Poems by Theme


Lowell, Amy


Happiness, to some, elation;
Is, to others, mere stagnation.
Days of passive somnolence,
At its wildest, indolence.
Hours of empty quietness,
No delight, and no distress.

Happiness to me is wine,
Effervescent, superfine.
Full of tang and fiery pleasure,
Far too hot to leave me leisure
For a single thought beyond it.
Drunk! Forgetful! This the bond: it
Means to give one's soul to gain
Life's quintessence. Even pain
Pricks to livelier living, then
Wakes the nerves to laugh again,
Rapture's self is three parts sorrow.
Although we must die to-morrow,
Losing every thought but this;
Torn, triumphant, drowned in bliss.

Happiness: We rarely feel it.
I would buy it, beg it, steal it,
Pay in coins of dripping blood
For this one transcendent good.

Service, Robert

My Inner Life

'Tis true my garments threadbare are,
And sorry poor I seem;
But inly I am richer far
Than any poet's dream.
For I've a hidden life no one
Can ever hope to see;
A sacred sanctuary none
May share with me.

Aloof I stand from out the strife,
Within my heart a song;
By virtue of my inner life
I to myself belong.
Against man-ruling I rebel,
Yet do not fear defeat,
For to my secret citadel
I may retreat.

Oh you who have an inner life
Beyond this dismal day
With wars and evil rumours rife,
Go blessedly your way.
Your refuge hold inviolate;
Unto yourself be true,
And shield serene from sordid fate
The Real You.

Djanikian, Gregory

Mind | Body

How do they survive, riven
as they are, the one undoing
the other's desire?

Tell the body to outrun
the mind, and the mind smirks,
whispering too loudly
this way this way,
blocking all the exits.

And the body, luxurious
sensualist by pool side or in bed,
doesn't it hear the mind's
impatient machinery ticking
it's time it's time?

And only in our mind's eye,
as we're fond of saying,
someone else's body leaping nimbly
in jets of thought, or revealing
to us Act V, scene iii
in one gestural flourish,
body and mind beautifully

Oh, the mind is eely, slipping
out of its puzzle boxes,
loving its own wit.

And the earnest body: speak of it
with the least irony, and already
you've begun to unnerve it.

Better to let them have their way,
forgetting about them both
until they meet again sometime
as if for the first time
in library or steam room
ready to shake hello

or lead you to whatever door there is
and always the two sets of stairs.

Marvel, Andrew

A Dialogue between the Soul and the Body

O who shall, from this dungeon, raise
A soul enslav’d so many ways?
With bolts of bones, that fetter’d stands
In feet, and manacled in hands;
Here blinded with an eye, and there
Deaf with the drumming of an ear;
A soul hung up, as ’twere, in chains
Of nerves, and arteries, and veins;
Tortur’d, besides each other part,
In a vain head, and double heart.

O who shall me deliver whole
From bonds of this tyrannic soul?
Which, stretch’d upright, impales me so
That mine own precipice I go;
And warms and moves this needless frame,
(A fever could but do the same)
And, wanting where its spite to try,
Has made me live to let me die.
A body that could never rest,
Since this ill spirit it possest.

What magic could me thus confine
Within another’s grief to pine?
Where whatsoever it complain,
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain;
And all my care itself employs;
That to preserve which me destroys;
Constrain’d not only to endure
Diseases, but, what’s worse, the cure;
And ready oft the port to gain,
Am shipwreck’d into health again.

But physic yet could never reach
The maladies thou me dost teach;
Whom first the cramp of hope does tear,
And then the palsy shakes of fear;
The pestilence of love does heat,
Or hatred’s hidden ulcer eat;
Joy’s cheerful madness does perplex,
Or sorrow’s other madness vex;
Which knowledge forces me to know,
And memory will not forego.
What but a soul could have the wit
To build me up for sin so fit?
So architects do square and hew
Green trees that in the forest grew.

Walter, Howard Arnold

My Creed

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be friend of all- the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift.
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up- and laugh- and love- and lift



Standing for what you believe in,
Regardless of the odds against you,
and the pressure that tears at your resistance,
... means courage.
Keeping a smile on your face,
When inside you feel like dying,
For the sake of supporting others,
... means strength.
Stopping at nothing,
And doing what's in your heart,
You know is right,
... means determination.
Doing more than is expected,
To make another's life a little more bearable,
Without uttering a single complaint,
... means compassion.
Helping a friend in need,
No matter the time or effort,
To the best of your ability,
... means loyalty.
Giving more than you have,
And expecting nothing,
But nothing in return,
... means selflessness.
Holding your head high,
And being the best you know you can be
When life seems to fall apart at your feet,
Facing each difficulty with the confidence
That time will bring you better tomorrows,
And never giving up,
... means confidence.


Keep Believing In Yourself

There may be days
when you get up in the morning
and things aren't the way
you had hoped they would be.
That's when you have to
tell yourself that things will get better.
There are times when people
disappoint you and let you down,
but those are the times
when you must remind yourself
to trust your own judgments and opinions,
to keep your life focused on believing in yourself
and all that you are capable of.
There will be challenges to face
and changes to make in your life,
and it is up to you to accept them.
Constantly keep yourself headed
in the right direction for you.
It may not be easy at times,
but in those times of struggle
you will find a stronger sense of who you are,
So when the days come that are filled
with frustration and unexpected responsibilities,
remember to believe in yourself
and all you want your life to be,
because the challenges and changes
will only help you to find the goals
that you know are meant to come true for you.


It's Up To You

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true.
One life can make the difference,
You see, IT'S UP TO YOU!


Don't Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high;
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit --
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are;
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you're hardest hit --
It's when things go wrong that you mustn't quit.

Leming, Lisa G

House of Secrets

Sometimes it takes a while to find
What matters most is in the mind
Who is the guard and who the keeper
To this little house of secrets?
Where is the lock that holds the key
To secrets safe inside of me?
I may not have great wealth or talent
But I may choose to love or not
Surrounded by a swirling mist
Just like a prelude to a kiss
When I look within and see
There are no locks inside of me
There are no locks upon these doors
Only wide and open moors
Where I am free to come and go
And ask just what I want to know