Top 10 Poems About Life: Inspiring poems to Read

People love to read because they help us get more out of life. There are plenty of poems about Life that people should know as well.

The best poems are the ones that help us live our Life every day. There are plenty of famous poems and inspirational poems that focus on various important topics. Some focus on Life and death, while others focus on nature. You might even be interested in poems that focus on children, friendship, or love. Regardless of how long or short poems may be, many beautiful poems focus on life lessons and life struggles.

Take a look at some of the best life poems below, and see what message these powerful human life poems might send to you.

1. The Room of My Life, by Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton is one of the most famous poets of all time. Even though she is frequently eclipsed by other poets, such as Sylvia Plath, Sexton frequently writes about many challenging topics. Many of her poems scream despair, and you will probably pick up on it yourself as soon as you start reading one of her works. In this specific poem, “Room of Life,” we get a window into the troubled life that she led. One of the most important moments in the poem is:

“Here,

in the room of my Life

the objects keep changing.

Ashtrays to cry into,

the suffering brother of the wood walls,

the forty-eight keys of the typewriter

each an eyeball that is never shut,”

Key message from this poem – While there are moments when you will feel sad, down, and out, do not forget about the joyous moments in life. Keep fighting through it, and you will see the good in Life.

2. Each Life Converges To Some Centre, by Emily Dickinson

“Each Life Converges To Some Centre” is a beautiful poem by Emily Dickinson, and it encourages people to take a positive approach to life. You need to live your life with a goal in mind, and it is okay if your goals are not the same as someone else’s. Sometimes, we may not even be aware of those goals, but they exist somewhere out there. Here is a quote from the poem:

“Each Life Converges to some Centre —

Expressed — or still —

Exists in every Human Nature

A Goal —”

Key message from this poem – Remember to live your life with a purpose every day. If you do everything you can to accomplish the goals you set for yourself, you will have lived a full life. 

3. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, by Maya Angelou

Poems About Life: Life Doesn't Frighten Me, by Maya Angelou
Clinton Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Everyone gets afraid sometimes, but people need to remember to keep fighting. This poem, titled “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me,” was written by Maya Angelou. She is one of the most famous authors of all time, and this poem is all about controlling your emotions and not allowing them to dominate your life. Even though there is nothing wrong with being scared from time to time, you need to use those emotions to fuel you. One of the most important moments from this poem is:

“Shadows on the wall

Noises down the hall

Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Bad dogs barking loud

Big ghosts in a cloud

Life doesn’t frighten me at all”

Key message from this poem – Many things make people afraid. You have to remember to keep fighting through those difficult moments. 

4. Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann

Even though Max Ehrmann might not be as well-known as some of the other names on this list, his poem, “Desiderata,” should be. This poem encourages you to live your life with compassion and integrity. It touches on everything from careers to relationships and even our mental health, which is incredibly important today. One of the most important sections of the poem is:

“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.”

Key message from this poem – If you are looking for a road map for how to live your life, this poem might be precisely that. 

5. The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Life is nothing more than a series of choices, which Robert Frost, an exceptional American poet, understood. One of his most famous poems is “The Road Not Taken.” This poem can be interpreted in different ways, but the poem starts on a wooded path, and the character has to choose which path he is going to take. The poem proceeds with the passage below:

“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;”

Key message from this poem – Ultimately, no matter which path you decide to take, this is a good poem that encourages you to live your life. The only thing you can do is make the best decisions possible, and you will never honestly know what might have happened if you chose to do something different. Therefore, even though you should not regret the road not taken, you should try to live every day to the fullest, which is what this poem encourages you to do.

6. If, by Rudyard Kipling

Life is not always a cakewalk, and there are plenty of times when you will be challenged in various ways. This poem, called “If,” by Rudyard Kipling, encourages you to keep going even when the going gets tough. You need to rise above the adversity you face and always strive to put your best foot forward. It should motivate you to do something more. Here is a passage from the poem below: 

“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,”

Key message from this poem – There isn’t a lot you can do to control the actions of others, but even when other people are doubting you, find a way to push forward and do your best every time.

7. O Me! O Life!, by Walt Whitman

“O Me O Life” is a very short poem. It highlights just about every exceptional feature of Whitman poetry. He wrote the vast majority of his poems using free verse. The poems frequently alternate between short and long lines. Just about all of his poems focus on the main character, encouraging the reader to put themselves in the narrator’s shoes. Of course, the poem also features a lot of rhetorical questions. One of the most important moments from the poem is: 

“Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,

Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O Life?”

Key message from this poem – This is one of the most famous poems of all time, and you can use it to help you live a better life. Remember that you are here, part of this world, and have your own identity. Because you are on this planet, you have the right to contribute to it. 

8. A Psalm of Life, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If you are looking for a beautiful rhyming poem that can push you to take a chance, try something new, and reinvent yourself, you might be interested in “A Psalm of Life,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Here is a quote from the poem below:

“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.”

Key message from this poem – This is one of the top inspirational poems ever written. After hearing this poem, you should be inspired to take action, whatever that might be for you. For example, you may want to change the world, apply for a new job, go on a date, or travel somewhere new. The beautiful thing about poems is that they can inspire different people to do different things.

9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas

Death is as much a part of Life as Life itself, and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is a poem that focuses on that fact. Even though we will die eventually, do not give in to death too quickly. Instead, you need to fight until your last breath, and you can fight by living Life to the fullest every day. Here is a quote from the passage below:

“Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rage at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Key message from this poem – Because Life is fleeting, we need to try to make use of every moment we have here on Earth. As long as you do that, you will live a good life.

10. What Is Our Life?, by Sir Walter Raleigh

“What Is Our Life” is a short poem, but it reminds us not to take life too seriously. Remember that moments in life should be viewed as a comedy, and the Earth should be considered our stage.

Therefore, try to live your life by making other people laugh. Play your part in the world until you leave, and you will have lived a great life. Here is a section of the poem:

“What is our Life? The play of passion.

Our mirth? The music of division:

Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be,

Where we are dressed for Life’s short comedy.

The Earth the stage; Heaven the spectator is,

Who sits and views whosoe’er doth act amiss. “

Key message from this poem – Even though there are moments in Life that should be taken seriously, Life should be about smiling and laughing. Let this poem act as your guide.

To learn more, check out our round-up of the top 15 poems every writer should know!

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