20 Greatest Poems About Time

Whether it’s the symbolism of time or a clock, the passing of time, the present, and the future, authors and poetry experts have never missed writing about “time”.

In this article, we will list down all the best poems about time you’ll find on the internet today.

Poems About Time

1. “Sonnet 19” by William Shakespeare

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,

And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;

Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,

And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood …

2. “Leisure” by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

3. “What the Minutes Say” by Anonymous

We are but minutes—little things!

Each one furnished with sixty wings,

With which we fly on our unseen track,

And not a minute ever comes back.

We are but minutes; use us well,

For how we are used we must one day tell.

Who uses minutes, has hours to use;

Who loses minutes, whole years must lose.

4. “A New Time-Table” by Anonymous

Sixty seconds make a minute:

How much good can I do in it?

Sixty minutes make an hour,—

All the good that’s in my power.

Twenty hours and four, a day,—

Time for work, and sleep, and play.

Days, three hundred sixty-five

Make a year for me to strive

Eight good things for me to do,

That I wise may grow and true.

5. “Even Such is Time” by Sir Walter Raleigh

Even such is Time, that takes in trust

Our youth, our joys, our all we have,

And pays us but with earth and dust;

Who in the dark and silent grave

When we have wandered all our ways,

Shuts up the story of our days;

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,

My God shall raise me up, I trust.

6. “Thief and Giver” by Amos Russel Wells

Time’s a thief; he steals away

Many blossoms of to-day.

Joys he steals and also tears,

Pilfers hopes and filches fears.

May the rascal steal from you

Only what you want him to!

Time’s a giver and he brings

Sometimes weights and sometimes wings;

Now his gifts are lasting fair,

Now they vanish in the air.

May the rascal give to you

Only what you want him to!

7. “Burglar Time” by Amos Russel Wells

Time’s a burglar. On his toes

Noiselessly the rascal goes;

Steals my hair, and in its place

Drops long wrinkles on my face;

Steals my vigor, and instead

With experience crams my head;

Steals the trustfulness of youth,

Changing it for bitter truth;

Steals my friends by slow degrees,

Leaving only memories;

Steals my hope, my daring bold,

Leaving nought but yellow gold,

Making these exchanges, he

Deems it is no robbery;

Yes, and truly; for his stealth

Of my dear departed wealth

Yet has left the Joy of Life,

You, my daughter and my wife!

8. “To Time” by Ruby Archer

Time! Thou art a youth, a youth all power.

I cannot vision thee an aged man.

Thou art the messenger of century

To century, thou Hermes-footed one;

And with thy wand of progress thou dost wake

All worlds to motion and all men to zeal.

No prayer may stay thy pinions beating swift,

Nor make thee falter on thy purposed flight.

The hours thou lettest fall upon our hearts

Are precious flowers that we would cherish fain,

But they must die for brighter blooms to live.

On then, O tireless, great-eyed Time!

Child of Eternity! We follow thee.

Lean o’er us, groping in the dust of earth,

And clear our vision with a dream of heaven.

9. “Now’s the Time” by Amos Russel Wells

If a poem you would write,

Now’s the time!

Ne’er was epic yet or sonnet

Captured but by leaping on it;

Pegasus depend upon it,

Knows his time.

If you have a task to do,

Now’s the time!

Now, while you’ve a notion to it;

Now, while zeal will help you do it;

Or in shame you’ll hobble through it,

Out of time.

If you have a word of praise,

Now’s the time!

Should the sky, while flowers are growing

Stint its gracious dew-bestowing

Ne’er would come the rainhow-glowing

Blossom time.

If you have a kiss to give,

Now’s the time!

Lips, like flowers, soon are faded,

Life-blood pallid, checked, and jaded,

If they are not love—o’ershaded,

Kissed in time.

If you have a prayer to pray,

Now’s the time!

Not to every hour are given

Upward look and open heaven;

Oh, be strengthened, gladdened, shriven,

While there’s time!

10. “The Lapse of Time” by William Cullen Bryant

Lament who will, in fruitless tears.

The speed with which our moments fly

I sigh not over vanished years,

But watch the years that hasten by.

Look, how they come,—a mingled crowd

Of bright and dark, but rapid days;

Beneath them, like a summer cloud,

The wide world changes as I gaze.

What! grieve that time has brought so soon

The sober age of manhood on?

As idly might I weep, at noon,

To see the blush of morning gone.

Could I give up the hopes that glow

In prospect, like Elysian isles;

And let the charming future go,

With all her promises and smiles?

The future!—cruel were the power

Whose doom would tear thee from my heart.

Thou sweetener of the present hour!

We cannot—no—we will not part.

Oh, leave me, still, the rapid flight

That makes the changing seasons gay,

The grateful speed that brings the night,

The swift and glad return of day;

The months that touch, with added grace,

This little prattler at my knee,

In whose arch eye and speaking face

New meaning every hour I see;

The years, that o’er each sister land

Shall lift the country of my birth

And nurse her strength, till she shall stand

The pride and pattern of the earth;

Till younger commonwealths, for aid,

Shall cling about her ample robe,

And from her frown shall shrink afraid

The crowned oppressors of the globe.

True—time will seam and blanch my brow—

Well—I shall sit with aged men,

And my good glass will tell me how

A grizzly beard becomes me then.

And should no foul dishonour lie

Upon my head, when I am gray,

Love yet shall watch my fading eye,

And smooth the path of my decay.

Then haste thee, Time—’tis kindness all

That speeds thy winged feet so fast;

Thy pleasures stay not till they pall,

And all thy pains are quickly past.

Thou fliest and bear’st away our woes,

And as thy shadowy train depart,

The memory of sorrow grows

A lighter burden on the heart.

11. “Reveille” by A.E Houseman

Wake: the silver dusk returning

Up the beach of darkness brims,

And the ship of sunrise burning

Strands upon the eastern rims.

Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,

Trampled to the floor it spanned,

And the tent of night in tatters

Straws the sky-pavilioned land.

Up, lad, up, ’tis late for lying:

Hear the drums of morning play;

Hark, the empty highways crying

‘Who’ll beyond the hills away?’

Towns and countries woo together,

Forelands beacon, belfries call;

Never lad that trod on leather

Lived to feast his heart with all.

Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber

Sunlit pallets never thrive;

Morns abed and daylight slumber

Were not meant for man alive.

Clay lies still, but blood’s a rover;

Breath’s a ware that will not keep.

Up, lad: when the journey’s over

There’ll be time enough to sleep.

12. “In Time’s Swing” by Lucy Larcom

Father Time, your footsteps go

Lightly as the falling snow.

In your swing I’m sitting, see!

Push me softly; one, two; three,

Twelve times only. Like a sheet,

Spread the snow beneath my feet.

Singing merrily, let me swing

Out of winter into spring.

Swing me out, and swing me in!

Trees are bare, but birds begin

Twittering to the peeping leaves,

On the bough beneath the eaves.

Wait,—one lilac bud I saw.

Icy hillsides feel the thaw.

April chased off March to-day;

Now I catch a glimpse of May.

Oh, the smell of sprouting grass!

In a blur the violets pass.

Whispering from the wildwood come

Mayflower’s breath and insect’s hum.

Roses carpeting the ground;

Thrushes, orioles, warbling sound:—

Swing me low, and swing me high,

To the warm clouds of July.

Slower now, for at my side

White pond lilies open wide.

Underneath the pine’s tall spire

Cardinal blossoms burn like fire.

They are gone; the golden-rod

Flashes from the dark green sod.

Crickets in the grass I hear;

Asters light the fading year.

Slower still! October weaves

Rainbows of the forest leaves.

Gentians fringed, like eyes of blue,

Glimmer out of sleety dew.

Meadow green I sadly miss:

Winds through withered sedges hiss.

Oh, ‘t is snowing, swing me fast,

While December shivers past!

Frosty-bearded Father Time,

Stop your footfall on the rime!

Hard you push, your hand is rough;

You have swung me long enough.

“Nay, no stopping,” say you? Well,

Some of your best stories tell,

While you swing me—gently, do!—

From the Old Year to the New.

13. “If I should die” by Emily Dickinson

If I should die,

And you should live,

And time should gurgle on,

And morn should beam,

And noon should burn,

As it has usual done;

If birds should build as early,

And bees as bustling go, —

One might depart at option

From enterprise below!

‘T is sweet to know that stocks will stand

When we with daisies lie,

That commerce will continue,

And trades as briskly fly.

It makes the parting tranquil

And keeps the soul serene,

That gentlemen so sprightly

Conduct the pleasing scene!

14. “The Spouting Horn” by Hannah Flagg Gould

On the dark rock’s steep

I stood, where the deep

By its view, like a mighty spell, bound me;

While the white foam-wreath

Was weaving beneath,

And the breeze from the waters played round me;

Then wave after wave,

To a low, narrow cave,

Came, as rest from a long journey seeking;

But, “out! out! out!”

Was the word, which the Spout

To its guests seemed eternally speaking.

And each billow seen

Rolling up, soft and green,

To the Horn, full of grace in its motion,

Now wild, as with fright,

Would return snowy white,

And rush, roaring, back to the ocean.

In vain did my eye,

By its search, seek to spy

The monarch of this gloomy dwelling,

Who thus, by the force

Of his voice, stern and hoarse,

The deep in her might was repelling.

What power could be there,

Shut from light, heat and air,

I asked, with the dumbness of wonder;

But, “Out!” was the word,

That alone could be heard,

And in sounds like the roaring of thunder!

O Time! Time! ‘t is thus,

Thou art sporting with us;

Our touch at thy shore proudly spurning.

To eternity we,

As the waves to the sea,

Are broken and restless returning!

15. “A Moment Too Late” by Anonymous

A moment too late, my beautiful bird,

A moment too late are you now;

The wind has your soft, downy nest disturbed—

The nest that you hung on the bough.

A moment too late; that string in your bill,

Would have fastened it firmly and strong;

But see, there it goes, rolling over the hill!

Oh, you staid a moment too long.

A moment, one moment too late, busy bee;

The honey has dropped from the flower:

No use to creep under the petals and see;

It stood ready to drop for an hour.

A moment too late; had you sped on your wing,

The honey would not have been gone;

Now you see what a very, a very sad thing

‘T is to stay a moment too long.

Little girl, never be a moment too late,

It will soon end in trouble or crime;

Better be an hour early, and stand and wait,

Than a moment behind the time.

If the bird and the bee, little boy, were too late,

Remember, as you play along

On your way to school, with pencil and slate,

Never stay a moment too long.

16. “Recessional” by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

Now along the solemn heights

Fade the Autumn’s altar-lights’

Down the great earth’s glimmering chancel

Glide the days and nights.

Little kindred of the grass,

Like a shadow in a glass

Falls the dark and falls the stillness,—

We must rise and pass.

We must rise and follow, wending

Where the nights and days have ending,—

Pass in order pale and slow

Unto sleep extending.

Little brothers of the clod,

Soul of fire and seed of sod,

We must fare into the silence

At the knees of God.

Little comrades of the sky

Wing to wing we wander by,

Going, going, going, going,

Softly as a sigh.

Hark, the moving shapes confer,

Globe of dew and gossamer,

Fading and ephemeral spirits

In the dusk astir.

Moth and blossom, blade and bee,

Worlds must go as well as we,

In the long procession joining

Mount, and star, and sea.

Toward the shadowy brink we climb

Where the round year rolls sublime,

Rolls, and drops, and falls forever

In the vast of time;

Like a plummet plunging deep

Past the utmost reach of sleep,

Till remembrance has no longer

Care to laugh or weep.

17. “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,

Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,

Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape

Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave

Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,

For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;

And, happy melodist, unwearied,

For ever piping songs for ever new;

More happy love! more happy, happy love!

For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,

For ever panting, and for ever young;

All breathing human passion far above,

That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,

A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

To what green altar, O mysterious priest,

Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,

And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?

What little town by river or sea shore,

Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,

Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?

And, little town, thy streets for evermore

Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede

Of marble men and maidens overwrought,

With forest branches and the trodden weed;

Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!

When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

18. “The Time Is Short” by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

We take but little note of time,

Nor prize the present day;

Revolving suns, in course sublime,

For man will not delay.

We, from the cradle, wander forth,

And leave our mother’s side

With swelling hopes of little worth

And think the world is wide

But hark, the message from above

Proclaims, “The time is short;”

Know, youth, it is the voice of love,

Why will you longer sport.

O, let this admonition kind,

This message from above,

Sink deep in every heart and mind,—

‘Twas sent to us in love.

When time is done with us below,

Our souls can never die,

But will partake of joy or woe,

Beyond the human eye.

Then let us seize this little space,

The time to gain the prize,

That will be found by men of grace,

The virtuous and wise.

The Son of God, whose blood was spilt

To wash our sins away,

Was a great sacrifice for guilt,

Which we could never pay.

For this, our gratitude we owe

Forever to the Lord;

Then let our lips and lives, e’er show

We love His sacred word.

O for a heart to grow in grace,

To live for Christ alone;

To muse on heaven, that resting place,

To know as we are known.

19. “Today” by Thomas Carlyle

So here hath been dawning

Another blue day;

Think, wilt thou let it

Slip useless away?

Out of Eternity

This new day is born;

Into Eternity

At night will return.

Behold it aforetime

No eye ever did;

So soon it forever

From all eyes is hid.

Here hath been dawning

Another blue day;

Think, wilt thou let it

Slip useless away?

20. “True Wisdom” by Lydia Howard Sigourney

Why break the limits of permitted thought

To revel in Elysium? thou who bear’st

Still the stern yoke of this unresting life,

Its toils, its hazards, and its fears of change?

Why hang thy frostwork wreath on Fancy’s brow,

When Labour warns thee to thy daily task,

And Faith doth bid thee gird thyself to run

A faithful journey to the gate of Heaven?

Up, ’tis no dreaming-time! awake! awake!

For He who sits on the High Judge’s seat

Doth in his record note each wasted hour,

Each idle word. Take heed thy shrinking soul

Find not their weight too heavy when it stands

At that dread bar from whence is no appeal.

For while we trifle the light sand steals on,

Leaving the hour-glass empty. So thy life

Glideth away. Stamp wisdom on its hours.

Greatest Poems About Time
Joe Davies