This collection of inspiring poetry has been lovingly compiled from various public domain sources and represents those poems I have found to be the most uplifting and inspirational.
These poems are all personal favourites with the exception of the Ode to Googlebot, which is my own poem; and is really a bit of a joke.
If you feel you are in need of inspiration, then take your time and let these words really sink-in.
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,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat these two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
It Couldn’t be Done
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But, he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, as he did it.
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one we know has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle right in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That cannot be done, and you’ll do it
A smile costs nothing, but gives much-
It takes but a moment, but the memory of it usually lasts forever.
None are so rich that can get along without it-
And none are so poor but that can be made rich by it.
It enriches those who receive, without making poor those who give-
It creates sunshine in the home,
Fosters good will in business,
And is the best antidote for trouble-
And yet it cannot be begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is of no value
Unless it is given away.
Some people are too busy to give you a smile-
Give them one of yours-
For the good Lord knows that no one needs a smile so badly
As he or she who has no more smiles left to give.
If You Think You are Beaten
Walter D. Wintle
If The Road Not Taken It Couldn’t be Done A Smile If You Think You are Beaten
In Whom Men Condemn If I Knew You Ode to Googlebot More Poems
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
Men Whom Men Condemn as Ill
In men whom men condemn as ill
I find so much of goodness still,
In men whom men pronounce divine
I find so much of sin and blot,
I do not dare to draw a line
Between the two, where God has not.
If I Knew You & You Knew Me
If I knew you and you knew me,
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight divine,
The meaning of your heart and mine,
I’m sure that we would differ less,
And clasp our hands in friendliness;
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree,
If I knew you and you knew me.
Ode to Googlebot
Oh Googlebot though art quick !
The invisible spider
that crawls in the night,
through the howling scorn,
Hath (finally) found my bed
of blue and orange joy.
And his dark secrets found
doth now life bestow.
(That’s a bit of assonance! – ‘Getting the rhyme wrong’ – Rita in Educating Rita)