Our Favourite Poems

We love a poem at Young Poets’ Stories, so to mark National Poetry Day 2020, we’re sharing our favourite poems with you.


I have so many favourite poems. One I particularly like is Jackie Kay’s poem ‘April Sunshine’ because it brims over with the love and admiration that she feels for her parents who have both endured and given others so much in their lives.

From ‘April Sunshine’ by Jackie Kay

When the people who have lived all their lives,
For democracy, for democracy,
Survive to see the spring, April sunshine,
It’s a blessing; it’s a blessing.

(from Bantam: Picador, 2017)


My favourite poem changes all the time, but Sharon Old’s ‘Looking at Them Asleep’ is my pick for today. I love the line ‘anxious and crystally in all this darkness’, which is appropriate for the times we are in now, I feel.

From ‘Looking at Them Asleep’ by Sharon Old

the son he is sideways in his bed,
one knee up as if he is climbing
sharp stairs up into the night,
and under his thin quivering eyelids you
know his eyes are wide open and
staring and glazed, the blue in them so
anxious and crystally in all this darkness, and his
mouth is open, he is breathing hard from the climb
and panting a bit, his brow is crumpled
and pale, his long fingers curved,
his hand open, and in the center of each hand
the dry dirty boyish palm
resting like a cookie.

(from Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002, Knopf, 2004)


2020 has been a difficult year for so many of us. Many more of us dream of better times. I love Maya Angelou’s poetry for the hope it inspires when life is tough . Her wonderful poem ‘Caged Bird’ conveys her effortless ability to combine the misery of the present with the optimism of what might yet be.

From ‘Caged Bird’ by Maya Angelou

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

(From Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? Random House; 1983)

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