Poetry is one of my favorite forms of art besides painting. As it happens, April is National Poetry Month. I fondly recall my memories from elementary school when my homeroom teacher would make us carry a poem in our pocket every day until the end of April and that practice led to my love for poetry. So I thought I'd share some lines from my favorite poets.
1. "Hope" by Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.
This one is probably one of Dickinson's most renowned poems. For someone who spent a majority of her adult life as a recluse, it's insane that she still had the capability to write something so positive.
2. "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
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.
This was, in fact, the first poem that I ever fell in love with in my elementary school years and then one I carried to every "A-Poem-In-My-Pocket" event. I guess there's just something about realizing that every journey happens for a reason and shapes you into the person you are. It does indeed make all the difference.
3. "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost
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.
I have this one pinned above my desk. I don't know what it is about those words that just make me more productive.
4. Unnamed Poem by Rumi
Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
There's literally one piece of advice that I usually follow when I find myself in an argument: trailing beyond ideas and practicality and viewing the situation from a common ground can definitely help you understand the other side of the story. That's basically what Rumi encourages. Heck if everyone followed this we would achieve world peace but alas the world is not that simple.
5. "Come, Come Whoever You Are" by Rumi
Come, Come whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving,
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come.
The message of this poem is rather simple too: everyone is welcome despite their mistakes and differences. This leads to a better chance for humanity to prosper. A chance at oneness is always something that resonates in Rumi's words, which is why I love him so much.
6. "I Am From There" by Mahmoud Darwish
I am from there. I am from here. I am not
there and I am not here. I have two names,
which meet and part, and I have two
languages. I forget which of them I dream in.
If you're bilingual you've probably been asked this question: "What language do you think in?" I seriously don't know the answer to that, but apparently, neither does Darwish.
7. "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I love this one because it definitely speaks volumes as to what our fathers (or even mothers who play the roles of a father) do for us. Despite that, for some reason, our generation feels like they are obligated to be served like that. No. You are not.Be thankful for your family kiddos.
8. Unnamed Poem by Mirza Ghalib
It is difficult to complete every goal easily.
For a man too, to be human is no easy feat.
This one is actually a translation of an Urdu poem by Ghalib. Just as not every task is easily accomplished, it isn't easy for a man to be "human." This is also a perfect example of the current state of the world with the savagery we treat people with.
9. "Awaking in New York" by Maya Angelou
drags itself awake on
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,
unasked and unheeded.
A perfect picture of a morning in the bustling NYC. Your alarm probably jerks you awake in urgency, forcing you to take part in the city that never sleeps.
10. "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
There you go. The last one is for you. Yes you, reading this from wherever you are. You are your biggest champion. Even then, since humans are made of the same particles, we are equals. Thus, instead of negativity, we should lift each other up with positive vibes only.