Inspiration: Poems

Poem: “I Sit And Look Out,” by Walt Whitman

Poem: “I Sit And Look Out,” by Walt Whitman

I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame; I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done; I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying, neglected,...

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Poem: “When the Violin,” by Hafiz

Poem: “When the Violin,” by Hafiz

When The violin Can forgive the past It starts singing. When the violin Can stop worrying about the future You will become Such a drunk laughing nuisance That God Will then lean down And start combing you into His Hair. When the violin can forgive Every wound caused...

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Poem: “People,” by Jean Toomer

Poem: “People,” by Jean Toomer

To those fixed on white, White is white, To those fixed on black, It is the same, And red is red, Yellow, yellow- Surely there are such sights In the many colored world, Or in the mind. The strange thing is that These people never see themselves Or you, or me. Are...

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Poem: “Reminder,” by Michael Ryan

Poem: “Reminder,” by Michael Ryan

Torment by appetite is itself an appetite dulled by inarticulate, dogged, daily loving-others-to-death— as Chekhov put it, “compassion down to your fingertips”— looking on them as into the sun not in the least for their sake but slowly for your own because it causes...

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Poem: “What Changes,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Poem: “What Changes,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

My father’s hopes travel with me years after he died. Someday we will learn how to live. All of us surviving without violence never stop dreaming how to cure it. What changes? Crossing a small street in Doha Souk, nut shops shuttered, a handkerchief lies crumpled in...

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Poem: “I Am Not I,” by Juan Ramón Jiménez

Poem: “I Am Not I,” by Juan Ramón Jiménez

I am not I. I am this one walking beside me whom I do not see, whom at times I manage to visit, and whom at other times I forget; who remains calm and silent while I talk, and forgives, gently, when I hate, who walks where I am not, who will remain standing when I...

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Poem: “Kindness,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Poem: “Kindness,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth. What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved, all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be between...

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Poem: “Anger’s freeing power,”  by Stevie Smith

Poem: “Anger’s freeing power,” by Stevie Smith

I had a dream three walls stood up wherein a raven bird Against the walls did beat himself and was not this absurd? For sun and rain beat in that cell that had its fourth wall free And daily blew the summer shower and the rain came presently And all the pretty summer...

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Poem: “Memoir,” by Vijay Seshadri

Poem: “Memoir,” by Vijay Seshadri

Orwell says somewhere that no one ever writes the real story of their life. The real story of a life is the story of its humiliations. If I wrote that story now— radioactive to the end of time— people, I swear, your eyes would fall out, you couldn’t peel the gloves...

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Poem: “September 1, 1939,” by W. H. Auden

Poem: “September 1, 1939,” by W. H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death...

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Poem: “Admit Something,” by Hafiz

Poem: “Admit Something,” by Hafiz

Everyone you see, you say to them, Love me. Of course you do not do this out loud; Otherwise, Someone would call the cops. Still though, think about this, This great pull in us To connect. Why not become the one Who lives with a full moon in each eye That is always...

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Poem: “Compassion,” by Miller Williams

Poem: “Compassion,” by Miller Williams

Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.

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Poem: “Hate,” by James Stephens

Poem: “Hate,” by James Stephens

My enemy came nigh, And I Stared fiercely in his face. My lips went writhing back in a grimace, And stern I watched him with a narrow eye. Then, as I turned away, my enemy, That bitter heart and savage, said to me: "Some day, when this is past, When all the arrows...

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