At times it’s okay not to be okay,
Come here and cry your tears away,
There’s someone who understands.1
Aren’t these words so calming that somehow your temporary worries fade away?
Poems have their unique way of touching our hearts when we need them. There are days when we need to slow down and other times when we need to reflect.
In this world full of uncertainties, we can find beauty from calm words and motivation to recalibrate ourselves.
Especially during this pandemic, more and more people get anxious about the woes of tomorrow. Sometimes, it is not easy to get up in the morning at all. It begs the question, what can you do?
Poetry is an excellent place to turn to whenever you need a little push to get through the day. If you are feeling uninspired, poems of calm and motivation can be that trusted friend you have been missing all along.
Top Ten short inspirational poems
Reading poems for calming and motivation is good for the soul. If you can spare just 5-10 minutes of your time, here is a list of poems worth checking out:
1. It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free , poem by William Wordsworth
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity …
Feelings, thoughts, and intuition – these three words encapsulate the message of this poem. It is the perfect backdrop for a peaceful and unwinding night, as Wordsworth used imagery to depict a natural scene with metaphorical comparisons and explicit religious analogy.
Imagine stopping for a while. The world is so busy that we forget to take a moment and admire the beauty our nature offers. If ever this happens to you, this poem would remind you that you should take the day, one beauteous, calm, and complimentary evening at a time.
2. If, poem by Rudyard Kipling
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim…
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,
Kipling dedicates this poem to his son simply to talk about being a good human. This poem is an inspirational beauty written with a good structure of “conditions” to answer the title “If.”
It reads well and easily captures your attention to keep your cool in challenging situations. However, you have to finish it ’til the end.
As you would see, the excerpt above doesn’t do justice. By having faith in yourself and staying focused, the poem ends and teaches you how to succeed in life.
3. Peace, poem by Sara Teasdale
Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore;
It is mine forevermore,
It ebbs not back like the sea …
This poem talks about peace, tranquillity, and happiness with metaphors, imagery, and figurative language. Reading this poem is like being on vacation, immersed in nature, and just breathing the mountain air.
If you want to transport somewhere and lie under the stars, Peace is a good choice. You will feel relaxed with the company of sunsets and the sea described in this poem.
4. Promise Yourself [The Optimist creed]
Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can
disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to
every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel like there is
something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your
optimism come true.
The Optimist Creed is a guide for everyone to unlock the powers of positive thinking. Written for members of The Optimist International, it consists of twelve (12) life-transforming promises anyone can live by.
If you need a pick-me-up poem, this one is for you. Sometimes you just need to speak the words to yourself and manifest hope and optimism in your life.
5. The Road Not Taken, poem by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both…
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
This part is an excerpt from one of the most commonly known poems by Robert Frost about life. He likens life to a journey where you reach a fork in the road to make the tough decision of choosing which way to go.
Sounds like something that could be stressful to read? Give it a try and read it until the end, if you haven’t yet. The poem is truly inspirational and will challenge you on how to overcome obstacles in your life.
6. Desiderata, poem by Max Ehrmann
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.
Do you want to achieve joy, peace, and satisfaction in life? Desiderata, loosely translated to “things wanted or needed,” talks about the philosophies and psychologies of life.
Max encourages readers of this poem to be gentle, cheerful, humble, and passionate about new things to learn each day.
7. Invictus, poem by William Ernest Henley
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.
Almost always considered one of the best inspirational poems of all time, this piece is a gem. Peek into the inner workings of the poet, Henley’s, mind on how he motivates himself in a time without hope.
Invictus means “unconquerable or undefeated” in Latin. If that does not motivate you, we don’t know what will.
8. Still I Rise, poem by Maya Angelou
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Are you starting to lose confidence in life? This phase is inevitable, no matter how different our circumstances are. Angelou herself is no exemption to this challenge. In this poem, she gives us pieces of nuggets on how she will rise and overcome whatever comes her way through her self-esteem.
This poem is the declaration of the self-respect she has. She is determined, and she will not let society define or limit her. It is her call for others to do the same.
9. Help Yourself to Happiness, poem by Helen Steiner Rice
And so we go on searching in palaces of pleasure
Seeking recognition and monetary treasure,
Unaware that happiness is just a state of mind
Within the reach of everyone who takes time to be kind.
For in making others happy we will be happy, too.
For the happiness you give away returns to shine on you.
Is the pursuit of happiness worth it?
Happiness is more than just the ‘feel good’ fleeting moment. As a matter of fact, even different studies agree that bliss makes us more productive and healthier, so the effort for it is understandable.
However, in this poem, Rice encourages us to help ourselves.
It is so easy to project bliss on material things and people. Nevertheless, the poem explains that it is through kindness that we become fulfilled and optimistic. All of these are the absolute satisfaction that leads to happiness that lasts.
10. The Man Who Thinks He Can, poem by Walter D. Wintle
“ Success begins with a fellow’s will—
It’s all in the state of mind. If you think that you are out-classed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a 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!
Have you ever heard of the famous expression – “Whether you think you can, or cannot, you are probably right?” This poem by Walter agrees that positivity which is one of the essential parts of success begins in the mind.
Be careful of what you say to yourself, for your thoughts are integral in achieving whatever goals you have plotted in life.
Condition your mind to think big and it will manifest in your reality.
Sometimes, you’d feel defeated or even lost; overcoming that phase in your life starts from within you. The powerful message of this poem is for people who are losing hope.
Poems to uplift and encourage
Words from poems are powerful. They matter because they can change the world. We all need uplifting and encouragement every once in a while.
Furthermore, when you find yourself drowning in a world that wants everything in an instant, we hope that you read the poems the Cognitive Health has listed down for you.
Poems – what we stay alive for
In conclusion, let us hear Robin William’s character from the movie Dead Poets Society who said this best:
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.“
Here in Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute, we promote healthy living from the inside out. Part of that is ensuring you take time to slow down and enrich your soul with poems for calming and motivation.