Stars Poems

Stars are a timeless and evocative theme in literature, especially in poetry. They represent a symbol of beauty, wonder, and transcendence, inspiring poets to explore the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

At a high level, poems about stars offer a way to grapple with the limitations of human knowledge and experience and celebrate the majesty and vastness of the universe.

Poets use stars to evoke emotions such as love, hope, and inspiration, drawing comparisons between the twinkling lights in the night sky and the depths of human emotion. Whether exploring themes of earthly or heavenly nature, stars offer a rich and diverse tapestry of ideas and emotions, making them a continuous popular theme in literature.

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art

by John Keats

‘Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art’ is one of John Keats’ best-loved poems. It uses a star as an image of steadfastness to depict the enduring nature of a lover’s heart.

Stars are extremely relevant in this poem, as the speaker directly addresses a bright star and expresses a desire to be as steadfast and unchangeable as it is. The star serves as a symbol of constancy and permanence, which the speaker wishes to possess in his relationship with his lover. The star's patient and eternal gaze is contrasted with the moving waters and falling snow, highlighting its enduring nature.

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—

         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night

And watching, with eternal lids apart,

         Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

by Walt Whitman

It’s much more than the dry figures to study or embracing the moist air of nature. In ‘When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,’ Walt Whitman emphasizes the importance of studying nature that can tap into deeper thoughts and knowledge.

In this poem, stars play a contrasting role to the learn'd astronomer's scientific approach. They represent a sense of wonder and mystery that cannot be captured by facts and figures. The speaker becomes disenchanted with the lecture and seeks solace in the outdoors, where they can appreciate the stars in "perfect silence." The stars are a symbol of the beauty and mystery of the natural world, and a reminder that there are some things that cannot be fully explained or understood by human knowledge alone.

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

The lamp once out

by Natsume Sōseki

‘The lamp once out’ by Natsume Sōseki is a beautiful and thoughtful poem about the way that, once a lamp is out, one can actually see more. The stars appear in the window frame, something you can’t see with the lamp on. 

The poem explores the allure of stars, inviting readers to gaze into the night sky and ponder their mystique. It conjures a sense of wonder and fascination, using the stars as a symbol of the vastness and grandeur of the universe.

The lamp once out

Cool stars enter

The window frame.

To a Star

by Lucretia Maria Davidson
The star in this poem is seen as a symbol of hope and freedom. It represents a place of eternal peace and happiness, and the speaker longs to be free from their earthly constraints and join the shining star in the sky.

Thou brightly-glittering star of even,

Thou gem upon the brow of Heaven

Oh! were this fluttering spirit free,

How quick 't would spread its wings to thee.


by Sara Teasdale

‘Stars’ by Sara Teasdale is a beautiful and easy-to-read poem. In it, Teasdale spends five stanzas describing and appreciating the stars in the sky. 

In this poem, stars are depicted as the majestic and eternal guardians of the night sky. The speaker, alone on a dark hill, is surrounded by the silent and fragrant pines, and marvels at the beauty of the heavens full of white, topaz, and misty red stars. They feel honored to witness such majesty, reminding us of the humbling power of the natural world and our place in it.

And a heaven full of stars

Over my head

White and topaz

And misty red;

The Light of Stars

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The stars play a significant role in the poem as they are the only source of light in the sky during the night. They symbolize the speaker's inner strength and resilience, which he derives from the star of strength, Mars. The stars also serve as a reminder that there is always light in the darkness and that one should remain resolute and calm, even when their hopes seem to be fading away.

There is no light in earth or heaven

But the cold light of stars;

And the first watch of night is given

To the red planet Mars.

The More Loving One

by W.H. Auden
Stars serve as a metaphor in this poem for the idea that we can feel insignificant and unimportant in the face of the vast universe. However, the speaker argues that it is better to be the more loving one in a relationship, even if the other party does not reciprocate the same level of affection. Ultimately, the poem encourages us to find meaning in the universe, even if we feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well

That, for all they care, I can go to hell,

But on earth indifference is the least

We have to dread from man or beast.


by Lord Byron

‘Darkness’ by Lord Byron serves as a warning against the growing inequality in Byron’s time and a prediction for what will happen to the planet if the human race does not change. 

The stars in this poem are a symbol of the lost and distant light that once shone in the universe, now extinguished in a world of chaos and death. The speaker describes how the bright sun has been extinguished and the stars wander "darkling" in eternal space, highlighting the sense of loss and despair that pervades the poem. As the world falls into darkness and destruction, the stars serve as a reminder of the beauty and light that once existed, now lost forever.

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Sonnet 14

by William Shakespeare

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 14, ‘Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck,’ with a summary and complete analysis of the poem.

n this poem, stars are used as a point of contrast. The speaker asserts that their judgement is not derived from the stars, but rather from the beauty and truth they find in the eyes of another, such as the Fair Youth.

Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck;

And yet methinks I have Astronomy,

But not to tell of good or evil luck,

Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;

Winter Stars

by Larry Levis

‘Winter Stars’ by Larry Levis tries to reconcile the estranged relationship between a son and their dying father.

Stars serve as a powerful symbol in this poem, representing both the beauty and transience of life. The speaker contemplates his father's mortality and the weight of their unspoken words, likening them to the stars shining above him. The stars, like their relationship, are both distant and enduring, a reminder of the fleeting nature of existence. The beauty and mystery of the stars offer a way for the speaker to come to terms with his father's impending death and to find a sense of reconciliation in the face of the unknown.

My father once broke a man’s hand

Over the exhaust pipe of a John Deere tractor. The man,

Rubén Vásquez, wanted to kill his own father

With a sharpened fruit knife, & he held

Explore more poems about Stars

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

by Jane Taylor
This poem is a timeless classic that has been beloved by generations of children and adults alike. It captures the wonder and curiosity that we feel when gazing up at the stars in the night sky, and the comfort they provide in their unchanging presence. The

Twinkle twinkle little star.

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high.

Like a diamond in the sky.

The Starlight Night

by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The poem is about the beauty and wonder of the night sky, specifically the stars. The stars and celestial bodies are portrayed as "fire-folk" and "bright boroughs" which evoke a sense of grandeur and majesty. The imagery of the "diamond delves" and "elves'-eyes" create a mystical and enchanting atmosphere.

Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!

O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!

The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!

Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves'-eyes!

Teach me your mood, O patient stars!

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Teach me your mood, O patient stars!’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a beautiful short poem about the nature of life and death. The speaker addresses the stars and discusses their “mood.”

In this poem, the speaker turns to the stars, asking them to teach him their mood. The stars are seen as patient beings that climb the sky each night, leaving no scars or traces of age. The speaker is fascinated by the stars' timeless nature and their lack of fear of death.

Teach me your mood, O patient stars!

Who climb each night the ancient sky,

Leaving on space no shade, no scars,

No trace of age, no fear to die.


by Léonie Adams

Apostate’ by Léonie Adams describes the freedom a speaker sees in the joyful stars and how she aches to live as they do. 

The stars in this poem represent a sense of timeless beauty and joy that stands in contrast to the speaker's inner turmoil and sense of alienation. The stars serve as a reminder of the vastness and complexity of the natural world, and offer a glimpse of a deeper and more meaningful existence beyond the constraints of human experience.
From weariness I looked out on the stars And there beheld them, fixed in throbbing joy, Nor racked by such mad dance of moods as mars For us each moment’s grace with swift alloy.

Stars Over the Dordogne

by Sylvia Plath

‘Stars Over the Dordogne’ by Sylvia Plath is a personal, confessional poem. It provides the reader insight into the poet’s battle with depression.

Stars are a symbol of mystery and infinite possibility in this poem, as the speaker muses on their absence and presence in the night sky. The contrast between the sparse stars visible from the speaker's home and the luxury of stars in the peach orchard highlights the idea that we often take for granted what is familiar to us, and that a change in perspective can bring new appreciation for the mysteries of the cosmos.

Stars are dropping thick as stones into the twiggy

Picket of trees whose silhouette is darker

Than the dark of the sky because it is quite starless.

The woods are a well. The stars drop silently.

Ah, Moon–and Star!

by Emily Dickinson

‘Ah, Moon–and Star!’ by Emily Dickinson is an unforgettable love poem. The poet skillfully uses the universe to depict what it’s like for two lovers to be separated.

In this poem, the moon and star represent a distance that separates the speaker from someone they long to be with. The poem illustrates how the vastness of the universe and stars can serve as a metaphor for the distance between people, highlighting the pain of longing for someone who is unattainable.

Ah, Moon — and Star!

You are very far —

But were no one

Farther than you —


by Sara Eliza Johnson
In this poem, the stars serve as a point of comparison for the speaker's musings on the vastness and complexity of the natural world. The speaker contemplates the intricate structures of the human body, from the number of bones and cells to the atoms that make them up, and draws parallels between these structures and the workings of the universe.
If a human body has two-hundred-and-six bones and thirty trillion cells, and each cell has one hundred trillion atoms, if the spine has thirty-three vertebrae—

Week-night Service

by D.H. Lawrence

‘Week-night Service’ creates a vivid scene of a church at night. The sound of bells disturbs the otherwise quiet church yard and the nature that surrounds it.

The moon and stars are discussed in conjunction in 'Week-night Service.' One star, in particular, makes jokes to the moon about the silliness of the bells. The stars and the bells are similar: none of them have any answers. Just as the stars disturb and jest with the moon, the bells might be disturbing the peace of the nighttime.

The five old bells

Are hurrying and eagerly calling,

Imploring, protesting

They know, but clamorously falling

The Road Goes Ever On

by J.R.R. Tolkien

‘The Road Goes Ever On’ by J.R.R. Tolkien consists of only two verses, but the structure and approach within them are sufficient to highlight the epic journey before and after the song surfaces in the book.

The poem contains several references to stars. The second stanza mentions traveling "under cloud and under star," implying that the journey takes place both during the day and night.

Roads go ever ever on,

Over rock and under tree,

By caves where never sun has shone,

By streams that never find the sea;


by Walter de la Mare

‘Winter’ by Walter de la Mare tells of the stark beauty of the winter months and how the constellations look down upon the cold earth.

Stars in this poem play a supporting role, setting the stage for the winter landscape. The silver moon and stars "draw taper bars" and "kindle winking fires" on the frozen snow, adding to the atmosphere of the scene. While not central to the poem, the stars contribute to its evocative mood.
And the robin flew Into the air, the air, The white mist through; And small and rare

De Profundis

by Christina Rossetti

‘De Profundis’ by Christina Rossetti describes a speaker’s longing for heaven, and the impossibility of reaching it during one’s lifetime. 

In this poem, the stars serve as a symbol of the vastness and incomprehensibility of the universe, which lies beyond the grasp of mortal beings. The speaker expresses a sense of wonder and awe at the stars, but also a frustration at their distance and inaccessibility.

Oh why is heaven built so far,

Oh why is earth set so remote?

I cannot reach the nearest star

That hangs afloat.


by Edith Franklin Wyatt

‘Sympathy’ describes a speaker’s expanding view of the world and how a new ability to see has brought her closer to civilization.

The reference to a waking star in the poem signifies a new dawn, a change in perspective and the opening of the narrator's once-limited worldview. The star serves as a symbol for the expansion of the narrator's horizons, as they move from their moated tower and embrace the wider world beyond. The star also represents hope, as the narrator discovers that they are not alone in their singular existence and that the world holds many possibilities beyond their previous imagination. While the star is not a central focus of the poem, its appearance marks a pivotal moment in the narrator's personal journey towards a broader understanding of the world.
As one within a moated tower, I lived my life alone; And dreamed not other granges’ dower, Nor ways unlike mine own.

What Though the Dark Come Down

by Annette Wynne

‘What Though the Dark Come Down’ by Annette Wynne is a powerful, four-stanza poem that explores the power, or lack thereof, darkness holds. 

Stars are a major symbol in this poem, despite only being mentioned briefly. They represent the hope one can feel if one remember that light follows dark.

What though the dark come down,

What though the shadows fall,

What though the dark come on the sea,

And the ships and the hills and all?

The Blessed Damozel

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

‘The Blessed Damozel’ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is a ballad that is dedicated to the love between a woman trapped in heaven and a man stuck on Earth. 

Although the poem mentions the stars in the first stanza, they do not play a significant role in the poem. Instead, the poem focuses on the Damozel's desire to be reunited with her lover in Heaven and the peace and joy they will share there. The stars are mentioned briefly as part of the heavenly landscape but do not drive the theme or imagery of the poem.
The blessed Damozel lean'd out From the gold bar of Heaven: Her blue grave eyes were deeper much Than a deep water, even.


by Philip Larkin

‘Solar’ by Philip Larkin is an unlikely Larkin poem that depicts the sun. The poet uses lyrical language to describe the sun through a series of metaphors and similes. 

In this poem, stars are not explicitly mentioned, but they could be interpreted as represented by the "petalled head of flames" that continuously explodes and gives endlessly, like the stars. The image of the flower 'simplified by distance into an origin' could also be seen to be a metaphor for the stars, which are often seen as distant and mysterious.

Suspended lion face

Spilling at the centre

Of an unfurnished sky

Song: Go and catch a falling star

by John Donne

‘Song: Go and catch a falling star’ by John Donne tells of a speaker’s belief that there are no women in the world who are both beautiful and faithful. 

Stars are not explicitly mentioned in the poem, but the idea of catching a falling star is presented as a fantastical, impossible task. The speaker is asking for impossible tasks and feats, such as finding a woman who is true and fair, or hearing mermaids singing.

Go and catch a falling star,

    Get with child a mandrake root,

Tell me where all past years are,

    Or who cleft the devil's foot,


by Louis MacNeice
Forty-two years ago (to me if to no one else The number is of some interest) it was a brilliant starry night And the westward train was empty and had no corridors

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