It's National Poetry Day! In honor of today I have compiled a special list of favorites for you: my favorite poems! But wait, before you freak out and go, oh my gosh I hate poetry, please hear me out. Poetry is a beautiful thing, but like you, I have not always loved it. It is something that takes time to fully feel and understand, but everyone has already experienced this in a way: music is poetry. I know you can name at least one song that made you feel something. Empowerment. Sorrow. Inspiration. Whatever it may be, poetry has the same effect. Without further ado, I present my favorites:
This is, hands-down, my favorite poem. Ever. I actually have a copy of this poem posted in my office at work because on the roughest of days it never fails to cheer me. I've read it so many times that I inadvertently memorized it. I tried to decide which lines to share with you and it was hard, so please know that I love all the lines.
But as far as what soothes me, what inspires and moves me,2. Invictus by William Ernest Henley
honesty behooves me to tell me your rage doesn't move me.
See, like the darkest of clouds my heart has a silver lining,
which does not harken to the loudest whining,
but beats and stirs and grows evermore
when I learn of the things you're actually for.
This is a famous poem, and for good reason. Some of you may recognize the title, made famous by the film Invictus about Nelson Mandela, rugby, and his goal to reunite his broken country. The poem itself was inspiration to him, but many do not realize the poem has been around for a long time.
Out of the night that covers me,3. If by Rudyard Kipling
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
If is also an old poem from the author of The Jungle Book. The poem is a message that a man is giving his son about life. While classic, it still holds many of the truths we can see in our lives today.
If you can keep your head when all about you4. Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise
This is an identity poem. Lyon writes about how these items are a part of her life and who she is as a person. It's hard to understand if you don't know her personally, but we all know that the inside jokes and little quirks add a bigger picture to who we are as individuals. Try writing your own identity poem like this one.
I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.
5. Mending Wall by Robert Frost
I had to include a Frost poem. I have many more favorites, but I'm limiting today's post to my top five poems. Mending Wall is a layered poem. As many poems are, it has both literal and figurative implications. The narrator's neighbor believes in walls (fences) to separate their yards, but the deeper level here is the walls we build as people to keep others from learning about us.
It comes to little more:What are your favorite poems?
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am all apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'