51 Must-Read Free Verse Poems for Middle School and High School

Celebrate National Poetry Month in style.

Delight by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate National Poetry Month in the classroom, free verse poems are a great place to start. Unlike standard poetry, free verse poems break rules and don’t have to rhyme or follow any specific meter. Since themes of nature, love, and life are often represented, free verse poems provide plenty of opportunities to teach students how to analyze poetry. Check out our list of 51 of the best free verse poems for the classroom below!

(Note: Every classroom is different, so please be sure to review these poems before sharing to ensure they align with your learning environment.)

Free Verse Poems for Middle School and High School

1. Follow the Moon by Marie Tully

“Or did it follow me?”

2. Splishy, Sploshy Mud by Ava F. Kent

“You can make mountains …”

3. Fog by Carl Sandburg

Fog by Carl Sandburg.

“It sits looking …”

4. Autumn by T.E. Hulme


“A touch of cold in the Autumn night …”

5. The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

“beside the white chickens …”

6. This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams

“I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox …”

7. “Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

“That perches in the soul …”

8. This Is a Photograph of Me by Margaret Atwood

“It was taken some time ago.”

9. The Layers by Stanley Kunitz

“I have walked through many lives, some of them my own …”

10. Beginning My Studies by Walt Whitman

“The first step, I say, aw’d me and pleas’d me so much …”

11. Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander

“Each day we go about our business …”

12. Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark by D.A. Powell

“I play the egg / and I play the triangle …”

13. After the Sea-Ship by Walt Whitman

After the Sea-Ship by Walt Whitman.

“Waves, undulating waves, liquid, uneven, emulous waves …”

14. Free Verse Poem by Robert Graves

“My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed …”

15. Harlem by Langston Hughes

“What happens to a dream deferred?”

16. i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings

“here is the deepest secret nobody knows …”

17. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

“Winter kept us warm, covering …”

18. You Took the Last Bus Home by Brian Bilston

You Took the Last Bus Home by Brian Bilston.

“i still don’t know / how you got it through the door …”

19. Silence by Thomas Hood

“There is a silence where no sound may be …”

20. The Pool by H.D.

“I cover you with my net.”

21. In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound

“The apparition of these faces …”

22. The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens

“Of the pine trees crusted with snow …”

23. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

“But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

24. Risk by Anais Nin

Risk by Anais Nin.

“And then the day came …”

25. Praise the Rain by Joy Harjo

“The stand of trees, the dignity …”

26. Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

“Sundays too my father got up early …”

27. Hurry by Marie Howe

“We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store …”

28. The Promise by Jane Hirshfield

“Stay, I said to the spider …”

29. Theories of Time and Space by Natasha Trethewey

“Everywhere you will go somewhere …”

30. Coal by Audre Lorde

“Some words are open …”

31. Cousin Nancy by T.S. Eliot

Cousin Nancy by T.S. Eliot.

“Upon the glazen shelves kept watch …”

32. I, Too by Langston Hughes

“I, too, sing America.”

33. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

“Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”

34. Piano by D.H. Lawrence

“Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me …”

35. Sometimes Mysteriously by Luis Omar Salinas

Sometimes Mysteriously by Luis Omar Salinas.

“Sometimes in the evening when love / tunes its harp and the crickets …”

36. Distant Light by Walid Khazindar

“Sing! Can we not sing …”

37. Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

“The tide is full, the moon lies fair …”

38. [in Just-] by e.e. cummings

“luscious the little / lame balloonman …”

39. somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond by e.e. cummings

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals …”

40. Atlas by Terisa Siagatonu

“If you open up any atlas …”

41. My Cat Jeoffrey by Christopher Smart

“For he is the tribe of Tiger.”

42. A Different Kind of Hero by Heather Griffith

“A father being not just a father …”

43. Who Am I? by Natasha L. Bishop

“I am a roller coaster of emotions.”

44. Whenever You Say I Love You by Kate B.

“My stomach does somersaults …”

45. Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

“It’s had tacks in it …”

46. Theme in Yellow by Carl Sandburg

Theme in Yellow by Carl Sandburg.

“Singing ghost songs …”

47. White-Eyes by Mary Oliver

“all the singing is in the tops of the trees …”

48. Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye

“A man crosses the street in rain …”

 49. Saccharine Words by Danna Smith

“Honey is scarce these days …”

50. Delight by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Delight by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

“Nature does not have / a lost and found table / for summer feathers …”

51. My Mistake by Bob Welbaum

“I never make mistakes / I’m quite meticulous.”

What are your favorite free verse poems for students? Share in the comments below.

If you enjoyed these poems for middle school and high school, be sure to also check out this post about 70 must-share poems for your elementary classroom. 

These free verse poems are perfect for National Poetry Month or any time. What they lack in meter and rhyme they make up for in creativity!