Famous Life Poems

Published: December 16, 2022

Famous Poems On The Human Experience And Life's Journey

Since the dawn of civilization, artists of all forms have sought to express the essence of the human condition and the full range of human experience. Poetry has been one of the most common forms of this expression from the ancients until now. These words have an ability to capture the abstract emotions and concrete experiences that have been part of our humanity throughout the ages. Turning to the words of classic poems can help us to clarify and understand our own experiences better by connecting us to those others who have sought to do the same.

This collection of famous poems explores the human experience and the journey of life. From love and loss to joy and sorrow, these poems delve into the emotions and challenges that shape our lives. Whether you're seeking inspiration or a deeper understanding of the world around you, these poems offer a poignant and thought-provoking look at the human condition.

Famous Poems On The Human Experience And Life's Journey

  1. See It Through

    Famous Poem

    Many of the poems by Edgar Guest (1881-1959) are encouraging and share important life lessons. In this poem, he shares powerful advice about standing strong in the face of trials and dark days. The poetic technique of repetition is used at the end of each stanza with the line, “See it through.” That brings the reader's attention to the themes of courage and perseverance.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    When you’re up against a trouble,
    Meet it squarely, face to face;
    Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
    Plant your feet and take a brace.

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    I was feeling down, discouraged, confused and all sorts of unpleasant ways today. Going through a failed marriage, raising two young boys by myself, but moreover struggling with my own...

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  2. The Paradoxical Commandments

    Famous Poem

    This selection, entitled, "The Paradoxical Commandments", was written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 when he was a 19 year old Harvard Student. Since then, it has been quoted by millions and even mistakenly attributed to Mother Teresa who had a version hung as a poem on a wall in her Children's Home in Calcutta. The text contains 10 commandments. The theme and the paradox is to persevere in doing good for humanity and acting with integrity even if your efforts aren't appreciated.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
    Love them anyway.
    If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
    Do good anyway.

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    This poem is very touching. I think the poem is all about staying positive no what happens in life. People won't appreciate you for the your good deeds, but still have a positive attitude...

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  4. Time Is

    Famous Poem

    Time feels different for different people. Depending on the situation we’re facing, our perception of time is altered. Sometimes, time moves slowly, and other times, it flashes in the blink of an eye. “Time Is” is one of Henry van Dyke’s best-known poems. It was originally written to be inscribed on a sundial. This was published in the 1904 collection “Music and Other Poems,” and it was read aloud at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.

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    Time is
    Too Slow for those who Wait,
    Too Swift for those who Fear,
    Too Long for those who Grieve,

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  5. Leisure

    Famous Poem

    We are often in such a hurry in life that we move from one thing to the next without stopping to notice the beauty around us. Famous poet W.H. Davies (1871-1940) reminds us that life passes by quickly, and he encourages readers to take moments to “stand and stare.” W.H. Davies was a Welsh poet who devoted himself to writing poetry in his late 20s. Many of his poems were filled with themes of hardship and the natural world.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare

    No time to stand beneath the boughs,

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    This is a wonderful poem and has always been one of my favourites. At this time of lockdown restrictions and protecting ourselves, we have that time to stop and look at the world - to enjoy...

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  7. Windows

    Famous Poem

    You’ve probably heard the saying, “The grass is greener on the other side.” This poem captures that sentiment. Often, we look longingly at what others have while looking down on what is ours. The irony is that others see such beauty in what we have.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    I looked through others' windows
    On an enchanted earth,
    But out of my own window-
    Solitude and dearth.

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  8. It's Fine Today

    Famous Poem

    In this world, we face troubles of many kinds. Things are not always going to go our way. Some people wallow in that misery, but others have a positive perspective and can push past the trouble they face. What makes the difference? Douglas Malloch (1877-1938) shares the answer in this poem. When we don’t focus on our problems, they get smaller and smaller. We can’t worry about what happened in the past or what could happen in the future. Instead, we need to look at what is positive for us today. Douglas Malloch came from simple roots, and that simplicity is seen in the dialect of this poem.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    Sure, this world is full of trouble
    I ain't said it ain't.
    Lord, I've had enough and double
    Reason for complaint;

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    Wow, this poem gives a cool perspective on life. This poem makes one realize worrying doesn't help.

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  9. Work

    Famous Poem

    When we look at our work as a burden, we can quickly become discouraged and discontent. Often, people wish they didn't have to work, but there's a blessing in being able to work. To have a job is to have a gift. Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) challenges himself and others to change the way we look at our jobs. Even when work is challenging, exhausting, tedious, or overwhelming, let's look at the blessing we have.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    Let me but do my work from day to day,
    In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
    In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
    Let me but find it in my heart to say,

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  10. My Wage

    Famous Poem

    This poem encourages us to get the most out of life and push the boundaries. Famous poet Jessie B. Rittenhouse encourages us not to become complacent. We need to keep pushing forward. Sometimes we aim too low, and where you aim, you will hit.

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    I bargained with Life for a penny,
    And Life would pay no more,
    However I begged at evening
    When I counted my scanty store;

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  11. Life Is Fine

    Famous Poem

    In this poem, the speaker is considering giving up on life, but he can’t go through with it. He finds that since he hasn’t died, he has something to live for. This poem has a strong sense of structure. It’s made up of single lines and quatrains with the ABCB rhyme scheme.

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    I went down to the river,
    I set down on the bank.
    I tried to think but couldn't,
    So I jumped in and sank.

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    Everyone is born for a purpose, but we forget that in pursuit of money. Then God gifted me with poetry and uses it as a medium to educate people, and in each of my poems there is a story...

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  12. A Naughty Little Comet

    Famous Poem

    This classic, fun, and rhythmic poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) is a cautionary tale about a mother-daughter struggle that will be familiar to many parents of teenagers. The lesson taught is the virtues of a cautious and modest approach to life. The bold and fun loving daughter doesn't listen to the scolding of her wise mother and instead runs wild, reveling in her youth and beauty. In the end the mother's fears come true.

    in Famous Funny Poems

    There was a little comet who lived near the Milky Way!
    She loved to wander out at night and jump about and play.

    The mother of the comet was a very good old star;

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  13. Love After Love

    Famous Poem

    Much of the inspiration for Derek Walcott's poetry comes from the history of Saint Lucia, where he was born. This poem has a theme of accepting yourself as you are. Before you can love others, you need to love yourself.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    The time will come
    when, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror,

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    My husband died 10 years ago. He was the love of my life, my soul-mate, my best friend. I have not known how to 'adjust' to him being gone until I read this poem, "Love After Love." Everyone...

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  14. All The World's A Stage

    Famous Poem

    William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is regarded by many as one of the greatest poets/playwrights in history. This poem is an excerpt from his play "As You Like It." The poem compares the world to a stage and life to a play, and catalogs seven stages in a man's life: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, aging man, and finally facing imminent death. The poem suggests that each stage in a man's life calls upon him to play another role.

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    All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,

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    He gets tired of his childhood and hastens to grow up; then he becomes nostalgic about his childhood. To gain wealth, he would endanger his health; then to regain his lost health, he spends...

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  15. I, Too

    Famous Poem

    Langston Hughes (1902-1967) settled in Harlem, New York, in 1924 and was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, he wrote of the reality that faced many in the black community and how they were regarded as “less than” by other people. The poem ends with the hope that one day it would be different. He shared the expectation that those who looked down on them would be ashamed.

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    I, too, sing America.

    I am the darker brother.
    They send me to eat in the kitchen

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  16. Let America Be America Again

    Famous Poem

    For many people, it has been a struggle to attain the American dream. Langston Hughes (1902-1967) shares how many groups of people have not been able to experience the America that people dream it to be. They have struggled for freedom and equality. Langston Hughes himself experienced the difficulty of living out his dream of being a writer because it was difficult to earn money in that profession. Although this poem has a very somber feel, hope is presented at the end. Many of the lines in this poem use alliteration (multiple words beginning with the same sound).

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    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

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  17. Fire And Ice

    Famous Poem

    A poem about the end of days, when the world will end by either fire or ice. "Fire and Ice" is one of Robert Frost's most popular poems. It was first published in 1920 in Harper's Magazine.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I've tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.

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    Robert Frost is a poet of great repute. It is not within our jurisdiction to comment on such a literary giant. However, in view of your invitation, I would say that he might have been in...

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  18. Advice To A Son

    Famous Poem

    Ernest Hemingway was an American author and poet who lived from 1899-1961. He loved adventure and used his various experiences to inspire his writing. This poem was his chance to impart wisdom on his sons. He was married four times and had three sons.

    in Famous Family Poems

    Never trust a white man,
    Never kill a Jew,
    Never sign a contract,
    Never rent a pew.

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  19. My Lost Youth

    Famous Poem

    This poem could be considered a lyrical autobiography of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s early years. He remembers his hometown and the boy he was many years ago. Even though he has grown, he can still feel like a child again by returning to his hometown of Portland, Maine (which was still part of Massachusetts when he was born in 1807). All his memories are tucked into the many places of the city. This poem has a strong sense of structure with the repetition of the last two lines of each stanza.

    in Famous Narrative Poems

    Often I think of the beautiful town
    That is seated by the sea;
    Often in thought go up and down
    The pleasant streets of that dear old town,

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    I was born in a village away from the busy city. My village was blessed with many natural resources like streams, mountains, and small scale waterfalls. Most of the villagers were farmers....

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  20. It Might Have Been

    Famous Poem

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) uses this poem to show that people have the power to make their own destiny. Most of the stanzas start with “We will (be/do/climb),” which brings attention to the belief that we will each become what we set out to become. This poem is made up of quatrains (four-line stanzas) that follow the ABAB rhyme scheme. Although Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born to poor family and received many rejection letters for her poetry, she remained optimistic and kept working hard for what she wanted.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    We will be what we could be. Do not say,
    "It might have been, had not or that, or this."
    No fate can keep us from the chosen way;
    He only might who is.

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  21. Vision

    Famous Poem

    Sometimes it’s hard to see past what is right in front of us in order to see the beauty around us. It can be easy to allow circumstances to cloud our view. In this poem, mist and clouds fill the valley, preventing the people living there from seeing the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

    in Famous Nature Poems

    I came to the mountains for beauty
    And I find here the toiling folk,
    On sparse little farms in the valleys,
    Wearing their days like a yoke.

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  22. I Hear America Singing

    Famous Poem

    Walt Whitman was an American poet who lived from 1819-1892. Some of his poetry was controversial because of the nature of its content, but he is believed to be the father of free verse (but he did not invent this form of poetry). He is also seen as a "poet of democracy" because he wrote so strongly about the American character. In this poem, Whitman shows how America is made up of a variety of people. It's the stories of those people who make America the strong and unique nation that it is.

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    I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
    Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
    The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
    The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

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