Brave Writer Teacher Picks: Our Favorite Poems

We asked our Brave Writer teachers to share their favorite poems with us. And share they did! 

We've included an excerpt of each poem to whet your appetite. Click through the link to enjoy the full poem. Be sure to take advantage of the audio provided on many of these links! Or read them aloud yourselves. Listening to poetry can often give you a better appreciation of the rhythm and musicality of the words.

Susanne Barrett

Here is my favorite spring poem by my favorite poet—this poem fills me with a child-like joy in the beauties of spring:

[in Just-]
by e.e. cummings

in Just- 
spring          when the world is mud- 
luscious the little 
lame balloonman 

whistles          far          and wee 

and eddieandbill come 
running from marbles and 
piracies and it's 
spring 

when the world is puddle-wonderful 


Jen Holman

This is one of my favourite poems. Enjoy! There are many readings online to be found as well.

The Lanyard
by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly 
off the blue walls of this room 
bouncing from typewriter to piano 
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor, 
I found myself in the 'L' section of the dictionary 
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard. 
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist 
could send one more suddenly into the past. 
A past where I sat at a workbench 
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake 
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard. 
A gift for my mother. 


Alicia Havens

Here's my favorite poem as it makes me feel buoyant. An "age-long minute" is an apt description of life with a colicky baby, losing a loved one, having periods of loneliness and isolation. Feels so long but in the scheme of things isn't.

The Age-Long Minute
by Amy Carmichael

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matters beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?


Joy Sherfey

Sooooo much to choose from!  For kids, my standard is a highly dramatic reading of "Jabberwocky," by Lewis Carroll. [ed note: this reading by Benjamin Cumberbatch is perfect!]

Jabberwocky
by Lewis Carroll

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 
   Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
   And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son 
   The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun 
   The frumious Bandersnatch!”


I adore Langston Hughes. Here's my favorite:

Dream Variations
by Langston Hughes

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
    Dark like me—
That is my dream!


And a dear, inspiring favorite is "Ulysses," by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The lines below have been within eyesight on my desk  since I found them as a teenager. I've also been known to read these lines aloud when I need stirring up for a large task. [ed. note: Helen Mirren gave a wonderful reading of this very selection on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Check it out!]

Ulysses
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Come, my friends, 
'T is not too late to seek a newer world. 
Push off, and sitting well in order smite 
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds 
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
Of all the western stars, until I die. 
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: 
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, 
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. 
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' 
We are not now that strength which in old days 
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; 
One equal temper of heroic hearts, 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Anglea Awald

This poem reminds me of all of the seeds we plant as homeschool moms. The flowers are not always in bloom but with time and trust they do.  Even in the dark of the earth, the seeds are growing and so are our children.

Unseen Buds.
by Walt Whitman

UNSEEN buds, infinite, hidden well,
Under the snow and ice, under the darkness, in every square or cubic inch,
Germinal, exquisite, in delicate lace, microscopic, unborn,
Like babes in wombs, latent, folded, compact, sleeping;

Posted April 17th, 2018
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