Inspiration: Poems

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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Poem: “Desiderata,” by Max Ehrmann

Poem: “Desiderata,” by Max Ehrmann

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 ignorant; they too have their...

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Poem: ” Do Not!,” by Stevie Smith

Poem: ” Do Not!,” by Stevie Smith

Do not despair of man, and do not scold him, Who are you that you should so lightly hold him? Are you not also a man, and in your heart Are there not warlike thoughts and fear and smart? Are you not also afraid and in fear cruel, Do you not think of yourself as usual,...

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Poem: “Good People,” by W.S. Merwin

Poem: “Good People,” by W.S. Merwin

From the kindness of my parents I suppose it was that I held that belief about suffering imagining that if only it could come to the attention of any person with normal feelings certainly anyone literate who might have gone to college they would comprehend pain when...

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Poem: Just This Breath,” by Danna Faulds

Poem: Just This Breath,” by Danna Faulds

Settle in the here and now. Reach down into the center where the world is not spinning and drink this holy peace. Feel relief flood into every cell. Nothing to do. Nothing to be but what you are already Nothing to receive but what flows effortlessly from the mystery...

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Poem: “Epigrams,” by Edwin Markham

Poem: “Epigrams,” by Edwin Markham

Preparedness FOR all your days prepare, And meet them ever alike: When you are the anvil, bear-- When you are the hammer, Strike. Outwitted He drew a circle that shut me out-- Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that...

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Poem: “Protest,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Poem: “Protest,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

To sin by silence, when we should protest, Makes cowards out of men. The human race Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised Against injustice, ignorance, and lust, The inquisition yet would serve the law, And guillotines decide our least disputes. The few who...

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Poem: “Sympathy,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poem: “Sympathy,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I know what the caged bird feels, alas! When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass; When the first bird sings and the first bud opes, And the faint perfume from its...

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Poem: “Lincoln,” by Carl Sandburg

Poem: “Lincoln,” by Carl Sandburg

Lincoln? He was a mystery in smoke and flags Saying yes to the smoke, yes to the flags, Yes to the paradoxes of democracy, Yes to the hopes of government Of the people by the people for the people, No to debauchery of the public mind, No to personal malice nursed and...

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Poem: The Calf-Path

Poem: The Calf-Path

Sometimes taking the path of compassion means abandoning the well-traveled path, as this 1895 poem by Sam Walter Foss reminds us: One day through the primeval wood A calf walked home, as good calves should; But made a trail all bent askew, A crooked trail as all...

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Poem: “Mysteries, Yes,” by Mary Oliver

Poem: “Mysteries, Yes,” by Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood. How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs. How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity while we ourselves dream of rising. How two hands touch and the bonds will never be...

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Poem: “The Orange,” by Wendy Cope

Poem: “The Orange,” by Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange— The size of it made us all laugh. I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave— They got quarters and I got a half. And that orange, it made me so happy, As ordinary things often do Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park....

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Poem: “The Shoelace,” by Charles Bukowski

Poem: “The Shoelace,” by Charles Bukowski

a woman, a tire that’s flat, a disease, a desire: fears in front of you, fears that hold so still you can study them like pieces on a chessboard… it’s not the large things that send a man to the madhouse. death he’s ready for, or murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…...

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Poem: “Peacemaking,” by Caryn Leigh Wideman

Poem: “Peacemaking,” by Caryn Leigh Wideman

Leave the violence to those                 who believe in violence Leave the aggression to those                 who are aggressive. Live the alternative. Seek out the immigrant, the handicapped,                 the queer, the woman, the child,                 the...

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Poem: “I Won’t Hatch,” by Shel Silverstein

Poem: “I Won’t Hatch,” by Shel Silverstein

Oh I am a chicken who lives in an egg, But I will not hatch, I will not hatch. The hens they all cackle, the roosters all beg, But I will not hatch, I will not hatch. For I hear all the talk of pollution and war As the people all shout and the airplanes roar, So I’m...

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Poem: “Aimless Love,” by Billy Collins

Poem: “Aimless Love,” by Billy Collins

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore, I fell in love with a wren and later in the day with a mouse the cat had dropped under the dining room table. In the shadows of an autumn evening, I fell for a seamstress still at her machine in the tailor's window, and...

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