Best Famous Growing Up Poems

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

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Written by Ezra Pound | Create an image from this poem

Before Sleep

 I was in love with anatomy
the symmetry of my body
poised for flight,
the heights it would take
over parents, lovers, a keen
riding over truth and detail.
I thought growing up would be this rising from everything old and earthly, not these faltering steps out the door every day, then back again.
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

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 Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Wild Orphan

Blandly mother 
takes him strolling 
by railroad and by river 
-he's the son of the absconded 
hot rod angel- 
and he imagines cars 
and rides them in his dreams, 

so lonely growing up among 
the imaginary automobiles 
and dead souls of Tarrytown 

to create 
out of his own imagination 
the beauty of his wild 
forebears-a mythology 
he cannot inherit.
Will he later hallucinate his gods? Waking among mysteries with an insane gleam of recollection? The recognition- something so rare in his soul, met only in dreams -nostalgias of another life.
A question of the soul.
And the injured losing their injury in their innocence -a cock, a cross, an excellence of love.
And the father grieves in flophouse complexities of memory a thousand miles away, unknowing of the unexpected youthful stranger bumming toward his door.
- New York, April 13, 1952
Written by Rafael Guillen | Create an image from this poem

Not Fear

 Not fear.
Maybe, out there somewhere, the possibility of fear; the wall that might tumble down, because it's for sure that behind it is the sea.
Not fear.
Fear has a countenance; It's external, concrete, like a rifle, a shot bolt, a suffering child, like the darkness that's hidden in every human mouth.
Not fear.
Maybe only the brand of the offspring of fear.
It's a narrow, interminable street with all the windows darkened, a thread spun out from a sticky hand, friendly, yes, not a friend.
It's a nightmare of polite ritual wearing a frightwig.
Not fear.
Fear is a door slammed in your face.
I'm speaking here of a labyrinth of doors already closed, with assumed reasons for being, or not being, for categorizing bad luck or good, bread, or an expression — tenderness and panic and frigidity - for the children growing up.
And the silence.
And the cities, sparkling, empty.
and the mediocrity, like a hot lava, spewed out over the grain, and the voice, and the idea.
It's not fear.
The real fear hasn't come yet.
But it will.
It's the doublethink that believes peace is only another movement.
And I say it with suspicion, at the top of my lungs.
And it's not fear, no.
It's the certainty that I'm betting, on a single card, the whole haystack I've piled up, straw by straw, for my fellow man.
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

A Man Young And Old: VIII. Summer And Spring

 We sat under an old thorn-tree
And talked away the night,
Told all that had been said or done
Since first we saw the light,
And when we talked of growing up
Knew that we'd halved a soul
And fell the one in t'other's arms
That we might make it whole;
Then peter had a murdering look,
For it seemed that he and she
Had spoken of their childish days
Under that very tree.
O what a bursting out there was, And what a blossoming, When we had all the summer-time And she had all the spring!
Written by Tony Hoagland | Create an image from this poem

Reading Moby-Dick at 30000 Feet

 At this height, Kansas
is just a concept,
a checkerboard design of wheat and corn

no larger than the foldout section
of my neighbor's travel magazine.
At this stage of the journey I would estimate the distance between myself and my own feelings is roughly the same as the mileage from Seattle to New York, so I can lean back into the upholstered interval between Muzak and lunch, a little bored, a little old and strange.
I remember, as a dreamy backyard kind of kid, tilting up my head to watch those planes engrave the sky in lines so steady and so straight they implied the enormous concentration of good men, but now my eyes flicker from the in-flight movie to the stewardess's pantyline, then back into my book, where men throw harpoons at something much bigger and probably better than themselves, wanting to kill it, wanting to see great clouds of blood erupt to prove that they exist.
Imagine being born and growing up, rushing through the world for sixty years at unimaginable speeds.
Imagine a century like a room so large, a corridor so long you could travel for a lifetime and never find the door, until you had forgotten that such a thing as doors exist.
Better to be on board the Pequod, with a mad one-legged captain living for revenge.
Better to feel the salt wind spitting in your face, to hold your sharpened weapon high, to see the glisten of the beast beneath the waves.
What a relief it would be to hear someone in the crew cry out like a gull, Oh Captain, Captain! Where are we going now?
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

Under Ben Bulben

 I

Swear by what the sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.
Swear by those horsemen, by those women Complexion and form prove superhuman, That pale, long-visaged company That air in immortality Completeness of their passions won; Now they ride the wintry dawn Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.
Here's the gist of what they mean.
II Many times man lives and dies Between his two eternities, That of race and that of soul, And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed Or the rifle knocks him dead, A brief parting from those dear Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-diggers' toil is long, Sharp their spades, their muscles strong.
They but thrust their buried men Back in the human mind again.
III You that Mitchel's prayer have heard, 'Send war in our time, O Lord!' Know that when all words are said And a man is fighting mad, Something drops from eyes long blind, He completes his partial mind, For an instant stands at ease, Laughs aloud, his heart at peace.
Even the wisest man grows tense With some sort of violence Before he can accomplish fate, Know his work or choose his mate.
IV Poet and sculptor, do the work, Nor let the modish painter shirk What his great forefathers did.
Bring the soul of man to God, Make him fill the cradles right.
Measurement began our might: Forms a stark Egyptian thought, Forms that gentler phidias wrought.
Michael Angelo left a proof On the Sistine Chapel roof, Where but half-awakened Adam Can disturb globe-trotting Madam Till her bowels are in heat, proof that there's a purpose set Before the secret working mind: Profane perfection of mankind.
Quattrocento put in paint On backgrounds for a God or Saint Gardens where a soul's at ease; Where everything that meets the eye, Flowers and grass and cloudless sky, Resemble forms that are or seem When sleepers wake and yet still dream.
And when it's vanished still declare, With only bed and bedstead there, That heavens had opened.
Gyres run on; When that greater dream had gone Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude, Prepared a rest for the people of God, Palmer's phrase, but after that Confusion fell upon our thought.
V Irish poets, earn your trade, Sing whatever is well made, Scorn the sort now growing up All out of shape from toe to top, Their unremembering hearts and heads Base-born products of base beds.
Sing the peasantry, and then Hard-riding country gentlemen, The holiness of monks, and after Porter-drinkers' randy laughter; Sing the lords and ladies gay That were beaten into the clay Through seven heroic centuries; Cast your mind on other days That we in coming days may be Still the indomitable Irishry.
VI Under bare Ben Bulben's head In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there Long years ago, a church stands near, By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase; On limestone quarried near the spot By his command these words are cut: Cast a cold eye On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem

Duino Elegies: The Fourth Elegy

 O trees of life, oh, what when winter comes?
We are not of one mind.
Are not like birds in unison migrating.
And overtaken, overdue, we thrust ourselves into the wind and fall to earth into indifferent ponds.
Blossoming and withering we comprehend as one.
And somewhere lions roam, quite unaware, in their magnificence, of any weaknesss.
But we, while wholly concentrating on one thing, already feel the pressure of another.
Hatred is our first response.
And lovers, are they not forever invading one another's boundaries? -although they promised space, hunting and homeland.
Then, for a sketch drawn at a moment's impulse, a ground of contrast is prepared, painfully, so that we may see.
For they are most exact with us.
We do not know the contours of our feelings.
We only know what shapes them from the outside.
Who has not sat, afraid, before his own heart's curtain? It lifted and displayed the scenery of departure.
Easy to understand.
The well-known garden swaying just a little.
Then came the dancer.
Not he! Enough! However lightly he pretends to move: he is just disguised, costumed, an ordinary man who enters through the kitchen when coming home.
I will not have these half-filled human masks; better the puppet.
It at least is full.
I will endure this well-stuffed doll, the wire, the face that is nothing but appearance.
Here out front I wait.
Even if the lights go down and I am told: "There's nothing more to come," -even if the grayish drafts of emptiness come drifting down from the deserted stage -even if not one of my now silent forebears sist beside me any longer, not a woman, not even a boy- he with the brown and squinting eyes-: I'll still remain.
For one can always watch.
Am I not right? You, to whom life would taste so bitter, Father, after you - for my sake - slipped of mine, that first muddy infusion of my necessity.
You kept on tasting, Father, as I kept on growing, troubled by the aftertaste of my so strange a future as you kept searching my unfocused gaze -you who, so often since you died, have been afraid for my well-being, within my deepest hope, relinquishing that calmness, the realms of equanimity such as the dead possess for my so small fate -Am I not right? And you, my parents, am I not right? You who loved me for that small beginning of my love for you from which I always shyly turned away, because the distance in your features grew, changed, even while I loved it, into cosmic space where you no longer were.
.
.
: and when I feel inclined to wait before the puppet stage, no, rather to stare at is so intensely that in the end to counter-balance my searching gaze, an angel has to come as an actor, and begin manipulating the lifeless bodies of the puppets to perform.
Angel and puppet! Now at last there is a play! Then what we seperate can come together by our very presence.
And only then the entire cycle of our own life-seasons is revealed and set in motion.
Above, beyond us, the angel plays.
Look: must not the dying notice how unreal, how full of pretense is all that we accomplish here, where nothing is to be itself.
O hours of childhood, when behind each shape more that the past lay hidden, when that which lay before us was not the future.
We grew, of course, and sometimes were impatient in growing up, half for the sake of pleasing those with nothing left but their own grown-upness.
Yet, when alone, we entertained ourselves with what alone endures, we would stand there in the infinite space that spans the world and toys, upon a place, which from the first beginnniing had been prepared to serve a pure event.
Who shows a child just as it stands? Who places him within his constellation, with the measuring-rod of distance in his hand.
Who makes his death from gray bread that grows hard, -or leaves it there inside his rounded mouth, jagged as the core of a sweet apple?.
.
.
.
.
.
.
The minds of murderers are easily comprehended.
But this: to contain death, the whole of death, even before life has begun, to hold it all so gently within oneself, and not be angry: that is indescribable.
Written by Li Po | Create an image from this poem

Farewell to Secretary Shu-yun at the Hsieh Tiao Villa in Hsuan-Chou

 Since yesterday had throw me and bolt,
Today has hurt my heart even more.
The autumn wildgeese have a long wing for escort As I face them from this villa, drinking my wine.
The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the school of heaven, And I am Lesser Hsieh growing up by your side.
We both are exalted to distant thought, Aspiring to the sky and the bright moon.
But since water still flows, though we cut it with our swords, And sorrow return,though we drown them with wine, Since the world can in no way answer our craving, I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishing-boat.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Scented Herbage of My Breast

 SCENTED herbage of my breast, 
Leaves from you I yield, I write, to be perused best afterwards, 
Tomb-leaves, body-leaves, growing up above me, above death, 
Perennial roots, tall leaves—O the winter shall not freeze you, delicate leaves, 
Every year shall you bloom again—out from where you retired, you shall emerge again;
O I do not know whether many, passing by, will discover you, or inhale your faint
 odor—but
 I
 believe a few will; 
O slender leaves! O blossoms of my blood! I permit you to tell, in your own way, of the
 heart
 that
 is under you; 
O burning and throbbing—surely all will one day be accomplish’d; 
O I do not know what you mean, there underneath yourselves—you are not happiness, 
You are often more bitter than I can bear—you burn and sting me,
Yet you are very beautiful to me, you faint-tinged roots—you make me think of Death, 
Death is beautiful from you—(what indeed is finally beautiful, except Death and
 Love?) 
—O I think it is not for life I am chanting here my chant of lovers—I think it
 must
 be for
 Death, 
For how calm, how solemn it grows, to ascend to the atmosphere of lovers, 
Death or life I am then indifferent—my Soul declines to prefer,
I am not sure but the high Soul of lovers welcomes death most; 
Indeed, O Death, I think now these leaves mean precisely the same as you mean; 
Grow up taller, sweet leaves, that I may see! grow up out of my breast! 
Spring away from the conceal’d heart there! 
Do not fold yourself so in your pink-tinged roots, timid leaves!
Do not remain down there so ashamed, herbage of my breast! 
Come, I am determin’d to unbare this broad breast of mine—I have long enough
 stifled
 and
 choked: 
—Emblematic and capricious blade, I leave you—now you serve me not; 
Away! I will say what I have to say, by itself, 
I will escape from the sham that was proposed to me,
I will sound myself and comrades only—I will never again utter a call, only their
 call, 
I will raise, with it, immortal reverberations through The States, 
I will give an example to lovers, to take permanent shape and will through The States; 
Through me shall the words be said to make death exhilarating; 
Give me your tone therefore, O Death, that I may accord with it,
Give me yourself—for I see that you belong to me now above all, and are folded
 inseparably
 together—you Love and Death are; 
Nor will I allow you to balk me any more with what I was calling life, 
For now it is convey’d to me that you are the purports essential, 
That you hide in these shifting forms of life, for reasons—and that they are mainly
 for
 you, 
That you, beyond them, come forth, to remain, the real reality,
That behind the mask of materials you patiently wait, no matter how long, 
That you will one day, perhaps, take control of all, 
That you will perhaps dissipate this entire show of appearance, 
That may-be you are what it is all for—but it does not last so very long; 
But you will last very long.
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