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20 Funny Poems That Will Perk Up Your Day

In honor of National Poetry Month, we present some of our favorite funny poems that are good for a laugh. Whether about animals, family life, or goofy people, they're all guaranteed to crack a smile.

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Happy grandmother and her granddaughter sitting on the floor with a bookWestend61/Getty Images

Laughs in verse

Were you conditioned by academia to think that poems are stuffy, profound waxings on the natural world and the human condition? Think again. There are endless amounts of silly, whimsical, funny poems that are sure to give you a chuckle. Here are some of our favorites: Some imagine fun fantasy scenarios; some are just well-constructed nonsense; others will make you think as much as they’ll make you laugh. Plus, check out these heartwarming inspirational poems.

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“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.”rd.com

My Shadow

Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

Read the whole poem here, and check out more poems by Stevenson in his book A Child’s Garden of Verses. Some of these funny poems are a little long; for something shorter, check out these short jokes anyone can remember.

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“And to-morrow what fun To make piles of snow cannon all day, And to pelt him with balls Till he totters and falls, And a thaw comes and melts him away.”rd.com

A Snow Man

Anonymous

Oh, the beautiful snow!
We’re all in a glow—
Nell, Dolly, and Willie, and Dan;
For the primest of fun,
When all’s said and done,
Is just making a big snow man.
Two stones for his eyes
Look quite owlishly wise,
A hard pinch of snow for his nose;
Then a mouth that’s as big
As the snout of a pig,
And he’ll want an old pipe, I suppose.
Then the snow man is done,
And to-morrow what fun
To make piles of snow cannon all day,
And to pelt him with balls
Till he totters and falls,
And a thaw comes and melts him away.

This charming poem comes from A Christmas Hamper: A Volume of Pictures and Stories for Little Folks. Check out these cozy winter quotes that will make you appreciate the season.

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“Ghosts have just as good a right In every way, to fear the light, As Men to fear the dark.”rd.com

Phantasmagoria

Lewis Carroll

(This is a long one, but, TL;DR: The narrator encounters a mysterious specter in his house. When asked what he’s doing there, the ghost says:)

“And as to being in a fright,
Allow me to remark
That Ghosts have just as good a right
In every way, to fear the light,
As Men to fear the dark.”

“No plea,” said I, “can well excuse
Such cowardice in you:
For Ghosts can visit when they choose,
Whereas we Humans ca’n’t refuse
To grant the interview.”

He said “A flutter of alarm
Is not unnatural, is it?
I really feared you meant some harm:
But, now I see that you are calm,
Let me explain my visit.

“Houses are classed, I beg to state,
According to the number
Of Ghosts that they accommodate:
(The Tenant merely counts as weight,
With Coals and other lumber).

Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and “Jabberwocky,” is definitely a master of funny poems. Read the whole poem here to see the rest of the playful banter between the narrator and the ghost, and check out Carroll’s collection Phantasmagoria and Other Poems.

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“An elephant slept in his bunk, And in slumber his chest rose and sunk. But he snored — how he snored!”rd.com

The Elephant

Anonymous

An elephant slept in his bunk,
And in slumber his chest rose and sunk.
But he snored — how he snored!
All the other beasts roared,
So his wife tied a knot in his trunk.

Love them or hate them, limericks are some of the most common forms of funny poems. If you (or your kids) liked this poem, here are some more funny limericks for kids.

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“A large red cow Tried to make a bow, But did not know how, They say.” rd.com

Monosyllabics

Laura E. Richards

The black cat sat
In the fat man’s hat;
“Oh, dear!” the fat man said.
“May the great gray bat
Catch the bad black cat
Who has left me no hat
For my head!”

A large red cow
Tried to make a bow,
But did not know how,
They say.
For her legs got mixed,
And her horns got fixed,
And her tail would get
In her way.

A sad, thin ape
Bought some wide white tape
To trim a new cape
For his niece;
But a bold buff calf,
With a loud, rude laugh,
Bit off one whole half
For his geese.

Funny poems can be funny because of the way they’re written, as well as their subject matter! Every word in this poem is one syllable—and it goes on much longer than this! Read the whole poem here or in Richards’ collection Three Minute Stories, and read these grammar jokes that every English nerd will appreciate.

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“If we cantaloupe, Lettuce marry: Weed make a swell pear.”rd.com

Do You Carrot All for Me?

Unknown

Do you carrot all for me?
My heart beets for you,
With your turnip nose
And your radish face,
You are a peach.
If we cantaloupe,
Lettuce marry:
Weed make a swell pear.

Who doesn’t love a good food pun? Here are some punny food pickup lines that will give you a chuckle.

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“‘Oh, what a crash! Oh, what a smash! How could I ever be so rash?’ The Earthquake cried.”rd.com

The Bashful Earthquake

Oliver Herford

The Earthquake rumbled
And mumbled
And grumbled;
And then he bumped,
And everything tumbled—
Bumpyty-thump!
Thumpyty-bump!—
Houses and palaces all in a lump!

“Oh, what a crash!
Oh, what a smash!
How could I ever be so rash?”
The Earthquake cried.
“What under the sun
Have I gone and done?
I never before was so mortified!”
Then away he fled,
And groaned as he sped:
“This comes of not looking before I tread.”

Everyone makes mistakes. Read more about what happens to the earthquake here, and read more funny poems by Oliver Herford in The Bashful Earthquake and Other Fables and Verses.

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“A funny young fellow named Perkins Was terribly fond of small gherkins.”rd.com

Funny Young Fellow

Anonymous

A funny young fellow named Perkins
Was terribly fond of small gherkins.
One day after tea
He ate ninety three
And pickled his internal workings.

If limericks are your favorite funny poems, check out these clever limericks that will make you sound smart.

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“And, lo! one morning at his side His cat, transform'd, became his bride.”rd.com

The Cat Metamorphosed Into a Woman

Jean de la Fontaine

A bachelor caress’d his cat,
A darling, fair, and delicate;
So deep in love, he thought her mew
The sweetest voice he ever knew.
By prayers, and tears, and magic art,
The man got Fate to take his part;
And, lo! one morning at his side
His cat, transform’d, became his bride.
In wedded state our man was seen
The fool in courtship he had been.
No lover e’er was so bewitch’d
By any maiden’s charms
As was this husband, so enrich’d
By hers within his arms.
He praised her beauties, this and that,
And saw there nothing of the cat.
In short, by passion’s aid, he
Thought her a perfect lady.

‘Twas night: some carpet-gnawing mice
Disturb’d the nuptial joys.
Excited by the noise,
The bride sprang at them in a trice;
The mice were scared and fled.
The bride, scarce in her bed,
The gnawing heard, and sprang again, –
And this time not in vain,
For, in this novel form array’d,
Of her the mice were less afraid.
Through life she loved this mousing course,
So great is stubborn nature’s force.

Talk about a cat lady. Now that’s a weird one—and it goes on! Read the poem’s much more profound final stanza here, and read more from this author with The Complete Fables of Jean de la Fontaine. Plus, here are some funny quotes cat lovers will appreciate.

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“I never saw a Purple Cow, I never hope to see one…”rd.com

The Purple Cow

Gelett Burgess

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

Short and sweet.

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“For a chicken, the hen’s wing; For poison, the bee’s sting; For almond-blossom, Spring; A beerhouse for me.”rd.com

Strong Beer

Robert Graves

“What do you think
The bravest drink
Under the sky?”
“Strong beer,” said I.

“There’s a place for everything,
Everything, anything,
There’s a place for everything
Where it ought to be:
For a chicken, the hen’s wing;
For poison, the bee’s sting;
For almond-blossom, Spring;
A beerhouse for me.”

“There’s a prize for everyone,
Everyone, anyone,
There’s a prize for everyone,
Whoever he may be:
Crags for the mountaineer,
Flags for the Fusilier,
For English poets, beer!
Strong beer for me!”

You knew one of these funny poems had to be about drinking. Read the entire poem here and check out Robert Graves’ poem collection Fairies and Fusiliers.

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“A centipede was happy quite, Until a frog in fun Said, ‘Pray, which leg comes after which?’”rd.com

Perils of Thinking

Unknown

A centipede was happy quite,
Until a frog in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?”
This raised her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in the ditch
Considering how to run.

Now that’s a thinker! Check out these clever jokes that will make you sound smart.

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“When uphill you slowly climb, And have to drag your sled, It feels so heavy that you'd think 'Twas really made of lead.”rd.com

The Attraction of Levitation

H. G. Paine

“Oh, dear!” said little Johnny Frost,
“Sleds are such different things!
When down the hill you swiftly coast
You’d think that they had wings;

“But when uphill you slowly climb,
And have to drag your sled,
It feels so heavy that you’d think
‘Twas really made of lead.

“And all because an Englishman,
Sir Isaac Newton named,
Invented gravitation, and
Became unduly famed;

“While if he had reversed his law,
So folks uphill could coast,
It seems to me he would have had
A better claim to boast.

“Then coasting would all pleasure be;
To slide up would be slick!
And dragging sleds downhill would be
An awful easy trick!”

Thanks a lot, Isaac Newton! If you got a kick out of this funny poem, you’ll love these funny jokes about science.

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“No one supposes A poor Camel dozes— Any place does for me!”rd.com

The Camel’s Complaint

Charles E. Carryl

Canary-birds feed on sugar and seed,
Parrots have crackers to crunch;
And, as for the poodles, they tell me the noodles
Have chickens and cream for their lunch.
But there’s never a question
About MY digestion—
Anything does for me!

Cats, you’re aware, can repose in a chair,
Chickens can roost upon rails;
Puppies are able to sleep in a stable,
And oysters can slumber in pails.
But no one supposes
A poor Camel dozes—
Any place does for me!

People would laugh if you rode a giraffe,
Or mounted the back of an ox;
It’s nobody’s habit to ride on a rabbit,
Or try to bestraddle a fox.
But as for a Camel, he’s
Ridden by families—
Any load does for me!

Learn more quirks of the camel with the rest of the poem, here, and read more from Carryl with Works of Charles Edward Carryl. And if you love funny poems, you’ll get a kick out of the funniest books of all time.

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“Does the needle ever wink its eye? Why doesn't the wing of a building fly?”rd.com

Have You Ever Seen

Unknown

Have you ever seen a sheet on a river bed?
Or a single hair from a hammer’s head?
Has the foot of a mountain any toes?
And is there a pair of garden hose?

Does the needle ever wink its eye?
Why doesn’t the wing of a building fly?
Can you tickle the ribs of a parasol?
Or open the trunk of a tree at all?

Are the teeth of a rake ever going to bite?
Have the hands of a clock any left or right?
Can the garden plot be deep and dark?
And what is the sound of the birch’s bark?

Now this is quite the play on words! English is a confusing language, so it only makes sense that poets would want to play around with it in funny poems.

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“There's no one ever sees his face, And yet we all agree That every plate we break was cracked By Mr. Nobody.”rd.com

Mr. Nobody

Unknown

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house!
There’s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.

The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots,—they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.

If you’re home with your family during quarantine, Mr. Nobody has probably been very busy lately. Read more about his antics with the complete poem here, and read these funny quotes people have come up with about quarantine.

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“A stargazer out late at night, With eyes and thoughts turned both upright, Tumbled by chance into a well (A dismal story this to tell)”rd.com

The Stargazer

Unknown

A stargazer out late at night,
With eyes and thoughts turned both upright,
Tumbled by chance into a well
(A dismal story this to tell);
He roared and sobbed and roared again,
And cursed “The Bear” and “Charles’s Wain.”

His woeful cries a neighbor brought,
Less learned, but wiser far in thought:
“My friend,” quoth he, “you’re much misled,
With stars to trouble thus your head;
Since you with these misfortunes meet,
For want of looking to your feet.”

Sometimes, we all need to look a little more closely at what’s right in front of us.

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“Once there was an elephant, Who tried to use the telephant— No! No! I mean an elephone Who tried to use the telephone…”rd.com

Eletelephony

Laura E. Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

Well, that’s just delightful. This reminds us a little of the funniest things kids have said about nature.

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“Said the Table, with a sigh, 'It can do no harm to try, 'I've as many legs as you, 'Why can't we walk on two?'”rd.com

The Table and the Chair

Edward Lear

I
Said the Table to the Chair,
‘You can hardly be aware,
‘How I suffer from the heat,
‘And from chilblains on my feet!
‘If we took a little walk,
‘We might have a little talk!
‘Pray let us take the air!’
Said the Table to the Chair.
II
Said the Chair unto the Table,
‘Now you know we are not able!
‘How foolishly you talk,
‘When you know we cannot walk!’
Said the Table, with a sigh,
‘It can do no harm to try,
‘I’ve as many legs as you,
‘Why can’t we walk on two?’
There’s more where that came from. Find out how this poem ends here, and read more of Edward Lear’s comical writings in his Book of Nonsense and Other Poems.

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“The theoretic turtle started out to see the toad…”rd.com

The Theoretic Turtle

Amos Russel Wells

The theoretic turtle started out to see the toad;
He came to a stop at a liberty-pole in the middle of the road.
“Now how, in the name of the spouting whale,” the indignant turtle cried,
“Can I climb this perpendicular cliff, and get on the other side?
If I only could make a big balloon, I’d lightly over it fly;
Or a very long ladder might reach the top, though it does look fearfully high.
If a beaver were in my place, he’d gnaw a passage through with his teeth;
I can’t do that, but I can dig a tunnel and pass beneath.”
He was digging his tunnel, with might and main, when a dog looked down at the hole.
“The easiest way, my friend,” said he, “is to walk around the pole.”

Check out The Collected Poems of Amos R. Wells for more humor in rhyme. If you liked these funny poems, you’re sure to laugh at these funny song titles you won’t believe are real.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest