10 Tear-Jerking Poems About Graduation To Read Before And After The Big Day

It's that time of the year again — when graduation caps fly more freely than birds, when those well-earned diplomas finally find a home, and when you hear inspiring graduation quotes and songs like Graduation by Vitamin C everywhere. Graduation is such an exciting time, whether you're the one wearing the cap and gown or a close friend or family member is making that big walk across the stage. It's a time to celebrate that hard work, those sleepless nights, and the fact that you'll never have to spend your money on huge textbooks again.

It's also an emotional time. One filled with tears, laughter, and a whole lot of nostalgia. I graduated a year ago, and those last few months flew by while I attempted to soak up every experience my school offered. Cherish the nights spent with close friends, the teachers that gave you everything that you needed and more to succeed, and that overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. You deserve it.

So if you're a new graduate, or will be in just a few short days, take the time and soak it all in. And even if you aren't, this time of year is a great reflect back or look forward to that big day. Read up on some of these poems surrounding the theme of graduation that'll probably make you, or that special graduate in your life cry a lot, but in a good way.


1. Always Be A Student by Joanna Fuchs

Keep on learning,Though your graduation's done;Your whole life's an educationThat has only just begun.

Your diploma is the first big step,For knowledge is the special keyTo winning what you want in lifeAnd being who you want to be.If you'll always be a student,You'll find the secrets to successAnd travel on the golden roadTo peace and happiness.

2. It Couldn't Be Done by Edgar Albert Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be doneBut he with a chuckle repliedThat “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be oneWho wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.So he buckled right in with the trace of a grinOn his face. If he worried he hid it.He started to sing as he tackled the thingThat couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that; At least no one ever has done it;" But he took off his coat and he took off his hat And the first thing we knew he'd begun it. With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, Without any doubting or quiddit, He started to sing as he tackled the thing That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, There are thousands to prophesy failure, There are thousands to point out to you one by one, The dangers that wait to assail you. But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, Just take off your coat and go to it; Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

3. Dreams by Langston Hughes


Hold fast to dreamsFor if dreams dieLife is a broken-winged birdThat cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreamsFor when dreams goLife is a barren fieldFrozen with snow.

4. Post-Graduate by Dorothy Parker

Hope it was that tutored me, And Love that taught me more;And now I learn at Sorrow's knee The self-same lore.

5. You've Done Your Job by Karl Fuchs

Now it's time to graduateYou did well, and that is greatYou've done your job, and we're so proud,We want to dance and shout out loud!

6. An Instructor's Dream by Bill Knott

Many decades after graduationthe students sneak back ontothe school-grounds at nightand within the pane-lit windowscatch me their teacher at the deskor blackboard cradling a chalk:someone has erased their youth,and as they crouch closer to seemore it grows darker and quieterthan they have known in their lives,the lesson never learned surroundsthem; why have they come? Isthere any more to memorize nowat the end than there was thenWhat is it they peer at through shadesof time to hear, X times X repeated,my vain efforts to corner a room'ssnickers? Do they mock me? Forever?Out there my past has risen inthe eyes of all my former pupils butI wonder if behind them othersyounger and younger stretch awayto a world where dawn will neverring its end, its commencement bell.

7. Be The Best Whatever You Are by Douglas Malloch

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill Be a scrub in the valley - but be The best little scrub by the side of the rill; Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,And some highway some happier make;If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass - But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,There's something for all of us here.There's big work to do and there's lesser to do,And the task we must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,If you can't be the sun be a star;It isn't by size that you win or you fail - Be the best of whatever you are!

8. If by Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about youAre losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too;If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,Or being hated don't give way to hating,And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two imposters just the same;If you can bear to hear the truth you've spokenTwisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winningsAnd risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,And lose, and start again at your beginningsAnd never breathe a word about your loss;If you can force your heart and nerve and sinewTo serve your turn long after they are gone,And so hold on when there is nothing in youExcept the Will which says to them; "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,If all men count with you, but none too much;If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds' worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

9. Opportunity by Berton Braley

With doubt and dismay you are smittenYou think there's no chance for you, son?Why, the best books haven't been writtenThe best race hasn't been run,The best score hasn't been made yet,The best song hasn't been sung,The best tune hasn't been played yet,Cheer up, for the world is young!

No chance? Why the world is just eagerFor things that you ought to createIts store of true wealth is still meagreIts needs are incessant and great,It yearns for more power and beautyMore laughter and love and romance,More loyalty, labor and duty,No chance - why there's nothing but chance!

For the best verse hasn't been rhymed yet,The best house hasn't been planned,The highest peak hasn't been climbed yet,The mightiest rivers aren't spanned,Don't worry and fret, faint hearted,The chances have just begun,For the Best jobs haven't been started,The Best work hasn't been done.

10. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

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