Best poems for kids. Read poems.

Best poems for kids

These Great Poems are perfect for kids to enhance their vocabulary and practice reading skills.


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Read complete Best Poems ↓↓↓

 

  • A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year…

  • Then Laugh by Bertha Adams Backus

Build for yourself a strong box,
Fashion each part with care…

  • Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant…

  • A Happy Child by Anonymous

My house is red — a little house
A happy child am I…

  • Allie by Robert Graves

Allie, call the birds in,
The birds from the sky…

  • Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

In Winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle light…

  • Aim High to the Sky by James McDonald

Aim high to the sky,
In all that you do…

  • Dirty Face by Shel Silverstein

Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child…

  • Every Time I Climb a Tree by David McCord

Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree…

  • Fairy Town by Carolyn Wells

In Fairy Town, in Fairy Town,
Where Fairy folk go up and down…

  • Fishmonger by Marsden Hartley

I have taken scales from off
The cheeks of the moon.

  • Adventures Of Isabel by Ogden Nash

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care;

  • For the Children by Gary Snyder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics…

  • Friends by Abbie Farwell Brown

How good to lie a little while
And look up through the tree…

  • Going Down Hill on a Bicycle by Henry Charles Beeching

With lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill…

  • I’d Love to be a Fairy’s Child by Robert Graves

Children born of fairy stock
Never need for shirt or frock…

  • In A Garden by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Baby, see the flowers!
Baby sees…

  • Lily-Bell and Thistledown Song I by Louisa May Alcott

Awake! Awake! for the earliest gleam
Of golden sunlight shines…

  • Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun…

  • Prairie-Dog Town by Mary Austin

Old Peter Prairie-dog
Builds him a house…

  • Puppy And I by A.A. Milne

I met a Man as I went walking:
We got talking…

  • The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail…

  • The Elf and the Doremouse by Oliver Herford

Under a toadstool crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain to shelter himself.

  • All My Great Excuses by Kenn Nesbitt

I started on my homework,
but my pen ran out of ink…

  • Brother by Mary Ann Hoberman

I had a little brother
And I brought him to my mother…

  • The Fisherman by Abbie Farwell Brown

The fisherman goes out at dawn
When every one’s abed…

  • The Light of Other Days by Thomas Moore

OFT, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me…

  • The Mountain and the Squirrel by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel…

  • The Quarrel by Maxine Kumin

Said a lightning bug to a firefly,
“Look at the lightning bugs fly by!”…

  • The Road Goes Ever On by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began…

  • The Shepherd-Boy and the Wolf by William Ellery Leonard

A Shepherd-boy beside a stream
“The Wolf, the Wolf,” was wont to scream…

  • The Sugar-Plum Tree by Eugene Field

Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
‘Tis a marvel of great renown!…

  • The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves by Gwendolyn Brooks

There once was a tiger, terrible and tough,
who said “I don’t think tigers are stylish enough…

  • The Way Through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago…

  • There Was a Little Girl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl…

  • Turn Off the TV! by Bruce Lansky

My father gets quite mad at me;
my mother gets upset…

  • Won’t You? by Shel Silverstein

Barbara’s eyes are blue as azure,
But she is in love with Freddy…

  • You Are Old, Father William by Lewis Carroll

«You are old, Father William,» the young man said,
«And your hair has become very white..

  • A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler Yeats

Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid…

  • Wee Willie Winkie by William Miller

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the town,
Upstairs and doon stairs, in his nicht-gown…


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School poems for kids >>

Animal poems for kids >>

Famous poems for kids >>

Short poems for kids >>

Mother’s Day poems for kids >>

Father’s Day poems for kids >>

Christmas poems for kids >>


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Best poems for kids

 

A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.


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Then Laugh by Bertha Adams Backus

Build for yourself a strong box,
Fashion each part with care;
When it’s strong as your hand can make it,
Put all your troubles there;

Hide there all thought of your failures,
And each bitter cup that you quaff;
Lock all your heartaches within it,
Then sit on the lid and laugh.

Tell no one else its contents,
Never its secrets share;
When you’ve dropped in your care and worry
Keep them forever there;

Hide them from sight so completely
That the world will never dream half;
Fasten the strong box securely —
Then sit on the lid and laugh.


Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant —
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone —
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee —
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)


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A Happy Child by Anonymous

My house is red — a little house
A happy child am I.
I laugh and play the whole day long,
I hardly ever cry.

I have a tree, a green, green tree,
To shade me from the sun;
And under it I often sit,
When all my play is done.


Allie by Robert Graves

Allie, call the birds in,
The birds from the sky.
Allie calls, Allie sings,
Down they all fly.
First there came
Two white doves
Then a sparrow from his nest,
Then a clucking bantam hen,
Then a robin red-breast.

Allie, call the beasts in,
The beasts, every one.
Allie calls, Allie sings,
In they all run.
First there came
Two black lambs,
Then a grunting Berkshire sow,
Then a dog without a tail,
Then a red and white cow.

Allie, call the fish up,
The fish from the stream.
Allie calls, Allie sings,
Up they all swim.
First there came
Two gold fish,
A minnow and a miller’s thumb,
Then a pair of loving trout,
Then the twisted eels come.

Allie, call the children,
Children from the green.
Allie calls, Allie sings,
Soon they run in.
First there came
Tom and Madge,
Kate and I who’ll not forget
How we played by the water’s edge
Till the April sun set.


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Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

In Winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle light.
In Summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?




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Aim High to the Sky by James McDonald

Aim high to the sky,
In all that you do.
Because you just never know,
What it takes to be you.

Be strong and be brave,
But at the same time be kind.
And always be sure,
That you’re using your mind.


Dirty Face by Shel Silverstein

Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child?
I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy’s shirt.
I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.
I got it from peeking into a dark cave
And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
I got it from playing with coal in the bin
And signing my name in cement with my chin.
I got if from rolling around on the rug
And giving the horrible dog a big hug.
I got it from finding a lost silver mine
And eating sweet blackberries right off the vine.
I got it from ice cream and wrestling and tears
And from having more fun than you’ve had in years.



Every Time I Climb a Tree by David McCord

Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
I scrape a leg
Or skin a knee
And every time I climb a tree
I find some ants
Or dodge a bee
And get the ants
All over me.

And every time I climb a tree
Where have you been?
They say to me
But don’t they know that I am free
Every time I climb a tree?

I like it best
To spot a nest
That has an egg
Or maybe three.

And then I skin
The other leg
But every time I climb a tree
I see a lot of things to see
Swallows rooftops and TV
And all the fields and farms there be
Every time I climb a tree
Though climbing may be good for ants
It isn’t awfully good for pants
But still it’s pretty good for me
Every time I climb a tree.


Fairy Town by Carolyn Wells

In Fairy Town, in Fairy Town,
Where Fairy folk go up and down,
Where Fairy children, wee and gay,
Frisk and romp in Fairy play,
Every day’s a holiday!
And every night is sweeter still,
For when, behind the Fairy hill
The tiny Fairy sun goes down,
It’s sleepy time in Fairy Town!

Sleepy time in Fairy Town!
Sleep, sleep–sleep –
While the stars of Fairy Town
Safe watch keep.
All the Fairy babies, so,
Off to Dreamland softly go –
Sleep–sleep–sleep!

In Fairy Town, in Fairy Town,
Each baby in a moonlight gown,
Lies and dreams the livelong night.
Fairy babies are so white,
White and pink and wee and bright!
Petals of a rose a-curl
Make a Fairy baby girl;
Autumn leaves, all dear and brown,
Make the boys of Fairy Town!

Sleepy time in Fairy Town!
Sleep, sleep–sleep–
While the stars of Fairy Town
Safe watch keep.
Like the Fairy babies, go
Off to Dreamland, softly, so –
Sleep–sleep–sleep!


Fishmonger by Marsden Hartley

I have taken scales from off
The cheeks of the moon.
I have made fins from bluejays’ wings,
I have made eyes from damsons in the shadow.
I have taken flushes from the peachlips in the sun.
From all these I have made a fish of heaven for you,
Set it swimming on a young October sky.
I sit on the bank of the stream and watch
The grasses in amazement
As they turn to ashy gold.
Are the fishes from the rainbow
Still beautiful to you,
For whom they are made,
For whom I have set them,
Swimming?


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Adventures Of Isabel by Ogden Nash

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear’s big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I’ll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.
Once in a night as black as pitch
Isabel met a wicked old witch.
the witch’s face was cross and wrinkled,
The witch’s gums with teeth were sprinkled.
Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,
I’ll turn you into an ugly toad!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry,
She showed no rage and she showed no rancor,
But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.
Isabel met a hideous giant,
Isabel continued self reliant.
The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,
He had one eye in the middle of his forhead.
Good morning, Isabel, the giant said,
I’ll grind your bones to make my bread.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She nibled the zwieback that she always fed off,
And when it was gone, she cut the giant’s head off.
Isabel met a troublesome doctor,
He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.
The doctor’s talk was of coughs and chills
And the doctor’s satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel,
Swallow this, it will make you well.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter,
And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.


For the Children by Gary Snyder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light.


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Friends by Abbie Farwell Brown

How good to lie a little while
And look up through the tree!
The Sky is like a kind big smile
Bent sweetly over me.

The Sunshine flickers through the lace
Of leaves above my head,
And kisses me upon the face
Like Mother, before bed.

The Wind comes stealing o’er the grass
To whisper pretty things;
And though I cannot see him pass,
I feel his careful wings.

So many gentle Friends are near
Whom one can scarcely see,
A child should never feel a fear,
Wherever he may be.


Going Down Hill on a Bicycle by Henry Charles Beeching

A Boy’s Song

With lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.

Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry: —
“O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.

“Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy,
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!”

Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.

Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.


I’d Love to be a Fairy’s Child by Robert Graves

Children born of fairy stock
Never need for shirt or frock,
Never want for food or fire,
Always get their heart’s desire:
Jingle pockets full of gold,
Marry when they’re seven years old.
Every fairy child may keep
Two strong ponies and ten sheep;
All have houses, each his own,
Built of brick or granite stone;
They live on cherries, they run wild —
I’d love to be a Fairy’s child.


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In A Garden by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Baby, see the flowers!
— Baby sees
Fairer things than these,
Fairer though they be than dreams of ours.

Baby, hear the birds!
— Baby knows
Better songs than those,
Sweeter though they sound than sweetest words.

Baby, see the moon!
— Baby’s eyes
Laugh to watch it rise,
Answering light with love and night with noon.

Baby, hear the sea!
— Baby’s face
Takes a graver grace,
Touched with wonder what the sound may be.

Baby, see the star!
— Baby’s hand
Opens, warm and bland,
Calm in claim of all things fair that are.

Baby, hear the bells!
— Baby’s head Bows,
as ripe for bed,
Now the flowers curl round and close their cells.

Baby, flower of light,
Sleep, and see
Brighter dreams than we,
Till good day shall smile away good night.


Lily-Bell and Thistledown Song I by Louisa May Alcott

Awake! Awake! for the earliest gleam
Of golden sunlight shines
On the rippling waves, that brightly flow
Beneath the flowering vines.
Awake! Awake! for the low, sweet chant
Of the wild-birds’ morning hymn
Comes floating by on the fragrant air,
Through the forest cool and dim;
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O’er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers.

Awake! Awake! for the summer wind
Hath bidden the blossoms unclose,
Hath opened the violet’s soft blue eye,
And awakened the sleeping rose.
And lightly they wave on their slender stems
Fragrant, and fresh, and fair,
Waiting for us, as we singing come
To gather our honey-dew there.
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O’er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers.


Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.


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Prairie-Dog Town by Mary Austin

Old Peter Prairie-dog
Builds him a house
In Prairie-Dog Town,
With a door that goes down
And down and down,
And a hall that goes under
And under and under,
Where you can’t see the lightning,
You can’t hear the thunder,
For they don’t like thunder
In Prairie-Dog Town.

Old Peter Prairie-Dog
Digs him a cellar
In Prairie-Dog Town,
With a ceiling that is arched
And a wall that is round,
And the earth he takes out he makes into a mound.
And the hall and the cellar
Are dark as dark,
And you can’t see a spark,
Not a single spark;
And the way to them cannot be found.

Old Peter Prairie-Dog
Knows a very clever trick
Of behaving like a stick
When he hears a sudden sound,
Like an old dead stick;
And when you turn your head
He’ll jump quick, quick,
And be another stick
When you look around.
It is a clever trick,
And it keeps him safe and sound
In the cellar and the halls
That are under the mound
In Prairie-Dog Town.


Puppy And I by A.A. Milne

I met a Man as I went walking:
We got talking,
Man and I.
«Where are you going to, Man?» I said
(I said to the Man as he went by).
«Down to the village, to get some bread.
Will you come with me?» «No, not I.»

I met a horse as I went walking;
We got talking,
Horse and I.
«Where are you going to, Horse, today?»
(I said to the Horse as he went by).
«Down to the village to get some hay.
Will you come with me?» «No, not I.»

I met a Woman as I went walking;
We got talking,
Woman and I.
«Where are you going to, Woman, so early?»
(I said to the Woman as she went by).
«Down to the village to get some barley.
Will you come with me?» «No, not I.»

I met some Rabbits as I went walking;
We got talking,
Rabbits and I.
«Where are you going in your brown fur coats?»
(I said to the Rabbits as they went by).
«Down to the village to get some oats.
Will you come with us?» «No, not I.»

I met a Puppy as I went walking;
We got talking,
Puppy and I.
«Where are you going this nice fine day?»
(I said to the Puppy as he went by).
«Up to the hills to roll and play.»
«I’ll come with you, Puppy,» said I.


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The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin!
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!


The Elf and the Doremouse by Oliver Herford

Under a toadstool crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain to shelter himself.

Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
Sat a big Dormouse all in a heap.

Trembled the wee Elf, frightened and yet
Fearing to fly away lest he get wet.

To the next shelter — maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee Elf smiled a wee smile.

Tugged till the toadstool toppled in two.
Holding it over him, gaily he flew.

Soon he was safe home, dry as could be.
Soon woke the Dormouse — ’Good gracious me!

‘Where is my toadstool?’ loud he lamented.
— And that’s how umbrellas first were invented.


All My Great Excuses by Kenn Nesbitt

I started on my homework,
but my pen ran out of ink…
My hamster ate my homework…
My computer’s on the blink…

I tripped and dropped my homework
in the soup my mom was cooking…
My brother flushed it down the toilet
when I wasn’t looking…

My mother ran my homework
through the washer and the dryer…
An airplane crashed into our house…
My homework caught on fire…

Tornadoes blew my notes away…
Volcanoes rocked our town…
My books were taken hostage
by an evil killer clown…

Some aliens abducted me…
I had a shark attack…
A pirate swiped my homework
and refused to give it back…

I worked on these excuses
so darned long my teacher said,
«I think you’ll find it’s easier
to do the work instead.»


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Brother by Mary Ann Hoberman

I had a little brother
And I brought him to my mother
And I said I want another
Little brother for a change.

But she said don’t be a bother
So I took him to my father
And I said this little bother
Of a brother’s very strange.

But he said one little brother
Is exactly like another
And every little brother
Misbehaves a bit, he said.

So I took the little bother
From my mother and my father
And I put the little bother
Of a brother back to bed.


The Fisherman by Abbie Farwell Brown

The fisherman goes out at dawn
When every one’s abed,
And from the bottom of the sea
Draws up his daily bread.

His life is strange; half on the shore
And half upon the sea —
Not quite a fish, and yet not quite
The same as you and me.

The fisherman has curious eyes;
They make you feel so queer,
As if they had seen many things
Of wonder and of fear.

They’re like the sea on foggy days, —
Not gray, nor yet quite blue;
They ‘re like the wondrous tales he tells
Not quite — yet maybe — true.

He knows so much of boats and tides,
Of winds and clouds and sky!
But when I tell of city things,
He sniffs and shuts one eye!


The Light of Other Days by Thomas Moore

OFT, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Fond Memory brings the light
Of other days around me:
The smiles, the tears
Of boyhood’s years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimm’d and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Sad Memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

When I remember all
The friends, so link’d together,
I’ve seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me.
Sad Memory brings the light
Of other days around me.


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The Mountain and the Squirrel by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel,
And the former called the latter
«Little prig.»
Bun replied,
You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I’m not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry:
I’ll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track.
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut.


The Quarrel by Maxine Kumin

Said a lightning bug to a firefly,
“Look at the lightning bugs fly by!”
“Silly dunce!” said the fly. “What bug ever flew?
Those are fireflies. And so are you.”

“Bug!” cried the bug. “Fly!” cried the fly.
“Wait!” said a glowworm happening by.
“I’m a worm,” squirmed the worm. “I glimmer all night.
You are worms, both of you. I know that I’m right.”

“Fly!” cried the fly. “Worm!” cried the worm.
“Bug!” cried the bug. “I’m standing firm!”
Back and forth through the dark each shouted his word
Till their quarrel awakened the early bird.

“You three noisy things, you are all related,”
She said to the worm, and promptly ate it.
With a snap of her bill she finished the fly,
And the lightning bug was the last to die.

All glowers and glimmerers, there’s a MORAL:
Shine if you must, but do not quarrel.


The Road Goes Ever On by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.


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The Shepherd-Boy and the Wolf by William Ellery Leonard

A Shepherd-boy beside a stream
“The Wolf, the Wolf,” was wont to scream,
And when the Villagers appeared,
He’d laugh and call them silly-eared.
A Wolf at last came down the steep —
“The Wolf, the Wolf — my legs, my sheep!”
The creature had a jolly feast,
Quite undisturbed, on boy and beast.

For none believes the liar, forsooth,
Even when the liar speaks the truth.


The Sugar-Plum Tree by Eugene Field

Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
‘Tis a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollypop sea
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
(As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
Of that fruit to be happy next day.

When you’ve got to the tree, you would have a hard time
To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a gingerbread dog prowls below –
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so:

You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
And he barks with such terrible zest
That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
As her swelling proportions attest.
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground –
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!

There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
With stripings of scarlet or gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains,
As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I’ll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.



The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves by Gwendolyn Brooks

There once was a tiger, terrible and tough,
who said “I don’t think tigers are stylish enough.
They put on only orange and stripes of fierce black.
Fine and fancy fashion is what they mostly lack.
Even though they proudly
speak most loudly,
so that the jungle shakes
and every eye awakes—
Even though they slither
hither and thither
in such a wild way
that few may care to stay —
to be tough just isn’t enough.”
These things the tiger said,
And growled and tossed his head,
and rushed to the jungle fair
for something fine to wear.

Then! — what a hoot and yell
upon the jungle fell
The rhinoceros rasped!
The elephant gasped!
“By all that’s sainted!”
said wolf—and fainted.

The crocodile cried.
The lion sighed.
The leopard sneered.
The jaguar jeered.
The antelope shouted.
The panther pouted.
Everyone screamed
“We never dreamed
that ever could be
in history
a tiger who loves
to wear white gloves.
White gloves are for girls
with manners and curls
and dresses and hats and bow-ribbons.
That’s the way it always was
and rightly so, because
it’s nature’s nice decree
that tiger folk should be
not dainty, but daring,
and wisely wearing
what’s fierce as the face,
not whiteness and lace!”

They shamed him and shamed him —
till none could have blamed him,
when at last, with a sigh
and a saddened eye,
and in spite of his love,
he took off each glove,
and agreed this was meant
all to prevail:
each tiger content
with his lashing tail
and satisfied
with his strong striped hide.


The Way Through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods . . .
But there is no road through the woods.


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There Was a Little Girl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.


Turn Off the TV! by Bruce Lansky

My father gets quite mad at me;
my mother gets upset —
when they catch me watching
our new television set.

My father yells, “Turn that thing off!”
Mom says, “It’s time to study.”
I’d rather watch my favorite TV show
with my best buddy.

I sneak down after homework
and turn the set on low.
But when she sees me watching it,
my mother yells out, “No!”

Dad says, “If you don’t turn it off,
I’ll hang it from a tree!”
I rather doubt he’ll do it,
’cause he watches more than me.

He watches sports all weekend,
and weekday evenings too,
while munching chips and pretzels —
the room looks like a zoo.

So if he ever got the nerve
to hang it from a tree,
he’d spend a lot of time up there —
watching it with me.


Won’t You? by Shel Silverstein

Barbara’s eyes are blue as azure,
But she is in love with Freddy.
Karen’s sweet, but Harry has her.
Gentle Jane is going steady.
Carol hates me. So does May.
Abigail will not be mine.
Nancy lives too far away…
Won’t you be my Valentine?


You Are Old, Father William by Lewis Carroll

«You are old, Father William,» the young man said,
«And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
Do you think, at your age age, it is right?»

«In my youth,» Father William replied to his son,
«I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.»

«You are old,» said the youth,» as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back somersault in at the door —
Pray, what is the reason of that?»

«In my youth,» said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
«I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment — one shilling the box —
Allow me to sell you a couple?»

«You are old,» said the youth, » and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the back —
Pray, how did you manage to do it?»

«In my youth,» said his father, «I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.»

«You are old,» said the youth, «one would hardly suppose
That your eye was steady as ever;
Yet, you balanced an eel on the end of your nose —
What made you so awfully clever?»

«I have answered three questions, and that is enough,»
Said his father. «Don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!


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A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler Yeats

Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory’s Wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack and roof-levelling wind,
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.

I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour,
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And under the arches of the bridge, and scream
In the elms above the flooded stream;
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come
Dancing to a frenzied drum
Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.

May she be granted beauty, and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass; for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness, and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.

Helen, being chosen, found life flat and dull,
And later had much trouble from a fool;
While that great Queen that rose out of the spray,
Being fatherless, could have her way,
Yet chose a bandy-leggèd smith for man.
It’s certain that fine women eat
A crazy salad with their meat
Whereby the Horn of Plenty is undone.

In courtesy I’d have her chiefly learned;
Hearts are not had as a gift, but hearts are earned
By those that are not entirely beautiful.
Yet many, that have played the fool
For beauty’s very self, has charm made wise;
And many a poor man that has roved,
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.

May she become a flourishing hidden tree,
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
And have no business but dispensing round
Their magnanimities of sound;
Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
Oh, may she live like some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.

My mind, because the minds that I have loved,
The sort of beauty that I have approved,
Prosper but little, has dried up of late,
Yet knows that to be choked with hate
May well be of all evil chances chief.
If there’s no hatred in a mind
Assault and battery of the wind
Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.

An intellectual hatred is the worst,
So let her think opinions are accursed.
Have I not seen the loveliest woman born
Out of the mouth of Plenty’s horn,
Because of her opinionated mind
Barter that horn and every good
By quiet natures understood
For an old bellows full of angry wind?

Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence
And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is heaven’s will,
She can, though every face should scowl
And every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy still.

And may her bridegroom bring her to a house
Where all’s accustomed, ceremonious;
For arrogance and hatred are the wares
Peddled in the thoroughfares.
How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
Ceremony’s a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.


Wee Willie Winkie by William Miller

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the town,

Upstairs and doon stairs, in his nicht-gown,
Tirlin’ at the window, cryin’ at the lock,
“Are the weans in their bed? – for it’s noo ten o’clock.”

Hey, Willie Winkie! are ye comin’ ben?
The cat’s singin’ gay thrums to the sleepin’ hen,
The doug’s speldered on the floor, and disna gie a cheep;
But here’s a waukrife laddie, that winna fa’ asleep.

Onything but sleep, ye rogue! – glowrin’ like the moon,
Rattlin’ in an airn jug wi’ an airn spoon,
Rumblin’, tumblin’ roun’ about, crawin’ like a cock,
Skirlin’ like a kenna-what – wauknin’ sleepin’ folk!

Hey, Willie Winkie! the wean’s in a creel!
Waumblin’ aff a bodie’s knee like a vera eel,
Ruggin’ at the cat’s lug, and ravellin’ a’ her thrums:
Hey, Willie Winkie! – See, there he comes!


 

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