I have found inspirational poems such as this one written by Siegfried Sassoon in the trenches of World War One at a time of great adversity of great help.
Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on-on-and out of sight.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away........ O. but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless, the singing will never be done.
The following inspirational poem was voted a few years ago as the UK's favourite poem. It inspires people in the face of all sorts of difficulties. And it's particularly inspirational for cancer survivors.
If... by Rudyard Kipling
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 wornout 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!
This poem may well warm you through to your heart even through the frost and fog of fatigue and despair. I have always found it inspirational.
The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
Ina full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy goodnight air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
This one is brilliant inspirational poem for positive thinking and truly inspirational.
Invictus by W E Henley
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 or 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.
What an inspiration!
If you are struggling with self-pity, this inspirational poem might help.
Self-Pity by D H Lawrence
I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.
I have also found the following inspirational poems that turn to nature tremendously comforting.
The Glory by Edward Thomas
The glory of the beauty of the morning -
The cuckoo crying over the untouched dew
The blackbird that has found it, and the dove
That tempts me on to something sweeter than love;
White clouds ranged even and fair as new-mown hay;
The heat, the stir, the sublime vacancy
Of sky and meadow and forest and my own heart:-
The glory invites me, yet leaves me scorning
All I can ever do, all I can be,
Beside the lovely motion, shape, and hue,
The happiness I fancy fit to dwell
In beauty's presence. Shall I now this day
Begin to seek as far as heaven, as hell,
Wisdom or strength to match this beauty, start
And tread the pale dust pitted with small dark drops,
In hope to find whatever it is I seek,
Hearkening to short-lived happy-seeming things
That we know naught of, in the hazel copse?
Or must I be content with discontent
As larks and swallows are perhaps with wings?
And shall I ask at the day's end once more
What beauty is, and what I can have meant
By happiness? And shall I let all go,
Glad, weary, or both? Or shall I perhaps know
That I was happy oft and oft before,
Awhile forgetting how I am fast pent,
How dreary-swift, with naught to travel to,
Is Time? I cannot bite the day to the core.
When all is cold and in despair, the storm-cock provides inspirational song even when he has little enough cause to sing.
The Storm-Cock's Song by Hugh Macdiarmid
My song today is the storm-cock's song.
When cold winds blow and the driving snow
Hides the tree-tops, only his song rings out
In the lulls in the storm. So let mine go!
On the topmost twig of a leafless ash
He sits bolt upright against the sky
Surveying the white fields and the leafless woods
And distant red in the East with his buoyant eye.
Surely he has little enough cause to sing
When even the hedgerow berries are already pulped by the frost
Or eaten by other birds - yet alone and aloft
To another hungry day his greeting is tossed.
Blessed are those who have songs to sing
When others are silent; poor song though it be,
Just a message to the silence that someone is still
Alive and glad, though on a naked tree.
What if it is only a few churning notes
Flung out in a loud and artless way?
His "Will I do it? Do it I will!" is worth a lot
When the rest have nothing at all to say.
I love the imagery of the sea in this poem and John Masefield builds in the request for the calm of pleasant dreams after the storm. The sound of it builds tension and I want to be there on the coast. Truly inspirational to get me out and about. How about you?
Sea-fever by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sails shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying,
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over
Here we have the inspirational coming of spring after the dark days of winter; shoots of good news come after the trauma of cancer treatment.
Last Snow by Andrew Young
Although the snow still lingers
Heaped on the ivy's webbed fingers
And painting tree-trunks on one side,
Here in this sunlit ride
The fresh unchristened things appear,
Leaf, spathe and stem,
With crumbs of earth clinging to them
To show the way they came
But no flower yet to tell their name,
And one green spear
Stabbing a dead leaf from blow
Kills winter at a blow.
Do you have a great poem about this? Share it!
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Daffodils Under Brush
Sun shines strong and steady
Hidden, even new, almost timid
Bulbs show cave clusters under dirt
Bulbs jailed tangled brush
Sun shines against negative …
Touch Someone's Life
You can touch someone's life,
Just by what you say or do,
It's nice to be able to do that,
And I'm going to do it too.
It might be by an act of kindness, …
Be kind to one another,
That is what we're taught to do,
You need to start doing it,
And I'm going to do it too.
Kindness is an important thing, …
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