Beautiful lines of poetry for those who need it


If I knew where poems came from, I’d go there.

 That is what Michael Longley said. David Whyte said that good poems are a whispered healing arrival.

Poetry can be a soothing balm for the wearing soul or an encouraging pat on the back for the eager spirit. Therefore, I would love to share nine of my favourites lines of poetry with those who might need it. I hope they may move you, inspire you, hold you or comfort you like they have me.

Please keep in mind that some of these lines only come to life in the context of the full poem. I encourage you to follow the links provided to read the poems in their entirety.

For the busy

I have wasted my life.

James Wright - Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota


For the twice blessed

the sheer generosity
of being loved
through loving:
the miracle reflection
of a twice blessed life.

Twice Blessed – David Whyte


For the weary philosopher

We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of the world.
To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.

A brief for the Defense – Jack Gilbert


For the honest

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 bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

The Invitation – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

For the hopeful

I’m new to this,
but I have seen nearly every city from a rooftop
without jumping.

We were emergencies - Buddy Wakefield

For the writer

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

How to be a poet (to remind myself) - Wendell Berry

For the mother

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

Variations on the word sleep - Margaret Atwood

For the concerned

Let us plant dates
even though those who plant them will never eat them.
We must live by the love of what we will never see.
This is the secret discipline.
It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved
in immediate sense experience
and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren.

Rubem Alves

For the kind

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Kindness - Naomi Shihab Nye

What is your favourite line from a poem?

Clarissa DeanComment