17 Mother’s Day Poems: The Long, The Short, and All The Love In Between

Mother’s Day is just around the calendar corner and every year, many of us search for the perfect words to express everything we feel for our mothers. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it is all consuming. Sometimes it’s hidden away in the perfect Mother’s Day poems, waiting for you to discover their gifts.

Here are 17 beautiful and evoking poems, all about the relationship between mother and child. From short mother’s day poems to grand romantic gestures (and some heart-tuggers in between), these poems will help you capture everything you are looking for on Mother’s Day.

 

Mother’s Day Poems, For When You Want To Keep It Short and Sweet

 

You’re my mother.
I would have no other.
—Forest Houtenschil

 

Before a day was over,

Home comes the rover,
For mother’s kiss—sweeter this
Than any other thing!
—William Allingham, “Wishing” from The Fairies

 

My mother was
my first country,
The first place I
ever lived.
—Nayyirah Waheed, “lands” from Salt

 

If I had a single flower
for every time I think about you,
I could walk forever
in my garden
—Claudia Adrienne Grandi

 

When You Want to Hold On to Simple Innocence

 

Mommy, I love you
For all that you do.
I’ll kiss you and hug you
‘Cause you love me, too.
You feed me and need me
To teach you to play,
So smile ‘cause I love you
On this Mother’s Day.
—Nicholas Gordon

 

Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky,
Hundreds of shells on the shore together,
Hundreds of birds that go singing by,
Hundreds of lambs in the sunny weather,
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
—George Cooper

 

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy’s heart brings–
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a mother who read to me.
Strickland Gillilan, “The Reading Mother”

 

When You Want To Make Grand Romantic Gestures

 

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
pales as star-light on a gray wall…
evanescent as the reflection of a white swan
shimmering in broken water.
Lola Ridge, “Mother”

 

The water of her womb, your first home
The body she pulled apart to welcome you to the world.
The spirit in you she helped grow with all she knew.
The heart that she gave you when yours fell apart.
You are her soft miracle.
So she gave you her eyes to see the best in the worst.
You carry your mother in your eyes.
Make her proud of all she watches you do.
—Nikita Gill, “Mother” from Your Soul Is A River

 

You have told me
all the things
I need to hear
before I knew
I needed to hear them

To be unafraid
Of all the things
I use to fear
Before I knew
I shouldn’t fear them

Lang Leav, “A Thank You Note”

 

i struggle so deeply
to understand
how someone can
pour their entire soul
blood and energy
into someone
without wanting
anything in
return
—Rupi Kaur, “I Will Have to Wait Until I’m a Mother” from Milk and Honey

 

Who sat and watched my infant head
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
My Mother.

When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
My Mother.

Who taught my infant lips to pray,
And love God’s holy book and day,
And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way?
My Mother

And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
Who wast so very kind to me,
My mother.

Ah, no! The thought I cannot bear,
And if God please my life to spare
I hope I shall reward they care,
My Mother.

When thou art feeble, old and grey,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away,
My Mother.
—Ann Taylor, “My Mother”

 

Sometimes I know the words to say to give thanks for all you’ve done,
but then they fly up and away as quickly as they come.

How could I possibly thank you enough, the one who makes me whole,
the one to whom I owe my life, the forming of my soul.

The one who tucked me in at night, the one who stopped my crying,
the one who was the expert at picking up when I was lying.

The one who saw me off to school and spent sad days alone,
yet magically produced a smile as soon as I came home.

The one who makes such sacrifices to always put me first,
who lets me test my broken wings, in spite of how it hurts.

Who paints the world a rainbow when it’s filled with broken dreams,
who explains it all so clearly when nothing is what it seems.

Are there really any words for this? I find this question tough.
Anything I want to say just doesn’t seem enough.

What way is there to thank you for your heart, your sweat, your tears,
for ten thousand things you’ve done for oh so many years.

For changing with me as I changed, accepting all my flaws,
not loving ’cause you had to, but loving just because.

For never giving up on me when your wits had reached its end,
for always being proud of me, for being my best friend.

And so I come to realize, the only way to say,
the only thank you that’s enough is clear in just one way.

Look at me before you see what I’ve become.
Do you see yourself in me, the job that you have done?

All your hopes and all your dreams, the strength that no one sees,
a transfer over many years, your best was to pass me.

Thank you for the gifts you give, for everything you do,
but thank you, Mommy, most of all for making dreams come true.

—Reanna Almeida, “Never Enough”

 

When You Only Want To Remember

 

Of course they are empty shells, without hope of animation.
Of course they are artifacts.

Even if my sister and I should wear some,
or if we give others away,

they will always be your clothes without you,
as we will always be your daughters without you.
Judith Kroll, “Your Clothes”

 

How I loved those spiky suns,
rooted stubborn as childhood
in the grass, tough as the farmer’s
big-headed children—the mats
of yellow hair, the bowl-cut fringe.
How sturdy they were and how
slowly they turned themselves into galaxies, domes of ghost stars
barely visible by day, pale
cerebrums clinging to life
on tough green stems. Like you.
Like you, in the end. If you were here,
I’d pluck this trembling globe to show
how beautiful a thing can be
a breath will tear away.
Jean Nordhaus, “A Dandelion for My Mother”

 

When You Know You Weren’t The Easiest of Kids

 

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!
—Rudyard Kipling (dedication to his mother in The Light That Failed)

 

And When You Only Need a Smile to Say It All

 

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Happy Mother’s Day!
Sorry you don’t have a kid who can rhyme.
—Anon.

 

What are your favorite Mother’s Day poems? Have a bookish mom? Make sure to check out bookish Mother’s Day gifts here