15 Short Funny Poems 

The funny poems on this list are outrageous, surprising, and hard to forget! While most were written with a younger audience in mind, they aren’t just for children.

From Shel Silverstein to Edward Lear, the poets take a creative and humorous approach to craft narratives, characters, settings, and are unafraid to use nonsense language to make their verse all the more entertaining. Readers should expect to find humorous poems about anthropomorphized animals, fantastical daydreams, and more.

Best Funny Short Poems

 

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne

‘Now We Are Six’ is a funny, short poem. It is told from the perspective of a young child who takes the reader through the last years of their life.

After turning six, they are happy to remain that age forever. The child speaker feels as if they are as clever and happy as they could ever be and see no reason to age any further. Here are the first few lines:

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.

Read more A.A. Milne poems.

 

Skin Stealer by Shel Silverstein 

This poem was included in Shel Silverstein’s 1981 collection Light in the Attic. It tells the story of a creature called a “coo-coo” that climbs into the unzipped skin of the speaker.

It was naked until it put on the “head / That once belonged to me”. The speaker sees himself doing things that he would normally never do and asks that those involved do not take offense.

This evening I unzipped my skin
And carefully unscrewed my head,
Exactly as I always do
When I prepare myself for bed.

 

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

In this lighthearted poem, Stevenson’s youthful speaker describes his shadow and the amusing ways it jumps around and grows.

It’s not like a normal child, it grows and shrinks at a surprising speed. Sometimes, the speaker concludes, the shadow is not there at all. Here are the first three lines:

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;

Discover more poetry from Robert Louis Stevenson.

 

The People Upstairs by Ogden Nash

‘The People Upstairs’ is a great example of Nash’s entertaining and quite funny style of writing. It is a short nonsense poem that describes one speaker’s experience with his upstairs neighbors. The noisy neighbors are doing things he can’t imagine anyone would actually do. He paints an image of them for the reader. They must be jumping on pogo sticks, making us of a bowling alley, and practicing ballet. His guesses are outlandish, funny, and sure to make you laugh, but at the same time, they are very apt descriptions of what miscellaneous noise from other floors can sound like.

The people upstairs all practise ballet
Their living room is a bowling alley
Their bedroom is full of conducted tours.

Read more Ogden Nash poems.

 

Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards 

One of the lesser-known poems on this list, ‘Eletelephony’ is an upbeat funny poem that describes an elephant through an outlandish series of events.

The speaker begins with the line “Once there was an elephant”. The rest of the poem is a funny play on words. The “ele” in the word “elephant” is inserted into words like “telephone” and “trunk” confusing even the speaker at times. Here are the last lines: 

The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

Discover more poems by Laura Elizabeth Richards.

 

If I Were King by A.A. Milne

In this poem, Milne describes the humorous desires of a child who is entertaining himself by thinking about everything that a king is allowed to do that he is not.

He goes through a number of different countries and activities he’d like to participate or not participate in. These include keeping wild animals, like elephants, not wearing his hat or brushing his hair, and thinking of “lovely things to do.” Here are the first two couplets:

I often wish I were a King,
And then I could do anything.

If only I were King of Spain,
I’d take my hat off in the rain.

Read more A.A. Milne poems.

 

On the Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan

On the Ning Nang Nong’ is one of the best examples of a funny, surprising, and confusing poem. The famous lines use nonsense language consistently to mimic sounds and create an entire world.

This poem benefits greatly from being read out loud due to the use of alliteration. The sounds of nonsense words are half the fun. Here are a few lines:

On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!

Read more Spike Milligan poems.

 

Messy Room by Shel Silverstein

’Messy Room’ is one of the best poems on this list. In it, Silverstein describes a very messy room and all the chaotic items it contains.

The speaker exclaims over the state of a room. There is a wet raincoat on a cloth chair and underwear on a lamp. The next lines describe misplaced books and papers, more clothes, and even skis under the TV.

By the end, one should feel revulsion on a level equal to the speaker’s. This makes the twist at the end all the more satisfying and funny as the room is revealed to have been the speaker’s all along. Something that’s sure to make you laugh. Here are the first lines:

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.

Explore more of Shel Silverstein’s poetry.

 

Sneezles by A.A. Milne

Of all the funny poems on this list, this is one of the lovely and memorable. Milne takes the reader into the world of Christopher Robin.

The poem begins with the speaker describing an illness that Christopher contracted and how his parents put him to bed. He was suffering from what sounds like a cold but his parents overreacted, imagining that it was something worse. They consult with a number of doctors who make the situation out to be even more complicated and nonsensical than it already is.

By the end of the poem, it is clear that Christopher is all better and is planning the next thing he’s going to do to “amuse” his parents. This alludes to the fact that perhaps he was acting the whole time, a fact which is sure to entertain any young reader. 

Christopher Robin
Had wheezles
And sneezles,
They bundled him
Into
His bed.

Read more A.A. Milne poems.

 

The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves by Gwendolyn Brooks 

Although Brooks is not generally associated with funny poetry, this piece certainly earns its place on this list.

It begins with the phrase “There once was a tiger, terrible and tough”. The speaker decides that tigers, despite their stripes, aren’t “stylish enough”. The speaker looks for something “fine to wear” until he finds white gloves. All the animals react to this change, shaming him and laughing at him until he took off each glove.  

There once was a tiger, terrible and tough,
who said “I don’t think tigers are stylish enough.
They put on only orange and stripes of fierce black.
Fine and fancy fashion is what they mostly lack.

Discover more of Gwendolyn Brooks’ poems.

 

A Word to Husbands by Ogden Nash 

‘A Word to Husbands’ is a funny poem addressed to husbands. Nash provides them with some very valuable advice. It’s only four lines long and does not waste time beating around the bush.

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup

Read more Ogden Nash poems.

 

Dirty Face by Shel Silverstein 

This poem contains numerous funny explanations from a child speaker as to why their face is so dirty.

The child’s parent asks them directly what’s going on and they go through a variety of fantasies, adventures, as well as probable and improbable answers to the question. These range from exploring dark caves and silver mines to eating blackberries right off the bush.

The poem concludes with the young speaker reminding the parent that it doesn’t matter what they’ve been doing, they’ve been having more fun than the parent has. Here are a few lines that start off the child’s response to their parent’s concern about them.

I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy’s shirt.
I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.

Explore more of Shel Silverstein’s poetry.

 

Cinderella by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s ‘Cinderella’ is a humorous retelling of the story that includes parts of the story found only in the original Brothers’ Grimm version.

This is one of the longest poems on this list but its quick pace makes it easy to read. There are some parts of this poem that are less suitable for children though!

She ran out in her underwear,
And lost one slipper on the stair.
The Prince was on it like a dart,
He pressed it to his pounding heart

Enjoy more poems by Roald Dahl.

 

The ABC by Spike Milligan

Within this poem, Milligan uses the ABCs in a new, creative, and undoubtedly funny way. He emphasizes the shape of the letters and anthropomorphized them. They talk to and criticize one another and bicker over the smallest things.

Said A to B, “I don’t like C;
His manners are a lack.
For all I ever see of C
Is a semi-circular back!”

Read more Spike Milligan poems.

 

The Table and the Chair by Edward Lear 

In this five stanza poem from one of the masters of nonsense poetry, the poet personifies a table and chair. They speak to one another, make fun of one another’s features and their varied ability, or inability, to walk.

They make it into town with a “cheerful bumpy sound” and are noticed by everyone. Eventually, they get lost and are taken home. The perfect end rhymes in these lines, as well as the various examples of internal rhyme and half-rhyme, make this poem a pleasure to read. Here is an example of how the Chair talks to the Table:

Said the Chair unto the Table,
‘Now you know we are not able!
‘How foolishly you talk,
‘When you know we cannot walk!’
Explore more Edward Lear poems.

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About
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.
  • I need a 3 to 4 poems which suits Mr.Bean

    • Lee-James Bovey says:

      Umm…good question. That’s tough as he doesn’t actually talk! Maybe the Jabberwocky?

    • Lee-James Bovey says:

      funny? stupid? It’s a fine line!

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