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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.

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

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Famous poems below this ad
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 William Butler Yeats |

A Dialogue Of Self And Soul

 My Soul.
I summon to the winding ancient stair; Set all your mind upon the steep ascent, Upon the broken, crumbling battlement, Upon the breathless starlit air, "Upon the star that marks the hidden pole; Fix every wandering thought upon That quarter where all thought is done: Who can distinguish darkness from the soul My Self.
The consecretes blade upon my knees Is Sato's ancient blade, still as it was, Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass Unspotted by the centuries; That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn From some court-lady's dress and round The wodden scabbard bound and wound Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn My Soul.
Why should the imagination of a man Long past his prime remember things that are Emblematical of love and war? Think of ancestral night that can, If but imagination scorn the earth And interllect is wandering To this and that and t'other thing, Deliver from the crime of death and birth.
My Self.
Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it Five hundred years ago, about it lie Flowers from I know not what embroidery - Heart's purple - and all these I set For emblems of the day against the tower Emblematical of the night, And claim as by a soldier's right A charter to commit the crime once more.
My Soul.
Such fullness in that quarter overflows And falls into the basin of the mind That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind, For intellect no longer knows Is from the Ought, or knower from the Known - That is to say, ascends to Heaven; Only the dead can be forgiven; But when I think of that my tongue's a stone.
II My Self.
A living man is blind and drinks his drop.
What matter if the ditches are impure? What matter if I live it all once more? Endure that toil of growing up; The ignominy of boyhood; the distress Of boyhood changing into man; The unfinished man and his pain Brought face to face with his own clumsiness; The finished man among his enemies? - How in the name of Heaven can he escape That defiling and disfigured shape The mirror of malicious eyes Casts upon his eyes until at last He thinks that shape must be his shape? And what's the good of an escape If honour find him in the wintry blast? I am content to live it all again And yet again, if it be life to pitch Into the frog-spawn of a blind man's ditch, A blind man battering blind men; Or into that most fecund ditch of all, The folly that man does Or must suffer, if he woos A proud woman not kindred of his soul.
I am content to follow to its source Every event in action or in thought; Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot! When such as I cast out remorse So great a sweetness flows into the breast We must laugh and we must sing, We are blest by everything, Everything we look upon is blest.

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

More great poems below...

Written by Emanuel Xavier |

THE DEATH OF ART

 “Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
” -critic Harold Bloom, who first called slam poetry "the death of art.
” I am not a poet.
I want to be rich and buy things for my family.
Besides, I am sort of popular and can honestly say I’ve had a great sex life.
I am not a poet.
Georgia O' Keefe paintings do absolutely nothing for me.
I do not feel oppressed or depressed and no longer have anything to say about the President.
I am not a poet.
I do not like being called an "activist" because it takes away from those that are out on the streets protesting and fighting for our rights.
I am not a poet.
I eat poultry and fish and suck way too much dick to be considered a vegetarian.
I am not a poet.
I would most likely give my ass up in prison before trying to save it with poetry .
.
.
and I’d like it! Heck, I’d probably be inspired.
I am not a poet.
I may value peace but I will not simply use a pen to unleash my anger.
I would fuck somebody up if I had to.
I am not a poet.
I may have been abused and had a difficult life but I don’t want pity.
I believe laughter and love heals.
I am not a poet.
I am not dying.
I write a lot about AIDS and how it has affected my life but, despite the rumors, I am not positive.
Believe it or not, weight loss amongst sexually active gay men could still be a choice.
I am not a poet.
I do not get Kerouac or honestly care much for Bukowski.
I am not a poet.
I don’t spend my weekends reading and writing.
I like to go out and party.
I like to have a few cocktails but I do not have a drinking problem regardless of what borough, city or state I may wake up in.
I am not a poet.
I don’t need drugs to open up my imagination.
I've been a dealer and had a really bad habit but that was long before I started writing.
I am not a poet.
I can seriously only tolerate about half an hour of spoken word before I start tuning out and thinking about my grocery list or what my cats are up to.
I am not a poet.
I only do poetry events if I know there will be cute guys there and I always carry business cards.
I am not a poet according to the scholars and academics and Harold Bloom.
I only write to masturbate my mind.
After all, fucking yourself is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
I am not a poet.
I am only trying to get attention and convince myself that poetry can save lives when my words simply and proudly contribute to “the death of art.

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 John Betjeman |

Christmas

 The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.
The holly in the windy hedge And round the Manor House the yew Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge, The altar, font and arch and pew, So that the villagers can say 'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.
Provincial Public Houses blaze, Corporation tramcars clang, On lighted tenements I gaze, Where paper decorations hang, And bunting in the red Town Hall Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve Are strung with silver bells and flowers As hurrying clerks the City leave To pigeon-haunted classic towers, And marbled clouds go scudding by The many-steepled London sky.
And girls in slacks remember Dad, And oafish louts remember Mum, And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!' Even to shining ones who dwell Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true, This most tremendous tale of all, Seen in a stained-glass window's hue, A Baby in an ox's stall ? The Maker of the stars and sea Become a Child on earth for me ? And is it true ? For if it is, No loving fingers tying strings Around those tissued fripperies, The sweet and silly Christmas things, Bath salts and inexpensive scent And hideous tie so kindly meant, No love that in a family dwells, No carolling in frosty air, Nor all the steeple-shaking bells Can with this single Truth compare - That God was man in Palestine And lives today in Bread and Wine.

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 Sylvia Plath |

A Life

 Touch it: it won't shrink like an eyeball,
This egg-shaped bailiwick, clear as a tear.
Here's yesterday, last year --- Palm-spear and lily distinct as flora in the vast Windless threadwork of a tapestry.
Flick the glass with your fingernail: It will ping like a Chinese chime in the slightest air stir Though nobody in there looks up or bothers to answer.
The inhabitants are light as cork, Every one of them permanently busy.
At their feet, the sea waves bow in single file.
Never trespassing in bad temper: Stalling in midair, Short-reined, pawing like paradeground horses.
Overhead, the clouds sit tasseled and fancy As Victorian cushions.
This family Of valentine faces might please a collector: They ring true, like good china.
Elsewhere the landscape is more frank.
The light falls without letup, blindingly.
A woman is dragging her shadow in a circle About a bald hospital saucer.
It resembles the moon, or a sheet of blank paper And appears to have suffered a sort of private blitzkrieg.
She lives quietly With no attachments, like a foetus in a bottle, The obsolete house, the sea, flattened to a picture She has one too many dimensions to enter.
Grief and anger, exorcised, Leave her alone now.
The future is a grey seagull Tattling in its cat-voice of departure.
Age and terror, like nurses, attend her, And a drowned man, complaining of the great cold, Crawls up out of the sea.

Written by Robert William Service |

The Call Of The Wild

 Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,
 Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
 Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,
 Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God's sake go and do it;
 Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation, The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze? Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation, And learned to know the desert's little ways? Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o'er the ranges, Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through? Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes? Then listen to the Wild -- it's calling you.
Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver? (Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.
) Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river, Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize? Have you marked the map's void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races, Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew? And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses? Then hearken to the Wild -- it's wanting you.
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory, Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole? "Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story, Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul? Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders? (You'll never hear it in the family pew.
) The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things -- Then listen to the Wild -- it's calling you.
They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching, They have soaked you in convention through and through; They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching -- But can't you hear the Wild? -- it's calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us; Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling .
.
.
let us go.

Written by Anne Sexton |

Christmas Eve

 Oh sharp diamond, my mother! 
I could not count the cost 
of all your faces, your moods-- 
that present that I lost.
Sweet girl, my deathbed, my jewel-fingered lady, your portrait flickered all night by the bulbs of the tree.
Your face as calm as the moon over a mannered sea, presided at the family reunion, the twelve grandchildren you used to wear on your wrist, a three-months-old baby, a fat check you never wrote, the red-haired toddler who danced the twist, your aging daughters, each one a wife, each one talking to the family cook, each one avoiding your portrait, each one aping your life.
Later, after the party, after the house went to bed, I sat up drinking the Christmas brandy, watching your picture, letting the tree move in and out of focus.
The bulbs vibrated.
They were a halo over your forehead.
Then they were a beehive, blue, yellow, green, red; each with its own juice, each hot and alive stinging your face.
But you did not move.
I continued to watch, forcing myself, waiting, inexhaustible, thirty-five.
I wanted your eyes, like the shadows of two small birds, to change.
But they did not age.
The smile that gathered me in, all wit, all charm, was invincible.
Hour after hour I looked at your face but I could not pull the roots out of it.
Then I watched how the sun hit your red sweater, your withered neck, your badly painted flesh-pink skin.
You who led me by the nose, I saw you as you were.
Then I thought of your body as one thinks of murder-- Then I said Mary-- Mary, Mary, forgive me and then I touched a present for the child, the last I bred before your death; and then I touched my breast and then I touched the floor and then my breast again as if, somehow, it were one of yours.

Written by Stephen Dunn |

Poem For People That Are Understandably Too Busy To Read Poetry

 Relax.
This won't last long.
Or if it does, or if the lines make you sleepy or bored, give in to sleep, turn on the T.
V.
, deal the cards.
This poem is built to withstand such things.
Its feelings cannot be hurt.
They exist somewhere in the poet, and I am far away.
Pick it up anytime.
Start it in the middle if you wish.
It is as approachable as melodrama, and can offer you violence if it is violence you like.
Look, there's a man on a sidewalk; the way his leg is quivering he'll never be the same again.
This is your poem and I know you're busy at the office or the kids are into your last nerve.
Maybe it's sex you've always wanted.
Well, they lie together like the party's unbuttoned coats, slumped on the bed waiting for drunken arms to move them.
I don't think you want me to go on; everyone has his expectations, but this is a poem for the entire family.
Right now, Budweiser is dripping from a waterfall, deodorants are hissing into armpits of people you resemble, and the two lovers are dressing now, saying farewell.
I don't know what music this poem can come up with, but clearly it's needed.
For it's apparent they will never see each other again and we need music for this because there was never music when he or she left you standing on the corner.
You see, I want this poem to be nicer than life.
I want you to look at it when anxiety zigzags your stomach and the last tranquilizer is gone and you need someone to tell you I'll be here when you want me like the sound inside a shell.
The poem is saying that to you now.
But don't give anything for this poem.
It doesn't expect much.
It will never say more than listening can explain.
Just keep it in your attache case or in your house.
And if you're not asleep by now, or bored beyond sense, the poem wants you to laugh.
Laugh at yourself, laugh at this poem, at all poetry.
Come on: Good.
Now here's what poetry can do.
Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There's an awful shrug and, suddenly, You're beautiful for as long as you live.

Written by Raymond Carver |

Stupid

 It's what the kids nowadays call weed.
And it drifts like clouds from his lips.
He hopes no one comes along tonight, or calls to ask for help.
Help is what he's most short on tonight.
A storm thrashes outside.
Heavy seas with gale winds from the west.
The table he sits at is, say, two cubits long and one wide.
The darkness in the room teems with insight.
Could be he'll write an adventure novel.
Or else a children's story.
A play for two female characters, one of whom is blind.
Cutthroat should be coming into the river.
One thing he'll do is learn to tie his own flies.
Maybe he should give more money to each of his surviving family members.
The ones who already expect a little something in the mail first of each month.
Every time they write they tell him they're coming up short.
He counts heads on his fingers and finds they're all survivng.
So what if he'd rather be remembered in the dreams of strangers? He raises his eyes to the skylights where rain hammers on.
After a while -- who knows how long? -- his eyes ask that they be closed.
And he closes them.
But the rain keeps hammering.
Is this a cloudburst? Should he do something? Secure the house in some way? Uncle Bo stayed married to Aunt Ruby for 47 years.
Then hanged himself.
He opens his eyes again.
Nothing adds up.
It all adds up.
How long will this storm go on?

Written by James Tate |

Loyalty

 This is the hardest part:
When I came back to life
I was a good family dog
and not too friendly to strangers.
I got a thirty-five dollar raise in salary, and through the pea-soup fogs I drove the General, and introduced him at rallies.
I had a totalitarian approach and was a massive boost to his popularity.
I did my best to reduce the number of people.
The local bourgeoisie did not exist.
One of them was a mystic and walked right over me as if I were a bed of hot coals.
This is par for the course- I will be employing sundry golf metaphors henceforth, because a dog, best friend and chief advisor to the General, should.
While dining with the General I said, "Let's play the back nine in a sacred rage.
Let's tee-off over the foredoomed community and putt ourselves thunderously, touching bottom.
" He drank it all in, rugged and dusky.
I think I know what he was thinking.
He held his automatic to my little head and recited a poem about my many weaknesses, for which I loved him so.

Written by Vachel Lindsay |

The Proud Farmer

 [In memory of E.
S.
Frazee, Rush County, Indiana] Into the acres of the newborn state He poured his strength, and plowed his ancient name, And, when the traders followed him, he stood Towering above their furtive souls and tame.
That brow without a stain, that fearless eye Oft left the passing stranger wondering To find such knighthood in the sprawling land, To see a democrat well-nigh a king.
He lived with liberal hand, with guests from far, With talk and joke and fellowship to spare, — Watching the wide world's life from sun to sun, Lining his walls with books from everywhere.
He read by night, he built his world by day.
The farm and house of God to him were one.
For forty years he preached and plowed and wrought — A statesman in the fields, who bent to none.
His plowmen-neighbors were as lords to him.
His was an ironside, democratic pride.
He served a rigid Christ, but served him well — And, for a lifetime, saved the countryside.
Here lie the dead, who gave the church their best Under his fiery preaching of the word.
They sleep with him beneath the ragged grass.
.
.
The village withers, by his voice unstirred.
And tho' his tribe be scattered to the wind From the Atlantic to the China sea, Yet do they think of that bright lamp he burned Of family worth and proud integrity.
And many a sturdy grandchild hears his name In reverence spoken, till he feels akin To all the lion-eyed who built the world — And lion-dreams begin to burn within.

Written by Imamu Amiri Baraka |

Ka Ba

 A closed window looks down
on a dirty courtyard, and black people
call across or scream or walk across
defying physics in the stream of their will

Our world is full of sound
Our world is more lovely than anyone's
tho we suffer, and kill each other
and sometimes fail to walk the air

We are beautiful people
with african imaginations
full of masks and dances and swelling chants

with african eyes, and noses, and arms, 
though we sprawl in grey chains in a place
full of winters, when what we want is sun.
We have been captured, brothers.
And we labor to make our getaway, into the ancient image, into a new correspondence with ourselves and our black family.
We read magic now we need the spells, to rise up return, destroy, and create.
What will be the sacred words?