Language & Literature

What is Your Favourite … Poem?

Everyone has their favourite song, their favourite film; some of us even have a favourite book. Carolyn Ward wants to know if you have a favourite poem.

Have you got a favourite poem? One that you can recite from the heart; with words that set your soul alight with happiness? Poems can be happy, funny, sad, but all are beautiful.  There’s one out there for everyone.

Here are some of the world’s most popular poems.  Is your favourite amongst these?

If it isn’t, please email it in to JUMP! With your name and age, and we will discover some new favourites. Or add it to this article in the comments section. There are hundreds of children’s poetry websites online, now get researching…



Haiku (circa 1650 AD to present)

The butterfly
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid

— Matsuo Basho, translated by Michael Burch




The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”
Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

– Edward Lear





`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)



Halfway down the stairs

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where I sit.
there isn’t any
other stair
quite like
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else

– A. A. Milne





Twas midnight in the schoolroom
And every desk was shut
When suddenly from the alphabet
Was heard a loud ‘Tut-Tut!’

Said A to B, ‘I don’t like C;
His manners are a lack.
For all I ever see of C
Is a semi-circular back!’

‘I disagree,’ said D to B,
‘I’ve never found C so.
From where I stand he seems to be
An uncompleted O.’

C was vexed, ‘I’m much perplexed,
You criticise my shape.
I’m made like that, to help spell Cat
And Cow and Cool and Cape.’

‘He’s right’ said E; said F, ‘Whoopee!’
Said G, ”Ip, ‘Ip, ‘ooray!’
‘You’re dropping me,’ roared H to G.
‘Don’t do it please I pray.’

‘Out of my way,’ LL said to K.
‘I’ll make poor I look ILL.’
To stop this stunt J stood in front,
And presto! ILL was JILL.

‘U know,’ said V, ‘that W
Is twice the age of me.
For as a Roman V is five
I’m half as young as he.’

X and Y yawned sleepily,
‘Look at the time!’ they said.
‘Let’s all get off to beddy byes.’
They did, then ‘Z-z-z.’

– Spike Milligan




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  1. 1

    I love Shel Silverstein – I discovered him through Handwriting classes in Juniors (with Mr Randall).
    Hilarious poems!

    My favourite is:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    His feet were full of blisters
    The flames came up and caught his pants.
    and now he wears his sister’s

  2. 4

    An Arundel Tomb by Philip Larkin. It sounds like it is going to be sad but it sums up the concept of love better than any other piece of writing. In my opinion, of course!

  3. 6

    I love all of these poems especially ‘Halfway down the stairs’! I keep thinking about it when my toddler walks up the stairs slowly holding my hand – time to stop and think and not rush up them 2 at a time like I usually do.
    One of my very favourite poems from my youth is ‘Warning’ by Jenny Joseph. ‘When I’m an old woman I’ll wear purple’. My Grandma told me it and said that’s what she’d do and she’s mostly stuck to it – I plan to as well!

  4. 7

    This is a really good poem I have just discovered, hope you like it 🙂
    I don’t want to go into school by colin Mcnaughton

    I don’t want to go into school today; Mum,
    I don’t feel like school work today.
    Oh, don’t make me go to school today, Mum
    Oh, please let me stay home and play.

    But you must go to school, my cherub, my lamb,
    If you don’t it will be a disaster,
    How would they manage without you, my sweet,
    After all you are the headmaster!

  5. 9

    I very Much like these two haiku(s?).

    Writing a poem Short Poems are fun.
    With seventeen syllables You can tell at a glance if
    Is very diffi… You like them or not.

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