Forced to choose, I am 99 percent certain that I'd have to pick W.S. Merwin and Stanley Kunitz as my all-time favorite poets. I hardly ever read anything they write that I don't like/love. So on my birthday, I turn to them. Here's a bit of W.S. Merwin's "A Birthday"...
Read the rest here. But you should also check out "In the Winter of My Thirty-Eighth Year" by Mr. Merwin:
For this poem, you can read the rest here.
It sounds unconvincing to say When I was young
Though I have long wondered what it would be like
To be me nowNo older at all it seems from hereAs far from myself as ever
Walking in fog and rain and seeing nothingI imagine all the clocks have died in the nightNow no one is looking I could choose my ageIt would be younger I suppose so I am olderIt is there at hand I could take itExcept for the things I think I would do differentlyThey keep coming between they are what I am
This may not be the best birthday poem ever, though. That title may belong to Mr. Kunitz's "Passing Through:"
—on my seventy-ninth birthday
Nobody in the widow’s household
ever celebrated anniversaries.
In the secrecy of my room
I would not admit I cared
that my friends were given parties.
Before I left town for school
my birthday went up in smoke
in a fire at City Hall that gutted
the Department of Vital Statistics.
If it weren’t for a census report
of a five-year-old White Male
sharing my mother’s address
at the Green Street tenement in Worcester
I’d have no documentary proof
that I exist. You are the first,
my dear, to bully me
into these festive occasions.
Read the rest of this amazing poem here. And if today is your birthday, too, (I'm talking to you, P. Diddy) or even if it's not, please take the time to enjoy these beautiful birthday poems.