A Wall in Naples
17

This poem by Andrew Motion was inspired by a Thomas Jones painting in London's National Gallery in which Motion reflects upon the enduring value of artistic creation.

The Einstein and the Eddington
5

This nonsense poem was written by Dr. W. H. Williams for a faculty club dinner on the eve of the physicist Eddington's departure from Berkeley in 1924.

No
4
No

Thomas Hood wrote at the start of the nineteenth century, but he sounds surprisingly modern. In this poem, Hood takes a look at winter in a cold, urban climate, expressed with a nice sense of humour.

The Bright Dresses
6

This poem is about teaching English and conveys powerful emotions through observation of small, almost banal details: shoes in shoe shops, bright dresses, the artificial language of an English lesson.

It wouldn't do
15

"But, She said, I suppose it wouldn't do For everyone to be the same now, Would it."

Mountain Fable
10

In this fable – written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement – a squirrel and a mountain have an argument!

The Blind Boy
4

"O say what is that thing call'd Light, | Which I must ne'er enjoy"
In this short poem, Poet Laureate Colley Cibber describes the feelings of a boy who has never been able to see.

The White Room
13

This lovely short poem was written by a learner of English, Irene Soriano Flórez, a student at the British Institute for Young Learners in Madrid.

Poems: Starshine and non-being
8

This Taoist poem shows that trying to label something can make a non-existent thing wrongly seem as if it had concrete or material existence, as Starshine finds out when he questions Non-Being.

The Flatulence Tax
2

"Abandon the flock and abolish the herd". This funny poem explores what would happen if we stopped farming sheep and cattle and started cultivating beans instead!

Town & Country
2

In 'Progress', Osbert Sitwell provides negative images of the city and conjures up fond memories of the country. In 'The City', Charles Hanson Towne does the opposite.

Poem: The Tay Bridge Disaster
3

"Alas! I am very sorry to say | That ninety lives have been taken away". Lines from the most famous poem from William Topaz McGonagall, who is regarded as one of the worst poets in the English language!  

The Sick Child
8

"O mother, lay your hand on my brow! | O mother, mother, where am I now?" In this sad little poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, a mother spends the night at her sick child's bedside.

The Seven Ages of Man
3

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players…" The famous lines from Shakespeare's play As You Like It.

Poetry as a Foreign Language
5

In this poem by Mike Ramsden the author says that he is in a big hall with a crowd of people who are standing and clapping. Sometimes understanding is not just about linguistics…

a bunch of daffodils
53

'…That floats on high o'er vales and hills…' This famous poem by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was inspired by the spring flower, the yellow or golden daffodil.

Poems: English Lesson
60

"We are doing Chapter 6: Hobbies, I like doing..." Robert Seatter has been an English teacher, an actor and a journalist. This poem takes us into part of an English lesson for adult learners.

Poems: On Chloris being ill
5

"Long, long the night, Heavy comes the morrow" In this poem (written as a song), the great Scottish poet Robert Burns laments the illness of his loved one.

To Autumn
4

Autumn (or "Fall" in American English) often arouses feelings of loss and melancholy. But to John Keats, we should celebrate the end of summer for the wonderful fruitfulness of nature about to decay.

Address to the Haggis
8

This famous poem by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns is regularly recited during celebrations throughout the world, whenever Haggis makes an appearance on the menu.

Story: April Fool's Day
45

Danny Applewhite was developing into a rather arrogant young man. He was among the top five achievers at his school, but would he be smart enough to avoid being a fool on April 1st?  

A Visitor to The Star
25

Anna Winter pulled on her Gucci sunglasses and sprayed herself with extra-strength mosquito repellent. How could she be an award-winning journalist if she had to stay in bad hotels and eat bad food?

Uncle Tom's Cabin
5

This anti-slavery novel, published in 1852, had a profound effect on worldwide attitudes toward African-Americans and slavery. It may have intensified the conflict that led to civil war.

Two Peas in a Pod
24

Edie and Evie are identical twins. Identical in appearance, but their personalities are not at all identical. Things get very weird when one of them pretends to be the other...

Three jokes
19

Have you heard the one about the chicken and the frog? How about the one about the firing squad? And the one about the parrot who didn't want to talk? See if you can 'tell' the jokes yourself.

Pages

Poems image
23

In this poem some words have been substituted by homophones - words with the same sound but different spelling. It proves that computer spelling checkers are not infallible!

A tree on a white background
34

"O you shaggy-headed banyan tree standing on the bank of the pond, have you forgotten the little child, like the birds that have nested in your branches and left you?"

Subscribe to Learn English | British Council