3 Poems That Inspire

For those moments in life when we have exhausted our friends willingness to listen, have read all the advice columns and sat in meditation hoping for a clue to ones direction, we can turn to the great poets who have left us their words like crumbs along life’s path. The right poem read at the right moment can spin your mind into a clear and gentle focus. Those timeless lines of language touch our soul reminding us all of our universal connection. When I read of recent discoveries of possible earth-like planets orbiting suns in other galaxies I wondered what their poets write to soothe the lost and comfort the frightened. Are their words kept close at hand to read again and again when nothing else can bring comfort or clarity?

Recently a dear friend entered a Hospice facility and we have been communicating by sending poems to each other. It is our way to express difficult emotions faced with the loss of one leaving this life too soon. We each draw from our favorite poets and are surprised and thrilled when an undiscovered poem arrives in the mail hand printed on a postcard. Rumi is a favorite, Mary Oliver another, translations of Buddhist monks and quotes from Gandhi now decorate my refrigerator along with a picture of my friend smiling and healthy. In the end these bits of language will grace my memories of her, our road trips together across America, our phone conversations, our visits over many years. And always in those moments of meeting we spoke of new and old poems, of the words left to us as a lesson to being human. I share a few of them with you. Feel free to share your favorites as well.

Next: February 2, 1968, by Wendell Berry


February 2, 1968

In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter,
War spreading, families dying, the world in danger,
I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover

(From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry)

Next: The Guest House, By Rumi

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

(From The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

Next: The Buddha’s Last Instruction, by Mary Oliver

The Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal—a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself,
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire—
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

(From New and Selected Poems, by Mary Oliver)

75 comments

Dan D.

Thanks. Great stuff.

Matilda H.
Past Member 5 years ago

"If I could make days last forever,
if words could make wishes come true,
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
again, I would spend them with you."

-- Jim Croce, Time in a bottle

Timothy Hughes
Timothy Hughes5 years ago

Good to see such good stuff on my PC

Joy Wong
Joy Wong5 years ago

Thanks.

Gerald M.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you very much...

Gerald M.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you very much...

Kimberley R K.
Kimberley R K.5 years ago

Thank you!

Kerry Stuparitz
Kerry G.5 years ago

thanks

Timothy Hughes
Timothy Hughes5 years ago

I like to add a simple positive view of Christianity. Once I had a Christian flag on my porch railing. It is a white flag with a blue corner like an American flag with a red Cross in the corner instead of stars and has no red stripes. One time the wind had wrapped it around the pole enough that only white showed. I was insulted and thought "This is not a flag of Defeat" it goes for The Head of The Universe!". My own unique perception came up with a comment- [-As Follows]--
This reminds me that I am thankful HE saved my sole,
I am glad HE toes me away from sin'
Therefore I don't have to accept defeat' and
Since I am strongest on my knees it shows
I can't stomach sin, so I'm never going back'
I am armed with The Gospel
Because HE has shouldered the load so
I can face the world as one who nose his destiny
Because The Bible says "HE has numbered my every hair"
I can Head up to His Place
To share with the whole body of HIS people'
The LOVE of THIER CREATOR!

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L.5 years ago

Thanks!