Mother's Day is just around the corner, and spouses and children everywhere are shopping for gifts and flowers, making restaurant reservations, and booking manicures and spa days to help make the moms in their lives feel appreciated. But what's better than even the fanciest meal or bit of bling is telling your mom personally how much she means to you, and a great way to do that is by giving her a poem about motherhood.
Of the gifts I've gotten from my own children over the years (including the ones that Dad had a hand in), I most cherish the things they've written in their cards. And yes, they've written me poems, one of which compared me to Pippi Longstocking and another to a superhero. Talk about keepsakes.
If you're inspired to write a bit of verse yourself, so much the better. You don't have to be a professional writer, or even good at rhyming (let's face it, after you use "other," you've pretty much used up the best match for "mother"). Free verse is perfectly fine. Or write down the images that come to mind when you think of your mother. But if the creative muse isn't being cooperative, try one of these poems when you write out your card — or use it in a meme and post it on your mom's social media page. However you decide to share your feelings in poetry, your mom will be delighted and maybe even a little choked-up. Because moms.
"Tribute To Mother"
John Greenleaf Whittier sums up his mother's wisdom and the moral sense she instilled in him: "A picture memory brings to me;/I look across the years and see/Myself beside my mother’s knee./I feel her gentle hand restrain/My selfish moods, and know again/A child’s blind sense of wrong and pain./But wiser now, a man gray grown,/My childhood’s needs are better known./My mother’s chastening love I own."
"To My Mother"
Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his macabre stories, of course, but he had a tender side as well. Poe actually wrote "To My Mother" for his mother-in-law (a later line reads: "You are mother to the one I loved so dearly"), but the first four lines of the sonnet work for any mom: "Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,/The angels, whispering to one another,/Can find, among their burning terms of love,/None so devotional as that of ‘Mother.’ "
If your mom enjoys a good chuckle, try this one, from an anonymous witty author: "Roses are red/Violets are blue/Happy Mother's Day, Mom!/Sorry you didn't give birth to a poet who could rhyme!"
You wonder just who the anonymous poets are who created the most-memeable verses. It would be nice to give a shout-out to the writer of this short but sweet poem: "Of all the special joys in life,/The big ones and the small,/A mother's love and tenderness/Is the greatest of them all."
This bit of verse (yet another by an unknown author) has been a favorite for decades: "A mother holds her children's hands for a short time, but their hearts forever." Great for personalizing a handmade sign or picture frame.
The late great author/poet Maya Angelou exquisitely summed up a mother's strength and beauty: "To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow."
A Life's Walk
This poem, called "A Mother..." demonstrates the journey between mother and child: "When you're a child she walks before you/To set an example./When you're a teenager she walks behind you/To be there should you need her./When you're an adult she walks beside you/So that as two friends you can enjoy life together."
Browning On Moms
Poet Robert Browning said it succinctly: "Motherhood: All love begins and ends there."
For a mom who made your house a home, this anonymous poem fits the bill: "The heart of a home is a mother/Whose love is warm and true, /And home has always been “sweet home”/With a wonderful mother like you!"
One Of A Kind Mom
A poet named George Cooper wrote about the uniqueness of mothers: "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."
"I Will Have To Wait Till I'm A Mother"
A mother's selflessness is neatly summarized in this poem from Rupi Kaur: "I struggle so deeply/to understand/how someone can/pour their entire soul/blood and energy/into someone/without wanting/anything in/return."
There seems to be some question about the author of this beautiful poem honoring moms — some sources credit Reanna Almeida, while others say otherwise — but there's no question that it's sure to bring a smile and a tear to any mom. It's a long verse, but here's a sample: "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."