Unique, Non-Awful Poems For Every Occasion

On National Poetry Day, here are a few of our favourites

World poetry day poems

by Sofia Tindall |

Today, the 4th of October, marks National Poetry Day. Which means one thing: whether you're a Rupi Kaur or Sylvia Plath kind of person (or indeed, both), the time is ripe to celebrate the teaching and writing of poetry as well as the incredible body of poetic work amassed over the years.

Picking poems for occasions can be a tricky task (have you ever been assigned with trying to find a unique yet non-awful wedding poem?) so in honour of the worldwide-anniversary to celebrate incredible poets both old and new, we've compiled a list of poems for every occasion. Whether it's an Instagram-friendly ballad about female empowerment that you're looking for, something to pen in a card to a new mother or a creative choice for a millennial wedding, don't worry: we've got you covered...

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Poems For Every Occasion

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou (excerpt)Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them,They think I'm telling lies.I say,It's in the reach of my arms,The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman, That's me.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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The Light Gatherer, by Carol Ann Duffy (excerpt)When you were small, your cupped palmseach held a candleworth under the skin, enough light to begin,and as you grew,light gathered in you, two clear raindropsin your eyes,warm pearls, shy,in the lobes of your ears, even alwaysthe light of a smile after your tears.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Progress, Rupi Kaurour work should equip the next generation of women to outdo us in every field this is the legacy we'll leave behind

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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You're, by Sylvia PlathClownlike, happiest on your hands, Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled, Gilled like a fish. A common-sense Thumbs-down on the dodo's mode. Wrapped up in yourself like a spool, Trawling your dark as owls do. Mute as a turnip from the Fourth Of July to All Fools' Day,O high-riser, my little loaf.Vague as fog and looked for like mail. Farther off than Australia.Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn. Snug as a bud and at home Like a sprat in a pickle jug. A creel of eels, all ripples. Jumpy as a Mexican bean. Right, like a well-done sum. A clean slate, with your own face on.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Somewhere I Have Never Travelled Gladly Beyond, ee cummings(i do not know what it is about you that closesand opens;only something in me understandsthe voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Love Is A Place, by ee cummingslove is a place& through this place oflove move(with brightness of peace)all placesyes is a world& in this world ofyes live(skillfully curled)all worlds

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43), by Elizabeth Barrett BrowningHow do I love thee? Let me count the ways.I love thee to the depth and breadth and heightMy soul can reach, when feeling out of sightFor the ends of being and ideal grace.I love thee to the level of every day'sMost quiet need, by sun and candle-light.I love thee freely, as men strive for right.I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.I love thee with the passion put to useIn my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.I love thee with a love I seemed to loseWith my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,I shall but love thee better after death.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Love Cycle, by Chinua Achebe (excerpt)At dawn slowlythe sun withdraws hislong misty arms ofembrace. Happy loverswhose exertions leaveno aftertaste nor slushof love's combustion; Earthperfumed in dewdropfragrance wakes

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Haiku from The Narrow Road To The Deep North, by Matsuo BashoSpring is passing.The birds cry, and the fishes fillWith tears on their eyes.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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The Friend, by A.A. MilneThere are lots and lots of people who are always asking things, Like Dates and Pounds-and-ounces and the names of funny Kings, And the answer's always Sixpence or a Hundred Inches Long. And I know they'll think me silly if I get the answer wrong. So Pooh and I go whispering, and Pooh looks very bright, And says, "Well, I say sixpence, but I don't suppose I'm right." And then it doesn't matter what the answer ought to be, 'Cos if he's right, I'm Right, and if he's wrong, it isn't Me.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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The Cherry Trees, by Edward ThomasThe cherry trees bend over and are sheddingOn the old road where all that passed are dead,Their petals, strewing the grass as for a weddingThis early May morn when there is none to wed.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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All You Own Is Yourself, by Rupi KaurLet it go Let it leave Let it happenNothing in this world Was promised or Belonged to you Anyway

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Will I have to be sexy at sixty?, by Pam AyresWill I have to be sexy at sixty?Will I have to keep trying so hard?Well I'm just going to slump,With my dowager's humpAnd watch myself turn into lard.I'm not going to keep exercising,I'm not going to take HRT,If a toy boy enquiresI'll say, "Hah! Hard luck squire!Where were you in 73...?"

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Everything Exists, by William Blake For everything exists and notone sigh nor smile nor tear,one hair nor particleof dust, not one can pass away.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Anne Hathaway, by Carol Ann Duffy'Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bedu2026'(from Shakespeare's will)The bed we loved in was a spinning worldof forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seaswhere he would dive for pearls. My lover's wordswere shooting stars which fell to earth as kisseson these lips; my body now a softer rhymeto his, now echo, assonance; his toucha verb dancing in the centre of a noun.Some nights I dreamed he'd written me, the beda page beneath his writer's hands. Romanceand drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,dribbling their prose. My living laughing love u2013I hold him in the casket of my widow's headas he held me upon that next best bed.

Poems For Every Occasion - Grazia
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Cozy Apologia, by Rita Dove (excerpt)Cussing up a storm. You're bunkered in your Aerie, I'm perched in mine (Twin desks, computers, hardwood floors): We're content, but fall short of the Divine. Still, it's embarrassing, this happinessu2014 Who's satisfied simply with what's good for us, When has the ordinary ever been news? And yet, because nothing else will do To keep me from melancholy (call it blues), I fill this stolen time with you.

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