Triumphant, o'er the crested palls, Of her grand family funerals- Some sepulchre, remote, alone, Against whose portal she hath thrown, In childhood, many an idle stone- Some tomb from out whose sounding door She ne'er shall force an echo more, Thrilling to think, poor child of sin! It was the dead who groaned within.