Inspirational Poems!

These inspirational poems will lift you up on life’s wings to fly higher and farther than you thought possible.

You can use the positive messages in these poems to help you keep going on your chosen path! (And, if you've seen my video on the Source of Inspirational Quotes page, you know that the KEY is to keep going!)

A white dove

Inspirational poem by Leonard Cohen (born 1934) Canadian singer-songwriter, poet

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say,
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
from Anthem

Inspirational poem by Max Ehrman (1872-1945) U.S. attorney, businessman, poet


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 to the dull and 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.

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 with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Inspirational poem by Daisaku Ikeda (born 1928) Japanese philosopher, Buddhist leader, author, poet

One person is not simply one person;
One person’s power can reach far beyond that single life.
A human being’s unrevealed potential
Is boundless and inexhaustible.

Begrudge your life—and then you lose it.
Give your life—and you gain its true power.
A passionately determined person can surpass
Ten thousand.
We should never forget this profound principle.
from A Rainbow over Niagara

Inspirational poems by Alexandra Innes (born 1952) U.K./Canadian author, poet, host

Change Your Dream

“What is the dream
going on inside your head?”
the young girl said.
“Where does it take you?
Does it serve you well?”
The man was surprised.
Intently engaged in moving upward
for so many years,
he never questioned his mind.
He just did what it told him,
without asking why.
Now he saw for the first time
with open eyes
that his high-flying world
was filled with emptiness
and bereft of real meaning.
His heart had been cold as ice
or raging like a fire
to destroy whatever stood in his way.

Gently picking up the little girl
and holding her at arm’s length
to look into her eyes, he said,
“Tell me, what can I do?
How can I change?”
“Change your dream,” she said,
gazing into his soul.
“Make a dream that serves others
as well as yourself.
Stop sacrificing everything
for money and hard power.
Listen to your love
instead of your fear,
and watch a garden grow
in what used to be a barren heart.
Become human,
and fulfill the promise you made.
You don’t remember it now
but you will,
as you look into the eyes
that look at you.”
And she was gone.

But he felt her memory
in the eyes of every child,
every woman,
every man
and every living creature
to whom he showed his kindness.
For that was the promise:
to be humankind.


Dare to remember who you really are.
Dare to leave the familiar shore
of the known behind
and strike out for the new and unknown
where your possibilities await.

Dare to believe you are good.
Dare to believe in your right to lead,
to ignite others with your vision.
Dare to show yourself.
Dare to show bad friends the door.

A young man silhouetted against the sun soars above the clouds

Dare to disturb,
to stand up and be heard.
Dare to shake the status quo.
Dare to fall
and then rise stronger than before.

Dare to be different.
Dare to sing your own song;
have fun getting the words wrong.
Dare to shine the light of hope
into a world grown old with longing.

Dare to take the higher path.
Dare to be well paid.
Dare to love.
Dare to dance with life
in a never-ending rave.

Dare to trust.
Dare to question.
Dare to change the world
by changing yourself.
See how far it will take you.

Now is the time
to be bold and alive.
Now is the time to dare.
See how far it will take you.
Now, and forevermore.

Start Again

Could there be such a miracle,
she wondered,
such a flowering of the human heart
when once it was torn apart from itself?
Could there be such a rebirth
of hope and human kindness,
where once was anger, hostility and blame?
Could there really be the chance to start again?

And the Universe looked on,
and smiled,
knowing that we err and stray from time to time,
but knowing also that those who are true
in their innermost heart
will always eventually find their way,
despite the delusions, the pain and the fear.
For Life has always loved us, so we can always start again.

The Karmic Wheel

The opposing force
To the vicious circle forms:
Teach, and you will learn.
Heal, and you will be healed.
Care, and you will be cared for.
Open others’ eyes to wisdom
And yours in turn will be opened.
Love, and you too will be loved.

It does come round to this.

Wake Up Call

Get up and live!
It’s a brand new day!
Get up and live!
You’ve got something to say!
Get up and live!
Being you is OK!
Get up and give!
It’s the human way!

Inspirational poem by Elaine Maxwell (details unknown)

My will shall shape my future.
Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own.
I am the force;
I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze.
My choice, my responsibility;
Win or lose, only I hold the key.

Inspirational poems by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, contemporary Canadian author, poet, inspirational speaker

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic,
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can hear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul;

from The Invitation

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and stil stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

from The Invitation

It doesn't unterest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

from The Invitation

Inspirational poems by Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273) Persian poet, mystic

O you whose lips are parched, keep looking for water.
Those parched lips are proof that eventually you will reach the source.

* * * * * * * * * *

Look at that mirror
Take a good look at yourself
Who else is there above and beyond you?

A dramatic skyscape

Now give yourself a kiss
and with sweet whispers
fill your ears to the brim.

Watch for all that beauty,
reflecting from you
and sing a love song to your existence.

You can never overdo
praising your own soul
You can never over-pamper your heart. ...

Who else but you,
please tell me who else
can ever take your place?

Now give yourself a smile;
What is the worth of a diamond
if it doesn't shine?

How can I ever put a price
on the diamond that you are?
You are the entire treasure of the house.

Inspirational poem by Andrea See (born 1988) Canadian student, poet


To those who hurt me
You never touched me.
To those who gave me the worst
You gave me the best.
I can’t stay bitter for life
So I look towards what’s right.
I’ve learned from what burned me
So I won’t be that fire.
For I Am A Leaf
What blows me lifts me higher.
(written at age 14)

Inspirational poem by James Stephens (1882-1950) Irish novelist, broadcaster, poet

In Waste Places

As a naked man I go
Through the desert, sore afraid;
Holding high my head, although
I’m as frightened as a maid.

The lion crouches there! I saw
In barren rocks his amber eye!
He parts the cactus with his paw!
He stares at me as I go by!

He would pad upon my trace
If he thought I was afraid!
If he knew my hardy face
Veils the terror of a maid.

He rises in the night-time, and
He stretches forth! He snuffs the air!
He roars! He leaps along the sand!
He creeps! He watches everywhere!

His burning eyes, his eyes of bale
Through the darkness I can see!
He lashed fiercely with his tail!
He makes again to spring at me!

I am the lion, and his lair!
I am the fear that frightens me!
I am the desert of despair!
And the night of agony!

Night or day, whate’er befall,
I must walk that desert land,
Until I dare my fear, and call
The lion out to lick my hand.

Inspirational poems by Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) Indian poet


I look behind and after
And find that all is right,
In my deepest sorrows
There is a soul of light.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction.
Love is therefore the only law of life.
He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying.
Therefore love for love's sake,
because it is a law of life, just as you breathe to live.

Inspirational poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) U.S. author, poet

Who climbs the mountain does not always climb.
The winding road slants downward many a time;
Yet each descent is higher than the last.
from Climbing

Who would attain to summits still and fair,
Must nerve himself through valleys of despair.
from Climbing

Give, and thou shalt receive. Give thoughts of cheer,
Of courage and success, to friend and stranger.
And from a thousand sources, far and near,
Strength will be sent thee in thy hour of danger.
from Give

So many gods, so many creeds;
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.
from The World's Need

I hope you enjoyed these inspirational poems!

~ End of Inspirational Poems ~

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