Birthdays are a time for celebration and reflection. Famous poets give their perspective on birthdays in this collection of classic birthday poems.
- "One and Twenty" by Samuel Johnson
Johnson's poem begins:
"one and twenty
Ling'ring year at last has flown,
Pomp and pleasure, pride and plenty
Great Sir John, are all your own. "
- "To Mrs. M. B. on Her Birthday" by Alexander Pope
Pope's birthday poem contains the lines:
"But, like a sieve, let ev’ry blessing thro’,
Some joy still lost, as each vain year runs o’er,
And all we gain, some sad Reflection more;
Is that a birthday? ’t is alas! too clear,"
- "Poem in October" by Dylan Thomas
Thomas's poem contains the lines:
"My birthday began with the water- Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose"
- "A Birthday" by Aleister Crowley
Crowley's poem contains the lines:
"Let me go back to your last birthday. Then
I was already your one man of men
Appointed to complete you, and fulfil
From everlasting the eternal will."
- "A Birthday Candle" by Donald Justice
Justice's poem begins with the lines:
"Thirty today, I saw
The trees flare briefly like
The candles on a cake,"
- "Sonnet Written On The Author's Birthday" by Robert Burns
Burns' poem begins with the lines:
"Sing on, sweet thrush, upon the leafless bough,
Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain,
See aged Winter, 'mid his surly reign,
At thy blythe carol, clears his furrowed brow"
- "A Ninth Birthday" by Algernon Charles Swinburn
Swinburne's poem begins with the lines:
"Three times thrice hath winter's rough white wing
Crossed and curdled wells and streams with ice
Since his birth whose praises love would sing
Three times thrice."
- "Infant Sorrow" by William Blake
Blake's poem about his own birth begins with the lines:
"My mother groand! my father wept.
Into the dangerous world I leapt:
Helpless, naked, piping loud;
Like a fiend hid in a cloud. "
- "On His Seventy-fifth Birthday" by Walter Savage Landor
Landor says he is ready to depart in his short birthday poem:
"I strove with none; for none was worth my strife, Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art; I warmed both hands before the fire of life, It sinks, and I am ready to depart."
- "A Birthday" by Christina Rossetti
Rossetti's birthday poems includes the lines:
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;