Life Poems

Words offer deep insight and encouragement to lift us when we are at a low ebb. Poetry in particular can offer creative release – a way for us to make sense of our feelings and thoughts – whether you choose to read or begin to write your own.

Ready or Not
by Michael Josephson

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived.
At the end, whether you were beautiful or brilliant, male or female, even your skin colour won’t matter.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched,empowered or encouraged others.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

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!

In This Place
by Lieselle Davidson

It happened when I put down the oars.
I had been thrashing at the water
My arms weary,
I had hardly moved.
I lay back in the boat
Felt the lull of the water
Beneath me as though
It were my heartbeat.
The gentle drift,
The soft lapping
Of water against discarded paddles.
I looked up at the stars
They looked down at me in
Twinkling amusement
Wondering at how long
I’d taken to “get it!”
The scenery changed
I only had to enjoy the journey;
The being
In this place…
And, I marvelled.

The Lighthouse
by Lieselle Davidson

Many times I sought
The lighthouse,
The familiar beam
In the dark…
Looking for the comfort
Radiating from its spark.
Today I turn that inward,
No longer am I the seeker
I am not just the lighthouse,
I am the
And lighthouse keeper.

The Rhythm of the Sea
by Mark Elliot

The tides mark time on our journey
The waves washing over another day
Is my life washing away?
How many tides will my life be?
The rhythm of the sea
The rhythm of life
The rhythm within me
The seas majestic beauty ever present
The tides the beating heart of our world
Long before me the rhythm was there
And long after me the sea will still be marking time
The rhythm of the sea
The rhythm of life
The rhythm within me
Life is like a voyage on the sea
Wind and tide behind, living exuberantly
Becalmed, going nowhere, frustrating, waiting
Into the storm, into the wind, enduring, withstanding
The rhythm of the sea
The rhythm of life
The rhythm within me
I love the rhythm of the sea
Work to its beat, use this time
Do not be diminished by the brevity of life
Embrace the rhythm, ride the waves
The rhythm the sea
The rhythm of life
The rhythm within me

Life Time
by Mark Elliot

If I could turn back time
On my pride and stupidity
I had so very much I could not see
Now so little but a new feeling inside of me
If I could turn back time
To rescue a spirit lost
To heal a deep loneliness inside my soul
I never knew life’s value –just the cost

If I could turn back time
Dare to take away this shield from my heart
I want the excitement and adventure of life again
I have lived and loved and learned from pain

If I could turn back time
I would have to do it all once more
For through it all my eyes have opened now I see
Another life, a new dimension, I am free

Don’t turn back time
The possibility of life and love awaits
Let me live and know and see
I feel the far horizons calling to me.

By Maria Chepurina

With each passing year, children escape by the millions
Abandoning home with its promise of caring yet weary routine
Fleeing with ferocious desperation of asylum patients
Ruthlessly poisoned by therapeutic narcotics based on morphine

They leave, the swan wings of their ashen bedsheets deserted undone
To wade along treacherous mazes of forests and swamps
Their delicate footsteps concealed by brambles and wildflower blossoms
Their decisions and actions left exposed for others to shun

Rarely, letters would come, bled out in dark ink
Smeared in soil, laced with the smell of young pine
The cracked limbs of the fragmented wording a confident statement:
‘Mum, dad – I was stifled enough, I shall not return. Just know I am fine’

Young travellers, gypsies, musicians and shepherds,
Their shackles forced off, their paths unconfined
Such is the whimsical nature of fragile leaves in the breeze,
Detached from the tireless oak of austere Humankind

They write of the grandeur of crisp autumn sunrise,
Of discovering the new-born wasp queen in her nest
Their tattered textbooks forsaken in their school bag burrows,
Their eyes soaked with wisdom, their wishes and aims unconstrained.

Adults swarm aimlessly in their cement towers, weaving intrigues,
Drowning in greed’s breeding ground.
With each passing year, children escape by the millions
Not even one has yet been found.


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