Inspiration: Poems

Poem: “I worried,” by Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it? Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better? Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows...

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Poem: “Arachis Hypogaea,” by Marilyn Nelson

Great Creator, why did you make the peanut? —GWC Arachis Hypogaea may have been smuggled to North America by slaves who hid seeds of survival in their hair. Despite your nakedness, the chains, the stench, if white men did not eat you, you might come to a cruel land...

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Poem: “BLK History Month,” by Nikki Giovanni

If Black History Month is not viable then wind does not carry the seeds and drop them on fertile ground rain does not dampen the land and encourage the seeds to root sun does not warm the earth and kiss the seedlings and tell them plain: You’re As Good As Anybody Else...

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Poem: “Bottled Water,” by Kim Dower

I go to the corner liquor store for a bottle of water, middle of a hectic day, must get out of the office, stop making decisions, quit obsessing does my blue skirt clash with my hot pink flats; should I get my mother a caregiver or just put her in a home, and I pull...

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Poem: “Found,” by Frederick Buechner

Maybe it’s all utterly meaningless. Maybe it’s all unutterably meaningful. If you want to know which, pay attention to what it means to be truly human in a world that half the time we’re in love with and half the time scares the hell out of us… The unexpected sound of...

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Poem: “Honey,” by Connie Wanek

Luxury itself, thick as a Persian carpet, honey fills the jar with the concentrated sweetness of countless thefts, the blossoms bereft, the hive destitute. Though my debts are heavy honey would pay them all. Honey heals, honey mends. A spoon takes more than it can...

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Poem: “Relativity,” by D. H. Lawrence

I like relativity and quantum theories because I don't understand them and they make me feel as if space shifted about like a swan that can't settle, refusing to sit still and be measured; and as if the atom were an impulsive thing always changing its mind.

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Poem: “Take Heart,” by Jeanne Murray Walker

Who can grieve for it all? The standard-bearer, seeing his right hand shot off, grabs the flag with his left and shouts God Bless America! as he charges up the hill. An Iraqi child shoos flies from her brother’s corpse. News, they call it. The gospel of atrocities....

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Poem: “Famous,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish. The loud voice is famous to silence, which knew it would inherit the earth before anybody said so. The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds watching him from the birdhouse. The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek. The...

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Poem: “Clearing,” by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose. Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently, until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it. Only then will you know...

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Poem: “Home,” by Warsan Shire

No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. You only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well. Your neighbours running faster than you, the boy you went to school with who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory is holding a gun...

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Poem: “I Think It’s Brave,” by Lana Rafaela

i think it’s brave that you get up in the morning even if your soul is weary and your bones ache for a rest i think it’s brave that you keep on living even if you don’t know how to anymore i think it’s brave that you push away the waves rolling in every day and you...

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Poem: “The Empathy Party,” by Sarah Sadie

My son barred me from the empathy party his fifth grade classroom hosted. In our evolving dance there are so many events I’m not invited to, moments I’m too intimate to share. Later, he tells me the snacks sucked, crackers and carrot sticks, and there was too much...

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Poem: “Enemies,” by Wendell Berry

If you are not to become a monster, you must care what they think. If you care what they think, how will you not hate them, and so become a monster of the opposite kind? From where then is love to come—love for your enemy that is the way of liberty? From forgiveness....

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