Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Invictus is a poem that testifies of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of difficulties. It inspires to face whatever may come one’s way with strength and courage..
William Ernest Henley is a testament to this resilience as his inspiration was his battle with tuberculosis of the bone — which has caused him years of pain. Even with the disease forcing doctors to cut off one of his legs, he chose not to let this circumstance dictate his life and chose to power through the remainder of his life.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
A love so pure that even supernatural forces had plotted against them to tear them apart out of their jealousy; this is what the poem speaks of. Even with Annabel Lee's death, the speaker in the poem affirms his strong feelings towards her, showing us that not even death is strong enough to pull them apart.
Scholars had said that the poem is based on his young wife Virginia Clemm who died of tuberculosis in 1987.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Browning
For 40 years, Elizabeth had lived under her controlling father's household. Her only escape was writing poetry. It was there that she meets English Poet Robert Browning, who was a fan of her work. They eventually fall in love and elope to Italy, giving her the freedom she had desired.
This sonnet is her way of showing her love and gratitude to the man that had saved her from her reclusive lifestyle.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
If – by Rudyard Kipling
If – is a poem that defines how one must act and carry themselves to be a respectable person. It inspires its readers on how to deal with day-to-day issues accordingly and to push them to believe in themselves more.
Kipling wrote this poem primarily for his son. He shares his own beliefs in life, in the hopes of his son following them as he grows up.
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!
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
In her autobiography with the same title as the poem, she tells us her feelings and struggles as a woman of color. She felt that the world still treated them as slaves and restricted them of many things.
The poem gives us her point of view on her hardships and uses the example of a free and caged bird in her poem to express her feelings about freedom and isolation.
The caged bird sings
With a fearful trill
Of things unknown
But longed for still
And his tune is heard
On the distant hill
For the caged bird
Sings of freedom.
What are other poems that you think people should read? Let me know down the comments! Feel free to contact me through twitter or visit my Facebook and Goodreads profile for updates on my future projects.