30 Short Poems That Are (Legit) Good + Make You a Bit More Cultured

Updated:

Grace Moser

A few authors of short poems in one image.

Short poems are probably one of the best things you can add to your life right now.

And I know that’s kind of a strange statement, but here’s why:

  • This is Your Main Character Moment: This is your chance to take this perfectly perfect list of short poems, head to a coffee shop ☕️, play some chill music (if said coffee house has bad taste), and read through them all.
  • Self-Culturing: They’re also a really great way to level up and culture yourself.
  • Sharing: Or you can simply grab a short poem, share with friends, discuss your thoughts and feelings about said poem, and enjoy yourselves.
  • Projects: I honestly feel like poems that are short are a great small addition to projects you’ll be sharing with others. It’s a wonderful way to get your point across or enhance your work without taking up too much space.

But whatever your objective is, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did because these short poems really are great. 👌


Related: 55 Poems About Friendship (for MAX Closeness) 📖


 

JUMP TO SECTION:

30 Best Short Poems That Are Very Good

DISCLAIMER: I personally found, read, and approved these poems so that you would have max enjoyment.

These short poems weren’t just carelessly thrown together for views. 👍

So enjoy these small poems and try reflecting – by yourself or with a friend – on how they make you feel, or what imagery comes to mind.

1. “There is no Frigate like a Book” by Emily Dickinson

The short poem "There is no Frigate like a Book."

“There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –”


More Good Reading:

35 Emily Dickinson Poems That Are Ridiculously Readable


2. “Remember” by Christina Georgina Rossetti

“Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent 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 plann’d:
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.”


Related: 39+ Love Poems That Are [Undeniably] Share-Worthy


3. “Awaking in New York” by Maya Angelou

“Curtains forcing their will
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,
unasked and unheeded.”

 

4. “Love” by Sappho

Love, like a mountain-wind upon an oak,
Falling upon me, shakes me leaf and bough.”

Translation Done by William Ellery Leonard


5. “Dreams” by Langston Hughes

“Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.”


6. “I saw a man pursuing the horizon” by Stephen Crane

“I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never —”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.”


7. “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson

The small poem, "Hope is the Thing with Feathers."

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


8. “I built my hut” by Tao Qian

“I built my hut in a zone of human habitation,
But near me there sounds no noise of horse or coach.
Would you know how that is possible?
A heart that is distant creates a wilderness round it.
I pluck chrysanthemums under the eastern hedge,
Then gaze long at the distant summer hills.
The mountain air is fresh at the dusk of day:
The flying birds two by two return.
In these things there lies a deep meaning;
Yet when we would express it, words suddenly fail us.”

 

9. “Boats Sail on the Rivers” by Christina Rossetti

“Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
Are prettier far than these.
There are bridges on the rivers,
As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
Is prettier far than these.”

Translation done by Arthur Waley


10. “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye

“Do not stand at my grave and weep:
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starshine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there; I did not die.”


11. “‘Tis so much joy!” by Emily Dickinson

“Tis so much joy! ‘Tis so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I,
Have ventured all upon a throw!
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so—
This side the Victory!

Life is but Life! And Death, but Death!
Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath!
And if indeed I fail,
At least, to know the worst, is sweet!
Defeat means nothing but Defeat,
No drearier, can befall!

And if I gain! Oh Gun at Sea!
Oh Bells, that in the Steeples be!
At first, repeat it slow!
For Heaven is a different thing,
Conjectured, and waked sudden in—
And might extinguish me!”


12. “Purity” by Rabindranath Tagore  

“Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.

I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.

I shall ever try to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart.

And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act.”

 

13. “Faith Is The Pierless Bridge” by Emily Dickinson

“Faith—is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not—
Too slender for the eye

It bears the Soul as bold
As it were rocked in Steel
With Arms of Steel at either side—
It joins—behind the Veil

To what, could We presume
The Bridge would cease to be
To Our far, vacillating Feet
A first Necessity.”


14. “[Traveler, your footprints]” by Antonio Machado

The good short poem, "[Traveler, your footprints]."

“Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship’s wake on the sea.”


15. “April” by Sara Teasdale

“The roofs are shining from the rain.
The sparrows tritter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.

Yet the back-yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree—
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.”

 

16. “Love Song” – A Traditional Poem of the Hohokam

“Early I rose
In the blue morning;
My love was up before me,
It came running up to me from the doorways of the Dawn

On Papago Mountain
The dying quarry
Looked at me with my love’s eyes.”

Translation done by Mary Austin


17. “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”


18. “Death Sets a Thing Significant” by Emily Dickinson

“Death sets a thing significant
The eye had hurried by,
Except a perished creature
Entreat us tenderly

To ponder little workmanships
In crayon or in wool,
With “This was last her fingers did,”
Industrious until

The thimble weighed too heavy,
The stitches stopped themselves,
And then ‘t was put among the dust
Upon the closet shelves.

A book I have, a friend gave,
Whose pencil, here and there,
Had notched the place that pleased him,–
At rest his fingers are.

Now, when I read, I read not,
For interrupting tears
Obliterate the etchings
Too costly for repairs.”


19. “A Man Young And Old” by William Butler Yeats

“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!”


20. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by 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 pensive 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.”

 

21. “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe

The short poem, "Alone," by Edgar Allan Poe.

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—”


22. “I Measure Every Grief I Meet” by Emily Dickinson

“I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes —
I wonder if It weighs like Mine —
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long —
Or did it just begin —
I could not tell the Date of Mine —
It feels so old a pain —

I wonder if it hurts to live —
And if They have to try —
And whether — could They choose between —
It would not be — to die —

I note that Some — gone patient long —
At length, renew their smile —
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil —

I wonder if when Years have piled —
Some Thousands — on the Harm —
That hurt them early — such a lapse
Could give them any Balm —

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve —
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love —

The Grieved — are many — I am told —
There is the various Cause —
Death — is but one — and comes but once —
And only nails the eyes —

There’s Grief of Want — and Grief of Cold —
A sort they call “Despair” —
There’s Banishment from native Eyes —
In sight of Native Air —

And though I may not guess the kind —
Correctly — yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary —

To note the fashions — of the Cross —
And how they’re mostly worn —
Still fascinated to presume
That Some — are like My Own —”


 

23. “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”


24. “Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” by Willliam Shakespeare

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”


25. To One Departed” by Edgar Allan Poe

“Seraph! thy memory is to me
Like some enchanted far-off isle
In some tumultuous sea –
Some ocean vexed as it may be
With storms; but where, meanwhile,
Serenest skies continually
Just o’er that one bright island smile.
For ‘mid the earnest cares and woes
That crowd around my earthly path,
(Sad path, alas, where grows
Not even one lonely rose!)
My soul at least a solace hath
In dreams of thee; and therein knows
An Eden of bland repose.”


26. “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams

“I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold”


27. “A Question” by Robert Frost

“A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.”


28. “A Fallen Leaf” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“A trusting little leaf of green,
A bold audacious frost;
A rendezvous, a kiss or two,
And youth for ever lost.
Ah, me!
The bitter, bitter cost.

A flaunting patch of vivid red,
That quivers in the sun;
A windy gust, a grave of dust,
The little race is run.
Ah, me!
Were that the only one.”


29. “Believe This” by Wilhelmina Stitch

“You’re winning. You simply cannot fail.
The only obstacle is doubt;
There’s not a hill you cannot scale
Once fear is put to rout.

Don’t think defeat, don’t talk defeat,
The word will rob you of your strength.
“I will succeed,” This phrase repeat
Throughout the journey’s length.”


30. “Weights & Wings” by Grace Moser

The good and short poem, "Weights & Wings."

“What we once were given,
By those weaker than us,
We must now forget, and learn anew.
We must drop the heavy weight they bore,
So that we can find the wings,
Use the wings,
That they themselves cut from their backs.
We must use those wings to fly away,
and see the lands that terrified their souls.”


What’s Your Favorite Short Poem?

I see this question getting asked quite often on Quora and Reddit, so I’m going to share mine!

It’s one I shared earlier, but I’m going to share it again:

“Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.”

Langston Hughes

It’s a helpful reminder to never let the different chapters of your life cause you to forget your dreams.

They’re precious, they’re good, and they’re worth walking towards each and every day.

Small Poems FAQ

What is the shortest famous poem?

I think one of the shortest most famous poems would probably be “Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes (Fleas)” by Strickland Gillilan. It simply goes…
“Adam
Had ’em.”

What is the short version of a poem?

A good answer for this would probably be a haiku. They’re just three lines long, but can really capture some amazing imagery!

Can a poem be too short?

It all depends on the reader’s taste. Some may like the depth that just a few words can get across, while others might think the poem is too small.


I really hope you enjoyed these very readable and beautiful short poems!

There are so many ways you and I can better ourselves and level up. And I feel that reading some short poetry is a good way of doing just that.

PS – What’s your favorite short poem? I wanna know!

 
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Grace is the owner of Chasing Foxes, a lifestyle blog that's here to help women level up their lives in almost every way possible.

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Grace Moser

Grace is the owner of Chasing Foxes, a lifestyle blog that's here to help women level up their lives in almost every way possible.

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