Inspirational Classical Poetry

Poetry to inspire for every special occasion from Christenings to Naming Ceremonies, from Birthdays to Mother's Day and Father's Day, to poems celebrating friendship, sisterhood, motherhood and more, to Wedding Poems to New Baby Poems to I Love You Poems.

Title Author Poem Text Occasion Subject
Sonnet: "How do I love thee?" Elizabeth Barrett Browning How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and  ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and cnadlelight.
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my chidhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, all of my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Wedding, Birthday, Memorial, Anniversary Love
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven W B Yeats Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver ligth,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feed:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Wedding, Christening, Memorial, Funeral, Birthday, Friendship, Naming Ceremony Dreams, Love, Devotion, Friendship
Infant Joy William Blake I have no name
I am but two days old.
What shall I call thee?
I happy am,
Joy is my name.
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty Joy!
Sweet Joy but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee!
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while.
Sweet joy befall thee!
Christening, Birth, Birthday, Naming Ceremony Baby, Joy, Happiness, Motherhood, Fatherhood
"In this short Life" Emily Dickinson In this short Life
That only lasts an hour
How much - how little - is
Within our power.
Funeral, Memorial, Birth Sadness, Death, Hope
Meeting at Night Robert Browning The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep;
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i'the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane; the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
Sonnet: "How do  love thee?" Elizabeth Barret Browning How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
A Red, Red Rose Robert Burns My love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June:
My love is like a melody
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, m y dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
And I  will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o'  life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my love,
Thou' it were ten thousand mile.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
She tells her love while half asleep Robert Burns She tells her love while half asleep
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
"She walks in beauty, like the night" Lord Byron She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to guady day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameles grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Of softly lightens o'er her face,
Wher thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whos love is innocent.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
Sonnet: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds" William Shakespeare Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.  Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
His Late Wife's Wedding-Ring George Crabbe The ring so worn, as you behold,
So thin, so pale, is yet of gold:
The passion such it was to prove;
Worn with life's cares, love yet was love.
Funeral, Memorial, Marriage Death, Love, Sadness
The Angel that presided O'er my Birth William Blake The Angel that presided o'er my birth
Said, "Little creature, formed of joy and mirth,
Go love without the help of any thing on earth."
Birth, Christening, Naming Ceremony, Mother's Day Baby, Joy, Happiness, Motherhood, Fatherhood, Birth
Girl, Boy, Flower, Bicycle M K Joseph This girl
Waits at the corner for
This boy
Freewheeling on his bicycle.
She holds
A flower in her hand
A gold flower
In her hand she holds
The sun.
With power between his thights
The boy
Comes smiling to her
He rides
A bicycle that glitters like
The wind.
This boy this girl
They walk
In step with the wind
Arm in arm
They climb the level street
To where
Laid on the glittering handlebars
The flower
Is round and shining as
The sun.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
Wild Nights Emily Dickinson Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee.
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, -
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowin in Eden!
Ah! The sea!
Might I but moor
Tonighti n thee!
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
Love is Enough William Morris Love is enough; though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but theh voice of compaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder,
And t his day draw a veil over all deeds pass'd over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
Parting at Morning Robert Browning Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
And the sun looked over the mountain's rim:
And straight was a path of gold for him,
And the need of a world of men for me.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
A Birthday Christina Rossetti My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and poemgranates,
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.
Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement, Marriage, Birthda Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Happiness, Marrriage, Proposal
On His Seventy-Fifth Birthday Walter Savage Landor I strove with none, for none was worth my strife.
Nature I loved and, next to Nature, Art:
I warmed both hands before the fire of Life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
Funeral, Memoriral Death, Sadness
The Walk Thomas Hardy You did not walk with me
Of late to the hill-top tree
By the gated ways,
As in earlier days;
You were weak and lame,
So you never came,
And I went alone, and I did not mind,
Not thinking of you as left behind.

I walked up there to-day
Just in the former way;
Surveyed around
The familiar ground
By myself again:
What difference, then?
Only that underlying sense
Of the look of a room on returning thence.
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
A Lament Percy Bysshe Shelley O world! O life! O time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling as that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your uprime?
No more - Oh, never more!

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight;
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar,
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more - Oh, never more!
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Epitaph Sir Walter Raleigh Even such is Time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and allw e have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days;
And from which earth, and grave, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Crossing the Bar Lord Tennyson Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Full Fathom Five thy Father Lies William Shakespeare Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange:
Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell.
Ding-dong!
Hark! Now I hear them,
Ding-dong, bell!
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Dylan Thomas Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Remember Christina Rossetti Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silet land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Stop All the Clocks W H Auden Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moanaing overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Afterwards Thomas Hardy When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
"He was a man who used to notice such things"?

If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight
Upon the wind-warpmed upland thorn, a gazer may think,
"To him this must have been a familiar sight."

If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over teh lawn,
One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone."

If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door,
Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees,
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
"He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"?

And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom,
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings,
Till they rise again, as they were a new bell's boom,
"He hears it now now, but used to notice such things"?
Funeral, Memorial Death, Sadness
Daffodils William Wordsworth I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in p ensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils
Wedding, Birthday, Celebration, General, Classic Happiness, Joy, Nature, Hope
If Rudyard Kipling If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all m en doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch teh tings you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: " Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Christening, Birth, Birthday, Naming Ceremony, General, Classic Motherhood, Fatherhood, Birth, Baby, Hope, Friendship
Eternity William Blake He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies.
Lives in eternity's sunrise.
Christening, Birth, Birthday, Naming Ceremony, General, Classic Motherhood, Fatherhood, Birth, Baby, Hope, Friendship
Magna Est Veritas Coventry Patmore Here, in this little Bay,
Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
Where, twice a day,
The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,
Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
I sit me down.
For want of me the world's course will not fail,
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot,
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.
Memorial, Funeral, General Death, Hope, Loyalty, Sadness 
The Coming of Good Luck Robert Herrick So good luck came, and on my roof did light
Like noiseless snow, or as the dew of night:
Not all at once, but gently, as the trees
Are by the sunbeams tickled by degrees.
Christening, Newborn, Retirement, Graduation, Engagement, Celebration Love, Baby, Friendship, Birth, Hope, Happiness, Marriage, Proposal
Autumn Fires Robert Louis Stevenson In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Anniversary, Retirement, General, Classic Friendship, Hope, Happiness
A Word Emily Dickinson A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
Memorial, Funeral, Birthday, Newborn, Retirement, General Devotion, Loyalty, Death, Motherhood, Fatherhood, Hope, Sadness, Happiness
Adlestrop Edward Thomas Yes, I remember Adlestrop -
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly, It was late June.

The steam hissed.  Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform.  What I saw
Was Adlestrop - only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haydocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
Memorial, Funeral, General Friendship, Death, Hope, Sadness, Devotion
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Robert Frost Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though,
He will not see me stopping though,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
General, Classic, Anniversary, Wedding, Birthday, Engagement, Marriage, Celebration Love, Friendship, Joy, Devotion, Loyalty, Happiness, Marriage, Proposal
A Clear Midnight Walt Whitman This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased,
the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.
Memorial, Funeral, Retirement, General Devotion, Loyalty, Death, Sadness
An Epilogue John Masefield I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces,
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust, too.
Memorial, Funeral, Retirement, General, Classic Death, Hope, Loyalty, Sadness 
Apple Blossom Louis MacNeice The first blossom was the best blossom
For the child who never had seen an orchard,
For the youth whom whisky had led astray
The morning was after the first day.

The first apple was the best apple
For Adam before he heard the sentence;
When the flaming sword endorsed the Fall
The trees were his to plant for all.

The first ocean was the best ocean
For the child from streets of doubt and litter;
For the youth for whom the skies unfurled
His first love was his first world.

But the first verdict seemed the worst verditct
When Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden;
Yet when the bitter gates clanged to
The sky beyond was just as blue.

For the next ocean is the first ocean
And teh last ocean is the first ocean
And, however often teh sun may rise,
A new thing dawns upon our eyes.

For the last blossom is the first blossom
And the first blossom is the best blossom
And when from Eden we take our way
The morning after is the first day.
Wedding, Birthday, Birth, Naming Ceremony, Christening, Spring Nature
A Boy's Song James Hogg Where the pools are bright and deep,
Where the grey trout lies asleep,
Up the river and o'er the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the blackbird sings the latest,
Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest,
Where the nestlings chirp and flee,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the mowers mow the cleanest,
Where the hay lies thick and greenest;
There to trace the homeward bee,
That's teh way for Billy and me.

Where the hazel bank is steepest,
Where the shadow falls the deepest,
Where the clustering nuts fall free,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Why the boys should drive away
Little sweet maidens from the play,
Or love to banter and fight so well,
That's the thing I never could tell.

But this I know, I love to play,
Through the meadow, among the hay;
Up the water and o'er the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.
Birthday, Christening,  Friendship, Brotherhood, Fatherhood
The Railway Children Seamus Heaney When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.

Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.

We were small and thoughts we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled teh wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,

Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle.
Christening, Newborn, Retirement, Graduation, Engagement, Celebration Love, Baby, Friendship, Birth, Hope, Happiness, Marriage, Proposal
  Qian Qi (Tang Dynasty) Moss covered paths
between scarlet peonies
Pale jade mountains
fill your rustic windows
I envy you
drunk with flowers
Butterflies swirling
in your dreams
Birthday, Valentines Day, Anniversary Love Poetry, Chinese Poetry
  Qian Qi (Tang Dyanasty) Spring River Flowers
Moon Night
The river is smooth and calm this evening
The peony flowers bloom
The moon floats on the current
The tide carries the stars
Birthday, Valentines Day, Anniversary Love Poetry, Chinese Poetry
    You and I
Have so much love,
That it
Burns like a fire,
In which we bake a lump of clay
Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me
Then we take both of them,
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
In life we share a single quilt.
In death we will share one coffin.
Chinese Love Poetry, Love Poetry Wedding, Anniversary
    Mum and Dad
You were always there to help me
You were always there to guide me
You were always there to laugh with me
You were always there to cry with me

But most important you were always there to love me
and I am always here to love you
Mum, Dad Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Thankyou