Examples of Free Verse Poems: Famous to Original

Free verse poems will have no set meter, which is the rhythm of the words, no rhyme scheme nor any particular structure. Some poets would find this liberating, being able to whimsically change your mind, while others feel like they could not do a good job in this manner. Robert Frost commented that writing free verse was like "playing tennis without a net." Learn more about free verse poetry and the structure by checking out free verse poem examples.

free verse poem little shelter cat free verse poem little shelter cat

Free Verse Poems: No Rules

What is a free verse poem? Free verse poems do not follow the rules and have no rhyme or rhythm, but they are still an artistic expression. They are sometimes thought to be a modern form of poetry; but, the free verse type of poetry has been around for hundreds of years. Explore several free verse poem examples.

The First Time We Kissed by Kelly Roper

Poet Kelly Roper dives into the feeling of a first kiss through her free verse poem.

"Nervously, I stood there under the porch light
As you smiled at me and moved in closer.
You took me in your arms, and my heart began to thud so loudly
I was sure you could hear it but were pretending you didn't.
You moistened your lips, looked deeply into my eyes,
And then gently pressed your lips to mine.
A moment's pause, and you touched my lips with yours again,
A whisper of a kiss that promised more to come.
We kissed again, and during that kiss I felt like I had finally come home.
Looking back, I know I was right as we kiss goodnight and I turn out the light."

After the Sea-Ship by Walt Whitman

Famous free verse poet Walt Whitman created several free verse poems, including "After the Sea-Ship."

"AFTER the Sea-Ship--after the whistling winds;
After the white-gray sails, taut to their spars and ropes,
Below, a myriad, myriad waves, hastening, lifting up their necks,
Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship:
Waves of the ocean, bubbling and gurgling, blithely prying,
Waves, undulating waves--liquid, uneven, emulous waves,
Toward that whirling current, laughing and buoyant, with curves,
Where the great Vessel, sailing and tacking, displaced the surface;"

City of Potholes by Kelly Roper

Have you ever wondered about a city full of potholes? Well, Roper explores this subject in her poem.

"Zig-zagging down the road
Trying not to stray over the center line
Or hit a curb
Or break an axle
Or flatten a tire
Or wind up in the next surprise sinkhole.
Driving in Toledo is not a sport
For the timid or the sane or the under-insured."

Fog by Carl Sandburg

Explore Carl Sandburg's astute observation of a cat in fog through the poetic form in his free verse poem.

"The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on."

Endless Self-Doubt by Kelly Roper

Everyone has a bit of self-doubt. See how this subject is explored through poetry.

"Am I good enough?
I'm not really sure.
In fact, I'm sure I'm probably not.
What made me think I could write this poem?
Everyone will laugh at it when they read it,
Or worse, they will be silent and hold their criticism in.
Or worse yet, they'll say exactly what they think and I'll be crushed.
Or worst of all, they'll tell me it's great but not mean it.
And even if they truly love it, I'll still wonder if it's good enough."

Free Verse by Robert Graves

Famous free verse wordsmith Robert Graves uses sporadic rhyme within this work; however, there is no specific rhyme scheme.

"I now delight
In spite
Of the might
And the right
Of classic tradition,
In writing
And reciting
Straight ahead,
Without let or omission,

In any little time
That runs in my head;
Because, I’ve said,
My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed
Like Prussian soldiers on parade
That march,
Stiff as starch,
Foot to foot,
Boot to boot,
Blade to blade,"

An Ode to Coffee by Kelly Roper

For most, mornings are a stumble to the coffee maker. Roper expertly crafts the feeling of that first morning cup.

"Beautiful brown liquid steaming in my cup,
Becoming a muddy river as I stir in the cream.
The aroma that gives me courage,
The flavor that tastes like hope for a better day,
And the energy that renews my will to live.
Tomorrow morning we'll do it all again my friend."

Poetry Genres

Poetry can be classified into three types: lyric, narrative and dramatic. Get an explanation of each one, along with an example of this type using free verse. Keep in mind; free verse poems could be any of these types of poetry or even a combination of any of them.


Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry deals with emotions and is written in a song-like way. Two types of lyric poetry are odes and sonnets. Well-known authors of lyric poetry include:

Sonnets fall into two types; the Italian sonnet and the English, or Shakespearian sonnet. Poets of the lyric style use words that express their feelings, perceptions and moods.

Free Verse Ode to Birth or Rosebuds by Linda J. Wolff

Modern poet Linda J. Wolff describes her experience with death in her poem, "Free Verse Ode to Birth or Rosebuds."

"Sometimes I need to reach—deep like taproots
Burrowing through the darkness of hardpan dirt—

I would want to establish strength; root-like,
anchored in the hopes of solidity.

Forsake the contamination of instability.
Prove I’m the poet of each line of prose.

Who needs the weakness of low self-esteem
when your fingers can grip the heart"

Narrative Poetry

In narrative poetry, a story is told about societies, cultures and heroes. Epic poems are very long, many times covering years of events. Ballads are another type of narrative poem. Authors of note include:

Little Shelter Cat by Kelly Roper

Finding the perfect feline friend can be hard. However, sometimes, you just connect with the perfect animal. See how Roper weaves a tale in this narrative, free verse poem.

"I walked into the shelter and looked around.
Out of all the homeless kitties, you stood out like a beacon.
I picked you up, and you purred and snuggled sweetly in my arms.
It was like we had always known each other, always been together.
I filled out the form, made the donation, and took you home.
You're a little shelter cat no more. You're mine."

Dramatic Poetry

Dramatic poetry is written in verse and is usually meant to be recited. It tells a story or describes an event in a dramatic and interesting way. Poets of note include:

Heartbreak Ridge by Ryan Christopher Beitler

Ryan Christopher Beitler created an array of dramatic poems lamenting about love in the free verse style.

"The sunset sets,
gradually cooling my heart.
Like a mountain top
melting ice too part.
Years now apart,
I regain definition to my heart.
A projection of loves visual art."

Fabulous Free Verse Poems

Poets like to create free verse poems because you aren't constrained to a rhyme, rhythm or meter. However, it can be hard to create a free verse poem. Interested in learning more about poetry? Then you might want to check out the 7 common types of poetry.