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Famous Birthday Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Crowley, Aleister
In chains of flowers that never fading are,
Each one as sempiternal as a star.

Let me go back to your last birthday. Then
I was already your one man of men
Appointed to complete you, and fulfil
From everlasting the eternal will.
We lay within the flood of crimson light
In my own balcony that August night,
And conjuring the aright and the averse
Created yet another universe.

We worked together; dance and rite and spell
Arousing heaven and constraining...Read more of this...

by Rossetti, Christina
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me....Read more of this...

by Justice, Donald
...Thirty today, I saw
The trees flare briefly like
The candles on a cake,
As the sun went down the sky,
A momentary flash,
Yet there was time to wish...Read more of this...

by Kooser, Ted
...Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of ...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
...vity of it, its timeless eyes.
I would know you were serious.

There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
And the knife not carve, but enter

Pure and clean as the cry of a baby,
And the universe slide from my side....Read more of this...

by Mayakovsky, Vladimir
...y boot 
is more nightmarish than Goethe¡¯s fantasy! 

the most golden-mouthed, 
whose every word 
gives a new birthday to the soul, 
gives a name-day to the body, 
I adjure you: 
the minutest living speck 
is worth more than what I¡¯ll do or did! 

It is today¡¯s brazen-lipped Zarathustra 
who preaches, 
dashing about and groaning! 
our face like a crumpled sheet, 
our lips pendulant like a chandelier; 
the convicts of the City Lepro...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington you die,’
Were his last words; and they are the same words
That I received thereafter once a year, 
Infallibly on my birthday, with no name; 
Only a card, and the words printed on it. 
No, I was never rid of him—not quite;
Although on shipboard, on my way from here 
To Hamburg, I believe that I forgot him. 
But once ashore, I should have been half ready 
To meet him there, risen up out of the ground, 
With hoofs and horns and tail and everything.
Believe me, th...Read more of this...

by Service, Robert William
...(16th January 1949)

I thank whatever gods may be
For all the happiness that's mine;
That I am festive, fit and free
To savour women, wit and wine;
That I may game of golf enjoy,
And have a formidable drive:
In short, that I'm a gay old boy
Though I be

My daughter thinks. because I'm old
(I'm not a crock, when all is said),
I mu...Read more of this...

by Jeffers, Robinson
...Seventy years ago my mother labored to bear me,
A twelve-pound baby with a big head,
Her first, it was plain torture. Finally they used the forceps
And dragged me out, with one prong
In my right eye, and slapped and banged me until I breathed.
I am not particularly grateful for it.

As to the eye: it remained invalid and now has a cataract....Read more of this...

by Dickinson, Emily
...Birthday of but a single pang
That there are less to come --
Afflictive is the Adjective
But affluent the doom --...Read more of this...

by Sexton, Anne
lest they poison the air she dwelt in.
Thus she dwelt in his odor.
Rank as honeysuckle.

On her fifteenth birthday
she pricked her finger
on a charred spinning wheel
and the clocks stopped.
Yes indeed. She went to sleep.
The king and queen went to sleep,
the courtiers, the flies on the wall.
The fire in the hearth grew still
and the roast meat stopped crackling.
The trees turned into metal
and the dog became china.
They all lay in a tranc...Read more of this...

by Hood, Thomas
Those flowers made of light! 
The lilacs where the robin built, 
And where my brother set 
The laburnum on his birthday,-- 
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember 
Where I was used to swing, 
And thought the air must rush as fresh 
To swallows on the wing; 
My spirit flew in feathers then 
That is so heavy now, 
The summer pools could hardly cool 
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember 
The fir-trees dark and high; 
I used to think their slender t...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
Such is the shout, the long-applauding note,
At Quin's high plume, or Oldfield's petticoat,
Or when from Court a birthday suit bestow'd
Sinks the lost actor in the tawdry load.
Booth enters--hark! the universal peal!
"But has he spoken?" Not a syllable.
"What shook the stage, and made the people stare?"
Cato's long wig, flow'r'd gown, and lacquer'd chair.

Yet lest you think I rally more than teach,
Or praise malignly arts I cannot reach,
Let me for once p...Read more of this...

by Brautigan, Richard
...from? What did it mean? I

thought about it for a while, hiding it from the rest of my

mind. But I didn't ruin my birthday by secretly thinking about

it too hard.

 A year later I found out the true significance of 208's

name, purely by accident. My telephone rang one Saturday

morning when the sun was shining on the hills. It was a

close friend of mine and he said, "I'm in the slammer. Come

and get me out. They're burning black candles around th...Read more of this...

by Ginsberg, Allen
...umb tongueless unsmelling blast of Disil-
I manifest your Baptismal Word after four billion years
I guess your birthday in Earthling Night, I salute your
 dreadful presence last majestic as the Gods,
Sabaot, Jehova, Astapheus, Adonaeus, Elohim, Iao, 
 Ialdabaoth, Aeon from Aeon born ignorant in an
 Abyss of Light,
Sophia's reflections glittering thoughtful galaxies, whirl-
 pools of starspume silver-thin as hairs of Einstein!
Father Whitman I celebrate a matter that ...Read more of this...

by Thomas, Dylan
...iling boats on the net webbed wall
 Myself to set foot
 That second
 In the still sleeping town and set forth.

 My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
 Above the farms and the white horses
 And I rose
 In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
 Over the border
 And the gates
 Of the town closed as the town awoke.

 A springful of larks in a rol...Read more of this...

by Thomas, Dylan
...rlews aloud in the congered waves
 Work at their ways to death,
And the rhymer in the long tongued room,
 Who tolls his birthday bell,
Toils towards the ambush of his wounds;
 Herons, steeple stemmed, bless.

 In the thistledown fall,
He sings towards anguish; finches fly
 In the claw tracks of hawks
On a seizing sky; small fishes glide
 Through wynds and shells of drowned
Ship towns to pastures of otters. He
 In his slant, racking house
And the hewn coils of his trad...Read more of this...

by Lanier, Sidney
-- As morn by morn I rise with fresh delight,
Time through my casement cheerily doth call
`Nature is new, 'tis birthday every day,
Come feast with me, let no man say me nay,
Whate'er befall.'

"So fare I forth to feast: I sit beside
Some brother bright: but, ere good-morrow's passed,
Burly Opinion wedging in hath cried
`Thou shalt not sit by us, to break thy fast,
Save to our Rubric thou subscribe and swear --
`Religion hath blue eyes and yellow hair:'
She's Saxo...Read more of this...

by Parker, Dorothy
...their smaliest word.
Yet did they say, "How tall He grows!"
They thought she had not heard.

They say upon His birthday eve
She'd rock Him to His rest
As if she could not have Him leave
The shelter of her breast.

The poor must go in bitter thrift,
The poor must give in pain,
But ever did she get a gift
To greet His day again.

They say she'd kiss the Boy awake,
And hail Him gay and clear,
But oh, her heart was like to break
To count another year....Read more of this...

by Swift, Jonathan
...o antiquated stuff;
But spick and span I have enough.
Pray do but give me leave to show 'em:
Here's Colley Cibber's birthday poem.
This ode you never yet have seen,
By Stephen Duck, upon the queen.
Then here's a letter finely penned
Against the Craftsman and his friend;
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication;
And Mr Henley's last oration.
The hawkers have not got 'em yet - 
Your honour pleas...Read more of this...

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