15 Beautiful Birthday Poems

Whenever I ask my students what their favorite month, they always always choose the month of their birthday. But I can’t really blame them. October is my favorite time of year for exactly the same reason. Some people love them. Other people hate them. But we all have them. Whether looking for a way to reflect on your birthday or finding some words to celebrate a lover or friend, here are 15 birthday poems. From thoughtful and sweet to funny and sarcastic, I hope you find the birthday poems you’re looking for this year.

15 of the Best Birthday Poems

birth-day by Lucille Clifton

today we are possible.

the morning, green and laundry-sweet,
opens itself and we enter
blind and mewling.

everything waits for us:
the snow kingdom
sparkling and silent
in its glacial cap,

the cane fields
shining and sweet
in the sun-drenched south.

as the day arrives

with all its clumsy blessings

what we will become
waits in us like an ache.

irreplaceable by rupi kaur

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Birthday Lights by Calef Brown

Light bulbs on a birthday cake.
What a difference that would make!
Plug it in and make a wish,
then relax and flip a switch!
No more smoke
or waxy mess
to bother any birthday guests.
But Grampa says, “it’s not the same!
Where’s the magic?
Where’s the flame?
To get your wish without a doubt,
You need to blow some candles out!”

A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

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;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

The Party by Jason Shinder

And that’s how it is; everyone standing up from the big silence

of the table with their glasses of certainty and plates of forgiveness
and walking into the purple kitchen; everyone leaning away from the gas stove

Marie blows on at the very edge of the breaking blue-orange-lunging-

forward flames to warm another pot of coffee, while the dishes pile up in the sink,
perfect as a pyramid. Aaah, says Donna, closing her eyes,

and leaning on Nick’s shoulders as he drives the soft blade of the knife

through the glittering dark of the leftover chocolate birthday cake.
That’s it; that’s how it is; everyone standing around as if just out of the pool,

drying off, standing around, that’s it, standing, talking,

shuffling back and forth on the deck of the present
before the boat slowly pulls away into the future. Because it hurts

to say goodbye, to pull your body out of the warm water;

to step out of the pocket of safety, clinging to what you knew,
or what you thought you knew about yourself and others.

That’s how it is, that’s it, throwing your jacket over your shoulders

like a towel and saying goodbye Victoria goodbye Sophie goodbye
Lili goodbye sweetie take care be well hang in there see you soon.

Birthday by Andrea Gibson

We Are All the Same by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

We are all the same
Listen to the reeds
as they sway apart
Hear them speak
of lost friends

At birth you were cut
from your bed
Crying and grasping
in separation

Everyone listens,
knowing your song
You yearn
for others,
who know your name
and the words
to your lament

We are all the same,
all the same
Longing to find
our way back,
back to the one,
back to the only one

Birthday by Sukasah Syahdan

clouds over Jakarta sky
conceal the midnoon sun
of my birthday

At Twenty-Eight by Amy Fleury

It seems I get by on more luck than sense,
not the kind brought on by knuckle to wood,
breath on dice, or pennies found in the mud.
I shimmy and slip by on pure fool chance.
At turns charmed and cursed, a girl knows romance
as coffee, red wine, and books; solitude
she counts as daylight virtue and muted
evenings, the inventory of absence.
But this is no sorry spinster story,
just the way days string together a life.
Sometimes I eat soup right out of the pan.
Sometimes I don’t care if I will marry.
I dance in my kitchen on Friday nights,
singing like only a lucky girl can.

30th Birthday by Alice Notley

May I never be afraid
especially of myself
but
Muhammed Ali are you telling
the truth?
Well you’re being true aren’t you and
you talk so wonderfully in your body
that protects you with physique of voice
raps within dance
May I never be afraid

rocked and quaked
the mantilla is lace
whose black is oak
But if I’m dark I’m strong
as my own darkness
my strength the universe
whose blackness is air
only starry
lace
But if I’m alive I’m strong
as life
Strong as the violets
in Marlon Brando’s fist
his dissemblance flourished into truth
She
took them
I’d take me too
I do
and my Ali I see you
a hard bright speck of me
the savage formalist
authentic deed of gossip
a kind body

For K.R. on her Sixtieth Birthday by Richard Wilbur

Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark,
Who round with grace this dusky arc
Of the grand tour which souls must take.

You who have sounded William Blake,
And the still pool, to Plato’s mark,
Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark.

Yet, for your friends’ benighted sake,
Detain your upward-flying spark;
Get us that wish, though like the lark
You whet your wings till dawn shall break:
Blow out the candles of your cake.

Cheerios by Billy Collins

Mrs. Baldwin by Fleur Adcock

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Ninon de Lenclos, On her Last Birthday by Dorothy Parker

So let me have the rouge again,
And comb my hair the curly way.
The poor young men, the dear young men
They’ll all be here by noon today.

And I shall wear the blue, I think-
They beg to touch its rippled lace;
Or do they love me best in pink,
So sweetly flattering the face?

And are you sure my eyes are bright,
And is it true my cheek is clear?
Young what’s-his-name stayed half the night;
He vows to cut his throat, poor dear!

So bring my scarlet slippers, then,
And fetch the powder-puff to me.
The dear young men, the poor young men-
They think I’m only seventy!

Written in a Carefree Mood by Lu Yu

Old man pushing seventy,
In truth he acts like a little boy,
Whooping with delight when he spies some mountain fruits,
Laughing with joy, tagging after village mummers;
With the others having fun stacking tiles to make a pagoda,
Standing alone staring at his image in the jardinière pool.
Tucked under his arm, a battered book to read,
Just like the time he first set out to school.

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