Inside: 57 inspiring poems to encourage you today.
If you need a little encouragement and a poem that inspires you to get up and get the day going, I’m right there with you. It’s okay to need to turn to sources like literature, spirituality, philosophy, and poetry to get you up and moving out of a slump.
Sometimes I really need a poem that serves as a reminder that life is too short to let yourself be upset about minimal things to make me think my way into happiness. You can’t always control what’s happening around you but you can control how you react. And I personally need some good reminders, so reading them will change the course of my day.
When you need a little encouragement, a little empowerment, check into these poems. You’ll find inspiring poems about community will do a lot more for your psyche than you think, and you will totally find yourself feeling inspired to change your day.
As you read these, keep in mind that inspiration comes from anywhere. And as you read these inspiring poems, let it fuel you to go and find inspiration on your own and where you feel it the most naturally. For some people, that’s in nature. For some people, it’s flipping on a movie that inspires them to be more artistic. It can be in the arts, nature, silence… anything. Your favorite restaurant? Table for one? A game night with your best friends?
There are so many ways you can find inspiration in your life, so jumpstart the search with the poems that will encourage you to even get up and find it in the first place.
Inspiration just needs a little strike, like a match, and you have to be careful to then let it burn.
Whatever brought you here, whatever has you down and feeling like you need a little encouragement and inspiration, leave it behind. That’s old news, that’s old baggage, that’s old stuff. We don’t need old stuff, pick up some new stuff and find some inspiration to create or to find a new life in these inspiring poems.
Finding inspiration is something we all strive for. Whether you’re a creative or a very practical person, there’s some level of hope and peace that we are all looking for that can only be found when you strike inspiration to live. There’s a fun element to seeking inspiration, like maybe you need to travel or maybe you need to take up a class to learn a new skill. But sometimes it is a little deeper than that.
If you need kind words, encouraging words, and powerful words, poetry is the place to go. Poets of all time periods and of all backgrounds know what it’s like to need a little inspiration and to need to feel lifted up in life.
As you read these, if you’re reading from a space that is a little sad or down or just needs a little energy shot into it, you can read on knowing that these poets are likely writing from that place too. More often than not, people write to feel what they need, especially when they’re writing something positive. This was likely their way of finding inspiration and encouragement themselves.
So know that you are seen, you are agreed with, and everyone needs these messages from time to time. Even the writers. So go easy on yourself and enjoy these inspiring poems that you need to encourage you in your season, reason or lifetime today.
Poems To Inspire You
1. Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
By Maya Angelous
2. The Road Not Taken
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.
By Robert Frost
3. Looking For Happiness
Many people are looking for
Happiness behind any door
Happiness they want to find
Happiness of any kind.
Happiness is not something outside
It is an attitude you can provide
Your happiness is not down the road
And, it doesn’t mean an easy load.
Happiness is found in you
How you look at life and what you do
You decide each day, you see
How happy you will be
By Catherine Pulsifer
4. Our Deepest Fear
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
By Marianne Williamson
5. Ode to Duty
Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou, who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And calm’st the weary strife of frail humanity!
There are who ask not if thine eye
Be on them; who, in love and truth,
Where no misgiving is, rely
Upon the genial sense of youth:
Glad Hearts! without reproach or blot;
Who do thy work, and know it not:
Oh! if through confidence misplaced
They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power! around them cast.
Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security.
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet seek thy firm support, according to their need.
I, loving freedom, and untried;
No sport of every random gust,
Yet being to myself a guide,
Too blindly have reposed my trust:
And oft, when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferred
The task, in smoother walks to stray;
But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.
Through no disturbance of my soul,
Or strong compunction in me wrought,
I supplicate for thy control;
But in the quietness of thought:
Me this unchartered freedom tires;
I feel the weight of chance-desires:
My hopes no more must change their name,
I long for a repose that ever is the same.
Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
The Godhead’s most benignant grace;
Nor know we anything so fair
As is the smile upon thy face:
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds
And fragrance in thy footing treads;
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;
And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, are fresh and strong.
To humbler functions, awful Power!
I call thee: I myself commend
Unto thy guidance from this hour;
Oh, let my weakness have an end!
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;
The confidence of reason give;
And in the light of truth thy Bondman let me live!
By William Wordsworth
6. The Miracle of Morning
For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.
Read children’s books, dance alone to DJ music.
Know that this distance will make our hearts grow fonder.
From a wave of woes our world will emerge stronger.
By Amanda Gorman
What we call Luck
Is simply Pluck,
And doing things over and over;
Courage and will,
Perseverance and skill –
Are the four leaves of Luck’s clover.
8. Now Is The Time
Now is the time to love, and, better still,
To serve our loved ones, over passing ill
To rise triumphant ; thus the perfect flower
Of life shall come to fruitage: wealth amass
For grandest giving ere the time be gone.
Be glad to-day, to-morrow may bring tears;
Be brave to-day, the darkest night will pass,
And golden rays will usher in the dawn:
Who conquers now shall rule the coming years.
By Sarah K. Bolton
9. Today’s Walk
I will walk slowly through this day;
I leave what is not needed behind from yesterday.
I will treasure all the knowledge to move forward.
What I do today will not change or erase the past..
I move on knowing that today I will do differently than before.
If I fail, there will be another tomorrow and a future tomorrow for hope.
By Kathy Russell
Open your heart to happiness.
Let every pore absorb light.
Swim in the joy of the here and now,
And cast off the darkness of night.
Walk in the summer of sunshine.
Fly in the blueness of sky.
Know possibilities are boundless.
Understand that nothing can die.
Step from the shadows of torment.
Sing ’til your throat gets too sore.
Smile for as long as the day is,
And laugh just a little bit more.
Breathe slowly and deeply and listen.
Give all your ideas a chance.
Let the sun beat down on your goodness,
And kick off your shoes and dance.
By Paul Hayward
11. Gentle, Just and Kind
No tranquilizer can be found
Through any magic art
As fine as that which must abound
Within a peaceful heart.
No drug or dope can take the place
Of peace within the mind,
Of those who have the friendly grace
To be gentle, just, and kind.
By Edith H. Shank
Because I know who I am,
I’m at ease and free.
I can’t be like others,
And they can’t be me.
I’ve got fading scars,
An unusual physique,
But it all works together
To make me unique.
I’ve got hidden strengths,
Some obvious flaws.
Still I am who I am,
For better, for worse.
I don’t have to blend in;
I won’t live a lie.
I can’t please everyone;
I won’t even try.
Some call me proud;
Others stare at me in alarm.
But I’m not one to bother,
Because I know who I am
By Abimbola T. Alabi
13. Pass This Way
Through this toilsome world, alas!
Once and only once I pass;
If a kindness I may show,
If a good deed I may do
To a suffering fellow man,
Let me do it while I can.
No delay, for it is plain
I shall not pass this way again.
By Author Unknown
14. The Power of One
One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start each prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what’s true
One life can make the difference
By Ashish Ram
15. Send a Drop of Kindness
Send a drop of kindness,
And see a happy face.
A drop of kindness goes real far,
It may even reach outer space.
Send a drop of love,
And feel a loving embrace.
It feels so good to feel like,
You are in the right place.
Send a drop of hope,
But be that shinning star.
Hope is wonderful to have,
But sometimes you can’t sit away so far.
Send a drop of faith,
With a single prayer.
And God will show the way,
As faith is always there.
By Julie Herbert
16. Making Life Worth While
Every soul that touches yours –
Be it the slightest contact –
Get there from some good;
Some little grace; one kindly thought;
One aspiration yet unfelt;
One bit of courage
For the darkening sky;
One gleam of faith
To brave the thickening ills of life;
One glimpse of brighter skies –
To make this life worthwhile
And heaven a surer heritage.
By George Eliot
17. Little Things
Simple things are the little things
Such happiness they can bring
From watching a sunrise
To giving a child a simple surprise.
If we stop and look and see
How simple things in life can be
The best and happiest times
During our life journey climb.
By Catherine Pulsifer
Drop a pebble in the water,
And its ripples reach out far;
And the sunbeams dancing on them
May reflect them to a star.
Give a smile to someone passing,
Thereby making his morning glad;
It may greet you in the evening
When your own heart may be sad.
Do a deed of simple kindness;
Though its end you may not see,
It may reach, like widening ripples,
Down a long eternity.
By Joseph Norris
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
20. First Fires
When I was little I used to flip to the last page of my chosen library book
and read it aloud to myself.
I thought by doing this I would be made privy to some secret information.
I could outsmart the author and figure it all out before he or she intended.
I could win.
Everything was a game.
Nowadays, I avoid the last page as long as possible.
I abandon books all over my apartment.
One lays with its spine cracked open on the arm of my couch
while another curls on the floor under my bed asleep.
I don’t want to get to the end of anything anymore.
I only want beginnings:
First sentences striking like matches on the roof of my mouth.
Igniting like the first fires on earth.
By Dorothy Schultz
21. May you Always
May you always have…
Enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough hope to keep you happy,
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough success to keep you eager,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough wealth to meet your needs,
Enough enthusiasm to look forward,
Enough determination to make
Each day better than yesterday
My favorite color is navy blue,
the color of a childhood book about stars.
My father read it to me on the couch,
took me outside and showed me
the Big Dipper, and the Little Dipper,
and how to find the North Star.
All of this was right in front of our house.
We looked up into the sky until it looked back.
The book said we spin without realizing it.
It told where we are in the Milky Way
but my father and I don’t know how we got here.
Neither of us mentions it.
We do not know how to do the math
on astronomical odds as big as that.
By Fannie Griffin
23. Be True to You
As you set out on life’s road
unsure of the path you’ll go,
the most important thing you can do
is to always be true to “you”
Always remember who you are
in moments of struggle or fear.
Never forget or give up on
the hopes and dreams you hold dear
There will be setbacks and rejection
and moments of failure too,
but you must overcome any frustration
to achieve the potential of you.
Don’t forget to smile, or laugh,
or to live in the present;
no matter where life takes you
make every memory pleasant.
As you travel along your journey,
know that you’re never alone
and I’ll always be here for you
should you need the comfort of home.
24. Morning Coffee
Dark dark, swirl in the white,
Mix in the morning,
Fade out the night.
Sugar cream, coffee bean,
Eyes start to blinking,
End the last dream.
Dark dark, swirl in the white
Fresh day brewing
On hot sunlight.
By Amber Lynn Revis
25. A Woman Speaks
Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound.
I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did
I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon’s new fury
with all your wide futures
and not white.
By Audre Lorde
26. The Common Women Poems
27. Her Kind
I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.
I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.
I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
By Anne Sexton
28. Character of the Happy Warrior
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?
—It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought
Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:
Whose high endeavours are an inward light
That makes the path before him always bright;
Who, with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;
Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,
But makes his moral being his prime care;
Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train!
Turns his necessity to glorious gain;
In face of these doth exercise a power
Which is our human nature’s highest dower:
Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves
Of their bad influence, and their good receives:
By objects, which might force the soul to abate
Her feeling, rendered more compassionate;
Is placable—because occasions rise
So often that demand such sacrifice;
More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure,
As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
—’Tis he whose law is reason; who depends
Upon that law as on the best of friends;
Whence, in a state where men are tempted still
To evil for a guard against worse ill,
And what in quality or act is best
Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
He labours good on good to fix, and owes
To virtue every triumph that he knows:
—Who, if he rise to station of command,
Rises by open means; and there will stand
On honourable terms, or else retire,
And in himself possess his own desire;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim;
And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait
For wealth, or honours, or for worldly state;
Whom they must follow; on whose head must fall,
Like showers of manna, if they come at all:
Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
A constant influence, a peculiar grace;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined
Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a Lover; and attired
With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired;
And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law
In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw;
Or if an unexpected call succeed,
Come when it will, is equal to the need:
—He who, though thus endued as with a sense
And faculty for storm and turbulence,
Is yet a Soul whose master-bias leans
To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes;
Sweet images! which, wheresoe’er he be,
Are at his heart; and such fidelity
It is his darling passion to approve;
More brave for this, that he hath much to love:—
‘Tis, finally, the Man, who, lifted high,
Conspicuous object in a Nation’s eye,
Or left unthought-of in obscurity,—
Who, with a toward or untoward lot,
Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not—
Plays, in the many games of life, that one
Where what he most doth value must be won:
Whom neither shape or danger can dismay,
Nor thought of tender happiness betray;
Who, not content that former worth stand fast,
Looks forward, persevering to the last,
From well to better, daily self-surpast:
Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth
For ever, and to noble deeds give birth,
Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame,
And leave a dead unprofitable name—
Finds comfort in himself and in his cause;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven’s applause:
This is the happy Warrior; this is he
That every man in arms should wish to be.
By William Wordsworth
29. The Victor
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out classed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of your-self before
You can ever win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
By C. W. Longenecker
The moon dissolves,
A communion wafer
On the tongue of morning.
The sun melts,
Fresh butter spread
On noonday bread.
Evening tips the cup,
Rose, burgundy, and gold.
Refreshment for the soul.
By Fannie Griffin
31. Start where you stand
Start where you stand and never mind the past,
The past won’t help you in beginning new,
If you have left it all behind at last
Why, that’s enough, you’re done with it, you’re through;
This is another chapter in the book,
This is another race that you have planned,
Don’t give the vanished days a backward look,
Start where you stand.
The world won’t care about your old defeats
If you can start anew and win success,
The future is your time, and time is fleet
And there is much of work and strain and stress;
Forget the buried woes and dead despairs,
Here is a brand new trial right at hand,
The future is for him who does and dares,
Start where you stand.
Old failures will not halt, old triumphs aid,
To-day’s the thing, to-morrow soon will be;
Get in the fight and face it unafraid,
And leave the past to ancient history;
What has been, has been; yesterday is dead
And by it you are neither blessed nor banned,
Take courage, man, be brave and drive ahead,
Start where you stand.
By Berton Braley
32. Don’t Quit
When Things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to Smile but have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out,
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown,
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
By Edgar A. Guest
Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.
By Sylvia Plath
With doubt and dismay you are smitten
You think there’s no chance for you, son?
Why, the best books haven’t been written
The 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 eager
For things that you ought to create
Its store of true wealth is still meagre
Its needs are incessant and great,
It yearns for more power and beauty
More 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.
By Berton Braley
35. Don’t Quit
When times are hard, you might stop for a bit,
But it’s not over until the moment you quit.
On a river’s bridge, failures are the planks;
Take one step at a time until you reach its banks.
Don’t give up on your dreams; chase them instead;
You will find, one morning, as you wake up from bed,
That you are the person about whom you dreamed,
And you can reach great heights, impossible though it seemed.
When things go wrong and your back is to the wall,
Try to stand up; no more can you fall.
Life is full of ups and downs; take them in your stride.
You will discover your little star hidden inside.
By M. Tarun Prasad
36. Sadie and Maud
Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed at home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine-tooth comb.
She didn’t leave a tangle in.
Her comb found every strand.
Sadie was one of the livingest chits
In all the land.
Sadie bore two babies
Under her maiden name.
Maud and Ma and Papa
Nearly died of shame.
When Sadie said her last so-long
Her girls struck out from home.
(Sadie had left as heritage
Her fine-tooth comb.)
Maud, who went to college,
Is a thin brown mouse.
She is living all alone
In this old house.
By Gwendolyn Brooks
37. I am water
to offer life
to drown it
By Rupi Kaur
38. No Matter What Happens
I have no expectations
only control of how I want to feel
so no matter what happens
I know I will have a great time
39. Less Afraid
And then I realized
that to be
I had to
I did it…
I lost my
my whole life.
40. Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
By Maya Angelou
41. Ella: Of Infinite Possibilities
Wide-eyed in wonder,
Ella beholds the world.
“How old are you?”
her grandfather asks.
She holds up five fingers.
Ella traces her grandfather’s mosaic of wrinkles,
touching his face with those same five fingers.
Seeing tears form in her dark, dark eyes,
he asks: “Why so sad?”
“Because you are shrinking.”
“But I am not sad,” Grandfather replies.
“Because you are growing.”
By Jacqueline Seewald
On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon—
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.
By Philip Larkin
Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees!—The furrow
Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,
Berries cast dark
Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Hauls me through air—
Flakes from my heels.
Godiva, I unpeel—
Dead hands, dead stringencies.
And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child’s cry
Melts in the wall.
Am the arrow,
The dew that flies
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red
Eye, the cauldron of morning.
By Sylvia Plath
44. When Is That Golden Moment?
When the scale tells me I’ve not gained a pound
When my glasses or phone or keys have been found,
When the cop pulls me over but spares me the ticket
When my ice cream cone drips and I get to lick it,
When I read the obituaries and don’t know a soul,
When the car just ahead of me pays for my toll,
When my pants can fit without sucking my gut in
When I’m on the dance floor and a man asks to cut in,
When it’s time for a movie and I get to choose it,
When I cut out the coupon and remember to use it.
Everyone understands the worth
Of a big celebration: a marriage, a birth
But moments of joy, too many to mention
Brighten each day, when we just pay attention.
By Eileen Hession
45. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don’t frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn’t frighten me at all.
I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.
That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don’t frighten me at all.
Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.
I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
By Maya Angelou
I want to tell you
about the sunflower I found
on the sidewalk yesterday.
It is wilting and curled and gorgeous
and knows it.
I want to age like that,
never forgetting my own beauty,
never forgetting how to say bloom
By Anna Voelker
47. Life Is Now
Time flies and memories fade.
People change and new friendships are made.
Only the true remain forever at our side.
Eventually the disappointment and pain will subside.
It is all about the journey and what has yet to come.
Life is what you make of it; you are what you’ve become.
Life is too short to hold onto regrets.
Forgiveness is key even though you may never forget.
Cherish the good and remove the bad.
Some people don’t realize till it’s gone what they’ve had.
Moving on is a way of life.
There will always be obstacles, pain, and strife.
You must believe that you are strong enough to fight.
You have to believe in yourself to do what is right.
Always do for YOU no matter what you do,
Because in the end the only one who has your back is you.
Never be afraid to take a stand,
And always be willing to lend a helping hand.
A little bit goes a long way.
All it takes is a smile to brighten someone’s day.
Your chance to live is now, so what are you waiting for?
The world is yours for the taking and so much more.
Endless possibilities are forever at your disposal.
The chance to live another day is life’s golden proposal.
Never let anyone tear you down,
And never let anyone steal your shine and make you frown.
So will you sit in the shadows and let darkness win again?
Or will you rise up and make the light your friend?
Here is your chance, so what will you do?
You’ve got this because I believe in you!
Published by Family Friend Poems December 2016
By Hollianne Boucher
48. Don’t Wait Until I Am Gone
Treat me with love, dignity, respect and compassion
Now as I am healthy, vibrant and alive.
Don’t wait to hear that I am sick and dying
To love me the way I was meant to be loved.
Bring me flowers and candy on any day just because.
Don’t wait for a holiday, love and cherish me every day.
Tell me I am beautiful.
See my beauty in my body and soul.
Don’t wait to see that I am disfigured
And then tell me that I am beautiful
Because you think that is what I want to hear.
Talk to me lovingly now so I can hear your beautiful voice
And listen to the ringing of your laughter.
Don’t try to talk to me that way now
That I am deaf and can no longer hear your sweet voice.
Speak words of love and compassion
So I can remember those conversations
Even though I may not be able to hear them again.
Come one day and you will be sad, you will be sorry!
Treat me like a human being with a life
That needs to be lived my way…not yours!
Remember that our Creator gave you your own life
To live the way you please.
Leave me to live mine!!
I do not tell you what you should or should not do…
I just listen and give you support.
Why can’t you do the same?
I am this way and you are that way.
That’s because we are different…
We are unique…can’t we compromise?
Bury the hatchet and move along.
Free your body, free your soul.
Let’s just take the precious time
We have now to live and to love…
Everything else will slowly fall into place.
Now I am sick and dying.
You are now trying to love me, to bring me flowers,
To stroke my hair and to speak loving words.
Why did we waste all those years, all that time…
Just to be where we are now,
Now when I am too weak, too sick to enjoy your gifts?
Love me now…
As your sister, your brother,
Your husband, your wife,
Your niece, your nephew,
Your daughter, your son…
Don’t wait until it is too late!
Don’t wait until I am gone…
By Jennifer Fernandes
49. Yupik Wisdom
A Yupik Elder asked me once of an illness he had found
Affecting all the Gussuck folk that he had been around.
“Why do they chase the dollar so? What is this strange disease?
Whatever are they striving for? What does it take to please?’
I answered that I did not know the causes nor the cure.
But Affluenza is the name and it’s an ill for sure.
He looked at me with wisdom’s eye and shared his culture’s lore.
“Money’s like fish, when you run out, go out and catch some more.”
He paused and added with a smile, “Too much can lead to strife,
Money’s like fish, you have too much—it spoils, stinks up your life.”
By Paul Berg
50. Trouble But Not Defeat
Underneath our feet we find
Those branches and thorns a grind.
Why is so life so mean
It is as if no other scene.
Through life, you know, you will find
We sometimes just close our minds.
Those solutions we so desperately want
All appear like yesterday’s many tyrants.
But, do not trouble or be dismayed
There are good days on the way.
When you look beyond the norm
You’ll find you need not conform.
Be bold, be happy, be confident
You are not meant to lament.
These things so sure today
Can vanish without delay.
So when trouble comes your way
Do not accept defeat and ruin your day
Move forward with a focused view
Stay positive in all you do.
By Byron Pulsifer
51. My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is
MY mind to me a kingdom is;
Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That earth affords or grows by kind:
Though much I want that most would have, 5
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to feed a loving eye; 10
To none of these I yield as thrall;
For why? my mind doth serve for all.
I see how plenty surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers soon do fall;
I see that those which are aloft 15
Mishap doth threaten most of all:
They get with toil, they keep with fear:
Such cares my mind could never bear.
Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice; 20
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.
Some have too much, yet still do crave; 25
I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
And I am rich with little store;
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live. 30
I laugh not at another’s loss,
I grudge not at another’s gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
My state at one doth still remain:
I fear no foe, I fawn no friend; 35
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.
Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will;
Their treasure is their only trust,
A cloakèd craft their store of skill; 40
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.
My wealth is health and perfect ease,
My conscience clear my chief defence;
I neither seek by bribes to please, 45
Nor by deceit to breed offence:
Thus do I live; thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!
By Sir Edward Dyer
52. “Hope” is the thing with feathers
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
54. Song Of Myself
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.
By Walt Witman
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are 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 Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted 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 winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except 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 minute
With 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!
By Rudyard Kipling
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
By Langston Hughes
57. Desiderata: Words for Life
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
By Max Enhrmann
Inspiration can strike anywhere. My best poetry pieces come to me while driving, and I have to hope that I can remember them when I reach my destination. Sometimes I think of them when I’m half asleep, and I have to fight off the drowsiness to be able to wake myself up to write it down so I don’t forget it.
Inspiring you to create or inspiring you to live your life are two different forms of inspiration, but they ultimately are working towards the same goal: create the life you want to live. So I hope that some of these poems have made their way into your soul and are inspiring you to live your best life. It’s all about perspective, and if you can pull your eyes to the level of somewhere that has a greater point of view, you’ll see things differently and be able to live differently.
Wanting to get away is a powerful feeling too. If you just feel the need to take off and fly, here are some inspiring poems that understand exactly how you feel. But you could also just get up and fly if you have a couple days. I recently did a spontaneous solo trip and it was the best idea I’ve had in a long time. Definitely recommend.