Sometimes a Family Poem says it best!

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If you're specifically planning a black family reunion, there are some wonderful poems in the book, "Families: Poems Celebrating the African American Experience selected by Dorothy S. Strickland and Michael R. Strickland. 

Sometimes a poem expresses exactly what you want to say, with eloquent feeling and emotion that you couldn’t otherwise capture.

The following poems about families are personal favorites. They highlight family relationships and explore family bonds. 

Relationship Between Brothers

(a portion of)

You Know My Brother
by Kevin Bacon, Michael Bacon and Robin Batteau

I’m so glad we’re in this life together.
The more we differ, the more
we’re just the same.
When you’re a brother, you’re a brother forever,
even if he gets all the credit,
and I get all the blame!

When I grow up, I’m going to be
Stronger, taller, smarter, braver, funnier,
Faster, hairier, and a whole lot better at soccer
Than my big brother

by Judith Viorst

Except that my brother is always going to be
Three years, six months, and nine days older than me.

{Return to family poem categories.}

humorous look at sibling relationship

Careless Willie


Willie with a thirst for gore
Nailed his sister to the door
Mother said with humor quaint
“Careful, Willie, don’t scratch the paint!”

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family poem about conflict

Beyond Words

by Robert Frost

That row of icicles along the gutter
Feels like my armory of hate;
And you, you… you, you utter…
You wait.

by Carl Sandburg

The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open asking hand held out and waiting.
For we meet by one or the other.

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sad reminiscent of a missed relationship

My Grandmother

by Elizabeth Jennings

She kept an antique shop—or it kept here.
Among Apostle spoons and Bristol glass,
The faded silks, the heavy furniture,
She watched her own reflection in the brass
Salvers and silver bowls, as if to prove
Polish was all, there was no need of love.

And I remember how I once refused
To go out with her, since I was afraid.
It was perhaps a wish not to be used
Like antique objects. Though she never said
That she was hurt, I still could feel the guilt
Of that refusal, guessing how she felt.

Later, too frail to keep a shop, she put
All her best things in one long narrow room.
The place smelt old, of things too long kept shut,
The smell of absences where shadows come
That can’t be polished. There was nothing then
To give her own reflection back again.

And when she died I felt no grief at all,
Only the guilt of what I once refused.
I walked into her room among the tall
Sideboards and cupboards—things she never used
But needed; and no finger-marks were there,
Only the new dust falling through the air.

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cousin relationships

Cousins are Cozy

by Mary Ann Hoberman

Cousins are cozy
Wherever they’re from;
They fell like your family
Whenever they come.
Some people have many;
Most people have some.
Cousins are cozy
Wherever they’re from.

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family relationships

What Matters Most (song lyrics)
Martin Nievera

It's not how long we held each other's hand
What matters is how well we loved each other
It's not how far we traveled on our way
Of what we found to say
It's not the spring you see, but all the shades of green

It's not how long I held you in my arms
What matters is how sweet the years together
It's not how many summertimes we had to give to fall
The early morning smiles we tearfully recall
What matters most is that we loved at all.

It's not how many summertimes we had to give to fall
The early morning smiles we tearfully recall
What matters most is that we loved at all.

What matters most is that we loved at all.

Family Comes Together
by Glaedr, the poet

Family comes together
For always and forever
In sickness and in health
In poverty or in wealth
Family comes together
For always and forever
Without any reason
Anytime or any season
Family comes together
For always and forever

In death or in life
In happiness or in strife
Family comes together
For always and forever
In anger or in kindness
Whether all seeing or in blindness
Family comes together
For always and forever
Whether for work or for play
They somehow find a way
For family to come together
Because families are forever

by Mary Ann Hoberman

I have a half-sister
I have a whole-sister
I have a step-sister

That adds up to three.

I am a half-brother
I am a whole-brother
I am a step-brother

There’s just one of me!

by Charlotte Zolotow

Some people talk and talk
and never say a thing.
Some people look at you
and birds begin to sing.

Some people laugh and laugh
and yet you want to cry.
Some people touch your hand
and music fills the sky.

by Janet S. Wong

Our family
is a quilt

of odd remnants
patched together

in a strange

threads fraying,
fabric wearing thin—

but made to keep
its warmth

even in bitter

by Judith Viorst

You knew me when I didn’t know myself
And when I lose myself you find me.
Whenever things get bad
And I forget the good I’ve had,
You help remind me.

I tell you of my joys. My joys increase.
I tell my sorrows. They diminish.
And when I want to quit
You keep me going, bit by bit,
Until I finish.

Friendship is an art and you have made
The act of friendship your great art form.
I know that I can bear
The biggest chill because you’re there
To keep my heart warm.

In both the families

by Arnold Adoff

(Excerpt from "Families: Poems Celebrating the African American Experience" selected by Dorothy S. Strickland and Michael R. Strickland)

In both the families
both belong to me,
there is every shade
brown, and tan,
and paler
creamy gold.

I face faces that I see
both the families
both belong to me,
they can face
my crooked

Here is every shade of every color

We fit in.

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relationship between mother and son

Market Day
©2003 by Susan Noyes Anderson, His Children, Vantage Point Press

Oh for a son
when my head is bowed
and years have lined my face––
A stalwart son
with a gentle heart,
where I still hold
a mother's place.

Oh, for a son
when eyes grow dim
and memories recede––
A spirited son,
a steadfast son,
who sees but does not
fear my need.

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passing the past onto the future

Four Generations
by Mary Ann Hoberman

Sometimes when we go out for walks,
I listen while my father talks.

The thing he talks of most of all
Is how it was when he was small

And he went walking with his dad
And conversations that they had

About his father and the talks
They had when they went out for walks.

A Stumbling Block or a Stepping Stone
Author Unknown

Isn’t it strange that Princes and Kings
And clowns who caper in stardust rings,
And common people like you and me
Are builders for eternity?

Each is given a set of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life has flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Robert, Who Is Often A Stranger to Himself
by Gwendolyn Brooks

Do you ever look in the looking glass
And see a stranger there?
A child you know and do not know,
Wearing what you wear?

{Return to family poem categories.}

a tribute to dads


by Berlie Doherty

Dad is the dancing man,
The laughing-bear, the prickle-chin,
The tickle-fingers, jungle-roars,
Bucking bronco, rocking-horse,
The helicopter roundabout,
The beat-the-wind at swing-and-shot,
Goal-post, scary-ghost,
Climbing-Jack, humpty-back.

But sometimes he’s
A go-away please!
A snorey-snarl, a sprawly lump,

And I’m a kit without a string
Waiting for Dad to dance again.

What Dads Do
by Judith Viorst

Make bookshelves.
Make burgers.
Make money.
Make funny faces that make you laugh.
Scratch your back when you can’t reach where it itches.
Lift you up on their shoulders.
Snore when they’re sleeping (but they say they don’t).
Pitch – but not so fast that you can’t hit their pitches.

Play tickles with you when you feel like a silly person.
Snuggle up close with you when you feel like a sad one.
Dads explain electricity
And peninsulas
And help you count the starts.

I wish I still had one.

{Return to family poem categories.}

a tribute to moms


by Brian Patten

We love to squeeze bananas.
We love to squeeze ripe plums,
And when they are feeling sad
We love to squeeze our mums.

Hugs and Kisses
by Lindamichellebaron

Hugs and hugs and kisses…
Doesn’t she know that I’m a boy?
Hugs and hugs and kisses…
I’m not some cuddly toy.
Hugs and hugs and kisses…
Boys should be treated rough.
Hugs and hugs and kisses…
These muscles show I’m tough.

Hugs and hugs and kisses…
Makes me want to run and hide.
I can’t show the world how warm
Her hugs and hugs and kisses
Makes me feel… inside.

Mom is Wow!
by Julia Fields

Mothers are finders and keepers
They are comforters of weepers
They are luller-abye for sleepers.

Mothers are good-manners makers
They are temperature takers
They are the best of birthday bakers.
Mom is Wow!

Mothers are sick-bed sit besiders
They are hiding place providers
They are pin-the-tail guiders.

Mothers are prayer makers in the nights
They are enders of quarrels and fights
They are teachers of duties and rights.
Mom is Wow!

{Return to family poem categories.}

humorous look at mom and pets

Mother Doesn’t Want a Dog

by Judith Viorst

Mother doesn’t want a dog.
Mother says they smell,
And never sit when you say sit,
Or even when you yell.
And when you come home late at night
And there is ice and snow,
You have to go back outside because
The dumb dog has to go.

Mother doesn’t want a dog.
Mother says they shed,
And always let the strangers in
And bark at friends instead,
And do disgraceful things on rugs,
And track mud on the floor,
And flop upon your bed at night
And snore their doggy snore.

Mother doesn’t want a dog,
She’s making a mistake.
Because, more than a dog, I think
She will not want this snake.

{Return to family poem categories.}


Unknown Author

Grandma hold me a little longer
Rock me a little more
Tell me another story,
(You've only told me four!)
Let me sleep on
your shoulder,
I love your happy
smile, I'll always
love you Grandma,
so stay with
me awhile.

{Return to family poem categories.}

More poems can be found on one of these family poem pages:

Family Reunion Poems - a fun way to describe events and feelings associated with large family gatherings

Poems for Family Reunions - nostalgic poems about remembering the past

Do you have a favorite family quote, poem or saying that I've missed?

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Contributions from Others

Here's some of the poems, quotes and sayings submitted by other site visitors. Which ones are your favorites? (Positive comments and constructive criticism ONLY, please.)

They Are All Relatives 
Relatives by Marie Gemma Aguinaldo Lachica Sometimes there are relatives that can make and unmake you. There are relatives who can love or …

Romantic Love Poems by Padmore Agbembiese 
I met you like when the rose I’m holding was young and half-open to the sky our eyes met but hardly spoke and we went our different ways like …

I'm A Whole Sister Not rated yet
I'm a Whole Sister by Heidi Dozier I consider myself a whole sister. They only see the half. How I remember them with every phone call …

Special People Make Special Families Not rated yet
It takes special people to raise a family not of their flesh and blood. It takes a special family to love them and make them feel as if they really …

Love Far Apart Not rated yet
With love you can share all things And be glad in it With family you hold close to your heart Even though you may be far apart

Mother Hugs Not rated yet
Hold your mother before it is too late Make it be love not hate Because tomorrow will bring another day She is at rest and we shall pray How …

Together Like Wolves Not rated yet
Families are like wolves. They travel in a pack and they stay together all the time. Yes, they may fight. But then they're right there beside you …

Soul Stain Not rated yet
The tears fall. They're so easy to wipe off onto my sleeve. But how do I erase the stain from my heart that touches the soul.

Family Fingerprints Not rated yet
Live for your family 'cause your fingerprints will never fade from their lives. -Tayler Imes

Families Fight Not rated yet
The fights. The nonsense. And all that other crap. Just make families stronger. Even you know that.

The True Family Not rated yet
A family is not only a group of persons related by blood but a group of persons who stand by each others side and share all their joys and …

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