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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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