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Best Famous Family Poems

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

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Written by Maya Angelou | |

Million Man March Poem

The night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.
Under a dead blue sky on a distant beach, I was dragged by my braids just beyond your reach.
Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound, You couldn't even call out my name.
You were helpless and so was I, But unfortunately throughout history You've worn a badge of shame.
I say, the night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark And the walls have been steep.
But today, voices of old spirit sound Speak to us in words profound, Across the years, across the centuries, Across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one another, Save your race.
You have been paid for in a distant place, The old ones remind us that slavery's chains Have paid for our freedom again and again.
The night has been long, The pit has been deep, The night has been dark, And the walls have been steep.
The hells we have lived through and live through still, Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.
The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish Right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise, And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.
I say, clap hands and let's come together in this meeting ground, I say, clap hands and let's deal with each other with love, I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference, Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts, Let us come together and revise our spirits, Let us come together and cleanse our souls, Clap hands, let's leave the preening And stop impostering our own history.
Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge, Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation, Courtesy into our bedrooms, Gentleness into our kitchen, Care into our nursery.
The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain We are a going-on people who will rise again.
And still we rise.
Poem read at the Million Man March


Written by Anna Akhmatova | |

Lots Wife

Holy Lot  was a-going behind  God's angel,
He seemed  huge and bright on a hill, huge and black.
But the heart of his wife whispered stronger and stranger: "It's not very late, you have time to look back At these rose turrets of your native Sodom, The square where you sang, and the yard where you span, The windows looking from your cozy home Where you bore children for your dear man.
" She looked -- and her eyes were instantly bound By pain -- they couldn't see any more at all: Her fleet feet grew into the stony ground, Her body turned into a pillar of salt.
Who'll mourn her as one of Lot's family members? Doesn't she seem the smallest of losses to us? But deep in my heart I will always remember One who gave her life up for one single glance.


Written by Elizabeth Bishop | |

In the waiting Room

In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist's appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist's waiting room.
It was winter.
It got dark early.
The waiting room was full of grown-up people, arctics and overcoats, lamps and magazines.
My aunt was inside what seemed like a long time and while I waited and read the National Geographic (I could read) and carefully studied the photographs: the inside of a volcano, black, and full of ashes; then it was spilling over in rivulets of fire.
Osa and Martin Johnson dressed in riding breeches, laced boots, and pith helmets.
A dead man slung on a pole "Long Pig," the caption said.
Babies with pointed heads wound round and round with string; black, naked women with necks wound round and round with wire like the necks of light bulbs.
Their breasts were horrifying.
I read it right straight through.
I was too shy to stop.
And then I looked at the cover: the yellow margins, the date.
Suddenly, from inside, came an oh! of pain --Aunt Consuelo's voice-- not very loud or long.
I wasn't at all surprised; even then I knew she was a foolish, timid woman.
I might have been embarrassed, but wasn't.
What took me completely by surprise was that it was me: my voice, in my mouth.
Without thinking at all I was my foolish aunt, I--we--were falling, falling, our eyes glued to the cover of the National Geographic, February, 1918.
I said to myself: three days and you'll be seven years old.
I was saying it to stop the sensation of falling off the round, turning world.
into cold, blue-black space.
But I felt: you are an I, you are an Elizabeth, you are one of them.
Why should you be one, too? I scarcely dared to look to see what it was I was.
I gave a sidelong glance --I couldn't look any higher-- at shadowy gray knees, trousers and skirts and boots and different pairs of hands lying under the lamps.
I knew that nothing stranger had ever happened, that nothing stranger could ever happen.
Why should I be my aunt, or me, or anyone? What similarities boots, hands, the family voice I felt in my throat, or even the National Geographic and those awful hanging breasts held us all together or made us all just one? How I didn't know any word for it how "unlikely".
.
.
How had I come to be here, like them, and overhear a cry of pain that could have got loud and worse but hadn't? The waiting room was bright and too hot.
It was sliding beneath a big black wave, another, and another.
Then I was back in it.
The War was on.
Outside, in Worcester, Massachusetts, were night and slush and cold, and it was still the fifth of February, 1918.


More great poems below...

Written by W S Merwin | |

A Family

Would you believe me
if I told you the name of the farmers
at the end of the lake
where it grew shallow over the mossy rocks
and if you came in the morning the grass was blue
the fur of the rocks was wet the small frogs jumped
and the lake was silent behind you
except for echoes

you tied your boat carefully to a tree
before setting out across the cool pasture
watching for the bull
all the way to the barn

or if you came in the afternoon
the pasture glared and hummed the dark leaves smelled
from beside the water and the barn was drunk
by the time you got to it

to climb on the beams
to dive into the distant hay
will you believe
the names of the farmers' children


Written by Alec Derwent (A D) Hope | |

Crossing the Frontier

 Crossing the frontier they were stopped in time, 
Told, quite politely, they would have to wait: 
Passports in order, nothing to declare 
And surely holding hands was not a crime 
Until they saw how, ranged across the gate, 
All their most formidable friends were there.
Wearing his conscience like a crucifix, Her father, rampant, nursed the Family Shame; And, armed wlth their old-fashioned dinner-gong, His aunt, who even when they both were six, Had just to glance towards a childish game To make them feel that they were doing wrong.
And both their mothers, simply weeping floods, Her head-mistress, his boss, the parish priest, And the bank manager who cashed their cheques; The man who sold him his first rubber-goods; Dog Fido, from whose love-life, shameless beast, She first observed the basic facts of sex.
They looked as though they had stood there for hours; For years - perhaps for ever.
In the trees Two furtive birds stopped courting and flew off; While in the grass beside the road the flowers Kept up their guilty traffic with the bees.
Nobody stirred.
Nobody risked a cough.
Nobody spoke.
The minutes ticked away; The dog scratched idly.
Then, as parson bent And whispered to a guard who hurried in, The customs-house loudspeakers with a bray Of raucous and triumphant argument Broke out the wedding march from Lohengrin.
He switched the engine off: "We must turn back.
" She heard his voice break, though he had to shout Against a din that made their senses reel, And felt his hand, so tense in hers, go slack.
But suddenly she laughed and said: "Get out! Change seatsl Be quickl" and slid behind the wheel.
And drove the car straight at them with a harsh, Dry crunch that showered both with scraps and chips, Drove through them; barriers rising let them pass Drove through and on and on, with Dad's moustache Beside her twitching still round waxen lips And Mother's tears still streaming down the glass.


Written by Louisa May Alcott | |

From The Short Story Shadow-Children

 Little shadows, little shadows 
Dancing on the chamber wall, 
While I sit beside the hearthstone 
Where the red flames rise and fall.
Caps and nightgowns, caps and nightgowns, My three antic shadows wear; And no sound they make in playing, For the six small feet are bare.
Dancing gayly, dancing gayly, To and fro all together, Like a family of daisies Blown about in windy weather; Nimble fairies, nimble fairies, Playing pranks in the warm glow, While I sing the nursery ditties Childish phantoms love and know.
Now what happens, now what happens? One small shadow's tumbled down: I can see it on the carpet Softly rubbing its hurt crown.
No one whimpers, no one whimpers; A brave-hearted sprite is this: See! the others offer comfort In a silent, shadowy kiss.
Hush! they're creeping; hush! they're creeping, Up about my rocking-chair: I can feel their loving fingers Clasp my neck and touch my hair.
Little shadows, little shadows, Take me captive, hold me tight, As they climb and cling and whisper, "Mother dear, good night! good night!"


Written by Louisa May Alcott | |

The Rose Family - Song 1

 O flower at my window 
Why blossom you so fair, 
With your green and purple cup 
Upturned to sun and air? 
'I bloom, blithesome Bessie, 
To cheer your childish heart; 
The world is full of labor, 
And this shall be my part.
' Whirl, busy wheel, faster, Spin, little thread, spin; The sun shines fair without, And we are gay within.
O robin in the tree-top, With sunshine on your breast, Why brood you so patiently Above your hidden nest? 'I brood, blithesome Bessie, And sing my humble song, That the world may have more music From my little ones erelong.
' Whirl, busy wheel, faster, Spin, little thread, spin; The sun shines fair without, And we are gay within.
O balmy wind of summer, O silver-singing brook, Why rustle through the branches? Why shimmer in your nook? 'I flutter, blithesome Bessie, Like a blessing far and wide; I scatter bloom and verdue Where'er my footsteps glide.
' Whirl, busy wheel, faster, Spin, little thread, spin; The sun shines fair without, And we are gay within.
O brook and breeze and blossom, And robin on the tree, You make a joy of duty, A pride of industry; Teach me to work as blithely, With a willing hand and heart: The world is full of labor, And I must do my part.
Whirl, busy wheel, faster, Spin, little thread, spin; The sun shines fair without, And we are gay within.


Written by Louisa May Alcott | |

The Rose Family - Song II

 O lesson well and wisely taught 
Stay with me to the last, 
That all my life may better be 
For the trial that is past.
O vanity, mislead no more! Sleep, like passions, long! Wake, happy heart, and dance again To the music of my song! O summer days, flit fast away, And bring the blithesome hour When we three wanderers shall meet Safe in our household flower! O dear mamma, lament no more! Smile on us as we come, Your grief has been our punishment, Your love has led us home.


Written by Edgar Albert Guest | |

Thanksgiving

 Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice, 
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door And under the old roof we gather once more Just as we did when the youngsters were small; Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again Tellin' our stories as women an' men.
Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer; Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west, Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank, Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.
Give me the end of the year an' its fun When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done; Bring all the wanderers home to the nest, Let me sit down with the ones I love best, Hear the old voices still ringin' with song, See the old faces unblemished by wrong, See the old table with all of its chairs An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.


Written by Annie Finch | |

Elegy For My Father

 HLF, August 8, 1918—August 22, 1997

“Bequeath us to no earthly shore until
Is answered in the vortex of our grave
The seal’s wide spindrift gaze towards paradise.
” —Hart Crane, “Voyages” “If a lion could talk, we couldn’t understand it” —Ludwig Wittgenstein Under the ocean that stretches out wordlessly past the long edge of the last human shore, there are deep windows the waves haven't opened, where night is reflected through decades of glass.
There is the nursery, there is the nanny, there are my father’s unreachable eyes turned towards the window.
Is the child uneasy? His is the death that is circling the stars.
In the deep room where candles burn soundlessly and peace pours at last through the cells of our bodies, three of us are watching, one of us is staring with the wide gaze of a wild, wave-fed seal.
Incense and sage speak in smoke loud as waves, and crickets sing sand towards the edge of the hourglass.
We wait outside time, while night collects courage around us.
The vigil is wordless.
And you watch the longest, move the farthest, besieged by your breath, pulling into your body.
You stare towards your death, head arched on the pillow, your left fingers curled.
Your mouth sucking gently, unmoved by these hours and their vigil of salt spray, you show us how far you are going, and how long the long minutes are, while spiralling night watches over the room and takes you, until you watch us in turn.
Lions speak their own language.
You are still breathing.
Here is release.
Here is your pillow, cool like a handkerchief pressed in a pocket.
Here is your white tousled long growing hair.
Here is a kiss on your temple to hold you safe through your solitude’s long steady war; here, you can go.
We will stay with you, keeping the silence we all came here for.
Night, take his left hand, turning the pages.
Spin with the windows and doors that he mended.
Spin with his answers, patient, impatient.
Spin with his dry independence, his arms warmed by the needs of his family, his hands flying under the wide, carved gold ring, and the pages flying so his thought could fly.
His breath slows, lending its edges out to the night.
Here is his open mouth.
Silence is here like one more new question that he will not answer.
A leaf is his temple.
The dark is the prayer.
He has given his body; his hand lies above the sheets in a symbol of wholeness, a curve of thumb and forefinger, ringed with wide gold, and the instant that empties his breath is a flame faced with a sudden cathedral's new stone.


Written by Petrarch | |

SONNET XIV.

SONNET XIV.

Movesi 'l vecchierel canuto e bianco.

HE COMPARES HIMSELF TO A PILGRIM.

The palmer bent, with locks of silver gray,
Quits the sweet spot where he has pass'd his years,
Quits his poor family, whose anxious fears
Paint the loved father fainting on his way;
And trembling, on his aged limbs slow borne,
In these last days that close his earthly course,
He, in his soul's strong purpose, finds new force,
Though weak with age, though by long travel worn:
Thus reaching Rome, led on by pious love,
He seeks the image of that Saviour Lord
Whom soon he hopes to meet in bliss above:
[Pg 14]So, oft in other forms I seek to trace
Some charm, that to my heart may yet afford
A faint resemblance of thy matchless grace.
Dacre.
As parts the aged pilgrim, worn and gray,
From the dear spot his life where he had spent,
From his poor family by sorrow rent,
Whose love still fears him fainting in decay:
Thence dragging heavily, in life's last day,
His suffering frame, on pious journey bent,
Pricking with earnest prayers his good intent,
Though bow'd with years, and weary with the way,
He reaches Rome, still following his desire
The likeness of his Lord on earth to see,
Whom yet he hopes in heaven above to meet;
So I, too, seek, nor in the fond quest tire,
Lady, in other fair if aught there be
That faintly may recall thy beauties sweet.
Macgregor.


Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer

 Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer were a very notorious couple 
 of cats.
As knockabout clown, quick-change comedians, tight-rope walkers and acrobats They had extensive reputation.
They made their home in Victoria Grove-- That was merely their centre of operation, for they were incurably given to rove.
They were very well know in Cornwall Gardens, in Launceston Place and in Kensington Square-- They had really a little more reputation than a couple of cats can very well bear.
If the area window was found ajar And the basement looked like a field of war, If a tile or two came loose on the roof, Which presently ceased to be waterproof, If the drawers were pulled out from the bedroom chests, And you couldn't find one of your winter vests, Or after supper one of the girls Suddenly missed her Woolworth pearls: Then the family would say: "It's that horrible cat! It was Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer!"-- And most of the time they left it at that.
Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer had a very unusual gift of the gab.
They were highly efficient cat-burglars as well, and remarkably smart at smash-and-grab.
They made their home in Victoria Grove.
They had no regular occupation.
They were plausible fellows, and liked to engage a friendly policeman in conversation.
When the family assembled for Sunday dinner, With their minds made up that they wouldn't get thinner On Argentine joint, potatoes and greens, And the cook would appear from behind the scenes And say in a voice that was broken with sorrow: "I'm afraid you must wait and have dinner tomorrow! For the joint has gone from the oven-like that!" Then the family would say: "It's that horrible cat! It was Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer!"-- And most of the time they left it at that.
Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer had a wonderful way of working together.
And some of the time you would say it was luck, and some of the time you would say it was weather.
They would go through the house like a hurricane, and no sober person could take his oath Was it Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer? or could you have sworn that it mightn't be both? And when you heard a dining-room smash Or up from the pantry there came a loud crash Or down from the library came a loud ping From a vase which was commonly said to be Ming-- Then the family would say: "Now which was which cat? It was Mungojerrie! AND Rumpelteazer!"-- And there's nothing at all to be done about that!


Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

Mr. Mistoffelees

 You ought to know Mr.
Mistoffelees! The Original Conjuring Cat-- (There can be no doubt about that).
Please listen to me and don't scoff.
All his Inventions are off his own bat.
There's no such Cat in the metropolis; He holds all the patent monopolies For performing suprising illusions And creating eccentric confusions.
At prestidigitation And at legerdemain He'll defy examination And deceive you again.
The greatest magicians have something to learn From Mr.
Mistoffelees' Conjuring Turn.
Presto! Away we go! And we all say: OH! Well I never! Was there ever A Cat so clever As Magical Mr.
Mistoffelees! He is quiet and small, he is black From his ears to the tip of his tail; He can creep through the tiniest crack, He can walk on the narrowest rail.
He can pick any card from a pack, He is equally cunning with dice; He is always deceiving you into believing That he's only hunting for mice.
He can play any trick with a cork Or a spoon and a bit of fish-paste; If you look for a knife or a fork And you think it is merely misplaced-- You have seen it one moment, and then it is gawn! But you'll find it next week lying out on the lawn.
And we all say: OH! Well I never! Was there ever A Cat so clever As Magical Mr.
Mistoffelees! His manner is vague and aloof, You would think there was nobody shyer-- But his voice has been heard on the roof When he was curled up by the fire.
And he's sometimes been heard by the fire When he was about on the roof-- (At least we all heard that somebody purred) Which is incontestable proof Of his singular magical powers: And I have known the family to call Him in from the garden for hours, While he was asleep in the hall.
And not long ago this phenomenal Cat Produced seven kittens right out of a hat! And we all said: OH! Well I never! Did you ever Know a Cat so clever As Magical Mr.
Mistoffelees!


Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

The Naming Of Cats

 The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily, Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey-- All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter, Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames: Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter-- But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular, A name that's peculiar, and more dignified, Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular, Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum, Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat, Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum- Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over, And that is the name that you never will guess; The name that no human research can discover-- But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation, The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: His ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Name.


Written by Chris Abani | |

Blue

Africans in the hold fold themselves
to make room for hope.
In the afternoon’s ferocity, tar, grouting the planks like the glue of family, melts to the run of a child’s licorice stick.
Wet decks crack, testing the wood’s mettle.
Distilled from evaporating brine, salt dusts the floor, tickling with the measure into time and the thirst trapped below.
II The captain’s new cargo of Igbos disturbs him.
They stand, computing the swim back to land.
Haitians still say: Igbo pend’c or’ a ya! But we do not hang ourselves in cowardice.
III Sold six times on the journey to the coast, once for a gun, then cloth, then iron manilas, her pride was masticated like husks of chewing sticks, spat from morning-rank mouths.
Breaking loose, edge of handcuffs held high like the blade of a vengeful axe, she runs across the salt scratch of deck, pain deeper than the blue inside a flame.
IV The sound, like the break of bone could have been the Captain’s skull or the musket shot dropping her over the side, her chains wrapped around his neck in dance.