Good Poems That Are Short

Short poems also have a way of endearing themselves to readers. They are easy to memorize, fun to read, and usually deal with one subject, really, really well.

Poetry, and all art really, can be a really subjective thing. Good poems that are short might mean something totally different to you than it does to me. It is what makes good poetry so hard to define. But it also makes poetry incredibly fun.

The subjective nature of works means we get authors of all writing styles, creating beautiful poems that suit everyone’s taste. Your taste in short poems that are good may be completely different than mine.

Short poems also have a way of endearing themselves to readers. They are easy to memorize, fun to read, and usually deal with one subject, really, really well. They can also be mysterious, so short we feel as if we didn’t get all the information.

There is a lot you can do as a writer in short poetry. And a lot of fun you can have as a reader! Here is a list of a few of my all time favorite short poems that are good, that I think are good, at least!

Snow Fence by Ted Kooser

The red fence
takes the cold trail
north; no meat
on its ribs
but neither has it
much to carry.

Sitting All Evening Alone in the Kitchen by Ted Kooser

The cat has fallen asleep,
the dull book of a dead moth
loose in his paws.

The moon in the window, the tide
gurgling out through the shells
in the old refrigerator.

Late, I turn out the lights.
The little towns on top of the stove
glow faintly neon,
sad women alone at the bar.

These two poems are from Ted Kooser’s collection of poems, Sure Signs, an absolute must read for me. Ted Kooser is a master of the metaphor, personification, all wrapped up in a style that most people would describe as conversational. His poems are easy to memorize, easy to understand, and fun to read.

This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams is an all time favorite poet of mine. Ted Kooser’s work is largely inspired by Williams. They both share an imagistic view of the world, and while Williams favors a more direct approach, his poems still capture beautiful moments in the world.

In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

This Ezra Pound poem, largely inspired by the haiku form, is a type of verbless poetry. No verbs appear in this short poem—just a beautiful image of a busy metro station.

The Garden by H.D.

You are clear,
O rose, cut in rock.

I could scrape the colour
From the petals
Like spilt dye from a rock.

If I could break you
I could break a tree.

If I could stir
I could break a tree,
I could break you.


O wind, red open the heat,
Cut apart the heat,
Slit it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
Through this thick air:
Fruit cannot fall into heat
That presses up and blunts
The points of pears,
And rounds grapes.

Cut the heat:
Plough through it,
Turning it on either side
Of your path.

H.D. and Ezra Pound were two prominent players in the imagist movement. Whenever I think of one of them, I think of the other. Thankfully, they both crafted wonderful short poems that are most certainly good.

It’s no use by Sappho

Mother dear, I
can’t finish my
You may
blame Aphrodite

soft as she is

she has almost
killed me with
love for that boy

Not a whole lot is known about the specifics of Sappho’s life, and not all of her work survived until now. All I do know about Sappho is that this poem absolutely crushes. I love it for its simplicity and timelessness.

Falling in Love by C.W. Bryan

Falling in love
is really quite simple–
The girl ahead of
me in line today

ordered a small
pitcher of beer
and one single
bag of fritos.

Walking by C.W. Bryan

in the moonlight there
without you

the world becomes too beautiful to bear.

This short poem is from my debut poetry collection, Celine, and it is one of my favorite poems I have ever written. I love reading short poems, and they inspire me constantly. I hope this short collection inspires you, too!

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Sam and Corey started Poetry is Pretentious to demystify poetry. More importantly, their 5th grade teacher told them they couldn’t go through life as a team. 18 years later they’re here to prove her wrong.


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