Celebration Poems

won’t you celebrate with me

by Lucille Clifton

‘won’t you celebrate with me’ by Lucille Clifton addresses racism and inherent gender inequality. The speaker has overcome every hurdle and modeled herself in her own image.

The poem is an invitation to celebrate the speaker's life and accomplishments, despite the challenges she has faced. It is a reminder of the importance of celebrating and uplifting one another, particularly in the face of adversity.

won't you celebrate with me

what i have shaped into

a kind of life? i had no model.

Indian Weavers

by Sarojini Naidu

‘Indian Weavers’ explores the inevitability of death while celebrating the cycles of human existence and experience.

The poem celebrates the variety and vibrancy of human life, from birth until death

Weavers, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

by Tupac Shakur

‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete’ is a moving celebration of personal resolve against the backdrop of oppressive forces.

The poem goes to great lengths to celebrate the rose for its qualities and ability to survive in its harsh conditions.

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.

Be Drunk

by Charles Baudelaire

‘Be Drunk’ by Charles Baudelaire is a stirring poem meant to incite the reader to passion about life.

One thing that Baudelaire's poem does phenomenally well is capturing the exhilaration and love of life that's necessary too often to survive it. Its invocation of the phrase "be always drunk" is a literal and figurative representation of the celebration as a powerful guard against time's fleeting nature. To the speaker and Baudelaire, one could not possibly find a better way to spend their time on Earth than being totally enraptured by something.

You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

Peckham Rye Lane

by Amy Blakemore

‘Peckham Rye Lane’ by Amy Blakemore is a twenty-five line poem that is separated in stanzas of various lengths, many

The poem is a celebration of modern London, which might seem chaotic and overwhelming but can also be affirming and regenerative.

The sun, today –

it leaks desperation,

Gunmetal droplets of perspiration

Csontváry’s Flowers

by Jean Bleakney

‘Csontváry’s Flowers’ is a fascinating insight into one extraordinary artist’s view of the work of another.

The poem is less a celebration of the city in the painting than it is of the painting itself and, of course, its artist, Bleakney suggests to be a master of his craft.

The thin ribbon of sky, and thinner still,

blued hints of the easterly Carpathians

then down into the whole arboretum of blue-greens and greens

closing in around the valley town of Selmecbánya

Corinna’s Going A-Maying

by Robert Herrick

‘Corinna’s Going A-Maying’ is a carpe diem (Latin for “seize the day”) poem in which the speaker urges his beloved, Corinna, to arise from bed and join him in the festivities of May Day already in progress.

Celebration is a major theme in 'Corinna's Going A-Maying.' The poem is about a man enjoining his beloved, named Corinna, to join in the specific celebration of "going a-Maying." 'Going a-Maying' means participating in the celebration of spring, fertility, and the renewal of nature that occurs traditionally on May Day in Europe.

Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne

Upon her wings presents the god unshorne.

See how Aurora throwes her faire

Fresh-quilted colours through the aire:

Love of Country

by Sir Walter Scott

‘Love of Country’ presents a world in which patriotism is the most important virtue of all and the lack of it is unforgivable.

The poem is both a celebration of one's nation and a warning to those who, in the eyes of the narrator, fail to celebrate it.

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,

City of Orgies

by Walt Whitman

‘City of Orgies’ by Walt Whitman is a poem written by the celebrated American poet Walt Whitman. The poem is a reflection on the city of Manhattan and Whitman’s experiences in the midst of its bustling urban culture. 

This poem is a celebration of life, love, and the human experience. Whitman's poetry reflects his belief in the importance of embracing joy and celebrating the richness of existence. The city is presented as a place of constant celebration, with the streets and people teeming with excitement and energy.

City of orgies, walks and joys,

City whom that I have lived and sung in your midst will one day

make you illustrious,

Not the pageants of you, not your shifting tableaus, your specta-

cles, repay me,

In Celebration of My Uterus

by Anne Sexton

‘In Celebration of My Uterus’ by Anne Sexton is an uplifting poem about the meaning of womanhood. The poem explores Sexton’s perspective on feminine identity.

This is a poem that celebrates womanhood. Sexton's language and tone throughout the poem, which uplift women, point to her joyful mood. This is quite unusual for the poet, who usually wrote more melancholy poems.

Sweet weight,

in celebration of the woman I am

and of the soul of the woman I am

and of the central creature and its delight


Rosa Parks

by Nikki Giovanni

‘Rosa Parks’ by Nikki Giovanni is a poem about activism and the importance of remembering important moments in African American history. The poem pays tribute to the heroic actions of the Pullman Porters who spearheaded the civil rights movement and forever changed history for the African American community.

Giovanni's poem celebrates the achievements of those who have fought for equal rights. It shows how their efforts have led to significant changes in American society.

This is for the Pullman Porters who organized when people said

they couldn’t. And carried the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago

Defender to the Black Americans in the South so they would

Harlem (A Dream Deferred)

by Langston Hughes

‘Harlem (A Dream Deferred)’ by Langston Hughes is a powerful poem. The poet wrote it in response to what he felt as a black man navigating a career and personal life in a white-dominated world.

While 'Harlem (A Dream Deferred)' is a deeply serious and powerful poem, it is also a celebration of the resilience and strength of the African American community. Despite the challenges and injustices they face, Hughes suggests that African Americans are capable of rising above their circumstances and achieving great things.

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Latin & Soul

by Victor Hernández Cruz

‘Latin & Soul’ by Victor Hernández Cruz conveys the sublimely affecting power of music on a group of dancers.

The poem is focused on a group of people dancing to music, a scene of celebration that Cruz makes all the more vivid by imbuing it with imagery and figurative language.

some waves

                     a wave of now

                                               a trombone speaking to you

a piano is trying to break a molecule


by Walt Whitman

‘Mannahatta’ by Walt Whitman is a stunning poem that marvels over a city deeply admired by the poet, encompassing all the wondrous elements of its populace.

Whitman's poem unfolds as an ode to the city of Manhattan, which he renames "Mannahatta" using the pre-colonial and indigenous name for the island. This celebration of the city focuses on both the landscape (natural and urban) as well as the very people who lived and worked there in his lifetime. Whitman's excited and exalting voice crescendoes throughout as they attempt to wrangle all the many scenes that make up the city.

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,

Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.

Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly, musical, self-sufficient,

I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,

The Red Wheelbarrow

by William Carlos Williams

‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ by William Carlos Williams depicts, in very simple language, a red wheelbarrow outside in the rain.

Celebration is another theme in the poem, as Williams exalts the wheelbarrow and its role in daily life. The poem suggests that even the most ordinary objects can be sources of wonder and appreciation. This celebration of the everyday is a hallmark of Williams' poetry, and reflects his belief in the importance of finding meaning and beauty in the world around us.
so much depends upon a red wheel barrow  

The shallows

by Matsuo Bashō

‘The shallows’ by Matsuo Bashō  is a beautiful, traditional haiku about a crane landing in cool, shallow water and the ripples it makes. 

This beautiful poem celebrates the tranquility of nature, highlighting the joy and wonder that can be found in simple moments of observation and contemplation. Through its focus on the crane's thighs splashing in the cool waves, the poem invites the reader to appreciate the small wonders of life and find joy in the present moment.

The shallows –

a crane’s thighs splashed

in cool waves

The Old Pond

by Matsuo Bashō

‘The Old Pond’ is one of the best-known Japanese haiku of all time. This haiku consists of three phrases that contain the syllable count of 5-7-5.

This poem is a celebration of the natural world and the beauty that can be found in even the simplest of things. Bashō's work often celebrates the small moments in life that can bring us joy and contentment. In 'The Old Pond,' the beauty of the pond and the frog's movements, are celebrated for its own sake, without any need for explanation or justification.

Old pond...

a frog jumps in


Apostrophe to the Ocean

by Lord Byron

‘Apostrophe to the Ocean’ by Lord Byron is an excerpt from Byron’s long, epic poem ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.’ The excerpt includes seven stanzas from the poem, starting with stanza CLXXVIII, or 178, and ending with stanza 184. 

Throughout this verse, the poet celebrates the power of the ocean and, closer to the end of the poem, the power of God. He admires the ocean's strength and timelessness while fearing its ability to easily destroy life.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society where none intrudes,

By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:

The Three Oddest Words

by Wislawa Szymborska

‘The Three Oddest Words’ is a poem that addresses peculiarities of language in ways that reflect the peculiarities themselves.

This poem is a celebration of the power of language and words to capture the essence of human experience. The poem suggests that words have a unique ability to transcend time and space, connecting us with the experiences of others, and even with ourselves.

When I pronounce the word Future,

the first syllable already belongs to the past.

Before The Cask of Wine

by Li Bai

‘Before The Cask of Wine’ is a beautiful lyric that emphasizes enjoying one’s youthful hours to the fullest. As one can’t savor those moments in old age.

Celebration is a recurring theme in Li Bai's poetry. He often wrote about the joys of life, love, and friendship, and his works reflect a zest for living. In 'Before The Cask of Wine,' Li Bai celebrates the beauty of youth and urges the reader to enjoy life to the fullest while they can. The poem is a testament to the importance of celebration and living life to the fullest.

The spring wind comes from the east and quickly passes,

Leaving faint ripples in the wine of the golden bowl.

The flowers fall, flake after flake, myriads together.

On The Birth of a Son

by Su Tung-Po

“On The Birth of a Son” by Su Tung-Po explores the place of intelligence in society, looking at how it actually leads to unhappiness rather than joy.

The poem relates to celebration in that it reflects on the birth of a child, a joyous occasion celebrated in many cultures around the world. However, the poem's tone is ironic, and it challenges the notion that intelligence and ambition are always desirable traits.

Families when a child is born

Hope it will turn out intelligent.

I, through intelligence

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

by Adam Zagajewski

‘Try to Praise the Mutilated World’ by Adam Zagajewski focuses on the most important ways that people can find happiness in their everyday lives. They can step out into nature or return to memories.

While the poem acknowledges the tragedy and pain of the world, it also invites the reader to celebrate the beauty and wonder that can still be found in life. There is hope, the poet states, that the incredible beauty in the world will grow in the future.

Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June's long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrown

The light of a candle

by Yosa Buson

‘The light of a candle’ by Yosa Buson captures a moment of beauty and symbolism in the everyday act of lighting a candle.

The spring twilight mentioned in the poem could be interpreted as a time of celebration, as the arrival of spring is often seen as a time of new beginnings and growth. The passing of the light from one candle to another could also be seen as a celebration of connection and community.

The light of a candle

is transferred to another candle—

spring twilight.

Climbing Cader Idris

by Gillian Clarke

‘Climbing Cader Idris’ by Gillian Clarke celebrates the resiliency and the symbiotic relationship between individuals– representing beauty that can be found amid life’s challenges – as long as one is open to appreciate it during trying times.

The narrator celebrates the experience of climbing the mountain. Even when physically exhausted, the narrator continues to delight in the natural elements around her. The poem also explores and appreciates the role of resilience in human life. Despite the two climbers' disparate experiences, which could have been detrimental to their overall hiking experience, the poem offers a symbiotic relationship between these differences. It thus celebrates the experiences that vary from person to person.

You know the mountain with your body,

I with my mind, I suppose.

Each, in our way, describes

the steepening angle of rock.

O Captain! My Captain!

by Walt Whitman

Saddened by the results of the American civil war, Walt Whitman wrote the elegy, ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ in memory of deceased American President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. The civil war occurred during his lifetime with Whitman a staunch supporter of unionists.

Despite its elegiac tone, 'O Captain My Captain' is ultimately a celebration of Lincoln's life and legacy. The poem praises Lincoln's leadership during the Civil War and his efforts to preserve the Union, highlighting his importance as a symbol of hope and unity during a tumultuous period in American history.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;


by Danez Smith

’C.R.E.A.M.’ by Danez Smith is a complex, moving poem that depicts a speaker’s personal life and speaks on the American racial wealth gap. 

While there is little overt celebration in this poem, there is a sense of joy and defiance in the speaker's refusal to be defined by their circumstances.

in the morning I think about money

green horned lord of my waking

forest in which I stumbled toward no salvation

prison made of emerald & pennies

Still I Rise

by Maya Angelou

‘Still I Rise’ is an inspiring and emotional poem that’s based around Maya Angelou’s experiences as a Black woman in America. It encourages readers to love themselves fully and persevere in the face of every hardship.

Above all else, this poem celebrates loving oneself and fighting through any obstacles that life throws your way. This is especially relevant to the Black community to whom this poem is addressed.

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.


by Giusue Carducci

‘Virgil’ by Giusue Carducci uses nature imagery to evoke historical and mythical themes and events.

The poem is a great celebration of poetry and the power of language to evoke emotion and create meaning. It also celebrates the beauty of nature and the sense of wonder and awe it can inspire.

As when above the heated fields the moon

Hovers to spread its veil of summer frost,

The brook between its narrow banks half lost

Glitters in pale light, murmuring its low tune;


by Frank O’Hara

‘Steps’ by Frank O’Hara is one of the poet’s many pieces that explores life in New York City. It is written in his characteristic style and is filled with allusions that are sometimes hard to interpret. 

More than anything, this poem comes across as a celebration of life. The poet uses his personal experiences in New York City to fuel the reader's understanding of life's ups (and downs).

How funny you are today New York

like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime

and St. Bridget’s steeple leaning a little to the left

The Hill We Climb

by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ is a moving depiction of the United States as it was on the cusp of President Biden’s inauguration in 2021. 

One of the main themes of this poem is the celebration of the American way of life, and promising future America has if its people can come together and accept one another's differences.

When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry,

a sea we must wade.

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