Life changing poems have the power to shift our perspective and inspire us to make positive changes in our lives. These poems offer us new ways of thinking and feeling, encouraging us to break free from our comfort zones and embrace the unknown. They speak to the deepest parts of our being, stirring up emotions and encouraging us to find our own truth. Whether they are filled with hope, despair, or simply the beauty of everyday life, these poems have the ability to transform the way we live and see the world. With their captivating words and evocative imagery, life changing poems offer us a new way to navigate the complexities of life and emerge stronger, more resilient, and more fully alive.
Life Changing Poems:
- How Did You Die? (by Edmund Vance Cooke)
- It’s All In the State of Mind (by Walter D. Wintle)
- Defeat (by Khalil Gibran)
- A Psalm of Life (by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
- IF (by Rudyard Kipling)
- Invictus (by William Ernest Henley)
- Desiderata (by Max Ehrmann)
- The Will To Win (by Berton Braley)
- Lose yourself (by Rumi)
- When I Die (by Rumi)
- The Road Not Taken (by Robert Frost)
- Roll the Dice (by Charles Bukowski)
- Keep Going (by Edgar Guest)
Also read: 45 best life lessons from a 90 years old
1. How Did You Die? (by Edmund Vance Cooke)
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there — that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight — and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
2. It’s All In the State of Mind (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 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.
Full many a race is lost
ere even a step is run,
And many a coward falls
ere even his work’s begun,
Think big, and your deeds will grow;
Think small, and you’ll fall behind;
Think that you can, and you will—
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out-classed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise;
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You ever can win a prize,
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
3. Defeat (by Khalil Gibran)
Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude, and my aloofness;
You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,
And sweeter to my heart than all world glory.
Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge, and my defiance,
Through you, I know that I am yet young and swift of foot
And not to be trapped by withering laurels.
And in you, I have found aloneness
And the joy of being shunned and scorned.
Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword, and shield,
In your eyes, I have read
That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,
And to be understood is to be leveled down,
And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness
And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.
Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,
You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,
And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
And urging of seas,
And of mountains that burn in the night,
And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.
Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.
4. A Psalm of Life (by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow,
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums are beating,
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
5. 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!
6. Invictus (by William Ernest Henley)
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
7. Desiderata (by Max Ehrmann)
Go placidly amid the noise and 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 the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and 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.
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 with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
8. The Will To Win (by Berton Braley)
If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it
If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you’ll sweat for it,
Fret for it,
Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,
If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want,
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You’ll get it!
9. Lose yourself (by Rumi)
Lose yourself in this love.
When you lose yourself in this love,
you will find everything.
Do not fear this loss,
For you will rise from the earth
and embrace the endless heavens.
Escape from this earthly form,
For this body is a chain
and you are its prisoner.
Smash through the prison wall
and walk outside with the kings and princes.
Lose yourself at the foot of the glorious King. When you lose yourself
before the King
you will become the King.
Escape from the black cloud
that surrounds you.
Then you will see your own light
as radiant as the full moon.
Now enter that silence.
This is the surest way
to lose yourself. . . .
What is your life about, anyway?—
Nothing but a struggle to be someone,
Nothing but a running from your own silence.”
10. When I Die (by Rumi)
When I die
when my coffin
is being taken out
you must never think
i am missing this world
don’t shed any tears
don’t lament or
i’m not falling
into a monster’s abyss
when you see
my corpse is being carried
don’t cry for my leaving
i’m not leaving
i’m arriving at eternal love
when you leave me
in the grave
don’t say goodbye
remember a grave is
only a curtain
for the paradise behind
you’ll only see me
descending into a grave
now watch me rise
how can there be an end
when the sun sets or
the moon goes down
it looks like the end
it seems like a sunset
but in reality it is a dawn
when the grave locks you up
that is when your soul is freed
have you ever seen
a seed fallen to earth
not rise with a new life
why should you doubt the rise
of a seed named human
have you ever seen
a bucket lowered into a well
coming back empty
why lament for a soul
when it can come back
like Joseph from the well
when for the last time
you close your mouth
your words and soul
will belong to the world of
no place no time
Life by Edith Wharton
Life, like a marble block, is given to all,
A blank, inchoate mass of years and days,
Whence one with ardent chisel swift essays
Some shape of strength or symmetry to call;
One shatters it in bits to mend a wall;
One in a craftier hand the chisel lays,
And one, to wake the mirth in Lesbia’s gaze,
Carves it apace in toys fantastical.
But least is he who, with enchanted eyes
Filled with high visions of fair shapes to be,
Muses which god he shall immortalize
In the proud Parian’s perpetuity,
Till twilight warns him from the punctual skies
That the night cometh wherein none shall see.
11. The Road Not Taken (by Robert Frost)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
12. Roll the Dice (by Charles Bukowski)
if you’re going to try, go all the
otherwise, don’t even start.
if you’re going to try, go all the
way. this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.
go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or
it could mean freezing on a
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
how much you really want to
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the
and it will be better than
you can imagine.
if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the
and the nights will flame with
do it, do it, do it.
all the way
all the way.
you will ride life straight to
it’s the only good fight
13. Keep Going (by Edgar Guest)
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the 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 had he 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.
Thanks for reading the collection of the best life changing poems from various authors.
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