Some speak on moments lost to time, others to future, happier meetings between children and their mothers, while others still simply celebrate the role that a mother played in a child’s life.
Explore the Best Mother's Day Poems
- 1 To My Mother by George Barker
- 2 On Mother’s Day by Bruce Lansky
- 3 To a Little Invisible Being Who is Expected Soon to Become Visible by Anna Lætitia Barbauld
- 4 Ending the Estrangement by Ross Gay
- 5 The Mothering Blackness by Maya Angelou
- 6 Mother’s Song by Shirley Lim
- 7 My Mother’s Kitchen by Choman Hardi
- 8 Not Here by Jane Kenyon
- 9 To Any Reader by Robert Louis Stevenson
- 10 Rock Me to Sleep by Elizabeth Akers Allen
- 11 Mother to Son by Langston Hughes
To My Mother by George Barker
‘To My Mother’ is an elegy for the speaker’s deceased mother. It Includes his recollections of her and the reasons that he’s going to miss having her around. He’s working through his loss in the lines of this piece as he compares his mother to geographical features like mountains and continents in order to depict her importance in his life.
Most near, most dear, most loved and most far,
Under the window where I often found her
Sitting as huge as Asia, seismic with laughter,
Gin and chicken helpless in her Irish hand,
Read more George Barker poems.
On Mother’s Day by Bruce Lansky
This short poem describes what’s not “smart” to do on mother’s day. The speaker lists out several things, including “Don’t tell her smoking’s cool” and “Don’t tell her when you’re grown you’ll be / A starving poet.” Here are a few more lines:
On Mother’s Day it isn’t smart
To give your mom a broken heart.
So here are thing you shouldn’t say
To dear old mom on Mother’s Day […]
Read more about Bruce Lansky and his poems.
To a Little Invisible Being Who is Expected Soon to Become Visible by Anna Lætitia Barbauld
This poem is directed to an unborn child, one that the speaker is desperately excited to meet. She celebrates the life the child is going to live and how much joy they’re going to bring everyone. Here are lines from the third stanza:
And see, the genial season’s warmth to share,
Fresh younglings shoot, and opening roses glow!
Swarms of new life exulting fill the air,—
Haste, infant bud of being, haste to blow!
Explore more Anna Lætitia Barbauld poems.
Ending the Estrangement by Ross Gay
This poem is slightly different than others on this list in that the speaker is depicting his reconciliation with his mother after a long period of time. The first lines read:
from my mother’s sadness, which was,
to me, unbearable, until,
it felt to me
not like what I thought it felt like
to her, and so felt inside myself—like death
Explore more Ross Gray poems.
In this memorable poem, Angelou uses repetition to emphasize Black motherhood and childhood. The three stanzas present different images of Blackness while depicting a female character headed home into “mothering blackness” and “black arms waiting.” Here are some lines from stanza two:
She came down creeping
here to the black arms waiting
now to the warm heart waiting
rime of alien dreams befrosts her rich brown face
Discover more Maya Angelou poems.
Mother’s Song by Shirley Lim
Throughout this poem, Lim’s speaker addresses a man who starts out as a baby and grows up, eventually described as having gray hair. The speaker takes a gentle and celebratory tone while depicting her child’s milestones.
Beautiful man, milk teeth bared in a trap,
Whose mouth curls in despair,
She smiles at your face.
Discover more Shirley Lim poems.
My Mother’s Kitchen by Choman Hardi
In this anecdotal poem, the speaker explores the items that a mother is handing down to her daughter when she moves away. She’s willing to give these things up and start from scratch. Here are the first lines:
I will inherit my mother’s kitchen,
her glasses, some tall and lean others short and fat
Read more Choman Hardi poems.
Not Here by Jane Kenyon
The poet uses imagery in these lines to depict an incident with mice and her mourning for a lost generation of women and lost lives. The mice are used as a metaphor for those same women. Here are the first four lines of the second stanza:
Tufts of fibers, droppings like black
caraway seeds, and the stains of birth
and afterbirth give off the strong
unforgettable attar of mouse
Read more poetry from Jane Kenyon.
To Any Reader by Robert Louis Stevenson
In ‘To Any Reader,’ Stevenson depicts a mother imagining her child playing while at the same time depicting the speaker as someone who grown out of childhood. He’s no longer that young boy, he’s a man and “a child of air / That lingers in the garden there.” Stevenson uses the second person “you” throughout the peace, allowing the reader to feel as though they are part of the poem. Here are the first four lines:
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Read more Robert Louis Stevenson poems.
Rock Me to Sleep by Elizabeth Akers Allen
This loving poem is a tribute to the poet’s mother. She depicts her longing to go back in time and return to her childhood where she could live freely without worries. There, she’d loved the simplicities of the time. Here are the first four lines:
Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Discover more Elizabeth Akers Allen poetry.
In this well-loved poem, a speaker addresses her son, informing him of all the struggles he’s sure to face throughout his life. It was first published in 1922 and has since become a classic and one of Hughes’ most commonly studied poems. This is due in part to the fact that readers from different backgrounds are able to connect to what’s being described in the lines. Here is a section from the beginning of the poem:
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Read more Langston Hughes poems.