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12 Famous Poems to Inspire You When You Feel Like Giving Up

Famous Poems to Inspire You When You Feel Like Giving Up

Looking for short inspirational poems about hope and perseverance to give you the mental boost you need when things get tough?

Poetry is a method of expression that uses specific words, their meaning or interpretation and rhythm to deliver exciting and imaginative ideas as well as evoke emotional actions and reactions.

Poetry has the potential to provide you with insightful advice as well as encourage you, strengthen your resolve, motivate you to succeed, and even give you direction and clarity when your hope is shaken.

There are oceans of poetry in different forms, length, from different time periods and written from varying perspectives.

But, for this piece, I am reflecting on 10 inspirational poems that I believe can do the job of picking you up at those times when you need just a tiny bit of inspiration to get us through a rough patch.

Some of these famous short poems you have heard before, but others may be new. Either way, we hope you love them!

 

Best Short Inspirational poems for when life and love get tough

Here are 10 of my favorite short inspirational poems for when life gets tough:

 

12. A famous poem to exalt your self-worth

If you are having one of those days where you are questioning your abilities and your self-worth, just read “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson and I have no doubt the tide will turn.

You will not simply gain a better appreciation for your capabilities, but you will realize that you are a “priceless” commodity.

After reading this poem, you will certainly be empowered to develop and comfortably display your talents to the world, without fear of judgment.

Williamson reminds you that you shouldn’t fear the brightness of your own light (skill, ability, talent, accomplishment); never hide it under a bushel.

Instead let it shine and inspire others to do the same and together you can stamp out darkness and keep the world aglow with success, joy and happiness.

 

Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness

That most frightens us.We ask ourselves

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.Your playing small

Does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking

So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.We are all meant to shine,

As children do.

We were born to make manifest

The glory of God that is within us.It’s not just in some of us;

It’s in everyone.And as we let our own light shine,

We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we’re liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.

 

11. A famous short poem to strengthen your resolve

 In his poem titled, “IF”, Rudyard Kipling’s words prod you to stay on course and not stray in thought or action in order to live out your calling as a human.

This work forces you to focus on behaviors that reflect your heart and concern for others instead of allowing negative forces to take over your being and direct your path.

It implores you to stand strong in any situation, be patient regardless of the circumstance, understand that failure is simply an opportunity to start a new venture, reminds you to smile in times of tragedy as widely as you do in times of triumph, and treat each person with love and respect – no matter their status knowing that you hold the power to be great within yourself.

 

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;If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

 

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same:.

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

 

And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

 

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

 

If all men count with you, but none too much:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

10. A short inspirational poem of perseverance

Sometimes life is a struggle, obstacles seem to be everywhere and each task become overwhelming.

When you feel like the task at hand is too much remember the words of the poet, Edgar Guest in his poem, “It Couldn’t Be Done.”

In this work, Guest reminds you that there will always be nay-sayers and detractors encouraging you to quit – give up – throw in the towel.

But, his words encourage you to always try!

Don’t take someone else’s word.

Instead give it your very best effort, because you really never know how things will turn out until you try.  It’s like the old saying, “It ain’t over until the Fat Lady Sings!”

If you never make the effort, you will never know how great you could be and what wonderful things you could achieve.

Never, let anyone discourage you for at the end of the day, by making the effort you just might find that you can do it!

 

 

It Couldn’t Be Done

By Edgar Guest

 

 

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,

But, he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so till he had tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

On his face. If he worried he hid it.

 

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

At least no one has done it”;

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,

And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

 

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

 

There are thousands to prophesy failure;

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

The dangers that wait to assail you.But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start to sing as you tackle the thing

That “couldn’t be done” and you’ll do it.

 

9. A short inspirational poem encouraging you to believe in yourself

Your dreams, desires and goals can never come to fruition if you do not first believe!

You can talk about them and write them down, but if you really don’t believe them you will either never act on them or you will quit pursuing them at the first sign of an obstacle.

So, it is important that you are firm in your beliefs regarding the things you aim to achieve.

Your heart can be passionate for the dreams, desires and goals, but if you are not confident in your ability to make them come true – they will remain in your heart and never be actualized.

So, confidence – belief in yourself, your goals and your dreams – is critical in reaching the heights you imagine.

In his poem, “Them Man Who Thinks He Can”, Walter D. Winkle gives you words of wisdom to remind you that confidence comes from your own thinking – your own beliefs.   So, think it, believe it, do it and achieve it!

 

  

The Man Who Thinks He Can

By Walter D. Wintle

 

If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think that you dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,

It’s almost certain that you won’t.If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost;

For out in the world you’ll find

 

Success begins with a fellow’s will—

It’s all in the state of mind.If you think that you are out-classed, you are;

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.Life’s battles don’t always go

 

To the stronger or faster man;

But sooner or later, the man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can!

8. A famous love poem about the power of small acts of kindness

As you go from day to day, you may encounter situations that depict the need for helping hands.  Sometimes, you never take action because you think your small contribution or action will not make a difference.

But, in the poem, “Just One”, the author clearly details for you the power that you have.   You can in fact make a difference with one small act or one tiny gesture.

And remember if each person performs one small act of kindness, it all adds up and not only does your act of kindness make a difference, but when combined with the same from others, it becomes even more powerful!

 

Just One

By Anonymous

 

One song can spark a moment,

One flower can wake the dream

One tree can start a forest,

One bird can herald spring.One smile begins a friendship,

 

One handclasp lifts a soul.

One star can guide a ship at sea,

One word can frame the goal.One vote can change a nation,

One sunbeam lights a room

One candle wipes out darkness,

 

One laugh will conquer gloom.One step must start each journey.

One word must start each prayer.

One hope will raise our spirits,

One touch can show you care.One voice can speak with wisdom,

One heart can know what’s true,

One life can make a difference,

You see, it’s up to you!

 

7. A short inspirational poem on finding happiness

The pursuit happiness may likely be important to you.   You seek that deep down joy and fulfillment which result in a peace that is unmatched.

There a days when you feel well on your way and others when the thought is nothing more than a “pipe dream”.  But, in her short poem, “Help Yourself to Happiness”, Helen Steiner Rice show us how simple it really is to achieve happiness.

It doesn’t take riches, it doesn’t require public recognition and it really isn’t as unreachable as it sometimes appears to be.  So, read this poem daily to remind yourself of the simplicity and ease with which you can achieve happiness.

 

Help Yourself To Happiness

By Helen Steiner Rice

 

Everybody, everywhere seeks happiness, it’s true,

But finding it and keeping it seem difficult to do.

Difficult because we think that happiness is found

Only in the places where wealth and fame abound.And so we go on searching in palaces of pleasure

 

Seeking recognition and monetary treasure,

Unaware that happiness is just a state of mind

Within the reach of everyone who takes time to be kind.

For in making others happy we will be happy, too.

For the happiness you give away returns to shine on you.

 

6. A famous poem on the importance of pursuing your dreams

The path to victory and success is often long and filled with obstacles.

It may seem easier to give in and give up rather than stay the course, especially when you experience failures along the way.   But, having a purpose and something to look forward to and strive for gives you daily motivation.

So, when you have dreams and plans for the future, you have to keep pushing ahead despite setbacks.  Because, if you stop pursuing the things that make you happy, you will find your heart, soul and life will begin to feel empty and burdensome.

In his poem, “Dreams”, Langston Hughes succinctly tells you why it is important to never stop dreaming.   Your dreams drive you to pursue the best life possible.

 

Dreams

By Langston Hughes

 

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

 

5. A short inspirational poem for personal direction

 Your life experiences (positive and negative) have great influence on guiding your actions and setting the direction for your future.

It is easy to focus on the things that went wrong or the people that failed to cover you, using these situations as your compass for future relationships and decision making.

But, in the poem, “Always Remember to Forget”, the author reminds you that holding on to the sadness, trials and tribulations will do nothing to enhance your future.

But, staying close to those who always supported you and using the good times as your guiding light is more likely to keep you in a positive frame of mind and staying positive is necessary to recognize and take advantage of your blessings.

 

Always Remember to Forget

By Unknown

 

Always remember to forget

The things that made you sad

But never forget to remember

The things that made you glad

Always remember to forget

 

The friends that proved untrue

But don’t forget to remember

Those that have stuck by you

Always remember to forget

 

The troubles that have passed away

But never, never forget to remember

The blessings that come each day.

 

 4. A motivational poem to inspire action

 It is extremely easy to think that your actions, deeds and thoughts are insignificant to the world and the people around you.

But, in the poem, “I Am”, Ella Wheeler Wilcox reminds you of the influence (power) you have to contribute to the events in this life.

You are here living in this universe and you can choose to make life better or make it worse.   Yes, little old you can make a difference.

You can decide to help someone or some cause or you can choose to hurt someone or derail a cause.

So, don’t take for granted the choices you make, consider them carefully because you do indeed hold the power to set the outcome of many situations.

 

 

I Am

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 

I know not whence I came,

I know not whither I go;

But the fact stands clear that I am here

In this world of pleasure and woe.

 

And out of the mist and murk

Another truth shines plain –

It is my power each day and hour

To add to its joy or its pain.

 

3. A famous short inspirational poem on living

“Desiderata” are the things that we need, want or desire.  So, it is fitting that in his poem titled, “Desiderata”, author Max Ehrmann gives you words of wisdom to use as you seek the things you need, and desire in this life.

This work serves as a daily instructional manual of sorts for living each day to get the best results and achieve the fulfillment you seek.

Step, by step, “Desiderata” takes you through key encounters and situations that can be expected throughout this life.  And, it gives you frank, clear and useful advice for handling each experience and reaching out to live the best life possible.

Desiderata

By Max Ehrmann

 

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant;

they too have their story.

 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

 

Exercise caution in your business affairs,

for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals,

and everywhere life is full of heroism.

 

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love;

for in the face of all aridity and

disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

 

Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

 

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

 

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

 

2. A famous short inspirational poem about power, courage, and tenacity

 

Still I Rise
By Maya Angelou

 

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

 

1. A short inspirational poem about stepping forward in life

 

Life Steps

By Catherine Pulsifer

 

Our entire life is made up of choices,
What we decide, the action we take,
the attitude we display
All represent the steps of life.

Sometimes we take two steps forward
And one-step back.
Some of us take baby steps
Some of us take giant steps

But the secret is not to let that
one step back turn into a failure.
Learn from backward steps
And keep on stepping forward in this dance Called Life!

 

 Summary

Poetry can be entertaining, but it also has the ability to be educational and advisory in nature.    Reading and re-reading these verses have the power to shape your thoughts which in turn can compel specific behaviors and actions.

The 10 poems reviewed in this piece run the gamut in length and style, but they all aim at encouraging you and helping you as you move forward with the aim of reaching your destiny.

 

Which one of these short inspirational poems was your favorite? What other famous short poems would you add to the list?

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. SirPhren

    April 18, 2018 at 4:18 am

    6 & 3 are my favorites.
    I would like to add “Psalm of Life” by Henry Longfellow

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