Valentine's Day

woman holding a bouquet of flowers, reading a handwritten note with a valentine's day poem for mommy
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15 Sweet Valentine’s Day Poems For Moms Who Have A Thing For Words

Let a poem do the talking.

by Emily Westbrooks and Grace Gallagher
Originally Published: 

Some people just care about flowers or chocolates or any of the typical Valentine's Day chum. Maybe they buy the candy 50% off on Feb. 15, but never before. These people might very well include your mother (or the mother of your children). However, if they love literature or reading, whether the like or despise the holiday, they’ll appreciate a Valentine’s poem for mommy more than they ever would a box of chocolates. You won’t find a ton of fluffy or overly sentimental poems here; instead this list of Valentine's Day poems for whomever is a mother figure in your life will make her feel appreciated and may also introduce her to a piece of writing she hasn’t seen before.

Your own mom might not be the only person you're on the lookout for sweet Valentine's ideas for. Maybe you're on the hunt for a sentimental option for your wife or your kids' mother. Straying away from the traditional card and flowers combo can be a little daunting at first, but this list of Valentine’s Days poems for moms and beyond offers quite a range that might speak to your unique relationship with the special mom in your life.

Whether you tuck a handwritten version of any of these poems into a bunch of flowers or tape them atop a heart-shaped box of chocolates, if your number one mom has a thing for poets, these these words are the sweetest gift she could receive on Valentine's Day.

“Mother To Son” —Langston Hughes

This 1922 poem by one of the Harlem Renaissance’s most cherished poets is written in early-20th century Black vernacular. It is at once a nod to he hardships the mother character has had to endure, and an exhortation to keep going in spite of the difficulty; a poem symbolic of the Black experience in America and an ode to the way mothers strive for our sake, and keep us moving forward, too. Martin Luther King Jr. referenced this poem no fewer than 13 times in his public appearances, including during his “I Have A Dream” speech.

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—


But all the timeI’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now—

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

“Mother” —Nikita Gill

British-Indian poet Nikita Gill made a name for herself by posting her work to Instagram, where she earned a large and passionate following. This poem is a sweet ode to mothers and mothering, and urges readers to remember that our mothers are always with us.

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.

“Remember” —Joy Harjo

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The lovely poem, “Remember,” by Joy Harjo is an homage to the natural world and the people and things things that remind you you’re alive, including your mother. Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, is of Native American descent, and this poem exudes a deep connection to nature and the connectedness of the world. It’s a wonderful Valentine’s Day poem for a mommy who loves to be outside.

Remember the sky that you were born under,

know each of the star's stories.

Remember the moon, know who she is.

Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the

strongest point of time. Remember sundown

and the giving away to night.

Remember your birth, how your mother struggled

to give you form and breath. You are evidence of

her life, and her mother's, and hers.

Remember your father. He is your life, also.

Remember the earth whose skin you are:

red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth

brown earth, we are earth.

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their

tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,

listen to them. They are alive poems.

Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the

origin of this universe.

Remember you are all people and all people

are you.Remember you are this universe and this

universe is you.

Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.

Remember language comes from this.

Remember the dance language is, that life is.


“What I Learned From My Mother” —Julia Kasdorf

It can be easy to forget how much we know is owed to our mothers (though if you’re a mother yourself it may start to come back to you as you teach your child things both big and small). The knowledge of everything from how to tie shoes, cook a perfect chili, or make people feel welcome can often be traced back to a mother figure. “What I Learned From My Mother” by Julia Kasdorf perfectly captures this sentiment by walking a reader through how she’s learned to help others in times of grief.

I learned from my mother how to love

the living, to have plenty of vases on hand

in case you have to rush to the hospital

with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants

still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars

large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole

grieving household, to cube home-canned pears

and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skin

sand flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know

the deceased, to press the moist hands

of the living, to look in their eyes and offer

sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.

I learned that whatever we say means nothing,

what anyone will remember is that we came.

I learned to believe I had the power to ease

awful pains materially like an angel.

Like a doctor, I learned to create

from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once

you know how to do this, you can never refuse.

To every house you enter, you must offer

healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,

the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

“Lunchbox Love Note” —Kenn Nesbitt

Poetry can be playful and fun as this poem, “Lunchbox Love Note” by Kenn Nesbitt, shows. Anyone who’s ever received a note in their lunchbox from their well-intentioned mother can relate to this funny Valentine’s Day poem for mom.

Inside my lunch

to my surprise

a perfect heart-shaped

love note lies.

The outside says,“Will you be mine?”

and, “Will you be

my valentine?”

I take it out

and wonder who

would want to tell me

“I love you.”

Perhaps a girl

who’s much too shy

to hand it to me

eye to eye.

Or maybe it

was sweetly penned

in private by

a secret friend

Who found my lunch

box sitting by

and slid the note in

on the sly.

Oh, I’d be thrilled

if it were Jo,the cute one in

the second row.

Or could it be

from Jennifer?

Has she found out

I’m sweet on her?

My mind’s abuzz,

my shoulders tense.

I need no more

of this suspense.

My stomach lurching

in my throat,

I open up

my little note.

Then wham! as if

it were a bomb,

inside it reads,

“I love you—Mom.”

“Childhood” —Kate Baer

Show your mother you care about her with this gorgeous, deceptively simple poem from poet Kate Baer. The New York Times bestselling author writes about motherhood and womanhood in a voice that is clear and precise while drawing attention to modern struggles and joys of parenting, marriage, and just being alive. This poem sheds light on how the simplest things mothers do are often remembered as the most comforting.

I do not remember being born

or how I knew my mother’s face.

Only that we woke to the sound

of pots banging against the stove,

knowing she would be downstairs.

“The Raincoat” —Ada Limón

This stunning poem by Ada Limón so effortlessly captures all the small things mothers do because they love their children, without thanks or acknowledgment. Everyone can relate to the line: I saw a mom take her raincoat off// and give it to her young daughter when// a storm took over the afternoon, and if you’re a mom yourself, you may find yourself tearful with recognition reading this Valentine’s poem for mommy.

When the doctor suggested surgery

and a brace for all my youngest years,

my parents scrambled to take me

to massage therapy, deep tissue work,

osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine

unspooled a bit, I could breathe again,

and move more in a body unclouded

by pain. My mom would tell me to sing

songs to her the whole forty-five minute

drive to Middle Two Rock Road and forty-

five minutes back from physical therapy.

She’d say, even my voice sounded unfettered

by my spine afterward. So I sang and sang,

because I thought she liked it. I never

asked her what she gave up to drive me,

or how her day was before this chore. Today,

at her age, I was driving myself home from yet

another spine appointment, singing along

to some maudlin but solid song on the radio,

and I saw a mom take her raincoat off

and give it to her young daughter when

a storm took over the afternoon. My god,

I thought, my whole life I’ve been under her

raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel

that I never got wet.

"A Mother's Love" —Helen Steiner Rice

If you've ever wondered who is behind all those greeting card poems, look no further than poet Helen Steiner Rice. In fact, according to the Helen Steiner Rice Foundation website, her first books were compilations of poems she wrote and mailed her own friends and family.

Until I became a mom, I really didn't understand the depth of my mom's love for me, and how darn patient she has been with me over all these years. Good grief, have I been a brat on more than one occasion! "A Mother's Love" by Helen Steiner Rice captures the enigmatic quality of a mother's love, perfect for Valentine's Day. It goes like this:

A Mother's love is something

that no one can explain,

It is made of deep devotion

and of sacrifice and pain,

It is endless and unselfish

and enduring come what may

For nothing can destroy it

or take that love away . . .

It is patient and forgiving

when all others are forsaking,

And it never fails or falters

even though the heart is breaking . . .

It believes beyond believing

when the world around condemns,

And it glows with all the beauty

of the rarest, brightest gems . . .

It is far beyond defining,

it defies all explanation,

And it still remains a secret

like the mysteries of creation . . .

A many splendoured miracle

man cannot understand

And another wondrous evidence

of God's tender guiding hand.

"To My Mother" —Robert Louis Stevenson

As moms, we all know in our hearts that we should appreciate the little moments with small children scurrying around, but sometimes it takes a poet like Robert Louis Stevenson to put that feeling into words. Stevenson was a Scottish author and prolific world traveler, as explained by the website dedicated to his memory. He crammed many words and adventures into his 44 years, and his life is one worth learning more about — perhaps alongside your mom!

You too, my mother, read my rhymes

For love of unforgotten times,

And you may chance to hear once more

The little feet along the floor.

"Mother, A Cradle To Hold Me" —Maya Angelou

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What woman (or man, for that matter) doesn't love a poem by the legendary Maya Angelou? If you imagine her melodic voice as you read the first two stanzas of her poem "Mother, a Cradle to Hold Me", it's even more moving. If your mom is a Maya Angelou fan as well, you could pick up a copy of Mom & Me & Mom, the story of Angelou's relationship with her mother, which was as complex as many of our own relationships with our mothers are.

It is true

I was created in you.

It is also true

That you were created for me.

I owned your voice.

It was shaped and tuned to soothe me.

Your arms were molded

Into a cradle to hold me, to rock me.

The scent of your body was the air

Perfumed for me to breathe.


During those early, dearest days

I did not dream that you had

A large life which included me,

For I had a life

Which was only you.

"Mother O' Mine" —Rudyard Kipling

Does your mother have a flair for the dramatic? How about this poem, "Mother O' Mine", by Rudyard Kipling. The author, who penned The Jungle Book, which we all know and love from the Disney animated version, describes the love he knows his mother has for him, in the most declarative language. Can't you picture him standing on top of a hill, shouting to the rooftops about his mother o'mine?

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!

"Lessons From Mumma" —Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur isn't only a New York Times best-selling poet, she also illustrates her own books with simple line drawings. If you are on the look-out for a gift to help your kids make their mom, this is a sweet option. Set them up with a few black markers and white paper, and ask them to draw their mom (or a heart, if you have even smaller kids), in the style that Kaur uses. Slip in a printed copy of her poem "Lessons From Mumma" from her second collection of poems, The Sun and Her Flowers.

When it came to listening

My mother taught me silence

If you are drowning their voice with your

Show will you hear them she asked

Shen it came to speaking

She said do it with commitment

Every word you say

Is your own responsibility

When it came to being

She said be tender and tough at once

You need to be vulnerable to live fully

But rough enough to survive it all

When it came to choosing

She asked me to be thankful

For the choices I had that

She never had the privilege of making

"Another Poem For Mothers" —Erin Belieu

What immediately strikes you when you read "Another Poem for others" by Erin Belieu is the imagery in the Valentine’s day poem for mommy (that she’ll love every day of the year). She perfectly describes the reassuring quality of a mom when she writes of her mother's hands:

Mother, I’m trying

to write

a poem to you—which is how most

poems to mothers must

begin—or, What I’ve wanted

to say, Mother...but we

as children of mothers,

even when mothers ourselves,

cannot bear our poems

to them. Poems to

mothers make us feel

little again. How to describe

that world that mothers spin

and consume and trap

and love us in, that spreads

for years and men and miles?

Those particular hands that could

smooth anything: butter on bread,

cool sheets or weather. It’s

the wonder of them, good or bad,

those mother-hands that pet

"Mother" —Lola Ridge

Every mother wants to be remembered as Irish poet Lola Ridge describes, "less an image in my mind than a luster." Born in Dublin in the late 1800s, Ridge grew up in mining towns in New Zealand and Australia before immigrating to the United States and becoming an activist on the topics of race, class and gender issues.

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

pale as star-light on a gray wall . . .

evanescent as the reflection of a white swan

shimmering in broken water.

"Sonnets Are Full Of Love, And This My Tome" —Christina Rossetti

Most of us know Christina Rossetti's work because she penned the Christmas carol “In The Bleak Midwinter,” but you'll probably enjoy this sonnet dedicated to her mother. Increasingly known as one of the major Victorian poets, Rossetti's words about her first love will surely touch your mother's heart.

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome

Has many sonnets: so here now shall be

One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me

To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,

To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee

I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;

Whose service is my special dignity,

And she my loadstar while I go and come

And so because you love me, and because

I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath

Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name:

In you not fourscore years can dim the flame

Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws

Of time and change and mortal life and death.

Whether your mom or mother-in-law is a poetry fan or you’re looking to express your love for your mom on Valentine’s Day but words aren’t coming easy, a poem that relays your feelings is always a thoughtful gift. You could even consider buying a poetry book with a bookmark on the poem you want her to read.

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