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Poems About Life

Table of Contents

Turn, turn, my wheel! All life is brief;
What now is bud will soon be leaf,
What now is leaf will soon decay;
The wind blows east, the wind blows west;
The blue eggs in the robin's nest
Will soon have wings and beak and breast,
And flutter and fly away.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Song of the Potter

Poems About Life

  1. My Wage by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  2. A Wish Is Quite a Tiny Thing by Annette Wynne
  3. Life by Charlotte Bronte
  4. What is Life? by John Clare
  5. The Vanities of Life by John Clare
  6. Life by Sir Walter Raleigh
  7. What is Life? by Samuel Coleridge
  8. To Life by Thomas Hardy
  9. Each Day a Life by Robert William Service
  10. The Goblet of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  11. Life by Henry Van Dyke
  12. This Life Is All Chequer'd With Pleasures and Woes by Thomas Moore
  13. The Human Seasons by John Keats
  14. The Changing Seasons by Benjamin Hine
  15. The Time to Get Ready by Amos Russel Wells
  16. In the Morning of Life by Thomas Moore
  17. To Autumn by Hannah Flagg Gould
  18. The Stirrup Cup by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  19. The Banquet by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  20. Life in Nature by Arthur Weir
  21. Life by Ruby Archer
  22. Life by Lynott O'Malley
  23. The King's Ring by Theodore Tilton
  24. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Francis William Bourdillon
  25. Life is Too Short by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  26. Life by Edgar A. Guest
  27. A Symbol by Mathilde Blind
  28. The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  29. At the Mill by Freeman E. Miller
  30. All the world's a stage by William Shakespeare
  31. Old and New by Anonymous
  32. Lives and Leaves by Kate Louise Wheeler
  33. Pleasure-Seekers by Ruby Archer
  34. Drink Deep by Ruby Archer
  35. Time by Hilda Conkling
  36. April Time by Ruby Archer
  37. Life a Book by Ellwood Roberts
  38. Joy and Duty by Henry Van Dyke
  39. Transformation by Henry Van Dyke
  40. Undergrowth by Douglas Malloch
  41. So live your life by Tecumseh
  42. Halcyon Days by Ruby Archer
  43. Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  44. Life by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  45. Life's Tragedy by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  46. The Stream's Lesson by Frances A. Shaw
  47. Expectation by Frances Anne Kemble
  48. As You Go Through Life by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Recommended Poems Related to Life

What is life? 'tis but a vapour,
Vanishing e'en while 'tis day;
Or a feeble, glimmering taper,
While it burns it wastes away.

– E.N.S.
Plain Questions
  1. My Wage

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

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

    For Life is a just employer,
    He gives you what you ask,
    But once you have set the wages,
    Why, you must bear the task.

    I worked for a menial's hire,
    Only to learn, dismayed,
    That any wage I had asked of Life,
    Life would have paid.

  2. A Wish Is Quite a Tiny Thing

    by Annette Wynne

    A wish is quite a tiny thing
    Just like a bird upon the wing,
    It flies away all fancy free
    And lights upon a house or tree;
    It flies across the farthest air,
    And builds a safe nest anywhere.

  3. Life

    by Charlotte Brontë

    Life, believe, is not a dream
    So dark as sages say;
    Oft a little morning rain
    Foretells a pleasant day.
    Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
    But these are transient all;
    If the shower will make the roses bloom,
    Oh why lament its fall?
    Rapidly, merrily
    Life's sunny hours flit by,
    Gratefully, cheerily,
    Enjoy them as they fly!

    What though Death at times steps in
    And calls our best away?
    What though sorrow seems to win,
    O'er hope, a heavy sway?
    Yet hope again elastic springs,
    Unconquered, though she fell;
    Still buoyant are her golden wings,
    Still strong to bear us well.
    Manfully, fearlessly,
    The day of trial bear,
    For gloriously, victoriously,
    Can courage quell fear!

  4. What is Life?

    And what is Life? — An hour-glass on the run,
    A mist retreating from the morning sun.

    – John Clare
    What is Life?
    by John Clare

    And what is Life? — An hour-glass on the run,
    A mist retreating from the morning sun,
    A busy, bustling, still-repeated dream.
    Its length? — A minute's pause, a moment's thought.
    And Happiness? — A bubble on the stream,
    That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.

    And what is Hope? — The puffing gale of morn,
    That of its charms divests the dewy lawn,
    And robs each flow'ret of its gem — and dies;
    A cobweb, hiding disappointment's thorn,
    Which stings more keenly through the thin disguise.

    And what is Death? Is still the cause unfound?
    That dark mysterious name of horrid sound? —
    A long and lingering sleep the weary crave.
    And Peace? Where can its happiness abound? —
    Nowhere at all, save heaven and the grave.

    Then what is Life? — When stripped of its disguise,
    A thing to be desired it cannot be;
    Since everything that meets our foolish eyes
    Gives proof sufficient of its vanity.
    'Tis but a trial all must undergo,
    To teach unthankful mortals how to prize
    That happiness vain man's denied to know,
    Until he's called to claim it in the skies.

  5. The Vanities of Life

    by John Clare

    What are life's joys and gains?
    What pleasures crowd its ways,
    That man should take such pains
    To seek them all his days?
    Sift this untoward strife
    On which thy mind is bent:
    See if this chaff of life
    Is worth the trouble spent.

    Is pride thy heart's desire?
    Is power thy climbing aim?
    Is love thy folly's fire?
    Is wealth thy restless game?
    Pride, power, love, wealth, and all
    Time's touchstone shall destroy,
    And, like base coin, prove all
    Vain substitutes for joy.

    Dost think that pride exalts
    Thyself in other's eyes,
    And hides thy folly's faults,
    Which reason will despise?
    Dost strut, and turn, and stride,
    Like walking weathercocks?
    The shadow by thy side
    Becomes thy ape, and mocks.

    Dost think that power's disguise
    Can make thee mighty seem?
    It may in folly's eyes,
    But not in worth's esteem,
    When all that thou canst ask,
    And all that she can give,
    Is but a paltry mask
    Which tyrants wear and live.

    Go, let thy fancies range
    And ramble where they may;
    View power in every change,
    And what is the display?
    —The country magistrate,
    The meanest shade in power,
    To rulers of the state,
    The meteors of an hour.

    View all, and mark the end
    Of every proud extreme,
    Where flattery turns a friend,
    And counterfeits esteem;
    Where worth is aped in show,
    That doth her name purloin,
    Like toys of golden glow
    That's sold for copper coin.

    Ambition's haughty nod
    With fancies may deceive,
    Nay, tell thee thou'rt a god,
    And wilt thou such believe?
    Go, bid the seas be dry;
    Go, hold earth like a ball,
    Or throw thy fancies by,
    For God can do it all.

    Dost thou possess the dower
    Of laws to spare or kill?
    Call it not heavenly power
    When but a tyrant's will.
    Know what a God will do,
    And know thyself a fool,
    Nor, tyrant-like, pursue
    Where He alone should rule.

    O put away thy pride,
    Or be ashamed of power
    That cannot turn aside
    The breeze that waves a flower.
    Or bid the clouds be still:
    Though shadows, they can brave
    Thy poor power mocking will:
    Then make not man a slave.

    Dost think, when wealth is won,
    Thy heart has its desire?
    Hold ice up to the sun,
    And wax before the fire;
    Nor triumph oer the reign
    Which they so soon resign;
    In this world's ways they gain,
    Insurance safe as thine.

    Dost think life's peace secure
    In house and in land?
    Go, read the fairy lure
    To twist a cord in sand;
    Lodge stones upon the sky,
    Hold water in a sieve,
    Nor give such tales the lie,
    And still thine own believe.

    Whoso with riches deals,
    And thinks peace bought and sold,
    Will find them slipping eels,
    That slide the firmest hold:
    Though sweet as sleep with health
    Thy lulling luck may be,
    Pride may oerstride thy wealth,
    And check prosperity.

    Dost think that beauty's power
    Life sweetest pleasure gives?
    Go, pluck the summer flower,
    And see how long it lives:
    Behold, the rays glide on
    Along the summer plain
    Ere thou canst say "they're gone,"
    And measure beauty's reign.

    Look on the brightest eye,
    Nor teach it to be proud;
    View but the clearest sky,
    And thou shalt find a cloud;
    Nor call each face ye meet
    An angel's, cause it's fair,
    But look beneath your feet,
    And think of what they are.

    Who thinks that love doth live
    In beauty's tempting show,
    Shall find his hopes ungive,
    And melt in reason's thaw.
    Who thinks that pleasure lies
    In every fairy bower,
    Shall oft, to his surprise,
    Find poison in the flower.

    Dost lawless passions grasp?
    Judge not thou deal'st in joy:
    Its flowers but hide the asp,
    Thy revels to destroy.
    Who trusts an harlot's smile,
    And by her wiles are led,
    Plays, with a sword the while
    Hung dropping oer his head.

    Dost doubt my warning song?
    Then doubt the sun gives light,
    Doubt truth to teach thee wrong,
    And wrong alone as right;
    And live as lives the knave,
    Intrigue's deceiving guest;
    Be tyrant, or be slave,
    As suits thy ends the best.

    Or pause amid thy toils
    For visions won and lost,
    And count the fancied spoils,
    If eer they quit the cost:
    And if they still possess
    Thy mind, as worthy things,
    Plat straws with bedlam Bess,
    And call them diamond rings.

    Thy folly's past advice,
    Thy heart's already won,
    Thy fall's above all price,
    So go, and be undone;
    For all who thus prefer
    The seeming great for small
    Shall make wine vinegar,
    And sweetest honey gall.

    Wouldst heed the truths I sing,
    To profit wherewithal,
    Clip folly's wanton wing,
    And keep her within call.
    I've little else to give,
    What thou canst easy try;
    The lesson how to live
    Is but to learn to die.

    Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

    – Solomon
  6. Life

    by Sir Walter Raleigh

    What is our life? A play of passion,
    Our mirth the music of division,
    Our mother's wombs the tiring-houses be,
    Where we are dressed for this short comedy.
    Heaven the judicious sharp spectator is,
    That sits and marks still who doth act amiss.
    Our graves that hide us from the setting sun
    Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
    Thus march we, playing, to our latest rest,
    Only we die in earnest, that's no jest.

  7. What is Life?

    by Samuel Coleridge

    Resembles Life what once was held of Light,
    Too ample in itself for human sight?
    An absolute Self an element ungrounded
    All, that we see, all colours of all shade
    By encroach of darkness made?
    Is very life by consciousness unbounded?
    And all the thoughts, pains, joys of mortal breath,
    A war-embrace of wrestling Life and Death?

  8. To Life

    by Thomas Hardy

    O life with the sad seared face,
    I weary of seeing thee,
    And thy draggled cloak, and thy hobbling pace,
    And thy too-forced pleasantry!

    I know what thou would'st tell
    Of Death, Time, Destiny —
    I have known it long, and know, too, well
    What it all means for me.

    But canst thou not array
    Thyself in rare disguise,
    And feign like truth, for one mad day,
    That Earth is Paradise?

    I'll tune me to the mood,
    And mumm with thee till eve;
    And maybe what as interlude
    I feign, I shall believe!

  9. Each Day a Life

    by Robert William Service

    I count each day a little life,
    With birth and death complete;
    I cloister it from care and strife
    And keep it sane and sweet.

    With eager eyes I greet the morn,
    Exultant as a boy,
    Knowing that I am newly born
    To wonder and to joy.

    And when the sunset splendours wane
    And ripe for rest am I,
    Knowing that I will live again,
    Exultantly I die.

    O that all Life were but a Day
    Sunny and sweet and sane!
    And that at Even I might say:
    "I sleep to wake again."

  10. The Goblet of Life

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Filled is Life's goblet to the brim;
    And though my eyes with tears are dim,
    I see its sparkling bubbles swim,
    And chant a melancholy hymn
    With solemn voice and slow.

    No purple flowers,—no garlands green,
    Conceal the goblet's shade or sheen,
    Nor maddening draughts of Hippocrene,
    Like gleams of sunshine, flash between
    Thick leaves of mistletoe.

    This goblet, wrought with curious art,
    Is filled with waters, that upstart,
    When the deep fountains of the heart,
    By strong convulsions rent apart,
    Are running all to waste.

    And as it mantling passes round,
    With fennel is it wreathed and crowned,
    Whose seed and foliage sun-imbrowned
    Are in its waters steeped and drowned,
    And give a bitter taste.

    Above the lowly plants it towers,
    The fennel, with its yellow flowers,
    And in an earlier age than ours
    Was gifted with the wondrous powers,
    Lost vision to restore.

    It gave new strength, and fearless mood;
    And gladiators, fierce and rude,
    Mingled it in their daily food;
    And he who battled and subdued,
    A wreath of fennel wore.

    Then in Life's goblet freely press,
    The leaves that give it bitterness,
    Nor prize the colored waters less,
    For in thy darkness and distress
    New light and strength they give!

    And he who has not learned to know
    How false its sparkling buhbles show,
    How bitter are the drops of woe,
    With which its brim may overflow,
    He has not learned to live.

    The prayer of Ajax was for light;
    Through all that dark and desperate fight
    The blackness of that noonday night
    He asked but the return of sight,
    To see his foeman's face.

    Let our unceasing, earnest prayer
    Be, too, for light,—for strength to bear
    Our portion of the weight of care,
    That crushes into dumb despair
    One half the human race.

    O suffering, sad humanity!
    O ye afflicted one; who lie
    Steeped to the lips in misery,
    Longing, and yet afraid to die,
    Patient, though sorely tried!

    I pledge you in this cup of grief,
    Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf!
    The Battle of our Life is briet
    The alarm,—the struggle,—the relief,
    Then sleep we side by side.

  11. Life

    by Henry Van Dyke

    Let me but live my life from year to year,
    With forward face and unreluctant soul;
    Not hurrying to, nor turning from the goal;
    Not mourning for the things that disappear
    In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
    From what the future veils; but with a whole
    And happy heart, that pays its toll
    To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.

    So let the way wind up the hill or down,
    O'er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy:
    Still seeking what I sought when but a boy,
    New friendship, high adventure, and a crown,
    My heart will keep the courage of the quest,
    And hope the road's last turn will be the best.

  12. This Life Is All Chequer'd With Pleasures and Woes

    by Thomas Moore

    This life is all chequer'd with pleasures and woes,
    That chase one another like waves of the deep —
    Each brightly or darkly, as onward it flows,
    Reflecting our eyes, as they sparkle or weep.
    So closely our whims on our miseries tread,
    That the laugh is awaked ere the tear can be dried;
    And, as fast as the rain-drop of Pity is shed,
    The goose-plumage of Folly can turn it aside.
    But pledge me the cup — if existence would cloy,
    With hearts ever happy and heads ever wise,
    Be ours the light Sorrow, half-sister to Joy,
    And the light brilliant Folly that flashes and dies.

    When Hylas was sent with his urn to the fount,
    Through fields full of light, and with heart full of play,
    Light rambled the boy, over meadow and mount,
    And neglected his task for the flowers on the way.
    Thus many, like me, who in youth should have tasted
    The fountain that runs by Philosophy's shrine,
    Their time with the flowers on the margin have wasted, And left their light urns all as empty as mine.
    But pledge me the goblet; — while idleness weaves
    These flowerets together, should Wisdom but see
    One bright drop or two that has fall'n on the leaves
    From her fountain divine, 'tis sufficient for me.

  13. The Seasons of Life

  14. The Human Seasons

    by John Keats

    Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
    There are four seasons in the mind of man:
    He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
    Takes in all beauty with an easy span:

    He has his Summer, when luxuriously
    Spring's honeyed cud of youthful thought he loves
    To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
    Is nearest unto Heaven: quiet coves

    His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
    He furleth close; contented so to look
    On mists in idleness—to let fair things
    Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook:—

    He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
    Or else he would forego his mortal nature.

  15. The Changing Seasons

    by Benjamin Hine

    Spring has returned again with all its smiles,
    The aerial songsters have renewed their strains,
    The earliest flowers have bloomed, and Nature
    Seems about to re-assume her youthful robes,
    To put on her gay adorning. Thus is she
    Renovated every year, she has her
    Infancy in spring, her youth in summer,
    Maturer age in autumn, in winter
    Her decay; but not to last forever.

    The spring will soon return, decked in blooming
    Flowers, and reinstate her in all her charms;
    Not so with man; one change of seasons
    Only, is allotted him,—his spring once gone,
    It never is renewed,—his summer ended,—
    It returns no more; his autumn quickly
    Passes into wintry age, followed by
    Swift decay, not to be renovated
    On earth again. How important is it then
    That he should well improve,
    And let no season pass without appropriate
    Application. In infancy, the seeds
    Of virtue and of science may be sown;
    'Tis the office of the kind parental hand,
    Or good instructor, but youth is the all
    Important time, to store the mind with useful
    Knowledge, cultivate the virtues, and train
    The heart to wisdom; this neglected, all
    Is lost; the autumn of his life will come,
    Succeeded by a barren winter, without
    A harvest to supply the wants of either.
    Like the poor husbandman who folds his hands,
    In summer, neglects to cultivate the soil,
    Or to sow his seed in time, the season
    Of fruits to him is fruitless, and his winter
    Without its needed store; hence, poverty
    And want are his drear associates;
    How comfortless that age which follows
    A misspent youth? Short is this lesson,
    Deidamia--follow its dictates
    In thy youth, and in age be blest.

  16. In the Morning of Life

    by Thomas Moore

    In the morning of life, when its cares are unknown,
    And its pleasures in all their new lustre begin,
    When we live in a bright-beaming world of our own,
    And the light that surrounds us is all from within;
    Oh 'tis not, believe me, in that happy time
    We can love, as in hours of less transport we may; —
    Of our smiles, of our hopes, 'tis the gay sunny prime,
    But affection is truest when these fade away.

    When we see the first glory of youth pass us by,
    Like a leaf on the stream that will never return,
    When our cup, which had sparkled with pleasure so high,
    First tastes of the other, the dark-flowing urn;
    Then, then in the time when affection holds sway
    With a depth and a tenderness joy never knew;
    Love, nursed among pleasures, is faithless as they,
    But the love born of Sorrow, like Sorrow, is true.

    In climes full of sunshine, though splendid the flowers,
    Their sighs have no freshness, their odour no worth;
    'Tis the cloud and the mist of our own Isle of showers
    That call the rich spirit of fragrancy forth.
    So it is not 'mid splendour, prosperity, mirth,
    That the depth of Love's generous spirit appears;
    To the sunshine of smiles it may first owe its birth,
    But the soul of its sweetness is drawn out by tears.

  17. To Autumn

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    By the sorrowfu' look o' the hill an' the glen,
    A' stripp'd o' the pride o' the simmer again,
    I ken ye hae come wi' your hoarse, rude breath,
    And pit the green grass an' sweet flowers a' to death.

    Ye wad nae gie a drop o' bright glistenin dew
    To soften the spot where the violet grew—
    An' drooping an' pale, she has pillow'd her head
    Mid your cauld, cauld frost, on her hard death-bed.

    The bird wi' her sang, ye hae bidden to flee
    Frae the comfortless branch o' the shiverin tree;
    While, restless an' harmless, the yellow leaves fly
    'Twixt the dool o' the earth and the scowl o' the sky!

    Ye hae torn the fond tendrils, that closely wad twine
    To baud up their parent the languishin vine,
    An', there's nae a sweet thing the mild simmer could cherish,
    But your sharp fingers nip, till ye ken it maun perish.

    An', when ye hae finished your pitiless doins,
    An' the fields are a' scattered wi' death an' wi' ruins,
    Cauld winter will come, wi' his snaw an' his sleet,
    To hide them frae sight wi' a white windin-sheet.

    How mickle to man are misfortune an' grief,
    Like yoursel to the earth, when ye part branch an' leaf!
    For when the cauld blasts o' adversity blaw,
    Every sweet flower o' joy frae his bosom maun fa'.

    Wi' care he is wasted, an' weary, an' worn—
    The ties o' affection are loosened an' torn,
    Till the spark o' his life, 'mid the ruins, will fail,
    An' his ashes are gien to the clods o' the vale.

    Yet, he may go down in full hope o' the dawn,
    Ayont the dark tomb, o' eternity's morn;
    Where your stern chillin features nae mair will be seen,
    An' the flowers are a' deathless—the fields ever green.

  18. The Time to Get Ready

    by Amos Russel Wells

    "Jockey, little horse-jockey, riding to the race,
    Jaunty is your bearing, confident your face,
    Beautiful your goodly steed so powerful and fleet—
    But what, my little jockey is the matter with his feet?"

    "The shoes are loose, kind stranger. "Their click it is you hear.
    But I myself will fasten them securely, never fear,
    Since I have brought my tools along, to tighten every shoe;
    For while the horse is racing, I'll have nothing else to do!"

    "Jaunty little horse-jockey, with your silly plan,
    You are not more foolish than many a foolish man—
    Up into the saddle, off for the race of life.
    Expecting to get ready in the middle of the strife."

  19. The Banquet

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Though o'er the board the constellations shine,
    Austere the feast for Time's retainers spread,—
    Laughter the salt of life, and love the wine,
    Sleep the sweet herbs, and work the bitter bread.

  20. The Stirrup Cup

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Life at my stirrup lifted wistful eyes,
    And as she gave the parting cup to me,—
    Death's pale companion for the silent sea,—
    "I know," she said, "that land and where it lies.
    A pledge between us now before you go,
    That when you meet me there your soul may know!"

  21. Life

    by Ruby Archer

    The world's a dial, worn by centuries.
    A dark line creeps athwart it, faint of wing,
    Borne from the infinite by God's decrees.
    'Tis life, that as a shadow trackless flees,
    In death-night merged—beyond discovering.

  22. Life

    by Richard Lynott O'Malley

    Life is a rose bush; we hail fortune's blush,
    Nor think of the ills that have tricked us;
    Thus, pleased by the roses we've plucked from the bush,
    We forget the thorns that have pricked us.

  23. The King's Ring

    by Theodore Tilton

    Once in Persia reigned a king
    Who upon his signet ring
    Graved a maxim true and wise
    Which, if held before his eyes,
    Gave him counsel at a glance
    Fit for every change and chance.
    Solemn words; and these are they:
    "Even this shall pass away."

    Trains of camels through the sand
    Brought him gems from Samarcand,
    Fleets of galleys through the seas
    Brought him pearls to match with these;
    But he counted not his gain—
    Treasurer of the mine and main,
    "What is wealth?" the king would say;
    "Even this shall pass away."

    In the revels of his court
    At the zenith of the sport,
    When the palms of all his guests
    Burned with clapping at his jests,
    He, amid his figs and wine,
    Cried: "O loving friends of mine!
    Pleasures come, but not to stay,
    Even this shall pass away."

    Fighting on a furious field
    Once a javelin pierced his shield;
    Soldiers with loud lament
    Bore him bleeding to his tent,
    Groaning with his tortured side.
    "Pain is hard to bear," he cried;
    "But with patience day by day,
    Even this shall pass away."

    Struck with palsy, sere and old,
    Waiting at the gates of gold,
    Spake he with his dying breath:
    "Life is done, but what is death?"
    Then, in answer to the king,
    Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
    Showing by a heavenly ray:
    "Even this shall pass away."

  24. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

    by Francis William Bourdillon

    The night has a thousand eyes,
    And the day but one;
    Yet the light of the bright world dies
    With the dying sun.

    The mind has a thousand eyes,
    And the heart but one:
    Yet the light of a whole life dies
    When love is done.

  25. Life in Nature

    by Arthur Weir

    Life grows not more nor less; it is but force
    And only changes;
    Expended here, it takes another course,
    And ever ranges
    Throughout this circling universe of ours,
    Now quickening man, now in his grave-grown flowers.

    Yet dwells life not alone in man and beast
    And budding flowers.
    It lurks in all things, from the very least
    Gleam in dark bowers
    Of the great sun, through stones, and sea, and air,
    Up to ourselves, in Nature everywhere.

    Life differs from the soul. This is beyond
    The realms of science;
    God and mankind it joins in closest bond,
    And bids defiance
    To Death and Change. By faith alone confessed,
    It dwells within our bodies as a guest.

    The germ of life sleeps in the aged hills
    And stately rivers,
    And wakes into the life our hearts that thrills
    And in leaves quivers.
    The universe is one great reservoir
    From which man draws of thinking life his store.

    And, therefore, is it that the weary brain,
    That seeks communion
    With Nature in her haunts, finds strength again
    In that close union:
    She is our mother and the mind distressed
    Drinks a new draught of life at her loved breast.

  26. Life is Too Short

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Life is too short for any vain regretting;
    Let dead delight bury its dead, I say,
    And let us go upon our way forgetting
    The joys, and sorrows, of each yesterday.
    Between the swift sun's rising and its setting,
    We have no time for useless tears or fretting,
    Life is too short.

    Life is too short for any bitter feeling;
    Time is the best avenger if we wait,
    The years speed by, and on their wings bear healing,
    We have no room for anything like hate.
    This solemn truth the low mounds seem revealing
    That thick and fast about our feet are stealing,
    Life is too short.

    Life is too short for aught but high endeavor,—
    Too short for spite, but long enough for love.
    And love lives on forever and forever,
    It links the worlds that circle on above;
    'Tis God's first law, the universe's lever.
    In His vast realm the radiant souls sigh never
    "Life is too short."

  27. Life

    by Edgar A. Guest

    Life is a jest;
    Take the delight of it.
    Laughter is best;
    Sing through the night of it.
    Swiftly the tear
    And the hurt and the ache of it
    Find us down here;
    Life must be what we make of it.

    Life is a song;
    Let us dance to the thrill of it.
    Grief's hours are long,
    And cold is the chill of it.
    Joy is man's need;
    Let us smile for the sake of it.
    This be our creed:
    Life must be what we make of it.

    Life is a soul;
    The virtue and vice of it.
    Strife for a goal,
    And man's strength is the price of it.
    Your life and mine,
    The bare bread and the cake of it,
    End in this line:
    Life must be what we make of it.

  28. A Symbol

    by Mathilde Blind

    Hurrying for ever in their restless flight
    The generations of earth's teeming womb
    Rise into being and lapse into the tomb
    Like transient bubbles sparkling in the light;
    They sink in quick succession out of sight
    Into the thick insuperable gloom
    Our futile lives in flashing by illume—
    Lightning which mocks the darkness of the night.

    Nay—but consider, though we change and die,
    If men must pass shall Man not still remain?
    As the unnumbered drops of summer rain
    Whose changing particles unchanged on high,
    Fixed, in perpetual motion, yet maintain
    The mystic bow emblazoned on the sky.

  29. The Village Blacksmith

    Onward through life he goes;
    Each morning sees some task begin,
    Each evening sees it close
    Something attempted, something done,
    Has earned a night's repose.

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Village Blacksmith
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Under a spreading chestnut-tree
    The village smithy stands;
    The smith, a mighty man is he,
    With large and sinewy hands;
    And the muscles of his brawny arms
    Are strong as iron bands.

    His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
    His face is like the tan;
    His brow is wet with honest sweat,
    He earns whate'er he can,
    And looks the whole world in the face,
    For he owes not any man.

    Week in, week out, from morn till night,
    You can hear his bellows blow;
    You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
    With measured beat and slow,
    Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
    When the evening sun is low.

    And children coming home from school
    Look in at the open door;
    They love to see the flaming forge,
    And bear the bellows roar,
    And catch the burning sparks that fly
    Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

    He goes on Sunday to the church,
    And sits among his boys;
    He hears the parson pray and preach,
    He hears his daughter's voice,
    Singing in the village choir,
    And it makes his heart rejoice.

    It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
    Singing in Paradise!
    He needs must think of her once more,
    How in the grave she lies;
    And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
    A tear out of his eyes.

    Onward through life he goes;
    Each morning sees some task begin,
    Each evening sees it close
    Something attempted, something done,
    Has earned a night's repose.

    Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
    For the lesson thou hast taught!
    Thus at the flaming forge of life
    Our fortunes must be wrought;
    Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
    Each burning deed and thought.

  30. At the Mill

    by Freeman E. Miller

    The water-wheel goes 'round and 'round
    With heavy sighs of mournful sound,
    While dismal cries and weary moans
    Unite with sad and tearful groans,
    And weeping waves of water throw
    Afar the echoes of their sadness,
    And cadences of plaintive woe
    Dispel each little note of gladness.

    My daily life goes 'round and 'round,
    And rest for me is never found;
    The sobbing dirges of distress
    Are more than songs of happiness;
    The shadows of despairing doom
    Condemn to-day and curse to-morrow,
    And muffled terrors fill the gloom
    Which offers anguish to my sorrow.

    But hope, O, heart, for future weal!
    The waters rest beyond the wheel;
    So life may sing when toil is done
    And all its battles lost or won.
    There lives a sweeter music there,
    Of gentle and melodious measure.
    Where weeping never comes and where
    The ages perish into pleasure.

  31. All the world's a stage

    by William Shakespeare

    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,
    His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
    And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
    His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

  32. Old and New

    by Anonymous

    We are passing another mile-stone,
    Another school-year’s done;
    One more chapter of life is written
    A few more threads are spun.

    Life’s a journey, a school, a story,
    Our best it doth demand;
    ’Tis a fabric; it should be woven
    With steadfast heart and hand.

    But we’ve faltered, half learned our lessons,
    The story who will read?
    And we’ve carelessly marred life’s texture,
    A record poor indeed.

    Yet our errors, our failures shall be
    At length our best success;
    If we store up their choicest teachings'
    For future helpfulness.

    We have trodden the old year’s pathway,
    We enter on the new;
    God hath brightened them both with mercies,
    To Him all praise is due.

    Let us study the matchless story,
    The life-work of His son,
    Till the volume of life is finished,
    Until the web is spun.

    28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    – Romans 8:28
  33. Lives and Leaves

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    Our lives are like the leaves
    That waken to the sun;
    Some fall from airy heights
    Ere Youth has scarce begun;

    And some are tempest tost,
    By an opposing power,
    And driven blindly on
    With every passing hour.

    Some cling to their support,
    In darkness and in light,
    And grow from day to day
    More perfect, strong, and bright.

    God grant that lives and leaves,
    When sunny days are past,
    May find, from adverse winds,
    A resting-place at last.

  34. Pleasure-Seekers

    by Ruby Archer

    The world is sad with seekers after pleasure.
    Blind eyes deny—they will not see.
    The greatest joys defy their paltry measure
    With worth of simple dignity.

  35. Drink Deep

    by Ruby Archer

    Stern Life is in a lavish mood to-day.
    She holds a brimming beaker to our lips.
    Sweet wine of love—ah, put it not away!
    Drink deep, dear heart. Life will not wait for sips.

  36. Time

    by Hilda Conkling

    Time is a harp
    That plays to you till you fall asleep;
    You are always spending it away
    Like a music . . .
    Suddenly you are left alone
    On a trail of wind.

    The mountains were asleep
    Long ago!
    Listen . . . the tune is changing . . .
    Do you hear it?
    You will sleep too
    Before long . . .

  37. April Time

    by Ruby Archer

    What's in the bud
    Is aye the sweetest,
    Is aye completest.

    Tho' from our lips
    Fair words be flowing,
    Thoughts bide at heart
    More worth the knowing.

    Songs in the soul
    Excel our singing,
    Birds in the nest
    Faint not in winging.

    Still must we seek,
    Fathom the glooming.
    Life's in the bud!
    Oh, speed the blooming!

  38. Life a Book

    by Ellwood Roberts

    Life is a book, 'tis said, on whose blank pages
    A record fair or full of blots we trace;
    Each thought, each word, each act, to last thro' ages,
    Is stamped in characters none can efface.

    How are we writing? how this record keeping?
    Each page shows gain or loss on that before.
    If gain be ours we have no cause for weeping,
    Joy reigns; but loss brings sorrow evermore.

  39. Joy and Duty

    by Henry Van Dyke

    "Joy is a Duty,"—so with golden lore
    The Hebrew rabbis taught in days of yore,
    And happy human hearts heard in their speech
    Almost the highest wisdom man can reach.

    But one bright peak still rises far above,
    And there the Master stands whose name is Love,
    Saying to those whom weary tasks employ:
    "Life is divine when Duty is a Joy."

  40. Transformation

    by Henry Van Dyke

    Only a little shrivelled seed,
    It might be flower, or grass, or weed;
    Only a box of earth on the edge
    Of a narrow, dusty window-ledge;
    Only a few scant summer showers;
    Only a few clear shining hours;
    That was all. Yet God could make
    Out of these, for a sick child's sake,
    A blossom-wonder, as fair and sweet
    As ever broke at an angel's feet.

    Only a life of barren pain,
    Wet with sorrowful tears for rain,
    Warmed sometimes by a wandering gleam
    Of joy, that seemed but a happy dream;
    A life as common and brown and bare
    As the box of earth in the window there;
    Yet it bore, at last, the precious bloom
    Of a perfect soul in that narrow room;
    Pure as the snowy leaves that fold
    Over the flower's heart of gold.

  41. Undergrowth

    by Douglas Malloch

    It ain't the trees that block the trail,
    It ain't the ash or pine;
    For, if you fall or if you fail,
    It was some pesky vine
    That tripped you up, that threw you down,
    That caught you unawares:
    The big things you can walk aroun'—
    But watch the way for snares.

    In life it ain't the biggest things
    That make the hardest load;
    It ain't the burden big that brings
    Defeat upon the road.
    Some fault you hardly knew you had
    May hurt more than you think—
    Some little habit that is bad
    May put you on the blink.

  42. So live your life

    by Tecumseh

    So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
    Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
    Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
    Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
    Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

    Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
    Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

    When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
    If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
    Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

    When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
    Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

  43. Halcyon Days

    by Ruby Archer

    My days drift by like white-winged craft
    Upon the summer seas,
    Manned all with fancies, fore and aft,
    And captains of caprice.

    Yo ho, yo-e-ho,
    Let gentle winds blow,
    With ever the water blue.
    Yo ho, yo-e-ho,
    For how do we know
    We could weather a tempest through?

  44. Solitude

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Laugh, and the world laughs with you,
    Weep, and you weep alone;
    For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
    But has trouble enough of its own.

    Sing, and the hills will answer,
    Sigh, it is lost on the air;
    The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
    But shirk from voicing care.

    Rejoice and men will seek you;
    Grieve, and they turn and go;
    They want full measure of all your pleasure,
    But they do not need your woe.

    Be glad, and your friends are many;
    Be sad, and you lose them all,
    There are none to decline your nectar'd wine,
    But alone you must drink life's gall.

    Feast, and your halls are crowded;
    Fast, and the world goes by;
    Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
    But no man can help you die.

    There is room in the halls of pleasure
    For a large and lordly train,
    But one by one we must all file on
    Through the narrow aisle of pain.

  45. Life

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
    A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,
    A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
    And never a laugh but the moans come double;
    And that is life!

    A crust and a corner that love makes precious,
    With a smile to warm and the tears to refresh us;
    And joy seems sweeter when cares come after,
    And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter;
    And that is life!

  46. Life's Tragedy

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    It may be misery not to sing at all,
    And to go silent through the brimming day;
    It may be misery never to be loved,
    But deeper griefs than these beset the way.

    To sing the perfect song,
    And by a half-tone lost the key,
    There the potent sorrow, there the grief,
    The pale, sad staring of Life's Tragedy.

    To have come near to the perfect love,
    Not the hot passion of untempered youth,
    But that which lies aside its vanity,
    And gives, for thy trusting worship, truth.

    This, this indeed is to be accursed,
    For if we mortals love, or if we sing,
    We count our joys not by what we have,
    But by what kept us from that perfect thing.

  47. Expectation

    by Frances Anne Kemble

    Too bright the glance your wishes sent
    Into the future's day,
    Too sweet the trust on which you leant,
    Not to give way.

    Oh ever in this treacherous world,
    If you your peace would prize,
    Keep Expectation's quick wings furled,
    And veil Hope's eyes.

    Sad though it be to lose these gay
    Phantoms at least of bliss;
    To watch them slowly fade away
    Is worse than this.

  48. Hold the Light

    by Rebecca Smith Pollard

    Ho! thou traveler on life's highway,
    Moving carelessly along;
    Pausing not to note the darkness
    Lowering o'er the struggling throng;
    Waiting not to mark how feebly
    Some are laboring in the fight,
    Bending on thee wistful glances,—
    Turn aside, and hold the light!

    Look! upon thy right a brother
    Wanders blindly from the way;
    And upon thy left a sister,
    Frail and erring, turns astray.
    One kind word, perchance, may save them,
    Guide their wayward steps aright;
    Canst thou, then, withhold thy counsel?
    No! but fly, and hold the light!

    Hark! a feeble wail of anguish
    Bursts from the advancing throng,
    And a little child is groping
    Through the shadows deep and long.
    'Tis a timid orphan, sinking
    'Neath misfortune's withering blight;
    Friends, home, love, are all denied her:
    Oh, in pity hold the light!

    Not alone in heathen darkness,
    Where the pagan bows the knee,
    Worshiping his senseless image
    With a blind idolatry,—
    Where no blessed gospel teachings
    E'er illume the soul's dark night,
    Comes the cry to listless mortals,
    Wild and pleading, "Hold the light!"

    Here as well, in life's broad highway,
    Are benighted wanderers found;
    And if all the strong would aid them,
    Lights would glimmer all around.
    Acts of love and deeds of kindness
    Then would make our pathway bright,
    And we'd have no need of calling,
    "Ho! thou traveler, hold the light!"

  49. As You Go Through Life

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Don't look for the flaws as you go through life;
    And even when you find them,
    It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind,
    And look for the virtue behind them;
    For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
    Somewhere in its shadows hiding:
    It's better by far to hunt for a star,
    Than the spots on the sun abiding.

    The current of life runs ever away
    To the bosom of God's great ocean.
    Don't set your force 'gainst the river's course,
    And think to alter its motion.
    Don't waste a curse on the universe,
    Remember, it lived before you:
    Don't butt at the storm with your puny form,
    But bend and let it go o'er you.

    The world will never adjust itself
    To suit your whims to the letter,
    Some things must go wrong, your whole life long,
    And the sooner you know it the better.
    It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
    And go under at last in the wrestle,
    The wiser man shapes into God's plan,
    As water shapes into a vessel.

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

– Robert Frost

Poems About the Stages of Life

Poems About the Relationships of Life

Poems About the Aspects of Life

Poems About the Experiences of Life

Poems About Character and the Well Lived Life

Poems About the Celebrations, Holidays, and Special Moments of Life

Christian Poems

Poems About the World Around Us

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