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Best Famous Teacher Poems

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

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Written by William Wordsworth |

The Tables Turned

An Evening Scene on the Same Subject

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife: Come, hear the woodland linnet, How sweet his music! on my life, There's more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings! He, too, is no mean preacher: Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your Teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth, Our minds and hearts to bless— Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health, Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; Our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:— We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art; Close up those barren leaves; Come forth, and bring with you a heart That watches and receives.

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit- 
man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees 
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam- ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons? I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel? I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight? (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.
) Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage- teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

Written by Walt Whitman |

An Old Man's Thought of School.

 AN old man’s thought of School; 
An old man, gathering youthful memories and blooms, that youth itself cannot.
Now only do I know you! O fair auroral skies! O morning dew upon the grass! And these I see—these sparkling eyes, These stores of mystic meaning—these young lives, Building, equipping, like a fleet of ships—immortal ships! Soon to sail out over the measureless seas, On the Soul’s voyage.
Only a lot of boys and girls? Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes? Only a Public School? Ah more—infinitely more; (As George Fox rais’d his warning cry, “Is it this pile of brick and mortar—these dead floors, windows, rails—you call the church? Why this is not the church at all—the Church is living, ever living Souls.
”) And you, America, Cast you the real reckoning for your present? The lights and shadows of your future—good or evil? To girlhood, boyhood look—the Teacher and the School.

More great poems below...

Written by Roger McGough |

First Day at School

 A millionbillionwillion miles from home
Waiting for the bell to go.
(To go where?) Why are they all so big, other children? So noisy? So much at home they Must have been born in uniform Lived all their lives in playgrounds Spent the years inventing games That don't let me in.
Games That are rough, that swallow you up.
And the railings.
All around, the railings.
Are they to keep out wolves and monsters? Things that carry off and eat children? Things you don't take sweets from? Perhaps they're to stop us getting out Running away from the lessins.
What does a lessin look like? Sounds small and slimy.
They keep them in the glassrooms.
Whole rooms made out of glass.
I wish I could remember my name Mummy said it would come in useful.
Like wellies.
When there's puddles.
I wish she was here.
I think my name is sewn on somewhere Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.
The one who makes the tea.

Written by Roger McGough |

The Lesson

 Chaos ruled OK in the classroom
as bravely the teacher walked in
the nooligans ignored him
hid voice was lost in the din

"The theme for today is violence
and homework will be set
I'm going to teach you a lesson
one that you'll never forget"

He picked on a boy who was shouting
and throttled him then and there
then garrotted the girl behind him
(the one with grotty hair)

Then sword in hand he hacked his way
between the chattering rows
"First come, first severed" he declared
"fingers, feet or toes"

He threw the sword at a latecomer
it struck with deadly aim
then pulling out a shotgun
he continued with his game

The first blast cleared the backrow
(where those who skive hang out)
they collapsed like rubber dinghies
when the plug's pulled out

"Please may I leave the room sir?"
a trembling vandal enquired
"Of course you may" said teacher
put the gun to his temple and fired

The Head popped a head round the doorway
to see why a din was being made
nodded understandingly
then tossed in a grenade

And when the ammo was well spent
with blood on every chair
Silence shuffled forward
with its hands up in the air

The teacher surveyed the carnage
the dying and the dead
He waggled a finger severely
"Now let that be a lesson" he said

Written by Marianne Moore |

The Past is the Present

 If external action is effete
and rhyme is outmoded,
I shall revert to you,
Habakkuk, as when in a Bible class
the teacher was speaking of unrhymed verse.
He said - and I think I repeat his exact words - "Hebrew poetry is prose with a sort of heightened consciousness.
" Ecstasy affords the occasion and expediency determines the form.

Written by William Wordsworth |


An Evening Scene, on the same Subject,

  Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks,
  Why all this toil and trouble?
  Up! up! my friend, and quit your books,
  Or surely you'll grow double.

  The sun, above the mountain's head,
  A freshening lustre mellow
  Through all the long green fields has spread,
  His first sweet evening yellow.

  Books! 'tis dull and endless strife,
  Come, here the woodland linnet,
  How sweet his music; on my life
  There's more of wisdom in it.

  And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
  And he is no mean preacher;
  Come forth into the light of things,
  Let Nature be your teacher.

  She has a world of ready wealth,
  Our minds and hearts to bless—
  Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
  Truth breathed by chearfulness.

  One impulse from a vernal wood
  May teach you more of man;
  Of moral evil and of good,
  Than all the sages can.

  Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
  Our meddling intellect
  Mishapes the beauteous forms of things;
  —We murder to dissect.

  Enough of science and of art;
  Close up these barren leaves;
  Come forth, and bring with you a heart
  That watches and receives.



                  The little hedge-row birds
  That peck along the road, regard him not.
  He travels on, and in his face, his step,
  His gait, is one expression; every limb,
  His look and bending figure, all bespeak
  A man who does not move with pain, but moves
  With thought—He is insensibly subdued
  To settled quiet: he is one by whom
  All effort seems forgotten, one to whom
  Long patience has such mild composure given,
  That patience now doth seem a thing, of which
  He hath no need.
He is by nature led
  To peace so perfect, that the young behold
  With envy, what the old man hardly feels.
  —I asked him whither he was bound, and what
  The object of his journey; he replied
  That he was going many miles to take
  A last leave of his son, a mariner,
  Who from a sea-fight had been brought to Falmouth,
  And there was lying in an hospital.

Written by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi |

I Was Dead

i was dead i came alive i was tears i became laughter

all because of love when it arrived my temporal life from then on changed to eternal

love said to me you are not crazy enough you don’t fit this house

i went and became crazy crazy enough to be in chains

love said you are not intoxicated enough you don’t fit the group

i went and got drunk drunk enough to overflow with light-headedness

love said you are still too clever filled with imagination and skepticism

i went and became gullible and in fright pulled away from it all

love said you are a candle attracting everyone gathering every one around you

i am no more a candle spreading light i gather no more crowds and like smoke i am all scattered now

love said you are a teacher you are a head and for everyone you are a leader

i am no more not a teacher not a leader just a servant to your wishes

love said you already have your own wings i will not give you more feathers

and then my heart pulled itself apart and filled to the brim with a new light overflowed with fresh life

now even the heavens are thankful that because of love i have become the giver of light


- Rumi.
Ghazal number 1393, translated by Nader Khalili


Written by Kahlil Gibran |

Teaching XVIII

 Then said a teacher, "Speak to us of Teaching.
" And he said: No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

Written by Barry Tebb |


 I stood there in front of forty-five faces

The first day of term, not especially fancying

"Exercises in Mechanical Arithmetic" and so instead

I read a poem from Kirkup in Japan, about Nijinsky,

Hand-written on a fan of rice-paper.
Thirty years later, taking a Sri Lankan girl In search of her first job around London schools, A Head-of-English announced "You wouldn’t get away With that now!" as though I had committed A crime-against-society.
I remember sending the boys out to change for P.
While the girls changed in front of me, Was it some kind of incipient voyeurism? And Sheila, my genius-child-poet, about whom Redgrove said, "Of course you are in love!" Or was it the poetry, some kind of anarchy, "He’s quite mad about it and teaches nothing else", The barely literate student teacher said.
Wittgenstein alternated between junior school teaching And philosophy Leavis ranted but read poetry inspirationally; Twenty years later a stranger on a bus tapped my shoulder, "What you taught me at nine got me two O'Levels, That was all I ever got.

Written by Anthony Hecht |

Curriculum Vitae


1) I was born in a Free City, near the North Sea.
2) In the year of my birth, money was shredded into confetti.
A loaf of bread cost a million marks.
Of course I do not remember this.
3) Parents and grandparents hovered around me.
The world I lived in had a soft voice and no claws.
4) A cornucopia filled with treats took me into a building with bells.
A wide-bosomed teacher took me in.
5) At home the bookshelves connected heaven and earth.
6) On Sundays the city child waded through pinecones and primrose marshes, a short train ride away.
7) My country was struck by history more deadly than earthquakes or hurricanes.
8) My father was busy eluding the monsters.
My mother told me the walls had ears.
I learned the burden of secrets.
9) I moved into the too bright days, the too dark nights of adolescence.
10) Two parents, two daughters, we followed the sun and the moon across the ocean.
My grandparents stayed behind in darkness.
11) In the new language everyone spoke too fast.
Eventually I caught up with them.
12) When I met you, the new language became the language of love.
13) The death of the mother hurt the daughter into poetry.
The daughter became a mother of daughters.
14) Ordinary life: the plenty and thick of it.
Knots tying threads to everywhere.
The past pushed away, the future left unimagined for the sake of the glorious, difficult, passionate present.
15) Years and years of this.
16) The children no longer children.
An old man's pain, an old man's loneliness.
17) And then my father too disappeared.
18) I tried to go home again.
I stood at the door to my childhood, but it was closed to the public.
19) One day, on a crowded elevator, everyone's face was younger than mine.
20) So far, so good.
The brilliant days and nights are breathless in their hurry.
We follow, you and I.

Written by Sylvia Plath |

The Disquieting Muses

 Mother, mother, what ill-bred aunt
Or what disfigured and unsightly
Cousin did you so unwisely keep
Unasked to my christening, that she
Sent these ladies in her stead
With heads like darning-eggs to nod
And nod and nod at foot and head
And at the left side of my crib?

Mother, who made to order stories
Of Mixie Blackshort the heroic bear,
Mother, whose witches always, always
Got baked into gingerbread, I wonder
Whether you saw them, whether you said
Words to rid me of those three ladies
Nodding by night around my bed,
Mouthless, eyeless, with stitched bald head.
In the hurricane, when father's twelve Study windows bellied in Like bubbles about to break, you fed My brother and me cookies and Ovaltine And helped the two of us to choir: 'Thor is angry; boom boom boom! Thor is angry: we don't care!' But those ladies broke the panes.
When on tiptoe the schoolgirls danced, Blinking flashlights like fireflies And singing the glowworm song, I could Not lift a foot in the twinkle-dress But, heavy-footed, stood aside In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed Godmothers, and you cried and cried: And the shadow stretched, the lights went out.
Mother, you sent me to piano lessons And praised my arabesques and trills Although each teacher found my touch Oddly wooden in spite of scales And the hours of practicing, my ear Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable.
I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere, From muses unhired by you, dear mother.
I woke one day to see you, mother, Floating above me in bluest air On a green balloon bright with a million Flowers and bluebirds that never were Never, never, found anywhere.
But the little planet bobbed away Like a soap-bubble as you called: Come here! And I faced my traveling companions.
Day now, night now, at head, side, feet, They stand their vigil in gowns of stone, Faces blank as the day I was born.
Their shadows long in the setting sun That never brightens or goes down.
And this is the kingdom you bore me to, Mother, mother.
But no frown of mine Will betray the company I keep.

Written by Rg Gregory |

the shakes

 now pay attention
(said the teacher)
and look up here

the children looked up

this is william shakespeare

four centuries up
on a pedestal
was shakespeare's head

he was what we call
a great man

the children got sore necks
looking up
and some began to look down

no no
you mustn't look down
(said the teacher)
apart from winston churchill
shakespeare was the greatest
englishman who ever lived

the children's eyes
drained to their feet
and their minds
played around with
their private parts

shakespeare was once
a schoolteacher who
had a second best bed
and he happened to write
thirty six plays

and sonnets and things
he has a noble brow
as you can see

the children stared

from a dusty old head
and a mothridden beard
two sour eyes
glared down

from being a bit bored
then very bored
the children began to have
explosions going off
in many parts of their

 mutters came
out of their mouths
and then anger
followed by flames

shakespeare is a chauvinist
 (they screamed)

why don't you piss off
(they shrieked at the teacher)
and take him with you 

now now children
(said the teacher)
shakespeare's language
was always as noble
as his brow
he will be shocked
to hear such words

some of the class jumped
on the teacher
(as the young are inclined
to nowadays)
the rest began to rock
shakespeare's pedestal

please no children
(cried the teacher) 

you know not what you do
do you want to destroy
all that is good
in the world

the rocking went on
like an earthquake
and slowly
 up four
centuries of stone
shakespeare's head
began to wobble
and all of a sudden
it seemed to 
jump from its pedestal
and drop
 shaking itself
free of dust and
a beardful of moths

vandals desecrators
(raged the teacher)
wetting himself
no doubt

watch out
(laughed the children)

 and the head
fell safely into
their outstretched hands

the teacher shrank away
(wet wet)
terrified to be so close
to the greatest but one
of the greats

the children flocked round
curious to find
what greatness was

shakespeare blew his nose
cleared his throat
(the last of the dust)
and said

 hello kids
i'm famished
what's to eat
tell me about yourselves
(and things like that)

he had a real face
and he spoke english
with a kind of
birmingham accent
and he didn't seem to know
much more than they did

he was always pissing around
(he told them)
when he was their age

the teacher gradually
came back
 very surprised
and (when he dared to look
at himself) obviously
very relieved

he went away and began
reading the plays
and (discovering
where he'd gone wrong)

got out of teaching

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

The Spring

 (After Rilke)

Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems.
Look, she has learned So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes! Teacher was strict.
We delighted in the white Of the old man's beard, bright like the snow's: Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right For "blue," for "apple," for "ripe.
" She knows, she knows! Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play Hide-and-seek with all the children every day: You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will! The happiest child will hold you.
She knows all the things You taught her: the word for "hope," and for "believe," Are still upon her tongue.
She sings and sings and sings.

Written by Robert Louis Stevenson |

Fixed Is The Doom

 FIXED is the doom; and to the last of years
Teacher and taught, friend, lover, parent, child,
Each walks, though near, yet separate; each beholds
His dear ones shine beyond him like the stars.
We also, love, forever dwell apart; With cries approach, with cries behold the gulph, The Unvaulted; as two great eagles that do wheel in air Above a mountain, and with screams confer, Far heard athwart the cedars.
Yet the years Shall bring us ever nearer; day by day Endearing, week by week, till death at last Dissolve that long divorce.
By faith we love, Not knowledge; and by faith, though far removed, Dwell as in perfect nearness, heart to heart.
We but excuse Those things we merely are; and to our souls A brave deception cherish.
So from unhappy war a man returns Unfearing, or the seaman from the deep; So from cool night and woodlands to a feast May someone enter, and still breathe of dews, And in her eyes still wear the dusky night.