Monday, April 11, 2011

10 Poems That Could Change Your Life

Song of Myself (part17)
by Walt Whitman
These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,
 If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing, 
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.
This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is, This is the common air that bathes the globe.

I found myself in the aisles of my local bookstore engulfed in my usual undefined research project. I find bookstores to be a place of peace, a treasure chest in the middle of the deep ocean of chaos that is Manhattan. The browsing was the usual. I scavenger through the recipe books, collect personal finance and inspirational works, and I pick up a couple of gossip magazines for good measure. I claimed a seat on the carpeted floor of a cozy aisle labeled POETRY.

I love poetry's ability to transform language into something much more, something music can convey with ease, a certain calling of the soul. Poetry has always been my kind of music. During my browsing at the bookstore, I came across an interesting title, Poems To Change Your Life. I believe literature can change your life, it can certainly open that door. I started to think of all the beautiful poems that had inspired me, poems that made me feel alive, and poems that cradled me with understanding during dark times. I immediately began to recall poems that have taken hold of my emotions and translated them into beautiful strands of words. I think of those poems that explained things in the way only God could and made my heart ache with a sense of pure liberation. But besides the deeper aspects of poetry, I just love the truth wrapped in a pretty package.

I have chosen these 10 poems because I believe they hold undeniable truth. These poems could change your life, as anything in this world can, if you let them.

Wild Geese
By Mary Oliver 

You do not have to be good. 

You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 

the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, 
harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me, 
Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance 
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
looms but the Horror of the shade, 

And yet the menace of the years 
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. 

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.

Song of Myself (part 18)
by Walt Whitman
With music strong I come, with my cornets and my drums,
I play not marches for accepted victors only,
I play marches for conquer'd and slain persons.
Have you heard that it was good to gain the day?
I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.
I beat and pound for the dead,
I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest for them.
Vivas to those who have fail'd! And to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea!
And to those themselves who sank in the sea! 
And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes!
And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known!

God Says Yes To Me
by Kaylin Haught
I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic 
she said yes

I asked her if it was okay to be short
 and she said it sure is

I asked her if I could wear nail polish
 or not wear nail polish

and she said honey

she calls me that sometimes 

she said you can do just exactl 
 what you want to

Thanks God I said

And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
 my letters

Sweetcakes God said

who knows where she picked that up

what I'm telling you is

Yes Yes Yes

Life's Meaning
by Fra Giovanni Giocondo
Life is so full of meaning and purpose,
so full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage then to claim it; that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge
that we are pilgrims together,
wending through unknown country home.

It Is Your Turn Now
By Rumi
It is your turn now, you waited, you were patient.
The time has come, for us to polish you.
We will transform your inner pearl into a house of fire.
You're a gold mine.
Did you know that, hidden in the dirt of the earth?
It is your turn now, to be placed in fire.
Let us cremate your impurities.

All the Hemispheres

By Hafiz
Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.
Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness and giving
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire chatting
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

The time Before Death
By Kabir
Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think... and think... while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death
If you don't break your ropes while you're alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will rejoin with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten--
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the
City of Death.
if you make love with the divine now, in the next
life you will have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

Love After Love
By Derek Walcott
The time will come when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving at your own door,
in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome,  
and say, sit here. 

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

By Marilyn Maciel



those people
wouldn’t it be lovely if one could 
in a constant state
 of we?
some of the most
words can be some of the biggest
what if there was
 no they ? 
what if there
 was only 
us ?

if words could be seen as they floated out of our mouths would we feel no
as they passed beyond 
our lips?
if we were to string
 our words 
on a communal clothesline 
would we feel proud
 as our thoughts
 flapped in the 

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