Selected Poems

11 Poems About The Parents’ Love for Their Children

Last Updated: December 11, 2022

There is nothing like the love of a parent for their child. It is a bond that is unbreakable and can never be severed. These poems capture the deep love and affection parents have for their children. Whether it is through good times or bad, these poems about parents’ love for children show that this love always endures. Read on to see for yourself how powerful this bond really is!

1. My Son the Man by Sharon Olds

Suddenly his shoulders get a lot wider,
the way Houdini would expand his body

In My Son the Man, Olds writes movingly about her son growing up, leaving her, and how difficult it is for her to see her small boy grow into a man. This is conveyed via Olds’ memories of her son as a kid, her sentiments about seeing him as an adult, and her account of his realization that he is growing up.

Olds’ poem alludes to Houdini, a magician famous for liberating himself when either submerged in water, locked up, or chained, in order to illustrate the investable process of the son growing. Houdini was an escape artist, therefore the allusion represents the son’s growth in terms of potential future changes.

However, Olds reacts to this change. Despite this likely future, Olds refuses to accept that her son will grow up and become a man. She is uncomfortable about him becoming an adult, but she must embrace the truth and put up with her discomfort. As she explains the natural process of the son’s development into an adult by making a reference to Houdini expanding his body, she ultimately expresses concern that the son would escape from her forever.

2. A Note on My Son’s Face by Toi Derricotte

I wanted that face to die,
to be reborn in the face of a white child.

In this poem, Derricotte shares a mother’s concerns about what would happen to her child as a result of an absurd culture in which people of color are seen negatively. The poet expressly describes the moment she first gazed at her son’s face with pity and realized she would never be able to change his destiny or remove him from his blackness, which she had received from her predecessors and handed on to the son.

I remembered how, an infant, his face was too dark,
nose too broad, mouth too wide.

She realized that the child’s face had already been sealed and that because of his color and the legacy she had received from her ancestors, he would experience discrimination. Derricotte states the fear that many black parents have. They feel like they are constantly fighting an uphill battle, regardless of how well their children are doing in school or what kind of career path they choose to follow.

It’s hard to accept, but racism still plays a role in society today. Additionally, many black families experience economic hardships firsthand due to systematic discrimination and institutional racism. These kinds of experiences make it difficult for black parents not only financially but emotionally too – making them worried about the long-term prospects for their kids.

3. A Poet to His Baby Son by James Weldon Johnson 

Tiny bit of humanity,
Blessed with your mother’s face,   
And cursed with your father’s mind.

In the poem A Poet to His Baby Son, the speaker humorously complains that his young child may be thinking about following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a poet. The speaker and his infant son are having a brief conversation.

He refers to the child as a “tiny bit of humanity” and says that although he looks like his mother, the baby thinks like his father. The first attribute makes the speaker pleased, but the second makes him uncomfortable. The speaker is so concerned about the infant having his “father’s mind” that he refers to the trait as being “cursed” upon the child.

Though amusing, this poem is nevertheless serious. Despite the fact that the speaker is merely speculating about the possibility that his son may be considering becoming a poet, he uses the poem as a vehicle to express his discontent with the way poetry has devolved into.

4. Only Child by D. Nurkse

I cradled my newborn daughter
and felt the heartbeat
pull me out of shock.

Only Child by D. Nurkse examines the bond between a parent and child, their intense connection, and the development of the child.

He recounts the growth of his daughter, from her birth to a young age. Nurkse frequently expresses amazement at how much his daughter has affected and moved him, and the poet describes his love for her as extraordinary.

The first stanza of the poem focuses on the immediate aftermath of Nurkse’s child’s birth. As the poet cradled his only child, he understands that right now she is a blank slate.

When we move into the second stanza, the child is already speaking. She is discovering her voice and becoming more assertive while requesting her father’s attention.

The third and last stanza depicts a scene where the father and daughter are riding a seesaw. She “has power,” according to Nurkse, to raise him off the ground. This serves as a metaphor for the amount of influence his daughter has gained over him, being able to lift him despite her “tiny weight.” Overall, the poem is a lovely ode to parenthood.

5. Song for Baby-O, Unborn by Diane di Prima

but I can show you
baby
enough to love

Family is Di Prima’s most recurring theme, and it is handled in a very contemporary manner. Di Prima introduces family as a topic for the first time in Song for Baby-O, Unborn. The poet’s wish to instill love in the lives of her unborn child is expressed in the poem.

She utilizes loving word choices that convey her warmth toward the infant throughout the poem, such as “sweetheart” in the first stanza and “baby” in the final one. Being the proud mother of five children, Di Prima was able to clearly connect the poem to her own life.

A mother’s love is one of the strongest things in the world. It is unyielding, unconditional, and protective. Mothers devote themselves entirely to their children – both physically and emotionally – without reservation or regret. With Song for Baby-O, Unborn, Di Prima clearly conveys that.

6. A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler Yeats 

I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour,
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And under the arches of the bridge, and scream

In 1919, just after the end of World War I and the birth of his daughter, Yeats penned A Prayer for my Daughter. Therefore, in the background and in the poet’s thinking, the persistent uncomfortable feeling is apparent. In a way, the poem is Yeats questioning himself how to best raise his daughter.

While the war was concluded by 1919, in Ireland life had not yet returned to normal. He, therefore, wonders how she will get through the challenging times that lie ahead in politically unstable times.

He desires to provide his daughter with a life filled with beauty and purity, security and safety. He also wants her to have good manners, be humble, be devoid of intellectual prejudice, and not have strong opinions.

The issue of a father’s love and concern after having a daughter is beautifully portrayed in A Prayer for my Daughter. The poem conveys the powerlessness of all fathers who experienced this circumstance as well as Yeats’ own feelings.

7. Lullaby by John Fuller 

Sleep little baby, clean as a nut,
Your fingers uncurl and your eyes are shut.

Lullaby by John Fuller is a lovely and gentle nursery rhyme. In this poem, the exterior environment is contrasted with the pure image of a baby. The baby appears to be shielded from all the horrible powers lurking outside by the house and the parents.

John Fuller, a poet, and author who was born in Kent is the son of Roy Fuller, a poet, and Oxford professor. Many great authors such as Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, Robert Graves, and W.H. Auden can be considered his mentors. Lullaby is one of his best-known poems for children out of the many that he penned.

8. Upon my Daughter Hannah Wiggin her recouery from a dangerous feaver. by Anne Bradstreet

Bles’t bee thy Name, who did’st restore
To health my Daughter dear

Anne Bradstreet was the first poet to have a book of poems published in America. Her poetry uses a rather straightforward language, but they nevertheless have depth. Upon my Daughter Hannah Wiggin her recouery from a dangerous feaver. could be read as a prayer from Bradstreet for her daughter’s health.

In the middle of the seventeenth century, Bradstreet and her family resided among the early colonies of Massachusetts, where living conditions were difficult. Numerous people did not survive into old age. This poem by Bradstreet is a good example of many of her writings that highlight the difficulties of life back then.

9. Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

The next poem is one of Hughes’ best-known and most relatable, Mother to Son. Any reader can read this piece and sense a connection, regardless of background. It’s a very moving poem that both serves as a reminder of life’s difficulties and as inspiration for the tenacity needed to deal with them.

The poem provides a mother’s instruction to her son regarding the challenges that life presents, such as the stairs that one must climb. Broken boards, splinters, and tacks are all metaphors for the challenges and risks of life that he must be aware of. She also stresses that despite the possibility that he might grow weary or despairing, he must never turn around or sit down.

In a child’s life, parents are the most significant figures. They teach them how to be compassionate and caring, and instill values such as responsibility and discipline. Some of the best things parents can do for their children is to teach them about life’s challenges and how to overcome them.

10. Egg by C.G. Hanzlicek

I’m scrambling an egg for my daughter.
“Why are you always whistling?” she asks.
“Because I’m happy.”

English professor C. G. Hanzlicek taught at California State University, Fresno before retiring in 2001. He has authored eight collections of poetry. Cooking for your daughter is one of the most special moments in a father’s life. Hanzlicek’s Egg clearly reflects that.

The father’s feelings in the poem are not unique – in fact, it’s quite common for fathers to feel this way about their children. Parenthood changes everything for fathers – from their relationships with other people (including their wives) to their sense of self-worth and purpose in life. It can be an intense and transformational experience, one that gives dads a new appreciation for all the happiness they once took for granted.

11. A Cradle Song by William Blake

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

The 19th century produced some of the finest artists and writers in history, including William Blake. His poem A Cradle Song, which is included in Blake’s Songs of Innocence, unquestionably has the air of a tender nursery rhyme.

Overall, A Cradle Song might be described as a simple poem about a mother’s love for her child. It sounded exactly like a lullaby that a mother would sing to her child while she was being rocked to sleep. This poem was created so that readers everywhere might realize that when it comes to the love a mother and father have for their children, we all share the same sentiments.

Final thoughts

The love parents have for their children is unfathomable. It motivates them to make every effort to ensure the happiness and well-being of their children. Whether through words or actions, parents demonstrate their love for their children every day. We hope you have enjoyed this collection of poems about the unending love between a parent and child.

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