Wealth Poems

Poems about wealth explore the allure and complexities of abundance, going beyond material possessions to delve into the richness of life’s experiences.

These verses contemplate the impact of wealth on human behavior, relationships, and the pursuit of happiness. They may portray the dichotomy of wealth and poverty, prompting reflections on societal disparities.

Poems about wealth may also celebrate the intangible treasures of love, compassion, and fulfillment that transcend material riches, reminding us that true wealth lies in the depth of our connections and the contentment found in simplicity.

From The Complaints of Poverty

by Nicholas James

‘The Complaints of Poverty’ by Nicholas James uses rhetorical devices and rhyme to give the rich a good look at how unpleasant it is to be poor. James indirectly challenges the stigmas associated with both wealth and poverty, inviting the rich to treat poor people with compassion, sympathy, and generosity.

With no way to gain wealth other than through ceaseless labor and begging, the poor people that Nicholas James Depicts in this poem are truly imprisoned in a society that sees them as lowly, dirty laborers. Wealth could free them, but according to the poet, the rich are far too prideful to help a hard-working man put food on the table.

MAY poverty, without offence, approach

The splendid equipage, the gilded coach?

May it with freedom all its wants make known?

And will not wealth and pow'r assume a frown?

The Complaints of the Poor

by Robert Southey

‘The Complaints of the Poor’ by Robert Southey takes place in a city, likely London, and describes the desperate measures poverty drives people to. 

Wealth is something that the "rich man" in this poem knows well. It obscures his understanding of what being poor is like.

And wherefore do the Poor complain?

The rich man asked of me,—

Come walk abroad with me, I said

And I will answer thee.

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.

In this poem, Dryden describes Zimri as prideful, ambitious, greedy, and wealthy. Dryden mocks him and the way he uses his talent and wealth, contrasting Zimri with Absalom and Achitophel, the main conspirators against King David.

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.


Summum Bonum

by Robert Browning

‘Summum Bonum’ by Robert Browning is a fairly straightforward and memorable poem about love and how it is far more important, and valuable than any beautiful summer day or shining gemstone. 

One of the things that the speaker compares love to (or a single kiss to) is a gemstone. He writes that it contains the full beauty and wealth of a mine, but it is still nothing compared to the kiss he desires.

All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:

All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:

In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:

Far over the misty mountains cold

by J.R.R. Tolkien

‘Far over the misty mountains cold’ by J.R.R. Tolkien depicts the destruction of Thorin Oakenshield’s home and his desire to win it back from Smaug. 

The dwarves in the poem are motivated by their desire for the treasure they believe belongs to them, even though the dragon stole it. Both parties, to an extent, are motivated by greed.

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away ere break of day

To seek the pale enchanted gold.

A Song: “Men of England”

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

‘A Song: “Men of England”’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley is a Romantic poem that calls for the English revolution. It is set in England in 1819 when the poem itself was written. 

Men of England, wherefore plough

For the lords who lay ye low?

Wherefore weave with toil and care

The rich robes your tyrants wear?


by Langston Hughes

‘Cross’ by Langston Hughes uses a stereotypical image of a biracial man to explore identity and the inequalites one might encounter.

My old man’s a white old man

And my old mother’s black.

If ever I cursed my white old man

I take my curses back.

Explore more poems about Wealth


by Gabriela Mistral

‘Fear’ by Gabriela Mistral is a passionate poem about a mother’s hopes for her daughter’s future. It includes three stanzas that contain the speaker’s worries about who her daughter may turn into.

I don’t want them to turn

my little girl into a swallow.

She would fly far away into the sky

and never fly again to my straw bed,


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,

Harlem Shadows

by Claude McKay

‘Harlem Shadows’ by Claude McKay memorably addresses the lives of Black sex workers in Harlem. The poet describes their experience while also acknowledging their strength.

Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience)

by William Blake

‘Holy Thursday’ by William Blake depicts the poor children of London attending church on Holy Thursday. Specifically, Blake describes their songs, appearance, and how their existence challenges the message the church is trying to convey.

Is this a holy thing to see, 

In a rich and fruitful land,

Babes reducd to misery,

Fed with cold and usurous hand?

I could bring You Jewels—had I a mind to

by Emily Dickinson

‘I could bring You Jewels—had I a mind’ by Emily Dickinson is a thoughtful poem about friendship. The speaker contemplates what gift she could possibly get a friend she dearly loves.

I could bring You Jewels—had I a mind to—

But You have enough—of those—

I could bring You Odors from St. Domingo—

Colors—from Vera Cruz—

I Gave Myself To Him

by Emily Dickinson

‘I Gave Myself To Him’ by Emily Dickinson is a clever love poem. It gives the readers a glimpse of the intensity of a relationship between the speaker and her subject.

I gave myself to Him --

And took Himself, for Pay,

The solemn contract of a Life

Was ratified, this way --


by Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin’s poem, ‘Money,’ is a powerful critique of the consumerist culture inherent in modern society through the personification of money itself.

Money, O!

by William H. Davies

‘Money, O!’ by W.H Davies is a poem that argues that having a lot of money is not all that it’s cracked up to be. While being well off financially comes with its benefits, it comes at the expense of genuine relationships.

Sonnet 125

by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 125,’ also known as ‘Were’t ought to me I bore the canopy,’ is an expression of the speaker’s love for the Fair Youth. He declares the type of love he’s prepared to give and what he wants in return.

Were't aught to me I bore the canopy,

With my extern the outward honouring,

Or laid great bases for eternity,

Which proves more short than waste or ruining?

Sonnet 8

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Sonnet 8’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, also known as ‘What can I give thee back, O liberal,’ is a Petrarchan sonnet. It explores the poet’s relationship with her new lover, Robert Browning. 

What can I give thee back, O liberal

And princely giver, who hast brought the gold

And purple of thine heart, unstained, untold,

And laid them on the outside of the-wall

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls

by E.E. Cummings

‘the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls’ by E. E. Cummings is about the differences in social classes, ignorance, and reality. The speaker judges the Cambridge women for the fiction they engage in and their lack of interest in the real world. 

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls

are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds

(also,with the church’s protestant blessings

daughters,unscented shapeless spirited)

The Good Life

by Tracy K. Smith

‘The Good Life’ by Tracy K. Smith is an incredibly relatable poem. In it, the poet asks the reader to consider their relationship with money and what the ‘good life’ really is.

When some people talk about money

They speak as if it were a mysterious lover

Who went out to buy milk and never

Came back, and it makes me nostalgic

The Yachts

by William Carlos Williams

‘The Yachts’ by William Carlos Williams depicts the winners, or yacht-owners, in the capitalist system and the losers, or the poor, who are drowning in the waters around the boats. 

To a Poor Old Woman

by William Carlos Williams

‘To a Poor Old Woman’ by William Carlos Williams is a thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker describes the experience of an old woman eating a bag of ripe plums.

Your Riches — taught me — Poverty

by Emily Dickinson

‘Your Riches — taught me — Poverty’ by Emily Dickinson is about wealth and possessions. She addresses a personal friend and explores these subjects through the eyes of an adult.

Your – Riches – taught me – poverty! Myself, a “Millionaire” In little – wealths – as Girls can boast – Till broad as “Buenos Ayre” –

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