53 Best Poems about Poverty to Set You Thinking

Poetry has the power to give voice to those who are often unheard. Maya Angelou once said, “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”

In poems about poverty, we can hear that echo and see the shadow of poverty in a new light. Poets have been inspired to write about poverty poems.

If we discover the works of poets who have lived in poverty or who have been moved to write about it, we can know more about these complex issues that affect millions of people around the world.

Famous Poems about Poverty

The topic of poverty has inspired some of the most powerful works of poetry in history. famous poverty poems offer insights into the lived experiences of those who struggle to make ends meet.

1. God Pity the Poor

       by Amos Russel Wells

“God pity the poor!” I cry.
And I feel a virtuous glow;
Not many so tender as I
To the weight of the sad world’s woe.
“God pity the poor!” I shout,
And draw back my garment’s hem.
God pities the poor, no doubt;
But how am I pitying them?

2. Finding Forgiveness

       by Winged Warrior

Can you forgive my humble home?
A cardboard box my diamond dome
Can you forgive my scanty clothes?
The least that I worry of my woes
Can you forgive my crooked smile?
The frigid air a thermostatic trial
Can you forgive my lack of food?
Your leftover meals I have chewed
Can you forgive my hungry heart?
A life brand new I’m hoping to start
Can you forgive my tapering tears?
There’s little left after all these years
Can you forgive a saddened soul?
A love lost in an empty echoless hole
Can you forgive my losing of will?
A shattered stain of a splitting spill
Can you forgive my only existence?
For the Lord has in his holy presence.

3. The Poor

       by Jones Very

I walk the streets and though not meanly drest,
Yet none so poor as can with me compare;
For none though weary call me into rest,
And though I hunger, none their substance share;
I ask not for my stay the broken reed,
That fails when most I want a friendly arm;
I cannot on the loaves and fishes feed
That want the blessing that they may not harm;
I only ask the living word to hear
From tongues that now but speak to utter death;
I thirst for one cool cup of water clear
But drink the riled stream of lying breath;
And wander on though in my Fatherland,
Yet hear no welcome voice and see no beckoning hand.

4. Is There for Honest Poverty

       by Robert Burns

Is there for honesty poverty
That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
The coward slave — we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The man’s the gowd for a’ that.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an’ a’ that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A man’s a man for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that,
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.
Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that,
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.
A price can mak a belted knight,
A marquise, duke, an’ a’ that;
But an honest man’s aboon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their dignities an’ a’ that,
The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,
Are higher rank than a’ that.
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
That man to man, the world o’er,
Shall brithers be for a’ that.

5. It Snows

       by Sarah Josepha Hale

“It snows!” cries the Schoolboy, “Hurrah!” and his shout
Is ringing through parlor and hall,
While swift as the wing of a swallow, he’s out,
And his playmates have answered his call;
It makes the heart leap but to witness their joy;
Proud wealth has no pleasures, I trow,
Like the rapture that throbs in the pulse of the boy
As he gathers his treasures of snow;
Then lay not the trappings of gold on thine heirs,
While health and the riches of nature are theirs.
“It snows!” sighs the Imbecile, “Ah!” and his breath
Comes heavy, as clogged with a weight;
While, from the pale aspect of nature in death,
He turns to the blaze of his grate;
And nearer and nearer, his soft-cushioned chair
Is wheeled toward the life-giving flame;
He dreads a chill puff of the snow-burdened air,
Lest it wither his delicate frame;
Oh! small is the pleasure existence can give,
When the fear we shall die only proves that we live!
“It snows!” cries the Traveler, “Ho!” and the word
Has quickened his steed’s lagging pace;
The wind rushes by, but its howl is unheard,
Unfelt the sharp drift in his face;
For bright through the tempest his own home appeared,
Ay, though leagues intervened, he can see:
There’s the clear, glowing hearth, and the table prepared,
And his wife with her babes at her knee;
Blest thought! how it lightens the grief-laden hour,
That those we love dearest are safe from its power!
“It snows!” cries the Belle, “Dear, how lucky!” and turns
From her mirror to watch the flakes fall,
Like the first rose of summer, her dimpled cheek burns!
While musing on sleigh ride and ball:
There are visions of conquests, of splendor, and mirth,
Floating over each drear winter’s day;
But the tintings of Hope, on this storm-beaten earth,
Will melt like the snowflakes away.
Turn, then thee to Heaven, fair maiden, for bliss;
That world has a pure fount ne’er opened in this.
“It snows!” cries the Widow, “O God!” and her sighs
Have stifled the voice of her prayer;
Its burden ye’ll read in her tear-swollen eyes,
On her cheek sunk with fasting and care.
‘T is night, and her fatherless ask her for bread,
But “He gives the young ravens their food,”
And she trusts till her dark hearth adds horror to dread,
And she lays on her last chip of wood.
Poor sufferer! that sorrow thy God only knows;
‘T is a most bitter lot to be poor when it snows.

6. Nobody’s Child

       by Phila H. Case

Alone in the dreary, pitiless street,
With my torn old dress, and bare, cold feet,
All day have I wandered to and fro,
Hungry and shivering, and nowhere to go;
The night’s coming on in darkness and dread,
And the chill sleet beating upon my bare head.
Oh! why does the wind blow upon me so wild?
Is it because I am nobody’s child?
Just over the way there’s a flood of light,
And warmth, and beauty, and all things bright;
Beautiful children, in robes so fair,
Are caroling songs in their rapture there.
I wonder if they, in their blissful glee,
Would pity a poor little beggar like me,
Wandering alone in the merciless street,
Naked and shivering, and nothing to eat?
Oh! what shall I do when the night comes down
In its terrible blackness all over the town?
Shall I lay me down ‘neath the angry sky,
On the cold, hard pavement, alone to die,
When the beautiful children their prayers have said,
And their mammas have tucked them up snugly in bed?
For no dear mother on me ever smiled.
Why is it, I wonder, I’m nobody’s child?
No father, no mother, no sister, not one
In all the world loves me—e’en the little dogs run
When I wander too near them; ’tis wondrous to see
How everything shrinks from a beggar like me!
Perhaps ’tis a dream; but sometimes, when I lie
Gazing far up in the dark blue sky,
Watching for hours some large bright star,
I fancy the beautiful gates are ajar,
And a host of white-robed, nameless things
Come fluttering o’er me on gilded wings;
A hand that is strangely soft and fair
Caresses gently my tangled hair,
And a voice like the carol of some wild bird—
The sweetest voice that was ever heard—
Calls me many a dear, pet name,
Till my heart and spirit are all aflame.
They tell me of such unbounded love,
And bid me come to their home above;
And then with such pitiful, sad surprise
They look at me with their sweet, tender eyes,
And it seems to me, out of the dreary night
I am going up to that world of light,
And away from the hunger and storm so wild;
I am sure I shall then be somebody’s child.

7. The Beggar

       by Anonymous

All day, all the day, in the dust, in the heat,
With maddening brain and with staggering feet,
I stand on Life’s highway, and beg my soul’s meat.
All day, all the day, in the cold, in the rain,
Through days that are vapid and timeless with pain,
I stretch out my hand to the rich—and in vain.
Oh, my soul is a-hungered—my soul is athirst!
It cries out to mortals as one God-accurst,
Abandoned of Heaven, when life is at worst.
Say, say, is there any ‘neath heaven’s blue sky
So beggared of faith, hope, and courage as I?
Give, give, oh, my brothers! Give, give, or I die!
Shall I famish and faint in the midst of Life’s mart.
And ye who seem pitiful, spare not a part
Of your souls’ garnered wealth for one needy poor heart?
In vain! Ye fling alms to the rags that ye meet;
But souls that lie naked and starved at your feet;
These cry out unheard, and must die on the street.

8. Song of the Shirt

       by Thomas Hood

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread:
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
She sang the “Song of the Shirt!”
“Work! work! work!
While the cock is crowing aloof!
And work! work! work!
Till the stars shine through the roof!
It is oh to be a slave
Along with the barbarous Turk,
Where woman has never a soul to save,
If this is Christian work!
“Work! work! work!
Till the brain begins to swim;
Work! work! work!
Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
And sew them on in a dream!
“O men, with sisters dear!
O men, with mothers and wives!
It is not linen you’re wearing out,
But human creatures’ lives!
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,—
Sewing at once, with a double thread,
A shroud as well as a shirt.
“But why do I talk of Death?
That Phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,
It seems so like my own;
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep;
O God! that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!
“Work! work! work!
My labor never flags;
And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
A crust of bread—and rags,
That shattered roof—and this naked floor—
A table—a broken chair—
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
For sometimes falling there.
“Work! work! work!
From weary chime to chime!
Work! work! work!
As prisoners work for crime!
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed,
As well as the weary hand.
“Work! work! work!
In the dull December light,
And work! work! work!
When the weather is warm and bright;
While underneath the eaves
The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs,
And twit me with the spring.
“Oh but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet!
With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet!
For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want,
And the walk that costs a meal!
“Oh but for one short hour,—
A respite, however brief!
No blessed leisure for love or hope,
But only time for grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart,
But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop
Hinders needle and thread.”
With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread:
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch—
Would that its tone could reach the rich!
She sang this “Song of the Shirt.”

Simple Poems about Poverty

These simple poems on poverty offer an accessible window into the struggles of those who live in poverty. The poems on poverty contain the complex experiences of individuals who go through hardships to survive.

1. I Gave a Dollar

       by Anonymous

Yesterday I gave a dollar

Today Barakah, an orphan returned to school
Today her grief-striken mother finally signed up for counseling instead of for suicide
Today her dad’s old debt got paid, may Allah have mercy on him
Today their cow was fed to her fill
Today her brother milked the cow enough for even Grandma to have some
Today Grandma bought a new strap for her sandal

Yesterday I gave a dollar

Today an Imam led salah in a remote masjid
Today his community made wudu at the freshly dug well
Today two of his students graduated as Hafiz, their mushafs worn, torn, bent, beloved
Today one of the masjid’s threadbare carpets was replaced
Today the leaky faucet in the women’s restroom was finally fixed
Today the silver-haired senior was provided a chair to sit and pray upon

Yesterday I gave a dollar

2. For Them Their Needs

       by Donald R Wolff JR

Dear mine most unseen
They are poor in spirit
So many need

The hungry, the wars
If only, please
May they find something more
So many needs

To wish I ask upon a dream
For what may or may not ever be
Be I heard by the unseen
Please take care of them
If only, please

My time on Earth has filled my needs
All but one for everything
No, I don’t pray, and I don’t believe
But if you are- If you will
Please fill their needs

3. The Misery of Poverty

       by Yasin Khan

In our own little town, I hear the cries,
Of adults and children, with hollow eyes,
Craving for loaves of bread, just to survive,
As if everything is shattered, With no hope to thrive.

At night, when there’s no one to hear,
A mother’s pillow is wet with tears,
As she sees her kids, starving to death,
Frozen she is, and can hardly breath.

In their feeble and frail bones,
There’s a taste for earth and stones,
Their hunger and pain, the affluent have never known,
The state of misery, so cruelly outgrown.

Their dreams and hopes, slowly fade away,
In a world so dark, with no light of the day,
Their little heart, in despair, forever stay,
With no escape, From poverty’s sway.

But even in the darkest of nights,
Their courage and spirit, shine so bright,
For in their eyes, there’s a glimmer of light,
For in their hearts, there’s a will to fight.

For a future, where they can thrive,
And their dreams, can finally come alive,
Where they can live, without fear or strife,
In a world, where everyone can survive

4. Cold Feet

       by Rachelmcroy

You want to work and pay the bills and be an honest woman.
Debts are piling up again, you just got another summons.
The doctor told you not to work and wrote another sick note
There are holes in your shoes, and now your son needs a bigger coat
You’re a bankrupt, unwell criminal
Your chances in life are minimal.
You get on the bus to probation by showing identification
It makes the driver want to laugh when he reads “disabled bus pass,”
You fill out the forms for government handouts
And it’s something that you feel ashamed about
You go to the Catholics for free food
You nod and smile so as not to be rude
But you stand against every word they say
Yet you still tell them to have a nice day
It’s out of date, but you don’t have much choice
The likes of you people don’t have a voice
Every solution brings with it new problems
You don’t have the energy left to solve them
There is always the option to break a few rules
But the consequences are much too cruel
So you play by the book and do as you’re told
And your socks stay wet, and your son stays cold.

5. So Much about Living She Has Learned Since

       by Vijay Pandit

Grit in her eyes beaming fortitude of vibes
Powers her dash from one end to the other
Handing out drinks: brandy, whiskey, beer;
Serving high rollers and surly poor-souls
Where lights are flashing as machines jingle
When luck adjudicates winners and losers.

Watch her essence of fiery determination
Fueling her steps, gathering her strength,
As she churns numbers quickly in her head:
Grocery, rent, money for mother’s meds;
And some she’ll spare for her father today.

Hurriedly she sprints when her shift ends
Examining faces torn by ills, unwell, hapless
Under the bridge, by the train station,
Recalling childhood’s happier days within
Sound of his soft voice, calling her princess.

Abruptly she freezes, recollecting the scene,
Standing like a milestone on edge of the street,
Lips quivering, eyes tearing, pausing to forgive him
For abandoning them in a reckless charade
When suddenly a child became a parent…

So much about living she has learned since,
But not much about how to bury the dead.

6. Twilight Dawn

       by Nirmalya Panigrahi

There is a club of the twilight,
where the dying day embraces night,
Where on arms of men vultures perch,
False hopes are served in dinner’s plate.

Like a stale breeze, forever stuck,
In the eyes of a raging storm,
Slowly from dirt to filth,
In our club, boys transform.

Making meals from garbage bins,
From history, we’re long gone,
Where hunger embraces dreams forlorn,
Must you once visit the twilight zone.

Don’t mistake us for beings of night,
We’re still humans, cast away from sight.

7. Destitution

       by Lucky Emerald

The die is cast
Not now, not ever
A poor fool at forty
A church rat forever

Poor dad, poor son
Could it be an allergy?
Nevertheless, it is a phobia
Search for Money drained my energy

Find my path and give me light
Take me home, mama calls
A promise to make ’em proud
Scorched with a downfall

Time passes, the earth moves
Feel the breeze on your skin
Light a cigar, drown the memories
Bury the wretched past, make it thin

8. Peasants with Pleasant Rags

       by Abosede Ogundare

You see us everywhere you go
Every corner of your street house our offspring
Every bridge in your city has become our refugee camp
We are the people you call peasant
We are the peasants with pleasant rags

You see us at the entrance of your estates
You see us at the gate of your beautiful companies
In search of what our mouth will feed on next

 We are the peasants with pleasant rags

Our gradually fading skin
Now a sweet companion to the midnight moon and afternoon sun
We are the ones without homes
We are the peasants with pleasant rags

When bridges become forbidden by the law
We opt for uncompleted buildings
A few of us get lucky when it rains
And shield themselves under cars
We are the peasants with pleasant rags

We are the ones that beg for the remnant from your table
We are the ones life has just not been fair to
We are the peasants with pleasant rags

We are the ones that get poorer while you get richer
We are the ones that scramble for the leftover at your feast
We are the ones that fight for your used clothes
We are the peasants with pleasant rags

Short Poems about Poverty

The short poverty poems pack a powerful punch, and they offer insights into the realities of living in poverty. These works of art can inspire action toward creating a more just society.

1. I Know a Man

       by Annette Wynne

I know a man who thinks he’s poor,
But he is rich indeed,
He has a chair, a friend who’s sure,
And three good books to read!

2. On Poverty

       by John Bertin

Deprivation is a great teacher
Empty cupboards and growing weeds

Cause the soul to stir
To disdain idle chitchat and merriment

Lessons learned transform the spirit from sand to granite
Conversely, dissipation and luxury turn lives to shards

Always getting one’s way leads to the house of destitution
Too much milk and no meat

3. Remember the Poor

       by Hattie Howard

A far greater blessing to us ‘t will insure,
And a mansion in Heaven will help to secure,
If we have in kindness remembered the poor.

4. Squalor

       by Celt Arctic

She sifts through the detritus
or a queue of putrid pus,
to hunt her hunger’s easement
and a pause in pain’s torment.
Useless are dreams of diamonds;
Her only goal’s to go on
in drudgery relentless.

5. Please Take the Time

       by April Gabriella

So many times we see someone in need
Most walk by while they piteously plead
Plead for help that may not come
Plead for love because they have none
So many people just don’t take the time
To support their fellow man
Like it’s too much to be kind
Too much to give a helping hand
To someone who needs it, please take a stand
Stand up for the ones who cannot speak for themselves
Stand up for those who live their lives in hell
They need your help, you may be the one
That saves their life, think of your son
If he were in need and you not around
Would you want others to laugh at his frowns
To see him in need and lift not a hand
To help him up out of no man’s land
You’d want strangers to aid him, I know that’s true
But don’t forget help can also come from you
We are all in the position to assist
I know you know that, but here’s the twist
In helping others we also help ourselves
And that is a great reason in and of itself
It feels wonderful to help those in need
To sleep soundly knowing you did a good deed
So please when you see someone who has not a thing
Take time to help, it will make your heart sing

6. The King

       by Cybele Menonia

Bluffing, blundering buffoon,
built of sour, rotting fruit.
Plucked from a family tree,
planted on land unowned,
flips his heavy robe,
to the desperate stares,
of what is supposed to be,
his people.

7. A Wind That Blows Loneliness

       by Victor Buhagiar

The wind blows softly over the lonely,
The suffering think of themselves only.
A world of chaos, racism, and turmoil,
Utmost egomanias spoil our toil.

An old man groans, no decent place to live,
Are there relatives? No comfort to give?
Blow softly oh lonely wind, they care not,
They are comfortable, and all forgot.

Somewhere a child is crying his heart out,
Can anyone guess what it’s all about?
Is the child hungry, lost, or cast aside?
Much abused, ill-treated, or love denied?

There are millions of cries heard on the wind,
Alas no one bothers: is man unkind?

Poems about Poverty and Wealth

One of the poems about poverty and wealth explores the contrast between those who have and those who have not, offering insights into the ways in which wealth and poverty intersect in our society.

1. Real Poverty

       by Qiniso Mogale

Real poverty is not the lack of material possessions
Real poverty is not the absence of earthly wealth
Real poverty is not being homeless
Real poverty is separation from God Almighty
Real poverty is the absence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life
Real poverty is life without Jesus Christ.

Many billionaires claim to be rich but in essence they are poor
They have sleepless nights
They are haunted by the very wealth they boast about
They are haunted by the innocent blood they have shed in their quest for riches
They are not happy
No, joy eludes them
They are poverty stricken spiritually

2. Poverty and Wealth

       by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The stork flew over a town one day,
And back of each wing an infant lay;
One to a rich man’s home he brought,
And one he left at a labourer’s cot.
The rich man said, ‘My son shall be
A lordly ruler o’er land and sea.’
The labourer sighed, ‘’Tis the good God’s will
That I have another mouth to fill.’
The rich man’s son grew strong and fair,
And proud with the pride of a millionaire.
His motto in life was, ‘Live while you may, ’
And he crowded years in a single day.
He bought position and name and place,
And he bought him a wife with a handsome face.
He journeyed over the whole wide world,
But discontent his heart lay curled
Like a serpent hidden in leaves and moss,
And life seemed hollow and gold was dross.
He scoffed at woman, and doubted God,
And died like a beast and went back to the sod.
The son of the labourer tilled the soil,
And thanked God daily for health and toil.
He wedded for love in his youthful prime,
And two lives chorded in tune and time.
His wants were simple, and simple his creed,
To trust God fully: it served his need,
And lightened his labour, and helped him to die
With a smile on his lips and a hope in his eye.
When all is over and all is done,
Now which of these men was the richer one?

3. Ave Caesar

       by Robinson Jeffers

No bitterness: our ancestors did it.
They were only ignorant and hopeful, they wanted freedom but wealth too.
Their children will learn to hope for a Caesar.
Or rather- for we are not aquiline Romans but soft mixed colonists-
Some kindly Sicilian tyrant who’ll keep
Poverty and Carthage off until the Romans arrive,
We are easy to manage, a gregarious people,
Full of sentiment, clever at mechanics, and we love our luxuries.

4. Looking Down

       by Mark Peterson

If wealth is now your blessing,
what then was the prayer?
Avarice, its goal possessing,
yet in penury, despair.

I see them often in the store
eyes ahead, regard for none.
Against the classes, tacit war—
Modus Operandi: shun.

Vaunted compounds they do flout—
absent grasp of their chagrin—
for walls and gates that keep us out
are prisons trapping them within.

They say those vexed by paucity,
should flee to foreign air,
for wages here of poverty
would make them wealthy there.

Thus, high above the world they scan—
well hidden from our sight—
discounting what the common man
is suffering tonight.

5. Poverty Defines True Wealth

       by D.A Hopkins

Don’t know if human’s will ever see
every soul born, is right where it’s meant to be
For the rich to become the richest
there has to be a place for the poorest

The entire world is built up from the same level of dirt
each soul is born without knowledge to cause hurt
Humanity teaches us what a human’s life is worth, by money and glory
I am to believe all lives are priceless, every soul fit’s to tell Earth’s story

The luckiest to be born, is that of a poor man
he learn’s the treasures, of everything he can
Those born into all riches, have no true understanding of richness
seeing us not as human’s, but those living in poverty as an illness

Love start’s from the soul, and from there it is taught to grow
the rich find another kind of love, one only brought with dough
Love, trust, compassion and grace defining the difference in richest and wealth
t’is the beggar off the street, who climbs the toughest road to earn his wealth

He is the most blessed man, he is rewarded with the most valuable key
for his wealth is humanly uncountable, for only God know’s the value of he…

6. Poverty

       by Jane Taylor

I saw an old cottage of clay,
And only of mud was the floor;
It was all falling into decay,
And the snow drifted in at the door.

Yet there a poor family dwelt,
In a hovel so dismal and rude;
And though gnawing hunger they felt,
They had not a morsel of food.

The children were crying for bread,
And to their poor mother they’d run;
‘Oh, give us some breakfast,’ they said,
Alas! their poor mother had none.

She viewed them with looks of despair,
She said (and I’m sure it was true),
‘’Tis not for myself that I care,
But, my poor little children, for you.’

O then, let the wealthy and gay
But see such a hovel as this,
That in a poor cottage of clay
They may know what true misery is.
And what I may have to bestow
I never will squander away,
While many poor people I know
Around me are wretched as they.

7. 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

Poems about Poverty and Hunger

The poems about poverty and hunger highlight the realities faced by those who struggle to put food on the table and inspire us to take action toward ending hunger and poverty.

1. Poverty and Hunger

       by Gajanan Mishra

No vision
No promise
And what you said
All illusion.

Poor is always poor,
And hunger is his
Only friend.

You can do
No change,
But can deliver
The speech
In a loud voice.

You are nobody
To build anything,
You are there
Just to enjoy
Everything and
Ridicule others.

You cannot eradicate
Poverty and hunger.

2. Slaughtered Innocence

       by Patricia L Graham

The hideous and the humble
Blood peppers falling snow
As world hurtles to the tipping point
Life chokes on ignited air
Wrenching love from hungry mouths
Stars fall without sound
Some weep helpless, day through night
Ever wondering how
Never knowing why …

3. Foods During Poverty

       by SY Wong

Poverty and hunger come hand in hand
during poverty you need to eat all the time.
The amount cannot satisfy.
Food is the priority.
You eat and again will be hungry.
But all you get is something watery and full of starch
while meat is hard to come by.
You hardly can have left-over or excess!

4. Hunger and Poverty

       by Alexandra Marques

“Here come the paths
Bare feet on the ground
The poor who walk alone,
Begging compassion.
Live without bedding, and homeless
In hunger and loneliness:
Ask for a little affection,
Ask for some bread.
Lord, grant that I accepted
My poverty, as it always was.
You do not feel what I have.
Do not regret what could have
lost and astray
and never returned.
Give, Lord, my humility
either as the rain desired
falling meek​​,
long dark night
in a weary land
and an old roof.
There are millions roaming the streets
In the absence of a home to call their own:
The cold night burns the bare skin.
Prisoners of modern slavery;
People who do not know why you were born;
Misery outer, inner loneliness:
Just seeing the pain with no chance of tomorrow
No wait, the more this vain life
Freedom than the last goodbye.
I can, thank you,
my narrow bed,
My poor little things,
my home ground,
stones, boards and reassembled.
And always have a bundle of firewood
under my stove mud,
and light, myself,
The cheerful fire of my house
Oh, God! Are my equal, my fellow!
My ingratitude is so humiliating …
It could be me!

5. In the Forgotten Places

       by L Milton Hankins

Another hungry, homeless child will die
Parents have no job, no food, no insurance
Undernourished pregnant woman cry,
The Feds give only lip-service assurance.

Most people think it can’t happen here
That welfare supports these pitiful cases,
But, folks, I tell you many live daily in fear
Here in America … in the forgotten places.

In the backwoods no hospitals even exist
Medical help is a long-drive-by-car away,
If they don’t show up, they’re off the list
Forgotten until a tragedy comes their way.

We think everyone has it as easy as we do
Taking little notice of those in abject poverty
Seldom worrying about making it through,
Neglecting to think about life’s other reality.

6. Robber’s Piece of Bread

       by Anonymous

Standing greedily with eyes partially opened
I see bread on the supermarket shelf
The cry of hunger is making noise in the stomach
When the storekeeper went to the kitchen
I understand this is the best time
I stole the bread rapidly and ran
The storekeeper runs after me
The kids throwing stones at me
People are screaming for me
The cop’s car is speeding
My nerves get tired
My legs are shaking
While taking a deep breath
A blow to the head from behind
The stare of people when I come to consciousness
The seal of the thief was stamped in my head
I am lying paralyzed in the street
People have turned me into a joker
Even when the bones are breaks
Even when I am bleeding
The piece of bread is safe in my hand

7. Hungry Kid

       by Arunesh Dixit

Little one was big enough for cry
That let mother’s world a new try,
Hunger and pain two dismal musts
Growing when creates one in bursts.

Taker was reluctant with petty help
Coercing her to lure a limerick yelp,
Tot wasn’t goofy to carry on paltry
Thirst to chew was making him sultry.

Mom was shy to unwrap her bosom
Chunk’s shout makes her worrisome,
Brawl of love and coyness in full ton
Nevertheless inevitably little has won.

The chew couldn’t help in dripping
As lady hadn’t long to get gripping,
Anger took a bite on most delicates
Yet eyes spewed tears to placates.

The violence gets the best treatment
Unmatched to any in the firmament,
All from mother exemplifies sacrifice
Love compassion to keep all in edifice.

Couldn’t progeny subsist in harmony
Wouldn’t let nature to play symphony,
No-might show will help every to grow
Eventually rudiments of peace will sow.

8. Hunger Is a Deadly Trigger

       by M. S. PenCheaper

Hunger is a deadly trigger,
It makes eyes as red as magma,
heart angrily like a mad buffalo.
Nobody hurts but you’re hurt, ahh!

Hunger is a deadly trigger,
It has no limit for the mind is lost.
Only the way out it thinks of;
even when it steals it tells, oww!

Hunger is a deadly trigger,
so make no tease of him, never!
It says do, don’t, no issue…
It can do things you don’t think of.

Poems about Poverty and Education

As the poems about poverty and education offer a powerful look at the barriers to education faced by those living in poverty and the impact of education on breaking the cycle of poverty.

1. The Poor Man’s Kid

       by Jay Crown

She never got to know SpongeBob,
Or the thrill of Jerry and Tom,
She never had the fun of quarreling with the maid,
Or hiding the bathing soap just to watch cartoons.
Her life has been one big fight, that she lost before she could even start.

That girl in tattered rags,
The girl in a fierce battle with jiggers,
The girl from the muddy hut,
That girl has a frail body,
But her brain I admit, is very gigantic.

She dreamt of flying a plane,
Before even the age of adolescence,
She thought it would get her family off the hinges,
But her biggest fear became a reality, someone said,
“The fee is too high, aviation is not for the poor.”

Slowly her interest in music grew,
Her voice so melodious no doubt she could triumph.
Then one man came and offered her a studio session,
She thought she was lucky, but the price? the man said,
“There’s no need for money, you can just pay with your body.”

Then she was convinced,
To pursue education because it’s the key,
And ‘realistic’ dreams as a poor man’s kid,
So she turned her whole being into books,
Digging them with a dimming lamp till midnight.

Her passion in physics grew,
Her brain so sharp always leading her compeers,
She thought it would be fun working as a mechanical engineer,
But her peers! they said,
“Engineering is for boys. Machines for a girl? that’s weird!”

Then finally in medicine she landed,
But life has never been easy either,
Not with the teacher’s mockings,
“Your brain needs a lot of glucose and plenty resources,
Poor and you’re studying medicine haha it can’t make.”

Days and nights both dark,
Struggling with an empty tummy and a hefty fee burden,
The girl ain’t giving up yet,
But one thing I know,
There is no hope for the poor man’s kid.

2. Poverty

       by Dilly Dally

I think I know what poverty means
I did the ‘lived experience’
Though instilled in me was the need to save
The power of education
I was sensible with pocket money
Accumulated money from Saturday jobs
I can count on one hand
How many times my money ran out
No vices, no expensive tastes
Never spending more to impress
But knowing poverty
Affected by poverty
I had scrapes on my arms
From the game of find money
Down the back of the settee
I had too small clothes
Empty cupboards
The fridge switched off
Too expensive to run
Just 2 inches of water allowed for a bath
No television
No telephone
No radiators on
Living it up on Mondays
To be struggling by Wednesday
In the queue for free school meals
Holidays for the poor
But under my own steam
Not a bother about money
But I feel poor
It’s like underclass is
Written on my skin
It can’t be of course
Surely it’s invisible almost
My accent faded
As I needed to be understood
By people living outside the mile radius
It’s perculiar
As the magic of poverty
Is also gone
I’m now difficult to impress
Although always tending
To prefer gestures
Than gifts
There will also be those
Who could say to me
That I didn’t know poverty
And I’d respect that is likely true
I’ve walked in my own shoes only
(Usually only one or two previous owners)
I was fed every day in a roundabout fashion
Not directly exposed to crime
Lived in a house
Had a bed
There were people I could turn to
Free education
No pressure to stop learning
What is poverty
Why am I no longer poor
What changed
Maybe I made sensible choices
Or lucky ones
I didn’t get trapped
I like to read people
But I didn’t like to be read
By the condition of my clothing
How clean my face was
Whether I said words right
The ability to use a knife and fork correctly
It’s all history now
But being judged stays
And sometimes I think about the perfects
And their challenge to never miss a beat
One thing about me
Nobody had any expectations
Well they did and I heard them
The ‘oh what a shame’ people
So, anything I do is automatically
Over and above
I’ve looked at the poverty of my family tree
Every generation out of the park brilliant
In something
But contained in the unbreakable
World of poverty
The rich stayed rich
And the poor stayed poor
Poverty brands you
And some people
Are all about labels

3. Chutes and Ladders

       by Gershon Wolf

Ivy-covered sheepskin, firmly in hand
the confident graduate, square-jawed and tan

Pulled offers from prestigious start-ups all over the land
a year later he played lead guitar, hat in hand

He, ever-grateful to his folks for those music lessons
They, bleary-eyed from all the therapy sessions

Yet Patience will out, and Time always tells
Perhaps by thirty-five he’ll own an oil well

4. Who Is Happier

       by Sai Lin Lip

Different generations
Different life styles
From deficiency to abundance
From neglect to care
From basic education to higher education
From man monopolization to women arising
From single income bearers to both parents working
From self-raising babies to baby sisters to nurseries
Different generations
Different perspectives of life
Different hazards
Different confrontations
Who is happier
Man is always curious and greedy
They always make problems to be solve
Like pollution, wars, bribery, disputes, racism
Who is happier
Finally they will lean to religions
But who knows God is not to be bribed
God will only help those who help themselves

5. Let

       by Anais Vionet

Let politicians claim virtue,
and abandon honest men.

Let the poor inherit promises,
and be comfortable servants.

Let the famous enjoy advantage,
and carry no favors in heaven.

Let physicians prescribe hope,
and a worthy price be paid.

Let education forge solutions,
and notorious liars lose favor.

Let simple humanity be rewarded,
and tyranny reap the sorrow of death.

6. The Handsome Man

       by Angela Douglas

He was a handsome man
hamming it up for the photographer
each flash inflating his ego
but cameras only capture the shell
what can be seen on the surface
insuring his true identity
remained securely hidden deep within
He was a man who had never experienced
the painful pangs of hunger
the sickening shame of want
squandered potential due to lack of opportunity
the sorrow of watching helplessly as precious dreams die
their withered corpses cremated
the ashes scattered to the wind
His reality had always been quite different
than that of the mundane majority
He was a handsome man
who despite his extensive and expensive education
earning an advanced degree
his noted name written in calligraphy
hanging on his office wall
knew nothing at all

Poems about Poverty and Crime

The poems on poverty and crime give the complex relationship between poverty and criminal behavior, giving details into the root causes of crime and the impact of poverty on communities.

1. Crime and Poverty

       by Mr. Ian Sane

ain’t no liberal fantasy
waitin’ for white clouds
to whisk me

away from dirty streets
I got a broom
to sweep

broken bottles of dreams
a rivers worth of sorrow
in the night

under the towering lamps
hanging sneakers
of straying tramps

read the paperback poetry
crumbled pages, dog eared
trusted faith

the streets awoke in the morning
a new celestial yearning
inch by inch

the street was cleaner
shine more apparent
and the dreams began


2. Stop This Crime

       by Josh

Some live in poverty,
Whilst we are all sitting here happily.
This is injustice,
Trust us
We need to stop this crime.
Now is the time.

The poor,
Sitting right outside your door
It makes us unhappy

3. Poverty is Crime

       by Suresh Iyer

Nation is getting richer
We are getting poorer
You say Poverty is crime
We say change your line
Criminals are treated better
Jails are their abode
Anyway get easy fodder
We live in the open
Destined to live in hunger
Crime Pays, Poverty is sin
Is Poverty a Crime?
Change your line.

4. Poverty Crime Correlation Simplified Defined

       by Terence Craddock

Poverty and Crime
desperation starvation
and economic crime,

will by dire necessity
often go hand in hand.

Severe compulsive addictions
substance abuse cravings
needing addiction release,

are also prime cause candidates
for social group individual crime.

Poems about Poverty for Students

The poverty poems for students contain a thought-provoking way to introduce young learners to the harsh realities of poverty and inspire them to take action toward creating a safe world.

1. Higher Education

       by Angela Douglas

The fancy degree from a world famous school
set in a frame that’s worth more
than the paper on which it’s printed
all the awards
the accolades
none of it has taught you
the lessons I learned long ago
before either of us could even read or had ever heard
of Shakespeare or Marlowe
Dickens or Carroll or Hemingway
when we were but larvae of what we would become
when you put on your first pair of patent leather shoes
polished to a high shine
before you toddled to the table for tea
at around the same time that half a world away
I slipped into my sandals
the straps hanging by a thread
the holes in the soles patched with duct tape
before sauntering into the kitchen
to spread mayonnaise or mustard or margarine
onto a single slice of stale bread
so I would have something in my stomach
to see me through until supper
which would consist of a can of some sort of beans
and a ten cent box of macaroni and cheese
with slices of cheap hot dogs stirred in
sometimes cut into quarters
when money was even more tight due to a medical bill
some other unexpected expense
You may be capable of convincing an audience
but you can never really know
You will never understand what that life is
Some things they can’t teach you at Cambridge

2. The Regressives

       by Gershon Wolf

Punitively regressive are ‘Progressives’
Defunding charter schools
Crippling the academically aggressive

Denying school choice
to gifted students
from poor families ~
without a voice

3. Jump in Joy

       by Conrad Kakoko

I slept under punches last night,
Smiled to the hypocrisy of guns on my face,
Wondering how many night and days I should live,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

I wear uniform that has never witnessed water,
I am satisfied with the saliva that feels my stomach,
The mid-day sun curses me when I arrive at school,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

The roads look like my brother wounds,
The farms scream as my bones reply in anger under my stomach,
My dog was last to bury in the long list of the milky ones I buried,
And you still want me to jump in joy.
I wondered if you live like me,
But I saw you giving speeches and promises to soothe us,
In your big bellies I saw my rights,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

If I cry then I am stubborn to you,
If I am angry then I am disrespectful to you,
If I talk then I know nothing to you,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

I slept under punches last night,
Smiled to the hypocrisy of guns on my face,
Wondering how many night and days I should live,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

I wear uniform that has never witnessed water,
I am satisfied with the saliva that feels my stomach,
The mid-day sun curses me when I arrive at school,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

The roads look like my brother wounds,
The farms scream as my bones reply in anger under my stomach,
My dog was last to bury in the long list of the milky ones I buried,
And you still want me to jump in joy.
I wondered if you live like me,
But I saw you giving speeches and promises to soothe us,
In your big bellies I saw my rights,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

If I cry then I am stubborn to you,
If I am angry then I am disrespectful to you,
If I talk then I know nothing to you,
And you still want me to jump in joy.

4. Balloon Heads

       by Charles Messina

Balloon heads float amongst the breeze
Filled with nothing, lack of education- they bawl
Inequality from different ethnicities across the seas

Seventy-two million children unschooled- please
Poverty stricken- we must try to help them all
Balloon heads float amongst the breeze

Over seven-hundred and fifty million adults are illiterate- geez
Girls least likely to receive education- damn that wall
Inequality from different ethnicities across the seas

undeveloped brains- be’eth the sizes of peas 
Deprived from knowledge their brains will remain small
Balloon heads float amongst the breeze

The rights to educate we must not seize
If we doth not rise- they will fall
Inequality from different ethnicities across the seas

I pray for them- down on my knees
Let the world hear my beckon call
Balloon heads float amongst the breeze
Inequality from different ethnicities across the seas

Final Thoughts

To conclude, poverty poems give a unique and powerful way to find the complex emotions and experiences of those who face financial hardship and struggle.

From simple, pieces to layered works, poverty poems show the harsh realities of poverty, challenge societal structure, and inspire us to take action toward betterment.

Through poems for poverty, we can make a difference in the lives of those who are most in need.

We encourage people to share their thoughts on these poverty poems and continue to talk about this important issue.

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