’90 North’ by Randall Jarrell is concerned with dreams, aging, and the truth of success. The poet’s speaker realizes that success means nothing and that after achieving everything he wanted, his life is worthless.
The poem ‘Gathering the Bones Together’ describes the grief and trauma that Gregory Orr had to go through after accidentally killing his younger brother.
‘A Child is Something Else Again’ by Yehuda Amichai is a poem about parenthood and childhood. A child represents a great deal, the speaker says, and provides a parent with the will to live.
‘Only a Dad’ by Edgar Albert Guest is dedicated to the poet’s father. The poem describes the man’s willingness to self-sacrifice and do whatever he can to make his children happy.
‘Abuelito Who’ by Sandra Cisneros is a powerful poem about the importance of family. The poem conveys the ways that illness and change within the family dynamic can have on a child.
‘Persimmons’ by Li-Young Lee is a beautiful poem that describes the poet’s interest in language. It explores how a persimmon comes to symbolize both his family connections and his feelings of alienation from his peers.
‘Nightmare Begins Responsibility’ by Michael S. Harper is an unforgettable poem in which the speaker describes the loss of a child. While struggling to trust the doctors caring for his newborn son, the speaker watches on helplessly.
‘To Her Father with Some Verses’ by Anne Bradstreet expresses the poet’s admiration for her father and desire to pay him back for his support.
‘Old Man’ by Edward Thomas is a thoughtful piece about the loss of memory and a disconnect to one’s past.
‘Mr. Nobody’ by Anonymous is a clever children’s poem that shifts the blame for all mischief and messes over to an unknown entity– Mr. Nobody.
‘Incident’ by Countee Cullen describes a terrible incident from the poet’s youth that occurred when he was happily visiting Baltimore.
In ‘Nikki-Rosa,’ Nikki Giovanni explores her experiences while growing up in a closely-knit black community in 1950s America.
‘Parents’ by William Meredith is an interesting and relatable poem about childhood and parenthood. It is at times moving and comedic.
‘Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter’ by John Crowe Ransom is an elegy for Whiteside’s daughter, a young girl who passed away suddenly. It’s unclear why she died, but, the speaker spends the bass majority of this poem depicting her lively and playful life.
‘Babies’ by Alice Fulton describes the different ways that children and adults understand the world. The latter’s perspective is informed by years of conflict, lies that can’t be apologized for, and the realization that some parts of one’s life are so important that you only get one shot at them.
“Hush little baby, don’t say a word” by Mother Goose is a popular nursery rhyme that originated in the southern United States. It is addressed to a crying child and includes the many things that their father would do for them to make them happy.
‘One For Sorrow’ it’s an old English nursery rhyme that playfully interprets magpies (a type of bird) as signs of the future.
‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ is a children’s nursery rhyme and singing game that was first recorded in the 19th-century.
‘Flower On the Road’ by Chitra Padmanabhan is a sweet and simple children’s poem that emphasizes everyone’s ability to bring joy to the world, no matter their size.
‘The Wind’ by Robert Louis Stevenson inquires into the nature of the wind. Stevenson uses a young speaker in order to adequately convey a child-like wonder of this common element.
Duffy’s ‘Stafford Afternoons’ is all about a child losing her way in the adult world and coming across an offensive scene that would leave its dark imprints in her mind.
‘Homecoming’ by Lenrie Peters is a poem about someone returning home after a long time away. This person is moved by the immense changes that their home has undergone during this period.
‘The Beach’ by Robert Graves is a poem about the contrast between childhood innocence and an adult mindset. The poem depicts this dichotomy by demonstrating the difference between how a boatman and a group of children interact with the ocean.
‘The Lost Pilot’ is dedicated to James Tate’s father, who died on a bombing mission in World War II in 1944. He was a co-pilot of a B-17.
‘Barbed Wire’ is a poem about the tragic death of a horse on a summer afternoon. This piece explores the quick, sudden death of the horse.
‘A Stone is Nobody’s’ by Russell Edson is a memorable poem. It uses a stone, and a man’s capture of it, to describe a troubling mother/son relationship.
Ai’s poem ‘The Kid’ presents a haunting tale of a fourteen-year-old boy who kills his mother, sister, and grandfather, and then runs away. It appears in her award-winning poetry collection Vice: New and Selected Poems (1999).
‘Adolescence’ by W.H. Auden is an interesting and complex poem. In it, the speaker analyzes and describes the life and experiences of a young man.
‘The Spanish Needle’ by Claude McKay is thoughtful and image-filled. The poet looks back on his speaker’s past and directs his words to a plant.
‘Begotten’ appears in the American poet Andrew Hudgins’ poetry collection The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood (1994). This poem is about a child finding his resemblance to the other members of his family.