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Famous Hard Times Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Service, Robert William
...d her from my bed I knew
She saw red roofs against a primrose sky
And glistening fields and apples dimmed with dew.
Hard times we had. We counted every sou,
We sewed sacks for a living. I was quick . . .
Four busy hands to work instead of two.
Oh, we were happy there, till she fell sick. . . .

My mother lay, her face turned to the wall,
And I, a girl of sixteen, fair and tall,
Sat by her side, all stricken with despair,
Knelt by he...Read More

by Paterson, Andrew Barton
...'Twas Saltbush Bill, with his travelling sheep, was making his way to town; 
He crossed them over the Hard Times Run, and he came to the Take 'Em Down; 
He counted through at the boundary gate, and camped at the drafting yard: 
For Stingy Smith, of the Hard Times Run, had hunted him rather hard. 
He bore no malice to Stingy Smith -- 'twas simply the hand of Fate 
That caused his waggon to swerve aside and shatter old Stingy's gate; 
And being only the ha...Read More

by Paterson, Andrew Barton
...o fight, he would fight all day, so long as his sheep got through: 
But this is the story of Stingy Smith, the owner of Hard Times Hill, 
And the way that he chanced on a fighting man to reckon with Saltbush Bill. 

'Twas Stingy Smith on his stockyard sat, and prayed for an early Spring, 
When he started at sight of a clean-shaved tramp, who walked with a jaunty swing; 
For a clean-shaved tramp with a jaunty walk a-swinging along the track 
Is as rare a thing as a feather...Read More

by Kay, Jackie my sleep-
That the music of folk somewhere meets

On the edge of the place we would be.
I’ve lived through some hard times.
My face is lined; my body so frail.
I used to think I might be able –

When the river ran to meet the sea,
When the sun and moon shared the sky-
To look out as far as the eye could see,
And raise a glass to the girl looking back at me....Read More

by Lanier, Sidney
...s trees
And stockings and wild robbery

When Hal and Nimblewits invade
My cash in Santa Claus's name)
In full the hard, hard times surveyed;
Denounced all waste as crime and shame;

Hinted that "waste" might be a term
Including skates, velocipedes,
Kites, marbles, soldiers, towers infirm,
Bows, arrows, cannon, Indian reeds,

Cap-pistols, drums, mechanic toys,
And all th' infernal host of horns
Whereby to strenuous hells of noise
Are turned the blessed Christmas morns;

Thus, ...Read More

by Alcott, Louisa May
...ontent to swim and scratch, 
And not at all inclined 
For any wild goose chase in search 
Of something undefined. 

Hard times she had as one may guess, 
That young aspiring bird, 
Who still from every fall arose 
Saddened but undeterred. 

She knew she was no nightingale 
Yet spite of much abuse, 
She longed to help and cheer the world, 
Although a plain gray goose 

She could not sing, she could not fly, 
Nor even walk, with grace, 
And all the farmyard had declared...Read More

by Lawson, Henry
...Africa has some -- 
Keep your smile in working order for the better days to come! 
We shall often laugh together at the hard times that we know, 
And get measured by the tailor when our pants begin to go. 


Now the lady of refinement, in the lap of comfort rocked, 
Chancing on these rugged verses, will pretend that she is shocked. 
Leave her to her smelling-bottle; 'tis the wealthy who decide 
That the world should hide its patches 'ne...Read More

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