61 Compelling Poems About Aunts

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Here are my favorite poems about aunts categorized:

  • Aunt poems for her birthday
  • Poems for your aunt who passed away
  • Poems for your aunt in heaven
  • Aunt poems for mothers’ day
  • Funny aunt poems
  • Short poems for aunts

So if you want the best poems about aunts, then you’re in the right place.

Keep reading and enjoy!

61 Best Poems About Aunts (Categorized)
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Compelling Poems About Aunts

Celebrate the special bond between aunts and their loved ones with this collection of the best handpicked poems about aunts.

From works that capture the joy and warmth of aunts to pieces that express gratitude and appreciation for all that they do, these poems offer a glimpse into the many ways in which aunts enrich our lives.

Featuring works by some of the greatest poets of all time, as well as contemporary voices that capture the modern-day experience of the aunt-niece/nephew relationship, this collection showcases the enduring appeal and significance of the aunt in the human experience.

Whether you’re looking to express your love and appreciation for your own beloved aunt or simply looking to reflect on the many ways in which aunts shape our lives, these poems are sure to resonate with you on a deep level.

Let’s get started!

My #1 Favorite Poem About Aunts

beautiful woman in wreath of flowers outdoor

“My Aunt” by Oliver Wendell Holmes

My aunt! my dear unmarried aunt!
Long years have o’er her flown;
Yet still she strains the aching clasp
That binds her virgin zone;
I know it hurts her,—though she looks
As cheerful as she can;
Her waist is ampler than her life,
For life is but a span.

My aunt! my poor deluded aunt!
Her hair is almost gray;
Why will she train that winter curl
In such a spring-like way?
How can she lay her glasses down,
And say she reads as well,
When, through a double convex lens,
She just makes out to spell?

Her father,—grandpapa! forgive
This erring lip its smiles,—
Vowed she should make the finest girl
Within a hundred miles;
He sent her to a stylish school;
’T was in her thirteenth June;
And with her, as the rules required,
“Two towels and a spoon.”

They braced my aunt against a board,
To make her straight and tall;
They laced her up, they starved her down,
To make her light and small;
They pinched her feet, they singed her hair,
They screwed it up with pins;—
Oh, never mortal suffered more
In penance for her sins.

So, when my precious aunt was done,
My grandsire brought her back;
(By daylight, lest some rabid youth
Might follow on the track;)
“Ah!” said my grandsire, as he shook
Some powder in his pan,
“What could this lovely creature do
Against a desperate man!”

Alas! nor chariot, nor barouche,
Nor bandit cavalcade,
Tore from the trembling father’s arms
His all-accomplished maid.
For her how happy had it been!
And Heaven had spared to me
To see one sad, ungathered rose
On my ancestral tree.

Aunt Poems for Her Birthday

Colorful flower bouquet with gerbera in green rustic pot.

“A Birthday-Wish” by George MacDonald

Who know thee, love: thy life be such
That, ere the year be o’er,
Each one who loves thee now so much,
Even God, may love thee more!

“Be Glad” by Madison Julius Cawein

Be glad, just for to-day!
O heart, be glad!
Cast all your cares away!
Doff all that ‘s sad!
Put of your garments gray
Be glad to-day!
Be merry while you-can;
For life is short
It seemeth but a span
Before we part.
Let each maid take her man,
And dance while dance she can:
Life’s but a little span
Be merry while you can.

“To My Mother” by Christina Rossetti

To-day’s your natal day;
Sweet flowers I bring:
Mother, accept, I pray
My offering.

And may you happy live,
And long us bless;
Receiving as you give
Great happiness.

lady in pink dress and flower head wreath holds a big bouquet of flowers sits by the river

“A Birthday Gift” by Robert Fuller Murray

No gift I bring but worship, and the love
Which all must bear to lovely souls and pure,
Those lights, that, when all else is dark, endure;
Stars in the night, to lift our eyes above;

To lift our eyes and hearts, and make us move
Less doubtful, though our journey be obscure,
Less fearful of its ending, being sure
That they watch over us, where’er we rove.

And though my gift itself have little worth,
Yet worth it gains from her to whom `tis given,
As a weak flower gets colour from the sun.
Or rather, as when angels walk the earth,
All things they look on take the look of heaven –
For of those blessed angels thou art one.

“In Blossom Time” by Ina Coolbrith

It’s O my heart, my heart,
To be out in the sun and sing—
To sing and shout in the fields about,
In the balm and the blossoming!

Sing loud, O bird in the tree;
O bird, sing loud in the sky,
And honey-bees, blacken the clover beds—
There is none of you glad as I.

The leaves laugh low in the wind,
Laugh low, with the wind at play;
And the odorous call of the flowers all
Entices my soul away!

For O but the world is fair, is fair—
And O but the world is sweet!
I will out in the gold of the blossoming mould,
And sit at the Master’s feet.

And the love my heart would speak,
I will fold in the lily’s rim,
That th’ lips of the blossom, more pure and meek,
May offer it up to Him.

Then sing in the hedgerow green, O thrush,
O skylark, sing in the blue;
Sing loud, sing clear, that the King may hear,
And my soul shall sing with you!

“Wishes” by Dora Sigerson Shorter

I wish we could live as the flowers live,
To breathe and to bloom in the summer and sun;
To slumber and sway in the heart of the night,
And to die when our glory had done.

I wish we could love as the bees love,
To rest or to roam without sorrow or sigh;
With laughter, when, after the wooer had won,
Love flew with a whispered good-bye.

I wish we could die as the birds die,
To fly and to fall when our beauty was best:
No trammels of time on the years of our face;
And to leave but an empty nest.

Pink rose in the summer rain.

“A Summer Wish” by Christina Rossetti

Live all thy sweet life through
Sweet Rose, dew-sprent,
Drop down thine evening dew
To gather it anew
When day is bright:
I fancy thou wast meant
Chiefly to give delight.

Sing in the silent sky,
Glad soaring bird;
Sing out thy notes on high
To sunbeam straying by
Or passing cloud;
Heedless if thou art heard
Sing thy full song aloud.

O that it were with me
As with the flower;
Blooming on its own tree
For butterfly and bee
Its summer morns:
That I might bloom mine hour
A rose in spite of thorns.

O that my work were done
As birds’ that soar
Rejoicing in the sun:
That when my time is run
And daylight too,
I so might rest once more
Cool with refreshing dew.

Poems for Your Aunt Who Passed Away

Hand holding daffodil at sunset.

“Dirge” by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Calm on the bosom of thy God,
Fair spirit, rest thee now!
E’en while with ours thy footsteps trod,
His seal was on thy brow.

Dust, to its narrow house beneath!
Soul, to its place on high!
They that have seen thy look in death
No more may fear to die.

“Dust” by Rupert Brooke

When the white flame in us is gone,
And we that lost the world’s delight
Stiffen in darkness, left alone
To crumble in our separate night;

When your swift hair is quiet in death,
And through the lips corruption thrust
Has stilled the labour of my breath—
When we are dust, when we are dust!—

Not dead, not undesirous yet,
Still sentient, still unsatisfied,
We’ll ride the air, and shine and flit,
Around the places where we died,

And dance as dust before the sun,
And light of foot, and unconfined,
Hurry from road to road, and run
About the errands of the wind.

And every mote, on earth or air,
Will speed and gleam, down later days,
And like a secret pilgrim fare
By eager and invisible ways,

Nor ever rest, nor ever lie,
Till, beyond thinking, out of view,
One mote of all the dust that’s I
Shall meet one atom that was you.

Then in some garden hushed from wind,
Warm in a sunset’s afterglow,
The lovers in the flowers will find
A sweet and strange unquiet grow

Upon the peace; and, past desiring,
So high a beauty in the air,
And such a light, and such a quiring,
And such a radiant ecstasy there,

They’ll know not if it’s fire, or dew,
Or out of earth, or in the height,
Singing, or flame, or scent, or hue,
Or two that pass, in light, to light,

Out of the garden higher, higher…
But in that instant they shall learn
The shattering fury of our fire,
And the weak passionless hearts will burn

And faint in that amazing glow,
Until the darkness close above;
And they will know—poor fools, they’ll know!—
One moment, what it is to love.

“The Death-Bed” by Thomas Hood

We watch’d her breathing thro’ the night,
Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast the wave of life
Kept heaving to and fro.

So silently we seem’d to speak,
So slowly moved about,
As we had lent her half our powers
To eke her living out.

Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied—
We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.

For when the morn came dim and sad,
And chill with early showers,
Her quiet eyelids closed—she had
Another morn than ours.

White misty lake

“Death” by Thomas Hood

It is not death, that sometime in a sigh
This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight;
That sometime these bright stars, that now reply
In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night;
That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite,
And all life’s ruddy springs forget to flow;
That thoughts shall cease, and the immortal sprite
Be lapp’d in alien clay and laid below;
It is not death to know this—but to know
That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves
In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go
So duly and so oft—and when grass waves
Over the pass’d-away, there may be then
No resurrection in the minds of men.

“Virtue Immortal” by George Herbert

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridall of the earth and skie;
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night;
For thou must die.

Sweet Rose, whose hue angrie and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And all must die.

Sweet Spring, full of sweet dayes and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie,
Thy musick shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.

Onely a sweet and vertuous soul,
Like seasoned timber, never gives;
But, though the whole world, turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.

“Rest” by Christina Rossetti

O Earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;
Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth;
Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth
With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.
She hath no questions, she hath no replies,
Hush’d in and curtain’d with a blessèd dearth
Of all that irk’d her from the hour of birth;
With stillness that is almost Paradise.
Darkness more clear than noon-day holdeth her,
Silence more musical than any song;
Even her very heart has ceased to stir:
Until the morning of Eternity
Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
And when she wakes she will not think it long.

Beautiful morning orange sunrise over the placid lake.

“Fare Thee Well, Great Heart” by William Shakespeare

Fare thee well, great heart!
Ill-weav’d ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now, two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough: this earth, that bears thee dead,
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.
If thou wert sensible of courtesy,
I should not make so dear a show of zeal:
But let my favours hide thy mangled face,
And, even in thy behalf, I’ll thank myself
For doing these fair rites of tenderness.
Adieu, and take thy praise with thee to heaven!
Thy ignomy sleep with thee in the grave,
But not remember’d in thy epitaph!

“A Quiet Soul” by John Oldham

Thy soul within such silent pomp did keep,
As if humanity were lull’d asleep;
So gentle was thy pilgrimage beneath,
Time’s unheard feet scarce make less noise,
Or the soft journey which a planet goes.
Life seem’d all calm as its last breath.
A still tranquillity so hush’d thy breast,
As if some Halcyon were its guest,
And there had built her nest;
It hardly now enjoys a greater rest….
Go, happy Soul, ascend the joyful sky,
Joyful to shine with thy bright company….

“White Roses” by Ernest Rhys

No sleep like hers, no rest,
In all the earth to-night:
Upon her whiter breast
Our roses lie so light.

She had no sins to lose,
As some might say;
But calmly keeps her pale repose
Till God’s good day.

Charming young woman in elegant dress on a boat holding flowers

“The Last Smile” by John Ruskin

She sat beside me yesternight,
With lip and eye so sweetly smiling,
So full of soul, of life, of light,
So beautifully care-beguiling,
That she had almost made me gay,
Had almost charmed the thought away
(Which, like the poisoned desert wind,
Came sick and heavy o’er my mind),
That memory soon mine all would be,
And she would smile no more for me.

“The Hand of Death Lay Heavy on Her Eyes” by John Moultrie

The Hand of Death lay heavy on her eyes,—
For weeks and weeks her vision had not borne
To meet the tenderest light of eve or morn,
To see the crescent moonbeam set or rise,
Or palest twilight creep across the skies;
She lay in darkness, seemingly forlorn,
With sharp and ceaseless anguish rack’d and torn,
Yet calm with that one peace which never dies.
Closed was, for her, the gate of visual sense,
This world and all its beauty lost in night;
But the pure soul was all ablaze with light,
And through that gloom she saw, with gaze intense,
Celestial glories, hid from fleshly sight,
And heard angelic voices call her hence.

“Under the Violet” by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Her hands are cold; her face is white;
No more her pulses come and go;
Her eyes are shut to life and light;—
Fold the white vesture, snow on snow,
And lay her where the violets blow.

But not beneath a graven stone,
To plead for tears with alien eyes;
A slender cross of wood alone
Shall say, that here a maiden lies
In peace beneath the peaceful skies.

And grey old trees of hugest limb
Shall wheel their circling shadows round
To make the scorching sunlight dim
That drinks the greenness from the ground,
And drop the dead leaves on her mound.

When o’er their boughs the squirrels run,
And through their leaves the robins call,
And, ripening in the autumn sun,
The acorns and the chestnuts fall,
Doubt not that she will heed them all.

For her the morning choir shall sing
Its matins from the branches high,
And every minstrel-voice of Spring,
That trills beneath the April sky,
Shall greet her with its earliest cry…

Beautiful young woman wearing elegant light blue dress standing in the forest with rays of sunlight beaming through the leaves of the trees.

“Lucy” by William Wordsworth

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seem’d a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Roll’d round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

“If She but Knew” by Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy

If she but knew that I am weeping
Still for her sake,
That love and sorrow grow with keeping
Till they must break
My heart that breaking will adore her,
Be hers and die;
If she might hear me once implore her,
Would she not sigh?

If she did but know that it would save me
Her voice to hear,
Saying she pitied me, forgave me,
Must she forbear?
If she were told that I was dying,
Would she be dumb?
Could she content herself with sighing?
Would she not come?

“Heart, My Heart” by Heinrich Heine (Edward William Thomson, Translator)

Heart, my heart, no longer mourn,
Wail no more the weary days,
Spring will freshen all the ways
By the winter made forlorn.

And the world is still how fair!
And how much remains to thee!
And, my heart, thou need’st to care
For all things that pleasant be.

Melancholic woman in black walking alone by the foggy lake.

“Without Her” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

What of her glass without her? The blank grey
There where the pool is blind of the moon’s face.
Her dress without her? The tossed empty space
Of cloud-rack whence the moon has passed away.
Her paths without her? Day’s appointed sway
Usurped by desolate night. Her pillowed place
Without her? Tears, ah me! for love’s good grace,
And cold forgetfulness of night or day.

What of the heart without her? Nay, poor heart,
Of thee what word remains ere speech be still?
A wayfarer by barren ways and chill,
Steep ways and weary, without her thou art,
Where the long cloud, the long wood’s counterpart,
Sheds double darkness up the labouring hill.

“A Contemplation Upon Flowers” by Henry King

Brave flowers, that I could gallant it like you
And be as little vaine,
You come abroad, and make a harmelesse shew,
And to your bedds of Earthe againe;
You are not proud, you know your birth
For your Embroiderd garments are from Earth:

You doe obey your moneths, and times, but I
Would have it ever springe,
My fate would know noe winter, never dye
Nor thinke of such a thing;
Oh that I could my bedd of Earth but view
And Smile, and looke as Chearefully as you:

Oh teach me to see Death, and not to feare
But rather to take truce;
How often have I seene you at a Beere,
And there look fresh and spruce;
You fragrant flowers then teach me that my breath
Like yours may sweeten, and perfume my Death.

“I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose” by Emily Dickinson

I’ll tell you how the sun rose, –
A ribbon at a time.
The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.

The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
Then I said softly to myself,
“That must have been the sun!”

But how he set, I know not.
There seemed a purple stile.
Which little yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while

Till when they reached the other side,
A dominie in gray
Put gently up the evening bars,
And led the flock away.

Dramatic sunset on the beach and flying birds

“Tell Me, Thou Soul of Her I Love” by James Thomson

Tell me, thou soul of her I love,
Ah! tell me, whither art thou fled?
To what delightful world above,
Appointed for the happy dead?

Or dost thou free at pleasure roam,
And sometimes share thy lover’s woe
Where, void of thee, his cheerless home
Can now, alas! no comfort know?

Oh! if thou hoverest round my walk,
While, under every well-known tree,
I to thy fancied shadow talk,
And every tear is full of thee—

Should then the weary eye of grief
Beside some sympathetic stream
In slumber find a short relief,
Oh, visit thou my soothing dream!

“She Only Died Last Week” by Katharine Tynan Hinkson

She only died last week, and yet
Suns might have risen and have set
A thousand: May ’s here like a bride,
And it was May when Mary died.

Incredible! We might last week
Have kissed her, held her, heard her speak,
Who now has travelled far, so far
Beyond the moon and the day-star.

Since she has gone all Time and Space
Have lost their meanings: Mary’s face
Grows dim in distance, like a light
Far down a darkness infinite.

Last week! Why this new grief we have
Is old as Time, old as the grave:
It was and will be: darkness spread
Over the world since Mary’s dead.

Last week she died. The lilac bough
Her eyes watched bud is blooming now.
The chestnut ’s lit her lamp since then,
And the lost cuckoo ’s come again.

A week ago! O endless space
Since Mary heavenward turned her face!
And still the lilac ’s on the spray
That budded when she went away.

“I Found Her Not” by Thomas Moore

I found her not—the chamber seem’d
Like some divinely haunted place,
Where fairy forms had lately beam’d,
And left behind their odorous trace!

It felt, as if her lips had shed
A sigh around her, ere she fled,
Which hung, as on a melting lute,
When all the silver chords are mute,
There lingers still a trembling breath
After the note’s luxurious death,
A shade of song, a spirit air
Of melodies which had been there…

Bluebell forest path at sunrise.

“My Lady’s Grave” by Emily Brontë

The linnet in the rocky dells,
The moor-lark in the air,
The bee among the heather bells
That hide my lady fair:

The wild deer browse above her breast;
The wild birds raise their brood;
And they, her smiles of love caress’d,
Have left her solitude!

I ween that when the grave’s dark wall
Did first her form retain,
They thought their hearts could ne’er recall
The light of joy again.

They thought the tide of grief would flow
Uncheck’d through future years;
But where is all their anguish now?
And where are all their tears?

Well, let them fight for honour’s breath,
Or pleasure’s shade pursue—
The dweller in the land of death
Is changed and careless too.

And if their eyes should watch and weep
Till sorrow’s source were dry,
She would not, in her tranquil sleep,
Return a single sigh!

Blow, west wind, by the lonely mound:
And murmur, summer streams!
There is no need of other sound
To soothe my lady’s dreams.

Poems for Your Aunt in Heaven

Young beautiful woman in white dress holding fresh flowers looking up the blue sky.

“Sweet Soul, Which in the April of Thy Years” by William Drummond of Hawthornden

Sweet soul, which in the April of thy years
So to enrich the heaven mad’st poor this round,
And now with golden rays of glory crown’d
Most blest abid’st above the sphere of spheres;
If heavenly laws, alas! have not thee bound
From looking to this globe that all upbears,
If ruth and pity there above be found,
O deign to lend a look unto these tears.
Do not disdain, dear ghost, this sacrifice,
And though I raise not pillars to thy praise,
Mine offerings take; let this for me suffice,
My heart a living pyramid I raise;
And whilst kings’ tombs with laurels flourish green,
Thine shall with myrtles, and these flow’rs be seen.

“She’s Somewhere in the Sunlight Strong” by Richard Le Gallienne

She’s somewhere in the sunlight strong,
Her tears are in the falling rain,
She calls me in the wind’s soft song,
And with the flowers she comes again.

Yon bird is but her messenger,
The moon is but her silver car;
Yea! sun and moon are sent by her,
And every wistful waiting star.

“On the Death of a Pious Lady” by Olof Wexionius (Edmund Gosse, Translator)

The earthly roses at God’s call have made
Way, lady, for a dress of heavenly white,
In which thou walk’st with other figures bright,
Once loved on earth, who now, like thee arrayed,
Feast on two-fold ambrosia, wine and bread;
They lead thee up by sinuous paths of light
Through lilied fields that sparkle in God’s sight,
And crown thee with delights that never fade.
O thou thrice-sainted mother, in that bliss,
Forget not thy two daughters, whom a kiss
At parting left as sad as thou art glad;
In thy deep joy think how for thee they weep,
Or conjure through the shifting glass of sleep
The saint heaven hath, the mother once they had.

A beautiful tree on a foggy morning with sunlight.

“The Morning of Life” by Victor-marie Hugo

The mist of the morning is torn by the peaks,
Old towers gleam white in the ray,
And already the glory so joyously seeks
The lark that’s saluting the day.

Then smile away, man, at the heavens so fair,
Though, were you swept hence in the night,
From your dark, lonely tomb the owlets would stare
At the sun rising newly as bright.

But out of earth’s trammels your soul would have flown
Where glitters Eternity’s stream,
And you shall have waked ‘midst pure glories unknown,
As sunshine disperses a dream.

“Warm Summer Sun” by Mark Twain

Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

“The Amaranth” by Vachel Lindsay

Ah, in the night, all music haunts me here. . . .
Is it for naught high Heaven cracks and yawns
And the tremendous Amaranth descends
Sweet with the glory of ten thousand dawns?

Does it not mean my God would have me say: —
“Whether you will or no, O city young,
Heaven will bloom like one great flower for you,
Flash and loom greatly all your marts among?”

Friends, I will not cease hoping though you weep.
Such things I see, and some of them shall come
Though now our streets are harsh and ashen-gray,
Though our strong youths are strident now, or dumb.
Friends, that sweet torn, that wonder-town, shall rise.
Naught can delay it. Though it may not be
Just as I dream, it comes at last I know
With streets like channels of an incense-sea.

Fresh yellow spring flowers under the blue sky.

“To Daffodils” by Robert Herrick

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the evensong;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.

“Seraphine” by Heinrich Heine (Emma Lazarus, Translator)

In the dreamy wood I wander,
In the wood at eventide;
And thy slender graceful figure
Wanders ever by my side.

Is not this thy white veil floating,
Is not that thy gentle face?
Is it but the moonlight breaking
Through the dark fir branches’ space?

Can these tears so softly flowing
Be my very own I hear?
Or indeed, art thou beside me,
Weeping, darling, close anear?

“In a Garden” by Henry Charles Beeching

Rose and lily, white and red
From my garden garlanded,
These I brought and thought to grace
The perfection of thy face.
Other roses, pink and pale,
Lilies of another vale,
Thou hast bound around thy head
In the garden of the dead.

Wooden bench in the park on a foggy day.

“Agonia” by John Ruskin

When our delight is desolate,
And hope is overthrown;
And when the heart must bear the weight
Of its own love alone;

And when the soul, whose thoughts are deep,
Must guard them unrevealed,
And feel that it is full, but keep
That fullness calm and sealed;

When Love’s long glance is dark with pain—
With none to meet or cheer;
And words of woe are wild in vain
For those who cannot hear;

When earth is dark, and memory
Pale in the heaven above,
The heart can bear to lose its joy,
But not to cease to love.

But what shall guide the choice within,
Of guilt or agony,—
When to remember is to sin,
And to forget—to die?

“Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun” by William Shakespeare

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great,
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finish’d joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!

“Afterwards” by Duncan Campbell Scott

Her life was touched with early frost,
About the April of her day,
Her hold on earth was lightly lost,
And like a leaf she went away.

Her soul was chartered for great deeds,
For gentle war unwonted here:
Her spirit sought her clearer needs,
An Empyrean atmosphere.

At hush of eve we hear her still
Say with her clear, her perfect smile,
And with her silver-throated thrill:
‘A little while—a little while.’

Young pretty woman resting on white spring flowers and green leaves

“Life Is Too Short” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Life is too short for any vain regretting;
Let dead delight bury its dead, I say,
And let us go upon our way forgetting
The joys, and sorrows, of each yesterday.
Between the swift sun’s rising and its setting,
We have no time for useless tears or fretting,
Life is too short.

Life is too short for any bitter feeling;
Time is the best avenger if we wait,
The years speed by, and on their wings bear healing,
We have no room for anything like hate.
This solemn truth the low mounds seem revealing
That thick and fast about our feet are stealing,
Life is too short.

Life is too short for aught but high endeavour,—
Too short for spite, but long enough for love.
And love lives on for ever and for ever,
It links the worlds that circle on above;
‘Tis God’s first law, the universe’s lever,
In His vast realm the radiant souls sigh never
“Life is too short.”

“Loss” by Winifred M. Letts

In losing you I lost my sun and moon
And all the stars that blessed my lonely night.
I lost the hope of Spring, the joy of June,
The Autumn’s peace, the Winter’s firelight.
I lost the zest of living, the sweet sense
Expectant of your step, your smile, your kiss;
I lost all hope and fear and keen suspense
For this cold calm, sans agony, sans bliss.
I lost the rainbow’s gold, the silver key
That gave me freedom of my town of dreams;
I lost the path that leads to Faërie
By beechen glades and heron-haunted streams.
I lost the master word, dear love, the clue
That threads the maze of life when I lost you.

Aunt Poems for Mothers’ Day

Mothers day card with rustic roses

“Mother” by Lola Ridge

Your love was like moonlight
turning harsh things to beauty,
so that little wry souls
reflecting each other obliquely
as in cracked mirrors . . .
beheld in your luminous spirit
their own reflection,
transfigured as in a shining stream,
and loved you for what they are not.

You are less an image in my mind
than a luster
I see you in gleams
pale as star-light on a gray wall . . .
evanescent as the reflection of a white swan
shimmering in broken water.

“The Mother” by Theodosia Garrison

So quietly I seem to sit apart;
I think she does not know or guess at all,
How dear this certain hour to my old heart,
When in our quiet street the shadows fall.

She leans and listens at the little gate.
I sit so still, not any eye might see
How watchfully before her there I wait
For that one step that brings my world to me.

She does not know that long before they meet
(So eagerly must go a love athirst),
My heart outstrips the flying of her feet,
And meets and greets him first — and greets him first.

“Love and Kindness” by Annie Matheson

A voice of pity strove to bless
In accents bountifully kind,
But still my grief knew no redress,
Grown mad and blind.

The presence made herself my slave,
Hither and thither came and went:
All that she had poor Kindness gave,
Till all was spent.

She tried to soothe and make me whole:
Her touch was torment in my pain;
It froze my heart, benumbed my soul,
And crazed my brain.

At last, her duty all fulfilled,
She turned with cheerful ease away,
Yet would have lingered, had I willed
That she should stay.

And lo! there knelt, where she had stood,
One, wistful as a child might be,
Who blushed at her own hardihood
In helping me.

She said no word, she only turned
Her passionate sweet eyes on mine,
Until within my sorrow burned
A bliss divine.

And in that gaze I woke once more
To earth beneath and heaven above—
This was not Kindness, as before,
But only Love.

Young mother and child pick fresh oranges on a summer day.

“The Mother” by Robert William Service

There will be a singing in your heart,
There will be a rapture in your eyes;
You will be a woman set apart,
You will be so wonderful and wise.
You will sleep, and when from dreams you start,
As of one that wakes in Paradise,
There will be a singing in your heart,
There will be a rapture in your eyes.

There will be a moaning in your heart,
There will be an anguish in your eyes;
You will see your dearest ones depart,
You will hear their quivering good-byes.
Yours will be the heart-ache and the smart,
Tears that scald and lonely sacrifice;
There will be a moaning in your heart,
There will be an anguish in your eyes.

There will come a glory in your eyes,
There will come a peace within your heart;
Sitting ‘neath the quiet evening skies,
Time will dry the tear and dull the smart.
You will know that you have played your part;
Yours shall be the love that never dies:
You, with Heaven’s peace within your heart,
You, with God’s own glory in your eyes.

“Love Thee?” by Thomas Moore

Love thee?–so well, so tenderly
Thou’rt loved, adored by me,
Fame, fortune, wealth, and liberty,
Were worthless without thee.
Tho’ brimmed with blessings, pure and rare,
Life’s cup before me lay,
Unless thy love were mingled there,
I’d spurn the draft away.
Love thee?–so well, so tenderly,
Thou’rt loved, adored by me,
Fame, fortune, wealth, and liberty,
Are worthless without thee.

Without thy smile, the monarch’s lot
To me were dark and lone,
While, with it, even the humblest cot
Were brighter than his throne.
Those worlds for which the conqueror sighs
For me would have no charms;
My only world thy gentle eyes–
My throne thy circling arms!
Oh, yes, so well, so tenderly
Thou’rt loved, adored by me,
Whole realms of light and liberty
Were worthless without thee.

“Mother O’ Mine” by Rudyard Kipling

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

Girl Among Field Flowers, Soft Lighting, Cloudy Sky, Cinematic Style

“My Mother’s Hand” by Hattie Howard

My head is aching, and I wish
That I could feel tonight
One well-remembered, tender touch
That used to comfort me so much,
And put distress to flight.

There’s not a soothing anodyne
Or sedative I know,
Such potency can ever hold
As that which lovingly controlled
My spirit long ago.

How oft my burning cheek as if
By Zephyrus was fanned,
And nothing interdicted pain
Or seemed to make me well again
So quick as mother’s hand.

‘Tis years and years since it was laid,
In her own gentle way,
On tangled curls of brown and jet
Above the downy coverlet
‘Neath which the children lay.

As bright as blessed sunlight ray
The past comes back to me;
Her fingers turn the sacred page
For a little group of tender age
Who gather at her knee.

And when those hands together clasped
Devout and still were we;
To whom it seemed God then and there
Must surely answer such a prayer,
For none could pray as she.

O buried love with her that passed
Into the Silent Land!
O haunting vision of the night!
I see, encoffined, still, and white,
A mother’s face and hand.

“The Mothers” by Charles Hamilton Musgrove

Beyond the tumult and the proud acclaim,
Beyond the circle where the glory beats
With withering light upon the mighty seats,
They hear the far-resounding trump of fame;
On other lips they hear the one-loved name
In vaunting or derision, and they weep
To know that they shall never lull to sleep
Those tired heads, crowned with desolating flame.
Beyond the hot arena’s baleful glow,
Beyond the towering pomp they dimly see,
They sit and watch the fateful pageants go
Through war’s red arch, or up to Calvary,
The First Love still within their hearts impearled–
Mothers of all the masters of the world!

“Gitanjali 83” by Rabindranath Tagore

Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for thy neck with my tears of sorrow.
The stars have wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet, but mine will hang upon thy breast.
Wealth and fame come from thee and it is for thee to give or to withhold them. But this my sorrow is absolutely mine own, and when I bring it to thee as my offering thou rewardest me with thy grace.

Funny Aunt Poems

Aunt and niece enjoying autumn outdoors.

“My Aunt’s Spectre” by Mortimer Collins

They tell me (but I really can’t
Imagine such a rum thing),
It is the phantom of my Aunt,
Who ran away—or something.

It is the very worst of bores:
(My Aunt was most delightful).
It prowls about the corridors,
And utters noises frightful.

At midnight through the rooms It glides,
Behaving very coolly,
Our hearts all throb against our sides—
The lights are burning bluely.

The lady, in her living hours,
Was the most charming vixen
That ever this poor sex of ours
Delighted to play tricks on.

Yes, that’s her portrait on the wall,
In quaint old-fashioned bodice:
Her eyes are blue—her waist is small—
A ghost! Pooh, pooh,—a goddess!

A fine patrician shape, to suit
My dear old father’s sister—
Lips softly curved, a dainty foot;
Happy the man that kissed her!

Light hair of crisp irregular curl
Over fair shoulders scattered—
Egad, she was a pretty girl,
Unless Sir Thomas flattered!

And who the deuce, in these bright days,
Could possibly expect her
To take to dissipated ways,
And plague us as a spectre?

“Epitaph for a Darling Lady” by Dorothy Parker

All her hours were yellow sands,
Blown in foolish whorls and tassels;
Slipping warmly through her hands;
Patted into little castles.

Shiny day on shiny day
Tumble in a rainbow clutter,
As she flipped them all away,
Sent them spinning down the gutter.

Leave for her a red young rose,
Go your way, and save your pity;
She is happy, for she knows
That her dust is very pretty.

“My Fairy” by Lewis Carroll

I have a fairy by my side
Which says I must not sleep,
When once in pain I loudly cried
It said “You must not weep”
If, full of mirth, I smile and grin,
It says “You must not laugh”
When once I wished to drink some gin
It said “You must not quaff”.

When once a meal I wished to taste
It said “You must not bite”
When to the wars I went in haste
It said “You must not fight”.

“What may I do?” at length I cried,
Tired of the painful task.
The fairy quietly replied,
And said “You must not ask”.

Short Poems for Aunts

Portrait Of A Woman With Floral Wreath

“Love Lasts Like a Lily” by Solomon J. D. Fendell

Love lasts like a lily,
Tender on Time’s trail;
Breathing burning beauty,
Fragrant, fine, and frail.

“Beauty” by Madison Julius Cawein

High as a star, yet lowly as a flower,
Unknown she takes her unassuming place
At Earth’s proud masquerade–the appointed hour
Strikes, and, behold, the marvel of her face.

“Love’s Meaning” by Carlotta Perry

I thought it meant all glad ecstatic things,
Fond glance and touch and speech, quick blood and brain,
And strong desire, and keen, delicious pain,
And beauty’s thrall, and strange bewilderings
’Twixt hope and fear, like to the little stings
The rose-thorn gives, and then the utter gain—
Worth all my sorest striving to attain—
Of the dear bliss long-sought possession gives.

Now with a sad, clear sight that reassures
My often sinking soul, with longing eyes
Averted from the path that still allures,
Lest, seeing that for which my sore heart sighs,
I seek my own good at the cost of yours,—
I know at last that love means sacrifice.

Woman wearing a bohemian style on field at warm light of sunset

“Beauty” by Unknown

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

“My Aunt” by Oliver Wendell Holmes

And both, with but a single ray,
Can melt our very hearts away ;
And both , when balanced, hardly seem
To stir the scales, or rock the beam;
But that is dearest, all the while,
That wears for us the sweetest smile.