Short Inspirational Poems To Brighten Your Mood and Uplifting The Spirit
“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”
– John F. Kennedy
Short Inspirational Poems To Make Meaningful Change In Your Life: We all need a little bit of inspiration in our life especially when we are undergoing a turbulent phase. Like motivational books and quotations, poems also have the power to elevate one’s life by transforming the thought process. These inspiring poems give the internal strength people need to overcome a problem, reach a goal, or let go of their resentment or guilt.
Many of these poems are adored timeless classic pieces that have been enjoyed by countless readers all over the world. Each of these poems conveys a meaningful message which has the potential to change our current situations. However, don’t make haste while you read these poems.
If you want to understand the deep meaning of a poem, please read it slowly and try to grasp its essence. You can read more inspirational poems in ’25 Famous Poems From The Greatest Poets In History’. Poems like ‘Invictus’ and ‘If’ which are generally considered masterpieces are given in this post.
1. Still I Rise Poem By Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Angelou is best known for her seven autobiographies, but she was also a prolific and successful poet. She was called “the black woman’s poet laureate”, and her poems have been called the anthems of African Americans. ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou is an inspiring and moving poem that celebrates self-love and self-acceptance.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
2. As You Go Through Life Poem By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Don’t look for the flaws as you go through life;
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
It is better by far to hunt for a star,
Than the spots on the sun abiding.
The current of life runs ever away
To the bosom of God’s great ocean.
Don’t set your force ‘gainst the river’s course
And think to alter its motion.
Don’t waste a curse on the universe–
Remember it lived before you.
Don’t butt at the storm with your puny form,
But bend and let it go over you.
The world will never adjust itself
To suit your whims to the letter.
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
And go under at last in the wrestle;
The wiser man shapes into God’s plan
As water shapes into a vessel.
3. A Dream Within A Dream Poem By Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
4. Behind My Mask Poem By Zoe Howarth
They think they know me all so well,
But behind this mask I secretly dwell.
I hide my thoughts, my feelings too,
I hide so well from all of you.
I smile away the tears that fall,
I show no sign of weakness at all.
I hide behind an empty screen,
I’m different inside, not what I seem.
My hurt and tears get locked away,
And forever behind this mask they’ll stay.
No matter how hard they try to escape,
I’ll hide away all my mistakes.
I hide me well, every day,
Forever in disguise I’ll stay.
I’ll smile away the tears that fall,
I’ll show no sign of weakness at all.
Inspirational Poems To Restore Your Mental Grit and Courage
5. Be The Best Of Whatever You Are Poem By Douglas Malloch
In this poem, Douglas Malloch (1877-1938) shares an encouraging message for readers of all ages. Although we don’t all hold prestigious jobs, we can all be the best at who we are. Our position in life doesn’t make us more or less valuable. The beauty of this world is shown when each person does what he has been called to do and does it with great pride.
When we measure our success by the standards of this world, many of us will feel as though we’ve fallen short. Douglas Malloch reminds us that success is measured by being the best at whoever you are. Like many, he came from humble roots, but he used his gift of writing to touch the lives of many people.
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here,
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!
6. Looking Back Poem By Edgar A. Guest
I might have been rich if I’d wanted the gold
instead of the friendships I’ve made.
I might have had fame if I’d sought for renown
in the hours when I purposely played.
Now I’m standing to-day on the far edge of life,
and I’m just looking backward to see
What I’ve done with the years and the days that were mine,
and all that has happened to me.
I haven’t built much of a fortune to leave
to those who shall carry my name,
And nothing I’ve done shall entitle me now
to a place on the tablets of fame.
But I’ve loved the great sky and its spaces of blue;
I’ve lived with the birds and the trees;
I’ve turned from the splendor of silver and gold
to share in such pleasures as these.
I’ve given my time to the children who came;
together we’ve romped and we’ve played,
And I wouldn’t exchange the glad hours spent
with them for the money that I might have made.
I chose to be known and be loved by the few,
and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
And I’d make the same choice should the chance
come to me to live my life over again.
I’ve lived with my friends and I’ve shared in their joys,
known sorrow with all of its tears;
I have harvested much from my acres of life,
though some say I’ve squandered my years.
For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy,
and I think I have lived to my best,
And I have no regret, as I’m nearing the end,
for the gold that I might have possessed.
7. Columbus Poem By Joaquin Miller
Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: “Now must we pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’”
“My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak.”
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!’”
They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
“Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dread seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say”—
He said: “Sail on! sail on! and on!”
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
“This mad sea shows his teeth to-night.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck—
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”
8. A Lesson From History Poem By Joseph Morris
Everything’s easy after it’s done;
Every battle’s a “cinch” that’s won;
Every problem is clear that’s solved–
The earth was round when it _revolved!_
But Washington stood amid grave doubt
With enemy forces camped about;
He could not know how he would fare
Till _after_ he’d crossed the Delaware.
Though the river was full of ice
He did not think about it twice,
But started across in the dead of night,
The enemy waiting to open the fight.
Likely feeling pretty blue,
Being human, same as you,
But he was brave amid despair,
And Washington crossed the Delaware!
So when you’re with trouble beset,
And your spirits are soaking wet,
When all the sky with clouds is black,
Don’t lie down upon your back
And look at _them_. Just do the thing;
Though you are choked, still try to sing.
If times are dark, believe them fair,
And you will cross the Delaware!
Short Inspirational Poems To Make The Most Of Our Lives
9. Keep Going Poem By Edgar Guest
Edgar Guest (1881-1959) was a prolific American poet – publishing a poem every day in the Detroit Free Press for 30 years. Known as the People’s Poet, Edgar Guest wrote easy-to-read poems about many relatable topics. He wrote encouraging life messages about topics such as family and work.
This particular poem encourages readers not to give up when they are faced with challenges. Even when things are not going well, keep pushing on. You never know how close you are to success and making it to the other side.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must—but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
10. Letting Go Poem By An Unknown Author
To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring;
It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off…
It’s the realization that I can’t control another…
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.
11. It Takes Courage Poem By An Unknown Author
It takes strength to be firm,
It takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.
12. No Man Is An Island Poem By John Donne
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine
own were: any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom
the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
Best Inspirational Poems By The Emerging Poets With Images
13. In Spite Of War Poem By Angela Morgan
Angela Morgan lived during both of the World Wars. In this poem, Morgan shares that despite a devastating war raging on, everything in nature continued as if nothing was happening. The same can be true about our lives. Life continues even when terrible things happen, so this poem encourages us to look at the beauty around us rather than focus on the negative aspects of our lives.
In spite of war, in spite of death,
In spite of all man’s sufferings,
Something within me laughs and sings
And I must praise with all my breath.
In spite of war, in spite of hate
Lilacs are blooming at my gate,
Tulips are tripping down the path
In spite of war, in spite of wrath.
“Courage!” the morning-glory saith;
“Rejoice!” the daisy murmureth,
And just to live is so divine
When pansies lift their eyes to mine.
The clouds are romping with the sea,
And flashing waves call back to me
That naught is real but what is fair,
That everywhere and everywhere
A glory liveth through despair.
Though guns may roar and cannon boom,
Roses are born and gardens bloom;
My spirit still may light its flame
At that same torch whence poppies came.
Where morning’s altar whitely burns
Lilies may lift their silver urns
In spite of war, in spite of shame.
And in my ear a whispering breath,
“Wake from the nightmare! Look and see
That life is naught but ecstasy
In spite of war, in spite of death!”
14. Keep On Smiling Poem By Alexandra Skiathitis
If at times you feel you want to cry
And life seems such a trial,
Above the clouds there’s a bright blue sky,
So make your tears a smile.
As you travel on life’s way
With its many ups and downs,
Remember it’s quite true to say
One smile is worth a dozen frowns.
Among the world’s expensive things,
A smile is very cheap.
And when you give a smile away,
You get one back to keep.
Happiness comes at times to all,
But sadness comes unbidden,
And sometimes a few tears must fall
Among the laughter hidden.
So when friends have sadness on their face
And troubles round them piled,
The world will seem a better place
And all because you smiled.
15. You Will Never See Me Fall Poem By Joyce Alcantara
You may see me struggle,
but you won’t see me fall.
Regardless if I’m weak or not,
I’m going to stand tall.
Everyone says life is easy,
but truly living it is not.
Times get hard,
and constantly get put on the spot.
I’m going to wear the biggest smile,
even though I want to cry.
I’m going to fight to live,
even though I’m destined to die.
And even though it’s hard
and I may struggle through it all,
you may see me struggle…
but you will NEVER see me fall.
16. I Choose The Mountain Poem By Howard Simon
The low lands call
I am tempted to answer
They are offering me a free dwelling
Without having to conquer
The massive mountain makes its move
Beckoning me to ascend
A much more difficult path
To get up the slippery bend
I cannot choose both
I have a choice to make
I must be wise
This will determine my fate
I choose, I choose the mountain
With all its stress and strain
Because only by climbing
Can I rise above the plain
I choose the mountain
And I will never stop climbing
I choose the mountain
And I shall forever be ascending
I choose the mountain.
Short Inspirational Poems About Never Giving Up In Life
17. It Couldn’t Be Done Poem By Edgar Guest
Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959) published more than twenty volumes of poetry and over 11,000 poems. His first published poem and many more were published in the Detroit Free Press where he was a columnist. He later had both popular radio and television shows. Guest has been called “the poet of the people.” Of his poems, he said, “I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them.”
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.
18. Because I Could Not Stop For Death Poem By Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.
Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.
19. Ekla Chalo Re Poem By Rabindranath Tagore
If they answer not to thy call walk alone.
If they are afraid and cower mutely
facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.
If they turn away, and desert you when
crossing the wilderness,
O thou unlucky one,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track
If they shut doors and do not hold up the light
when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou unlucky one,
with the thunder flame of pain
ignite thy own heart,
and let it burn alone.
20. New Every Morning Poem By Susan Coolidge
Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.
I hope you’ll be inspired, find meaning and come to love these beautiful poems! I’m sure there are many, many inspiring poems out there that I’ve missed—so feel free to extend this list in the comments. Let me know what you think of these poems!
“Poetry, like the moon, does not advertise anything.”
– William Blisset