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Poems About Growing Up

Table of Contents

  1. Solace by Ruby Archer
  2. The Scholar by Annette Wynne
  3. Youth by Adelaide Crapsey
  4. When the First Teeth Go by Amos Russel Wells
  5. Childish Griefs by Emily Dickinson
  6. A Fool's Wish by Anonymous
  7. The Return by John Burroughs
  8. The Season of Youth by William Knox
  9. The Flight of Youth by Richard Henry Stoddard
  10. The Young Artist by Hannah Flagg Gould
  11. Youth by Edgar A. Guest
  12. A Sailor Bold by Annette Wynne
  13. Sky and Tree and Hill and All by Annette Wynne
  14. My Heart Leaps Up by William Wordsworth

  1. Solace

    by Ruby Archer

    Though Life will rob me of my childhood days,
    And hedge a way for free, unbidden feet,
    It cannot steal my childhood thoughts and lays,
    Nor break the spell that lets me hear the beat
    Of Nature's heart, and catch her whisper sweet.

  2. The Scholar

    by Annette Wynne

    When I was ignorant and small
    I used to have great fun all day,
    But now that I am wise and tall
    I must pretend I never play;
    And so whenever people look
    I keep my eyes tight on my book.

  3. Youth

    by Adelaide Crapsey

    But me
    They cannot touch,
    Old Age and death…the strange
    And ignominious end of old
    Dead folk!

  4. When the First Teeth Go

    by Amos Russel Wells

    It is infancy's old age
    When the first teeth go;
    It's the turning of the page
    When the first teeth go;
    It's farewell to merry youth
    With its innocence and truth,
    With its tenderness and ruth,
    When the first teeth go.

    There are novelties of pain
    When the first teeth go;
    Quick to lose and slow to gain,
    When the first teeth go;
    Ugly vacancies appear,
    New and lisping tones we bear
    'Tis a most erratic year
    When the first teeth go.

    Ah, the sober thoughts we think
    When their first teeth go,
    And the rising tears we wink
    When their first teeth go!
    For the coming teeth must chew
    Many meals of bitter rue,
    And their sorrows come in view
    As their first teeth go.

    Yes, but grand teeth come instead,
    When the first teeth go,
    Strong for meat and white for bread,
    When the first teeth go;
    Though the crust is hard and dry,
    Health and power in it lie,
    And there's better by and by;
    Let the first teeth go!

  5. Childish Griefs

    by Emily Dickinson

    Softened by Time's consummate plush,
    How sleek the woe appears
    That threatened childhood's citadel
    And undermined the years!

    Bisected now by bleaker griefs,
    We envy the despair
    That devastated childhood's realm,
    So easy to repair.

  6. A Fool's Wish

    by Anonymous

    I wish I could be the kind of fool I was in the days of yore,
    When people could send me on idiotic errands to the store.
    When I found the purse tied to a string, and discovered the sugar was salt,
    And tried to pick up the county line for jolly Uncle Walt.

    For now I'm a fool of a different sort, a less desirable kind,
    The fashion of fool that dabbles in stocks and leaves his earnings behind;
    The fool that toils for a hunk of gold and misses the only wealth;
    The fool that sells for the bubble of fame his happiness and health.

    Yes, now you behold in me the fool, the melancholy fool
    Who has to go back, with his temples gray, to the very primary school.
    And learn the fundamentals of life, the simple, essential things.
    The body that lives and the mind that and the soul that trusts and sings.

    And would I could be the kind of fool I was in the olden days,
    The fool that would fall for an open trick and be fooled in those innocent ways.
    I would give the whole of my bank account and the worldly success I am,
    If I could go to the kitchen door to look for the gooseberry jamb!

  7. The Return

    by John Burroughs

    He sought the old scenes with eager feet —
    The scenes he had known as a boy;
    "Oh, for a draught of those fountains sweet,
    And a taste of that vanished joy!"

    He roamed the fields, he wooed the streams,
    His schoolboy paths essayed to trace;
    The orchard ways recalled his dreams,
    The hills were like his mother's face.

    O sad, sad hills! O cold, cold hearth!
    In sorrow he learned this truth —
    One may return to the place of his birth,
    He cannot go back to his youth.

  8. The Season of Youth

    by William Knox

    Rejoice, mortal man, in the noon of thy prime!
    Ere thy brow shall be traced by the ploughshare of time,
    Ere the twilight of age shall encompass thy way,
    And thou droop'st, like the flowers, to thy rest in the clay.

    Let the banquet be spread, let the wine-cup go round,
    Let the joy-dance be wove, let the timbrels resound,
    While the spring-tide of life in thy bosom is high,
    And thy spirit is light as a lark in the sky.

    Let the wife of thy love, like the sun of thy day,
    Throw a radiance of joy o'er thy pilgrimage way —
    Ere the shadows of grief come, like night, from the west,
    And thou weep'st o'er the flower that expired on thy breast.

    Rejoice, mortal man, in the noon of thy prime!
    But muse on the power and the progress of time;
    For thy life shall depart with the joy it hath given,
    And a judgment of justice awaits thee in heaven.

  9. The Flight of Youth

    by Richard Henry Stoddard

    There are gains for all our losses,
    There are balms for all our pain:
    But when youth, the dream, departs,
    It takes something from our hearts,
    And it never comes again.

    We are stronger, and are better,
    Under manhood's sterner reign:
    Still we feel that something sweet
    Followed youth, with flying feet,
    And will never come again.

    Something beautiful is vanished,
    And we sigh for it in vain:
    We behold it everywhere,
    On the earth, and in the air,
    But it never comes again.

  10. The Young Artist

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Ay! young dreamer, this is the hour
    For the tablet to glow by the pencil's power!
    When the soul is pure, and warm, and new,
    And believes that the world, like itself, is true—
    When the sky is cloudless, the eye is bright,
    And gives to its objects its own clear light;
    Now is the time, while the heart is single,
    For the painter's touch—for the hues to mingle!
    Now the portions of light and shade
    Will on the delicate sketch be laid
    To stand indelibly, all between
    Life's gay morn and its closing scene!

    Honors may bloom on thy future way;
    And the rays of glory around thee play.
    But fame's best laurels never will be
    So dear as thy sister's wreath to thee!
    For, they will not set on a cloudless brow,
    And a silken curl, as we see them now!

    Fame will her envied crown prepare
    For the whitening locks and the brow of care.
    Its clustering leaves will not be lit
    By the smile of a child, who has braided it!
    As thy native castle, sublimely grand,
    A beautiful structure, thou mays't stand
    High and unmoved by the tempest's strife,
    The bolt and the blast of the storms of life.
    But should it be thus, there must come a day
    When thy house will shake, and its strength decay;
    When the light that will gild its crumbling towers
    Must be left by the sun of thy childish hours!
    Then, may their memory, like the vine,
    Mantling over the ruin, twine,
    And, spreading a living vesture, climb
    To cover the rust and the tooth of time,
    And curtain with verdure the mouldering walls,
    Which shall not fade till the fabric falls!

    Sister, gather the buds of Spring,
    All dewy and bright, as they're opening!
    Treasure them up from the frost and blight,
    For a lowering day and a starless night;
    And they will be fresh in thy bosom still,
    When all without may be dark and chill.
    Another will seek to be crowned by thee
    Lord of thy heart and thy destiny!
    Thou may'st bestow, in thy riper years,
    Laurels to water with daily tears.

    Then will memory love to come
    Through mist and shade, to thine early home,
    Within the halo that brightly beams
    Around the scene of thine infant dreams.
    Again thou wilt playfully sit, and look
    On the artless sketch of thy brother's book,
    And own no moment of earthly bliss
    So pure, so holy, and sweet as this!

    Children, Time is a fleeting day,
    The brighter its scenes, the sooner away!
    Look to the mansion, and seek the crown
    That shall not decay when the sun goes down!

    Turn, turn, my wheel! 'Tis nature's plan
    The child should grow into the man,
    The man grow wrinkled, old, and gray;
    In youth the heart exults and sings,
    The pulses leap, the feet have wings;
    In age the cricket chirps, and brings
    The harvest home of day.

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Song of the Potter

  11. Youth

    by Edgar A. Guest

    If I had youth I'd bid the world to try me;
    I'd answer every challenge to my will.
    Though mountains stood in silence to defy me,
    I'd try to make them subject to my skill.
    I'd keep my dreams and follow where they led me;
    I'd glory in the hazards which abound.
    I'd eat the simple fare privations fed me,
    And gladly make my couch upon the ground.

    If I had youth I'd ask no odds of distance,
    Nor wish to tread the known and level ways.
    I'd want to meet and master strong resistance,
    And in a worth-while struggle spend my days.
    I'd seek the task which calls for full endeavor;
    I'd feel the thrill of battle in my veins.
    I'd bear my burden gallantly, and never
    Desert the hills to walk on common plains.

    If I had youth no thought of failure lurking
    Beyond to-morrow's dawn should fright my soul.
    Let failure strike—it still should find me working
    With faith that I should some day reach my goal.
    I'd dice with danger—aye!—and glory in it;
    I'd make high stakes the purpose of my throw.
    I'd risk for much, and should I fail to win it,
    I would not even whimper at the blow.

    If I had youth no chains of fear should bind me;
    I'd brave the heights which older men must shun.
    I'd leave the well-worn lanes of life behind me,
    And seek to do what men have never done.
    Rich prizes wait for those who do not waver;
    The world needs men to battle for the truth.
    It calls each hour for stronger hearts and braver.
    This is the age for those who still have youth!

  12. A Sailor Bold

    by Annette Wynne

    Sometimes I think I'd like to roam,
    A sailor bold across the sea,
    But how could Mother stay at home
    And be so very far from me?

    For who would sing my sleepy song,
    And tuck me in my sailor bed,
    And say God watches all night long,
    And kiss me when my prayers are said?

    I wonder if the sailor lad
    Is very, very lonely when
    The loud wind blows; and is he sad,
    And does he long for home again?

    So, after all, I would not roam,
    Until I'm eight to seas afar,
    While I am seven I'll stay at home
    Where Mother and her kisses are.

  13. Sky and Tree and Hill and All

    by Annette Wynne

    Sky and tree and hill and all,
    I could touch you were I tall;
    But I shall not even try,
    Great big tree and hill and sky;
    I shall stay down here, and see
    All the little things like me,
    And let all the big things be,
    Till I grow up wise and tall,
    Sky and tree and hill and all.

  14. My Heart Leaps Up

    by William Wordsworth

    My heart leaps up when I behold
    A rainbow in the sky:
    So was it when my life began;
    So is it now I am a man;
    So be it when I shall grow old,
    Or let me die!
    The Child is father of the Man;
    And I could wish my days to be
    Bound each to each by natural piety.

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