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Famous Bedtime Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Bedtime poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous bedtime poems. These examples illustrate what a famous bedtime poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Thomas, Edward
...She had a name among the children;
But no one loved though someone owned
Her, locked her out of doors at bedtime
And had her kittens duly drowned.

In Spring, nevertheless, this cat
Ate blackbirds, thrushes, nightingales,
And birds of bright voice and plume and flight,
As well as scraps from neighbours’ pails.

I loathed and hated her for this;
One speckle on a thrush’s breast
Was worth a million such; and yet
She lived long, till God gave her rest....Read More



by Schwartz, Delmore
...us eyes----

His mother much too fat and absentminded,
Gazing past his face, careless of him,

His fume, his charm, his bedtime, and warm milk,
As soon the night will be too dark, the spring

Too late, desire strange, and time too fast,
This estrangement is a gradual thing

(His mother once so svelte, so often sick!
Towering father did this: what a trick!)

Explained to cautiously, containing fear,
Another being's being, becoming dear:

All men are enemies: thus even brothers...Read More

by Goose, Mother
... The Man in the Moon looked out of the moon,  Looked out of the moon and said,"'Tis time for all children, on the earth  To think about getting to bed!"...Read More

by Mueller, Lisel
...The moon lies on the river
like a drop of oil.
The children come to the banks to be healed
of their wounds and bruises.
The fathers who gave them their wounds and bruises
come to be healed of their rage.
The mothers grow lovely; their faces soften,
the birds in their throats awake.
They all stand hand in hand
and the trees around them,
fore...Read More

by Emanuel, James A
...tt
Won't be still.
He keeps floating
Round the darkness,
Edging through
The silent chill.
Tell me, please,
That bedtime story
Of the fairy
River Boy
Who swims forever,
Deep in treasures,
Necklaced in
A coral toy.




* In 1955, Till, a fourteen-year-old from Chicago, for
allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi, was murdered
by white men who tied a gin mill fan around his neck and threw his
body into the Tallahatchie River....Read More



by Stevenson, Robert Louis
...The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out 
Through the blinds and the windows and bars; 
And high overhead and all moving about, 
There were thousands of millions of stars. 
There ne'er were such thousands of leaves on a tree, 
Nor of people in church or the Park, 
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me, 
And that glittered and win...Read More

by Larkin, Philip
...
Even their youth, to that small cube each hand
Stretches towards. These, and the deep armchairs
Aligned to cups at bedtime, radiant bars
(Gas or electric), quarter-profile cats
By slippers on warm mats,
Reflect none of the rained-on streets and squares

They dominate outdoors. Rather, they rise
Serenely to proclaim pure crust, pure foam,
Pure coldness to our live imperfect eyes
That stare beyond this world, where nothing's made
As new or washed quite clean, seeking t...Read More

by Jeffers, Robinson
...the place stand? How did it take that last earthquake?" Then someone comes
From the house-door, taking a poodle for his bedtime walk. The dog snarls and retreats; the man
Stands rigid, saying "Who are you? What are you doing here?" "Nothing to hurt you," it answers, "I am just looking
At the walls that I built. I see that you have played hell
With the trees that I planted." "There has to be room for people," he answers. "My God," he says, "That still!"...Read More

by Field, Eugene
...ttle children go romping about
With dollies and tin tops and drums,
And, my! how they frolic and scamper and shout
Till bedtime too speedily comes!
Oh, days they are golden and days they are fleet
With little folk living in Good-Children street.

See, here comes an army with guns painted red,
And swords, caps, and plumes of all sorts;
The captain rides gaily and proudly ahead
On a stick-horse that prances and snorts!
Oh, legions of soldiers you're certain to meet -
Nice m...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...after guests have gone, the house
Seems haunted or exposed. I always take
A personal interest in the locking up
At bedtime; but the strangeness soon wears off.”
He fetched a dingy lantern from behind
A door. “There’s that we didn’t lose! And these!”—
Some matches he unpocketed. “For food—
The meals we’ve had no one can take from us.
I wish that everything on earth were just
As certain as the meals we’ve had. I wish
The meals we haven’t had were, anywa...Read More

by Heaney, Seamus
...s at the gable, the dead will congregate.
But separately. The women after dark,
Hunkering there a moment before bedtime,
The only time the soul was let alone,
The only time that face and body calmed
In the eye of heaven.

Buttermilk and urine,
The pantry, the housed beasts, the listening bedroom.
We were all together there in a foretime,
In a knowledge that might not translate beyond
Those wind-heaved midnights we still cannot be sure
Happened or not. It s...Read More

by Laurence Dunbar, Paul
...Bedtime 's come fu' little boys.
Po' little lamb.
Too tiahed out to make a noise,
Po' little lamb.
You gwine t' have to-morrer sho'?
Yes, you tole me dat befo',
Don't you fool me, chile, no mo',
Po' little lamb.
You been bad de livelong day,
Po' little lamb.
Th'owin' stones an' runnin' 'way,
Po' little lamb.
My, but you 's a-runnin' wil',
Look j...Read More

by Laurence Dunbar, Paul
...Some folks t'inks hit's right an' p'opah,
Soon ez bedtime come erroun',
Fu' to scramble to de kiver,
Lak dey 'd hyeahed de trumpet soun'.
But dese people dey all misses
Whut I mos'ly does desiah;
Dat 's de settin' roun' an' dozin',
An' a-noddin' by de fiah.
When you 's tiahed out a-hoein',
Er a-followin' de plough,
Whut's de use of des a-fallin'
On yo' pallet lak a cow?
W'y, de fun is all in wait...Read More

by Nesbitt, Kenn
...enough to be cool.
No limousine chauffeur would drive her to school.
Her house had no drawing room; only a den.
Her bedtime, poor darling, was quarter past ten!
Well one day Prince Charming declared that a ball
would be held in his honor and maidens from all
over the kingdom were welcome to come
and party to techno and jungle house drum.
But Poor Cinderella, with nothing to wear,
collapsed in her stepmother’s La-Z-Boy chair.
She let out a sigh, with a lump in her t...Read More

by Whittier, John Greenleaf
...ance of the blinding storm, 
As zigzag, wavering to and fro, 
Crossed and recrossed the wingëd snow: 
And ere the early bedtime came 
The white drift piled the window-frame, 
And through the glass the clothes-line posts 
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts. 
The old familiar sights of ours 
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers 
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood, 
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood; 
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed, 
A fenceless d...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...child doing at this time of night----?"
"Out walking. Every child should have the memory
Of at least one long-after-bedtime walk.
What, son?"
"Then I should think you'd try to find
Somewhere to walk----"
"The highway as it happens--
We're stopping for the fortnight down at Dean's."
"But if that's all--Joel--you realize--
You won't think anything. You understand?
You understand that we have to be careful.
This is a very, very lonely place.
Joel!" She sp...Read More

by Tynan, Katharine
...ciled, 
The hour of silence and of dew, 
When God hath made His world anew. 

She sleeps at eve, about the hour 
Of bedtime for the bird and flower, 
When daisies, evening primroses, 
Know that the hour of closing is. 

Her daylight thoughts are all on toys 
And games for darling girls and boys, 
Lest they should fret, lest they should weep, 
Strayed from their heavenly fellowship. 

She is as pretty and as brown 
As the wood's children far from town, 
As bright-e...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...p from the pile.
No matter how early I run there to look
It has always begun to fall through;
And one night when at bedtime I crept in to see,
It was falling by candle-light too.
I am sure they are magical fruits, and each one
Makes you hear things, or see things, or go
Forever invisible; but it's no use,
And of course I shall just never know.
For the ladder's too heavy to lift, and the chairs
Are not nearly so tall as I need.
I've given up hope, and I feel I ...Read More

by Levis, Larry
...g shopping centers;
It spilled into the older, tree-lined neighborhoods,
Into warm houses, sealing itself into books
Of bedtime stories read each night by fathers--
The books lying open to the flat, neglected
Light of dawn; & it settled like dust on windowsills
Downtown, filling the smug cafés, schools, 
Banks, offices, taverns, gymnasiums, hotels,
Newsstands, courtrooms, opium parlors, Basque
Restaurants, Armenian steam baths,
French bakeries, & two of the florists' shops--
...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...us stirs her lids --
Rhodora's cheek is crimson,
She's dreaming of the woods!

Then turning from them reverent --
Their bedtime 'tis, she said --
The Bumble bees will wake them
When April woods are red....Read More

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