Timeless Poetry That Inspires Me…#NationalPoetryMonth


Poetry that inspires and awakens

I had written an Ode To Poetry and had expressed a similar emotion in that poem. Some poems carry a profound message, which remains eternally relevant.

Some poems inspire us to rise against injustice while some just sooth our disillusioned minds.

Some highlight the highhandedness of those who have always tried to oppress others. They leave an everlasting impact on sensitive souls.

All the favorite excerpts that I have picked up in celebration of National Poetry Month have been linked to full poems in case you want to read and gather what I am trying to say.

Please don’t miss another striking feature of these poems. Just see how simple the language of these poems is and can be understood even by those who find poetry beyond their comprehension.

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
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:

The above lines have always inspired me to maintain my uprightness in the midst of those who resort to mean tactics to belittle you for their own motives. I kept this poem under the glass of my table so that I could read it everyday.

The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

While this poem highlights the injustice and brutality suffered by poor children in 18th and 19th centuries, what strikes me in the poem is the optimistic vision of the poet when he says:

And by came an angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free.
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river and shine in the sun.

William Blake has also made an emotional comment on racism through his poem The Little Black Boy:

My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white;…
And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love,
And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

I marvel at the relevance of this poem even today when we grapple with discrimination all around us!

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers by Adrienne Rich

Aunt Jennifer’s finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

What tugs at my heart is the message of subjugation that these lines convey in a very succinct manner. ‘Massive weight’ symbolises aunt Jennifer’s ordeals in an unhappy marriage.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

I often quote these lines not just because of their lyrical quality and aesthetic effect that they cast upon the reader but also because they actually transport me to those beautiful surroundings that the poet has captured in this poem and which gives him perpetual joy.

Where the Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depths of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sands of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening
thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

‘The heaven of freedom’ that Tagore yearned for his countrymen has always been eluding us. Our minds are still haunted by ‘fears’ and ‘narrow domestic walls.’ The universal appeal of this poem is amazing and truthful.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – A highly acclaimed masterpiece of Robert Frost calls upon the reader to focus, to brush aside the distractions and temptations and move ahead.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

These are just a few memorable poems, which made a mark on my persona but there are many more like these in the annals of Literature, waiting to be explored.

To have great poets, there must be great audiences - Walt Whitman

Is there any poem, which has touched your heart in a special way? Please share it.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.
If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.
Balroop Singh.


50 thoughts on “Timeless Poetry That Inspires Me…#NationalPoetryMonth

  1. Nice… When I started reading your post, I was really anxious whether my favorite lines are there or not….. And found those amazing lines from Robert Frost. “Miles to go before I sleep.. ”
    Such a nice collection of wonderful creations.. Thanks… 👍😇

    1. Thanks Skd and welcome to Emotional Shadows, where all emotions are cared for!
      I am glad you found your favorite lines but mine are from ‘If’ by Kipling.

  2. Excellent selection of poems. My personal favorite is the one by Robert Frost. Can a poem be so simple, concise and powerful? I have never come across any poem that has been quoted so many times!
    Also, the poems by Rudyard Kipling impresses me so much. Frankly, I’m not into poetry, at all but poems by these great poets are always a delight to read. I really don’t know if it’s their selection of words or what, I enjoy creations of these poets.

    1. I am glad you liked this selection of poems arv…I had you in mind when I was thinking of the simple language that these poets have used. You are right! Frost is known for packing all within one word and the analysis of his poetry makes an interesting reading.
      Thanks for sharing your perspective…you remind me of many of my students who would make faces at a poetry class but would smile after the explanation. 🙂 🙂

  3. Exactly that’s why I like being here…there is so much of optimism and positive in your writings. I feel energized!

    I have not read much of poems by prominent authors, but know a few names (courtesy my wife).
    Keeping such words along with you at all times is the best one could do.

    1. Thank you Alok, your words seem like music to me! I am glad I can keep the optimism and positivity alive in my words…not too easy though 🙂
      A perfect couple is the one that complements each other and fills the gaps one has…you seem to be the one. Stay blessed! Have a lovely Sunday.

  4. Balroop, this is such a lovely post in honoring your favorite poets. The Rudyard Kipling poem ‘If’ speaks right to me. I must copy that and keep it near me for ongoing reminders. One of the poems that has touched my heart is ‘Malasko’ written by my Beau. thank you for sharing all of these, Balroop. It’s so inspiring and makes me want to read more!

    1. I am glad you too like If. Lisa, this is just the first paragraph, rest of the poem is more inspiring. Yes, we need constant reminders to deal with some petty people and unavoidable situations. Stay blessed and happy reading 🙂

  5. Wow, such profound poetry Balroop. I’ve been reading a few of them and shared out, bur Kipling’s poem really jumped at me, I can see why you kept it close to you on your night stand 🙂

  6. Thanks for understanding the emotion behind keeping Kipling’s poem by my side. I would often recite it to my friends when they cribbed about the behavior of our colleagues. 🙂 Love and hugs.

  7. Thanks for sharing a collection of poems that speak to you with us, Balroop. Very clever of William Blake to weave in such a sensitive topic in his poems. I’ve never really read much poetry because it was a genre that didn’t appeal to me. But that changed when I discovered your blog a few years ago. The way you write your poems and carve our poetry is so digestible and relatable, be it about nature or about our deepest, darkest fears. From reading your blog and getting to know you, I have found an appreciation for poetry. Thank you for writing.

    1. Many thanks dear Mabel for such nice words about my poetry. I am delighted to note that you have developed interest in this genre and my words speak to you. These poets left a deep impression on me and yes, Blake has shared his angst and concern about all those topics, which touch humanity. Thank you for reading and sharing your view about each topic…your versatility amazes me! 🙂

  8. Balroop, a wonderful selection of your favourite poems and this is a wonderfully creative feature post to celebrate National Poetry Month. There are some I know well here but also interesting being introduced new to me poets. I like how you’ve written your personal connection to each poem, this adds an extra dimension to each excerpt. Thank you for this fascinating and inspiring post. I love the final quote: here’s to ‘great audiences’ everywhere!😃😃

    1. Thank you Annika for being ‘great audience’…lovely words of friends like you keep us going! My personal connection with these poems didn’t let me forget the timeless messages that these poems convey. I am so glad that they seem inspiring to you. Love and hugs dear friend 🙂

  9. I love the poems you share with us Balroop. I love the one of Rudyard Kipling – I even treasure it.
    I recently discovered poems by Mahmoud Darwish. This is the last one I read:

    “Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time
    Close to the gardens of broken shadows,
    We do what prisoners do,
    And what the jobless do:
    We cultivate hope. ”

    Poetry talks to our souls and hearts. Poetry is like an every day miracle.
    Take care Baroop and have a beautiful day.

    1. You are right Marie, poetry goes straight to our heart and soul and good poems possess miraculous healing powers.
      Kipling’s ‘If’ has taught me many lessons and has constantly reminded me to cultivate serenity in the face of adversity. I really admire his poetry.
      Thanks for sharing those beautiful lines of Darwish, they are shimmering with hope. Stay blessed dear Marie. Love and hugs.

  10. I loved reading the poems that you selected here, Balroop. You brought me back to my youth with some; I forever loved (and still love) “Lonely as a Cloud” and “Miles to Go Before My Sleep.” I’m in heaven, re-reading them here. “The Chimney Sweep” ack, how achingly beautiful.

    1. Thank you Pam, I am glad our favorite poems match. The pleasure of re-reading can only be understood by those who let themselves flow with the stream of thoughts and emotions 🙂

      1. YES. And it’s so great to re-read poems that we were introduced to in college. Now, with years of ‘life experience,’ the poetry can speak even more eloquently to us.

  11. You have chosen some of my favourite poets.. W. Wordsworth I wander lonely as a cloud.. I recited of by heart at school.. And R. Kipling another favourite as were his stories.. 🙂 And even though I write poetry Balroop I was unaware it was Poetry Week when you posted this.. xxx 🙂
    Many thanks my friend.. ❤

    1. Sue, It gives me great pleasure that our favourite poets match! I had written another post on ‘Understanding Poetry’ in April, keeping in view National Poetry Month. 🙂
      National Poetry Month, which takes place each April, is a celebration of poetry introduced in 1996 and organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. The Academy of American Poets’ website Poets.org serves as a hub for information about local poetry events during the month. The organization also provides free educational resources to teachers for classroom celebrations and activities, and commissions an annual festival poster. Since 1998, National Poetry Month has also been celebrated each April in Canada. (Wikipedia)
      Thanks for reading and sharing your view. Love and hugs.

      1. Well I live and I learn.. I knew there was a National Book Day.. but will look further into the Poetry Month in future.. Sending Gratitude in your explanation. Love and Blessings my friend xxx

  12. All these are my favourite too! I’ve read all of Rabindranath Tagore’s works and this one poet, quite strikingly, he has written something for each one of our emotions, our state of mind. I find my peace in his poems… and, also in Wordsworth’s and Keats’.

      1. Thanks, Balroop. Actually, here we start learning our mother tongue, Bengali, with Tagore’s books written for children, “Sahoj Paath” (Simple Lessons) …so it comes naturally… 🙂

  13. Hi Balroop,

    Wonderful collection of poems and all of them are worthy of reading and remembering 🙂

    Reminds of my school days and how we had to go through them! I didn’t know it was National Poetry Month as well, so thanks for the reminder as well! Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Thank you Harleena for liking and sharing your memories. As always your visits are immensely appreciated. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.

  14. Thanks for these poems, Balroop. I am not much of a poet but can appreciate a good poem. I love quotes and am trying to think about which poems have my favorite quotes in them 🙂 Was Rumi a poet? Many of his writings have really touched me.

    1. Thanks for standing by Vishnu…you don’t call yourself a poet and yet love the highest quality of poetry! Rumi was not just a great poet but also a mystic, a saint, a jurist, an Islamic scholar, theologian, and an enlightened man. His poetry has been inspiring humanity since ages! His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages but we got access to him only through internet. I haven’t read any of his works except quotes.

    1. Thanks Stevie, welcome to Emotional Shadows, where all emotions are cared for…delighted to connect with another author who talks about emotions 🙂

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