Some poems for the Journey

A little know fact about me is that I went to graduate school to be a poet.  My very first advisor felt that I had some skills at prose and so I ended up with a dual-focused  MFA (poetry and non-fiction).  While I write non-fiction now, I am still in love with poetry so when a Twitter friend was looking for some inspiring poems, I couldn’t help but bombard her with suggestions.  Revisiting all those beautiful poems made me fall in love all over again and so I thought I’d share a round up of gorgeous poems whose beauty comes from their powerful expression of life with you here today.  For each poem, I share a poignant excerpt and then you can click on the poem’s title to read all of its beauty.  Enjoy.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves…

The Journey by Mary Oliver

….as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world…

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

…I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees…

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

…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….

Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton

….and may you in your innocence

sail through this to that

by Dorianne Laux

…Regret none of it, not one

of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,

when the lights from the carnival rides

were the only stars you believed in, loving them

for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.

You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake…

To Be of Use by Marge Piercy

…The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident…

The Art of Disappearing by Naomi Shihab Nye

…If they say We should get together

say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.

You’re trying to remember something

too important to forget…

What Do Women Want by Kim Addonizio

…I want to walk like I’m the only

woman on earth and I can have my pick…

A Blessing from My Sixteen Years Son by Mary Karr

I have this son who assembled inside me

during Hurricane Gloria. In a flash, he appeared,

in a tiny blaze. Outside, pines toppled.


Phone lines snapped and hissed like cobras.

Inside, he was a raw pearl: microscopic, luminous.

Look at the muscled obelisk of him now…


Do you have a favorite poem?  What is one that you love to read?

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One response to “Some poems for the Journey”

  1. Tami -- Teacher Goes Back to School

    wild geese makes me cry every time. it is one that yoga teachers always return to and i’ve never used it in class because i’m afraid i won’t be able to read it without crying.

    i LOVE don’t expect applause by ellen bass. i’m also a fan of billy collins.

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