Poems about Youth

Incident by Countee Cullen

‘Incident’ by Countee Cullen describes a terrible incident from the poet’s youth that occurred when he was happily visiting Baltimore. 

Incident by Countee Cullen Visual Representation

The Gift by Li-Young Lee

‘The Gift’ by Li-Young Lee is an effective contemporary poem about the way a father’s voice and attitude influenced his son. 

The Gift by Li-Young Lee Visual Representation

Splendour in the Grass by William Wordsworth

‘Splendour in the Grass’ by William Wordsworth is an excerpt from the poet’s much longer, ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.’ The excerpt describes aging and where, after their youth has ended, one should seek strength and happiness.

Splendour in the Grass by William Wordsworth Visual Representation

Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter by John Crowe Ransom

‘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.

Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter by John Crowe Ransom Visual Representation

Sally’s Hair by John Koethe

‘Sally’s Hair’ by John Koethe is a short and effective poem in which the speaker looks back on someone he met thirty-seven years ago and wonders where she is now.

Sally's Hair by John Koethe Visual Representation

Hush little baby, don’t say a word by Mother Goose

“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.

Hush little baby, don't say a word by Mother Goose Visual Representation

Never Trust a Mirror by Erin Hanson

‘Never Trust a Mirror’ by Erin Hanson is a poem about beauty and self-worth. The poet describes the untrustworthy nature of a mirror and how one shouldn’t take what they see in it for granted. 

Never Trust a Mirror by Erin Hanson Visual Representation

Homecoming by Lenrie Peters

‘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. 

Homecoming by Lenrie Peters Visual Representation

Moonlight by Sara Teasdale

‘Moonlight’ is a short lyrical poem by Sara Teasdale that uses various literary devices to depict the sorrows of a troubled youth.

Moonlight by Sara Teasdale Visual Representation

Unholy Sonnet 13 by Mark Jarman

‘Unholy Sonnet 13’ appears in the modern American poet Mark Jarman’s award-winning poetry collection Questions for Ecclesiastes (1997). This sonnet is about a matured speaker’s belief in God and the miraculous beauty of nature.

Unholy Sonnet 13 by Mark Jarman Visual Representation

Sonnet 110 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 110,’ also known as ‘Alas, ’tis true I have gone here and there,’ is a poem about infidelity and the speaker’s realization that the Fair Youth is the only one he wants. 

Sonnet 109 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 109,’ also known as ‘O! never say that I was false of heart,’ is an expression of pure love and devotion unchanged by time and circumstance. 

Sonnet 107 by William Shakespeare

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 107, ‘Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul,’ with a summary and complete analysis of the poem.

Sonnet 103 by William Shakespeare

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 103, ‘Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth,’ with a summary and complete analysis of the poem.

Sonnet 95 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 95,’ also known as ‘How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame,’ is number ninety-five of one hundred fifty-four sonnets that William Shakespeare wrote.

To an Athlete Dying Young by A. E. Housman

‘To an Athlete Dying Young’ by A. E. Housman describes the death of a youthful man who is celebrated for his glorious passing and remembered for his loss, rather than his athletic achievements.

When I Was One-and-Twenty by A. E. Housman

‘When I Was One-and-Twenty’ by A. E. Housman is a relatable poem that explores how easy it is to make mistakes in one’s love life, even when one knows exactly what they should do.

Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne

‘Now We Are Six’ by A. A. Milne is a funny poem. The young speaker talks about what life was like when they were younger than they are now.

I look into my glass by Thomas Hardy

‘I look into my glass’ by Thomas Hardy describes the painful process of aging and how one’s mental age is not always in line with one’s physical. 

Unprofitableness by Henry Vaughan

‘Unprofitableness’ by Henry Vaughan is an extended conceit presenting  a speaker’s unsuccessful efforts to thank God for his fresh and rejuvenating visits. 

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