Previously, we’ve offered five of the best poems for daughters, so now it’s the turn of the male offspring. Below are five of the finest poems about sons – ranging from the humorous to the moving, the personal to the universal.
Ben Jonson, ‘On My First Son’. Ben Jonson’s short poem for his son Benjamin, who died aged seven, is one of the most moving short elegies in the English language. Jonson (1572-1637) was a contemporary of William Shakespeare and, like the Bard, wrote poems as well as the plays for which he is well-known. As well as being a rather moving poem, ‘On My First Son’ is one of the greatest poems about sons in all of English literature.
Rudyard Kipling, ‘The Prodigal Son’. Referring to the parable told by Jesus in the New Testament, this Kipling poem appears in one of the chapters of Kipling’s novel Kim: ‘Here come I to my own again, Read the rest of this entry
Five of the finest poems for the month of March
This is the third entry in our poetry calendar: you can read our poetry recommendations for January and our pick of the best February poems in previous posts. Now, it’s the turn of March, which heralds the arrival, or return, of spring. What are the best March poems in the English language? Here are five of our favourites.
John Clare, ‘The Shepherd’s Calendar: March’. The underrated nature poet John Clare (1793-1864) wrote an entire sequence of poems about nature and the English countryside at particular times of the year, and in the March entry in his ‘Shepherd’s Calendar’, he salutes the way ‘March month of “many weathers” wildly comes / In hail and snow and rain and threatning hums / And floods’ and ‘love teazd maidens from their droning wheel / At the red hour of sunset sliving steal / From scolding dames to meet their swains agen / Tho water checks their visits oer the plain…’ Read the rest of this entry
‘There’s no money in poetry,’ Robert Frost once observed, ‘but then there’s no poetry in money, either.’ But was Frost right? Are there any great poems about money? Has money ever inspired a good poem? Here are some of the best poems about money in some way, whether they merely mention money as a crucial element or even, in some cases, take cash, money, pounds, pence, and dollars as their central subject.
Anon, ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’. Given the monetary mention in its title, this traditional nursery rhyme had to feature in this pick of the best poems about money! The rhyme has attracted some fanciful theories concerning its lyrics, including the idea that the twenty-four blackbirds represent the hours in the day, with the king representing the sun and the queen the moon. Another places the rhyme in the time of King Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, with the blackbirds symbolising the choirs of the monasteries, baking a pie in order to try to curry favour with Henry.
Robert Herrick, ‘Money Makes the Mirth’. This rhyming couplet pithily praises money’s value: ‘When all birds else do of their music fail, / Money’s the still-sweet-singing nightingale!’ Read the rest of this entry