Sunday, February 5, 2017

Poetry That Inspires: A Short Collection

Ars longa, vita brevis

There's something about poetry that amps up the power of a set of words, that carries lofty ideas to a still higher plane.

Life is hard, and the road uphill, which is why from time to time an inspired verse may thrill, empowering us to forward move toward aspirations we embrace.

Here are a few selections which I've found motivational, that might speak encouragement to some of you today. 

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For Whom The Bell Tolls

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each 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 thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne
* * * *

Don't Quit!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When 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 if he'd 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.


* * * *
The Never Wavering Few

The easy roads are crowded,
And the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers
With the drifting folks are crammed,
But off yonder where it’s rocky,
Where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning
And the travelers are few.
Where the going’s smooth and pleasant
You will always find the throng,
For the many, more’s the pity,
Seem to like to drift along.
But the steps that call for courage
And the task that’s hard to do,
In the end results in glory
For the never-wavering few.

Edgar Guest

* * * *

A few years back I wrote my own poem whose aim was to keep me inspired. Go here to read Why I Try.

My love of poetry was inspired in part by my grandmother Elizabeth Sandy who was herself a poet, inspired by an uncle who was founding editor of two newspapers and himself wrote poetry. Here is a page of poems she wrote, the last of which is also inspirational in the manner of these above, called Life.

* * * *

Do you have a poem that inspires? A verse or a psalm that keeps you going when the game gets rough? Feel free to share it in the comments...

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