Today I want to share some beautiful poems on life and living from my collection of saved poems which I think you’ll love.
It’s amazing how a few words and sentences give us so much hope, love, and inspiration and teach us how to live that sometimes even an entire book or a chapter cannot.
I am not much of a poet nor do I read poems very frequently, but some days I spend my hours just searching for poems and love coming across the gems of words.
Beautiful poems always give my heart a kind of satisfaction no other thing can. They makes my heart go, “Aaahhh!!” and I feel like giving the words a hug.
Here are a few of them.
13 Beautiful Poems on Life and Living
Table of Contents
1. Do not ask your Children to Strive | William Martin
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand
and make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
2. God says Yes to me | Kaylin Haught
I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and 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 exactly
what you want to do
Thanks God I said
and is it okay if I don’t paragraph
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I am telling you is
Yes Yes Yes
3. Wild Geese | 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.
4. The patience of ordinary things | Pat Scheider
It is a kind of love, is it not?
how the cup holds the tea,
how the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
how the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
or toes. How soles of feet know
where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
of ordinary things, how clothes
wait respectfully in closets
and soap dries quietly in the dish,
and towels drink the wet
from the skin of the back.
and the lovely repetition of stairs.
and what is more generous than a window?
5. She asks me to kill the spider | Rudy Francisco
She asks me to kill the spider
Instead, I get the most
peaceful weapons I can find.
I take a cup and a napkin,
I catch the spider, put it outside
And allow it to walk away.
If I am ever caught in the wrong place
at the wrong time, just being alive
and not bothering anyone,
I hope I am greeted
with the same kind
6. The Thing Is | Ellen Bass
To love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
7. May we raise children | Nicolette Sowder
May we raise children
who love the unloved
things – the dandelion, the
worms and spiderlings.
Children who sense
the rose needs the thorn
& run into rainswept days
the same way they
turn towards sun…
And when they’re grown &
someone has to speak for those
who have no voice
may they draw upon that
wilder bond, those days of
tending tender things
and be the ones.
8. Mothering through tides
Every morning my kids wake like the ocean.
Creased and wild-haired,
they walk to me like they are made of old whalebones.
They beach on the couch for cartoons, entertained
by the white bellies of minnows blinking
from the sandy, salty stew.
Eventually, they unfold the map for the day:
over the feathered flats, over the driftwood, over the slippery rocks.
Of course, at times, it’s tumultuous.
They become stubborn barnacles.
Their sharp screams unhinge oysters.
At other times, happy.
The waves puppet summersaults.
They bury into soft sandy bottoms for hugs.
Every day my kids do this lapping. Rarely resting.
They are building their coast,
And where do you find me, their mother?
No, I am not the ocean.
No, I am not the moon orchestrating their tides.
I am the pier. Rooted
along the edges of their childhood,
trying to be so neutral, so observant, so casual.
But mostly, desperately, trying to never forget these views.
9. What You Missed That Day You Were Absent From Fourth Grade | Brad Aaron Modlin
Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,
how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark
After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s
voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—
something important—and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted
Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,
and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.
The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.
And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,
and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person
add up to something.
10. Grace | Alice Walker
gives me a day
I had thought
to stay indoors
washing my dishes
I am happy
to be inside
This, I think,
Just this choosing
a beautiful day
11. The Invitation | Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
12. Soft and Silent | James Kavanaugh
Everything I love is soft and silent
My cat, the morning, the end of the day,
Even the moon in its way.
Everything I love is soft and silent,
The water, the forest, the snow at play,
Even the mountain in its way.
Everything I love is soft and silent,
The sun on the sand, a rainy day,
Even the wind in it’s way.
Everything I love is soft and silent,
The grass, the brook, the leaves at play,
Even you in your way.
13. How to Triumph Like a Girl | Ada Limon
I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies. As if this big
dangerous animal is also a part of me,
that somewhere inside the delicate
skin of my body, there pumps
an 8-pound female horse heart,
giant with power, heavy with blood.
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to lift my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.
Aren’t these all wow?!
Hope you enjoyed reading them and found inspiration, love, kindness and mercy to live this life and love this life.
If you have a wonderful poem to share that has touched your heart and inspired you in some way and sings to your heart, please share them in the comments below. I would love love love to read them.
P.S If you liked what you read, and want to receive my updates, join my weekly newsletter called ‘Mindful Monday Newsletter’.
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