Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Poverty Poems

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

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

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back

by Gerard Manley Hopkins | |

The Habit Of Perfection

 Elected Silence, sing to me
And beat upon my whorlèd ear,
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.
Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb: It is the shut, the curfew sent From there where all surrenders come Which only makes you eloquent.
Be shellèd, eyes, with double dark And find the uncreated light: This ruck and reel which you remark Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.
Palate, the hutch of tasty lust, Desire not to be rinsed with wine: The can must be so sweet, the crust So fresh that come in fasts divine! Nostrils, your careless breath that spend Upon the stir and keep of pride, What relish shall the censers send Along the sanctuary side! O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet That want the yield of plushy sward, But you shall walk the golden street And you unhouse and house the Lord.
And, Poverty, be thou the bride And now the marriage feast begun, And lily-coloured clothes provide Your spouse not laboured-at nor spun.


by Helen Hunt Jackson | |

A Calendar of Sonnets: August

 Silence again.
The glorious symphony Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease, Save hum of insects' aimless industry.
Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge! Each mocking day doth fleece A blossom, and lay bare her poverty.
Poor middle-aged summer! Vain this show! Whole fields of Golden-Rod cannot offset One meadow with a single violet; And well the singing thrush and lily know, Spite of all artifice which her regret Can deck in splendid guise, their time to go!


by William Lisle Bowles | |

IX. O Poverty! though from thy haggard eye...

 O POVERTY! though from thy haggard eye, 
Thy cheerless mein, of every charm bereft, 
Thy brow, that hope's last traces long have left, 
Vain Fortune's feeble sons with terror fly; 
Thy rugged paths with pleasure I attend; -- 
For Fancy, that with fairest dreams can bless; 
And Patience, in the Pall of Wretchedness, 
Sad-smiling, as the ruthless storms descend; 
And Piety, forgiving every wrong, 
And meek Content, whose griefs no more rebel; 
And Genius, warbling sweet her saddest song; 
And Pity, list'ning to the poor man's knell, 
Long banish'd from the world's insulting throng; 
With Thee, and loveliest Melancholy, dwell.


by William Lisle Bowles | |

Sonnet: O Poverty! Though From Thy Haggard Eye

 O, Poverty! though from thy haggard eye,
Thy cheerless mien, of every charm bereft,
Thy brow that Hope's last traces long have left,
Vain Fortune's feeble sons with terror fly;
I love thy solitary haunts to seek.
For Pity, reckless of her own distress; And Patience, in her pall of wretchedness, That turns to the bleak storm her faded cheek; And Piety, that never told her wrong; And meek Content, whose griefs no more rebel; And Genius, warbling sweet her saddest song; And Sorrow, listening to a lost friend's knell, Long banished from the world's insulting throng; With thee, and thy unfriended offspring, dwell.


by Tupac Shakur | |

Life Through My Eyes

Life through my bloodshot eyes
would scare a square 2 death
poverty,murder,violence
and never a moment 2 rest
Fun and games are few
but treasured like gold 2 me
cuz I realize that I must return
2 my spot in poverty
But mock my words when I say
my heart will not exist
unless my destiny comes through
and puts an end 2 all of this 


by Ben Jonson | |

To my Muse


LXV.
 — TO MY MUSE.

Away, and leave me, thou thing most abhorr'd
That hast betray'd me to a worthless lord ;
Made me commit most fierce idolatry
To a great image through thy luxury :
Be thy next master's more unlucky muse,
And, as thou'st mine, his hours and youth abuse,
Get him the time's long grudge, the court's ill will ;
And reconcil'd, keep him suspected still.
Make him lose all his friends ; and, which is worse,
Almost all ways to any better course.
With me thou leav'st an happier muse than thee,
And which thou brought'st me, welcome poverty :
She shall instruct my after-thoughts to write
Things manly, and not smelling parasite.
But I repent me : stay — Whoe'er is raised,
For worth he has not, he is tax'd not praised.


by Ben Jonson | |

To Alchemists


VI.
 ? TO ALCHEMISTS.
  
If all you boast of your great art be true ;
Sure, willing poverty lives most in you.

    Adriaen Jansz van Ostade.
    Alchemist.
1661.
[detail]


    Adriaen Jansz van Ostade.
    Alchemist.
1661.
[detail]


by Percy Bysshe Shelley | |

To Wordsworth

 Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know 
That things depart which never may return: 
Childhood and youth, friendship and love's first glow, 
Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn.
These common woes I feel.
One loss is mine Which thou too feel'st, yet I alone deplore.
Thou wert as a lone star, whose light did shine On some frail bark in winter's midnight roar: Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood Above the blind and battling multitude: In honored poverty thy voice did weave Songs consecrate to truth and liberty,-- Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve, Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.


by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | |

Berket And The Stars

 A day on the boulevards chosen out of ten years of 
student poverty! One best day out of ten good ones.
Berket in high spirits—"Ha, oranges! Let's have one!" And he made to snatch an orange from the vender's cart.
Now so clever was the deception, so nicely timed to the full sweep of certain wave summits, that the rumor of the thing has come down through three generations—which is relatively forever!


by Walt Whitman | |

Me Imperturbe.

 ME imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature, 
Master of all, or mistress of all—aplomb in the midst of irrational things, 
Imbued as they—passive, receptive, silent as they, 
Finding my occupation, poverty, notoriety, foibles, crimes, less important than I thought;

Me private, or public, or menial, or solitary—all these subordinate, (I am eternally
 equal
 with
 the best—I am not subordinate;)
Me toward the Mexican Sea, or in the Mannahatta, or the Tennessee, or far north, or
 inland, 
A river man, or a man of the woods, or of any farm-life in These States, or of the coast,
 or
 the
 lakes, or Kanada, 
Me, wherever my life is lived, O to be self-balanced for contingencies! 
O to confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as the trees and
 animals do.


by Robinson Jeffers | |

Ave Caesar

 No bitterness: our ancestors did it.
They were only ignorant and hopeful, they wanted freedom but wealth too.
Their children will learn to hope for a Caesar.
Or rather--for we are not aquiline Romans but soft mixed colonists-- Some kindly Sicilian tyrant who'll keep Poverty and Carthage off until the Romans arrive, We are easy to manage, a gregarious people, Full of sentiment, clever at mechanics, and we love our luxuries.


by Osip Mandelstam | |

Petropolis

 From a fearful height, a wandering light,
but does a star glitter like this, crying?
Transparent star, wandering light
your brother, Petropolis, is dying.
From a fearful height, earthly dreams are alight, and a green star is crying.
Oh star, if you are the brother of water and light, your brother, Petropolis, is dying.
A monstrous ship, from a fearful height, is rushing on, spreading its wings, flying.
Green star, in beautiful poverty, your brother, Petropolis, is dying.
Transparent spring has broken, above the black Neva’s hiss the wax of immortality is liquefying.
Oh if you are star – your city, Petropolis, your brother, Petropolis, is dying.


by Ogden Nash | |

Lines Indited With All The Depravity Of Poverty

 One way to be very happy is to be very rich
For then you can buy orchids by the quire and bacon by the flitch.
And yet at the same time People don't mind if you only tip them a dime, Because it's very funny But somehow if you're rich enough you can get away with spending water like money While if you're not rich you can spend in one evening your salary for the year And everybody will just stand around and jeer.
If you are rich you don't have to think twice about buying a judge or a horse, Or a lower instead of an upper, or a new suit, or a divorce, And you never have to say When, And you can sleep every morning until nine or ten, All of which Explains why I should like very, very much to be very, very rich.


by Kathleen Raine | |

Worry About Money

 Wearing worry about money like a hair shirt
I lie down in my bed and wrestle with my angel.
My bank-manager could not sanction my continuance for another day But life itself wakes me each morning, and love Urges me to give although I have no money In the bank at this moment, and ought properly To cease to exist in a world where poverty Is a shameful and ridiculous offence.
Having no one to advise me, I open the Bible And shut my eyes and put my finger on a text And read that the widow with the young son Must give first to the prophetic genius From the little there is in the bin of flour and the cruse of oil.


by Edgar Lee Masters | |

Hod Putt

 Here I lie close to the grave 
Of Old Bill Piersol, 
Who grew rich trading with the indians, and who 
Afterwards took the bankrupt law 
And emergeed from it richer than ever.
Myself grown tired of toil and poverty And beholding how Old Bill and others grew in wealth, Robbed a traveler one night near Proctor's Grove, Killing him unwittingly while doing so, For the which I was tried and hanged.
That was my way of going into bankruptcy.
Now we who took the bankrupt law in our respective ways Sleep peacefully side by side.


by Edgar Lee Masters | |

John Wasson

 Oh! the dew-wet grass of the meadow in North Carolina
Through which Rebecca followed me wailing, wailing,
One child in her arms, and three that ran along wailing,
Lengthening out the farewell to me off to the war with the British,
And then the long, hard years down to the day of Yorktown.
And then my search for Rebecca, Finding her at last in Virginia, Two children dead in the meanwhile.
We went by oxen to Tennessee, Thence after years to Illinois, At last to Spoon River.
We cut the buffalo grass, We felled the forests, We built the school houses, built the bridges, Leveled the roads and tilled the fields Alone with poverty, scourges, death- If Harry Wilmans who fought the Filipinos Is to have a flag on his grave Take it from mine!


by Robert William Service | |

My Brothers

 While I make rhymes my brother John
Makes shiny shoes which dames try on,
And finding to their fit and stance
They buy and wear with elegance;
But mine is quite another tale,--
 For song there is no sale.
My brother Tom a tailor shop Is owner of, and ladies stop To try the models he has planned, And richly pay, I understand: Yet not even a dingy dime Can I make with my rhyme.
My brother Jim sells stuff to eat Like trotters, tripe and sausage meat.
I dare not by his window stop, Lest he should offer me a chop; For though a starving bard I be, To hell, say I, with charity! My brothers all are proud of purse, But though my poverty I curse, I would not for a diadem Exchange my lowly lot with them: A garret and a crust for me, And reams and dreams of Poetry.


by Robert William Service | |

My Neighbors

 To rest my fagged brain now and then,
When wearied of my proper labors,
I lay aside my lagging pen
And get to thinking on my neighbors;
For, oh, around my garret den
There's woe and poverty a-plenty,
And life's so interesting when
A lad is only two-and-twenty.
Now, there's that artist gaunt and wan, A little card his door adorning; It reads: "Je ne suis pour personne", A very frank and fitting warning.
I fear he's in a sorry plight; He starves, I think, too proud to borrow, I hear him moaning every night: Maybe they'll find him dead to-morrow.


by Robert William Service | |

Tom Paine

 An Englishman was Thomas Paine
 Who bled for liberty;
But while his fight was far from vain
 He died in poverty:
Though some are of the sober thinking
 'Twas due to drinking.
Yet this is what appeals to me: Cobbet, a friend, loved him so well He sailed across the surly sea To raw and rigid New Rochelle: With none to say: 'Take him not from us!' He raped the grave of Thomas.
And in his library he set These bones so woe-begone; I have no doubt his eyes were wet To scan that skeleton.
That grinning skull from which in season Emerged the Age of Reason.
Then Cobbet in his turn lay dead, And auctioneering tones Over his chattels rudely said: 'Who wants them bloody bones?' None did, so they were scattered far And God knows where they are.
A friend of Franklin and of Pitt He lived a stormy span; The flame of liberty he lit And rang the Rights of Man.
Yet pilgrims from Vermont and Maine In hero worship seek in vain The bones of Thomas Paine.


by Robert William Service | |

The Buyers

 Father drank himself to death,--
 Quite enjoyed it.
Urged to draw a sober breath He'd avoid it.
'Save your sympathy,' said Dad; 'Never sought it.
Hob-nail liver, gay and glad, Sure,--I bought it.
' Uncle made a heap of dough, Ponies playing.
'Easy come and easy go,' Was his saying.
Though he died in poverty Fit he thought it, Grinning with philosophy: 'Guess I bought it.
' Auntie took the way of sin, Seeking pleasure; Lovers came, her heart to win, Bringing treasure.
Sickness smote,--with lips that bled Brave she fought it; Smiling on her dying bed: 'Dears, I bought it.
' My decades of life are run, Eight precisely; Yet I've lost a lot of fun Living wisely.
Too much piety don't pay, Time has taught it; Hadn't guts to go astray; Life's a bloody bore today,-- Well, I've bought it.


by Robert William Service | |

Infirmities

 Because my teeth are feebly few
I cannot bolt my grub like you,
But have to chew and chew and chew
 As you can see;
Yet every mouthful seems so good
I would not haste it if I could,
And so I salivate my food
 With ecstasy.
Because my purse is poor in pence I spend my dough with common-sense, And live without the least pretence In simple state; The things I can't afford to buy Might speed the day I have to die, So pleased with poverty am I And bless my fate.
Because my heart is growing tired, No more by foolish passion fired, Nor by ambitious hope inspired, As in my youth, I am content to sit and rest, And prove the last of life's the best, And ponder with a cheerful zest Some saintly truth.
Because I cannot do the things I used to, comfort round me clings, And from the moil of market brings Me rich release; So welcome age with tranquil mind; Even infirmities are kind, And in our frailing we may find Life's crown of peace.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Phoenix Lyrics

 I

If nature is life, nature is death:
It is winter as it is spring:
Confusion is variety, variety
And confusion in everything
Make experience the true conclusion
Of all desire and opulence,
All satisfaction and poverty.
II When a hundred years had passed nature seemed to man a clock Another century sank away and nature seemed a jungle in a rock And now that nature has become a ticking and hidden bomb how we must mock Newton, Democritus, the Deity The heart's ingenuity and the mind's infinite uncontrollable insatiable curiosity.
III Purple black cloud at sunset: it is late August and the light begins to look cold, and as we look, listen and look, we hear the first drums of autumn.


by Anne Sexton | |

Doctors

 They work with herbs
and penicillin
They work with gentleness
and the scalpel.
They dig out the cancer, close an incision and say a prayer to the poverty of the skin.
They are not Gods though they would like to be; they are only a human trying to fix up a human.
Many humans die.
They die like the tender, palpitating berries in November.
But all along the doctors remember: First do no harm.
They would kiss if it would heal.
It would not heal.
If the doctors cure then the sun sees it.
If the doctors kill then the earth hides it.
The doctors should fear arrogance more than cardiac arrest.
If they are too proud, and some are, then they leave home on horseback but God returns them on foot.


by Robert Southey | |

Sonnet 05

 Hard by the road, where on that little mound
The high grass rustles to the passing breeze,
The child of Misery rests her head in peace.
Pause there in sadness.
That unhallowed ground Inshrines what once was Isabel.
Sleep on Sleep on, poor Outcast! lovely was thy cheek, And thy mild eye was eloquent to speak The soul of Pity.
Pale and woe-begone Soon did thy fair cheek fade, and thine eye weep The tear of anguish for the babe unborn, The helpless heir of Poverty and Scorn.
She drank the draught that chill'd her soul to sleep.
I pause and wipe the big drop from mine eye, Whilst the proud Levite scowls and passes by.


by John McCrae | |

The Warrior

 He wrought in poverty, the dull grey days,
But with the night his little lamp-lit room
Was bright with battle flame, or through a haze
Of smoke that stung his eyes he heard the boom
Of Bluecher's guns; he shared Almeida's scars,
And from the close-packed deck, about to die,
Looked up and saw the "Birkenhead"'s tall spars
Weave wavering lines across the Southern sky:

Or in the stifling 'tween decks, row on row,
At Aboukir, saw how the dead men lay;
Charged with the fiercest in Busaco's strife,
Brave dreams are his -- the flick'ring lamp burns low --
Yet couraged for the battles of the day
He goes to stand full face to face with life.