Greediness Poems

Poetry about greediness often explores the corrosive impact of excessive desire and materialistic tendencies. The poet uses stark, vivid imagery to portray the insatiable nature of greed, capturing the destructive path it often leaves in its wake.

These verses can be unsettling, reflecting on the hollow emptiness that greed often leads to. Such poems serve as a stark warning to the reader, cautioning against the perils of unchecked desire.

Velocity Of Money

by Allen Ginsberg

‘Velocity Of Money’ by Allen Ginsberg uses irony and satire to make a powerful critique on the forces of capitalism.

Greediness is perhaps the most powerful emotion expressed and felt throughout the poem. The speaker satirizes this feeling to the point of money worship, exalting inflation as a beautiful and necessary thing. Of course, the poem does not advocate for such greed. Instead, it simply reveals just how dismaying and illogical it is to be guided solely by such narcism.

I’m delighted by the velocity of money as it whistles through the windows

of Lower East Side

Delighted by skyscrapers rising the old grungy apartments falling on

84th Street


by Carl Sandburg

‘Cahoots’ by Carl Sandburg delves into the dark underbelly of a corrupt city, exposing the collusion and exploitation that thrive within its power structures.

This poem expresses the emotion of greediness through its depiction of individuals involved in illicit activities and their pursuit of personal gain. The references to stealing, fixating on financial gains, and the language of exploitation and deception convey a sense of greed and selfishness. The repeated emphasis on the idea of "going fifty-fifty" and the desire to not let anything stick to one's fingers further emphasize the theme of greediness and avarice.

Play it across the table.

What if we steal this city blind?

If they want any thing let 'em nail it down.

Harness bulls, dicks, front office men,

Portrait of Zimri

by John Dryden

‘Portrait of Zimri’ by John Dryden is a political satire that showcases how people in power can be consumed by hollow and pretentious self interest.

If readers can deduce one emotion from this poem that the poet is trying to convey, it has to be greed. The greediness of the Duke of Buckingham and his allies is brought to the fore, where they try to revolt against the king due to their hunger/greed for power. Though there are much better poems that bring out this emotion but 'Portrait of Zimri' also has its undercurrents.

Some of their chiefs were princes of the land:

In the first rank of these did Zimri stand:

A man so various, that he seem'd to be

Not one, but all Mankind's Epitome.


They Feed They Lion

by Philip Levine

‘They Feed They Lion’ by Philip Levine is a powerful poem that visualizes a scene of apocalyptic proportions. It was inspired by the aftermath of the 1967 Detroit riots.

Greed is presented in the poem as the emotion responsible for oppressing those who "lion" against it. Readers will likely feel different levels of guilt and empathy for the groups alluded to in this poem.

Out of burlap sacks, out of bearing butter,

Out of black bean and wet slate bread,

Out of the acids of rage, the candor of tar,

Out of creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies,


by Maxine Kumin

Amid opulent bills and undersea dreams, Kumin’s ‘Spree’ unveils family conflicts and materialistic illusions with evocative language.

This poem evokes greediness by depicting the father's excessive pursuit of luxury items and the consequent sacrifices. The opulent bills, animal fur purchases, and lavish material possessions exemplify insatiable desires for wealth and status. This portrayal of unchecked materialism prompts a sense of disgust and aversion towards the father's indulgence and the societal norms that enable it.

My father paces the upstairs hall

a large confined animal

neither wild nor yet domesticated.

About him hangs the smell of righteous wrath.


Chocolate Cake

by Michael Rosen

‘Chocolate Cake’ by Michael Rosen is an upbeat children’s poem that describes a child’s lack of control when it comes to his favorite dessert. 

Throughout this poem, the main emotion felt is a need for or greediness for chocolate cake. The young boy in the poem cannot think about anything else when there is cake in the house.

I love chocolate cake.

And when I was a boy

I loved it even more.


by Thomas Hood

‘Gold!’ by Thomas Hood is a piece about the corrupting nature of gold. It focuses on the duality of the substance. It can save but, it can also doom the person seeking it out. 

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!

Bright and yellow, hard and cold

Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,

Heavy to get and light to hold,

The Butterfly and the Bee

by William Lisle Bowles

‘The Butterfly and the Bee’ is a children’s poem written by the English poet William Lisle Bowles. This poem contrasts the life of a bee and that of a butterfly.

Methought I heard a butterfly

Say to a labouring bee:

'Thou hast no colours of the sky

On painted wings like me.'

Explore more poems about Greediness

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

by Robert Browning

‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ by Robert Browning is an entertaining poem about the importance of telling the truth and keeping one’s promises.

Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,

   By famous Hanover city;

The river Weser, deep and wide,

Washes its wall on the southern side;

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