117 Life Is Short Poems to Make You Think

Life is short, and before we know it, our time here on earth will be up.

Yet here we are rushing through our days without stopping to reflect on what matters most in life.

Even the great Irish poet and playwright late Oscar Wilde once said “life is too important to be taken seriously” – a quote that serves as an important reminder for us all to slow down and appreciate the moment.

Taking this into account, what better way to meditate upon life’s preciousness than by reading deep and meaningful poems about life?

So here we’ve gathered some best life is short poems which aimed at helping you contemplate your existence within this universe!

Best Life Is Short Poems

These best life is short poems will remind you that every moment is precious and that time is a limited resource. They’ll also encourage you to take risks and pursue your dreams, knowing that life is too short to waste on regrets. So, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, we highly recommend checking out these poems.

1. Falling Leaves

       by Colfax Burgoyne Harman

The leaves are falling fast.
The green soon turns to gray.
Life, color, beauty past,
Then death and swift decay.
The years are flying fast.
Our heads will soon be gray,
Ambition, power, past,
Then comes the final day.
O joy, while joy yet thrills!
Aye love, while love is ours.
Procrastination kills.
Frost withers fragrant flowers.
Dear Love, e’er eyes grow dim,
E’er hearts grow strangely cold,
Pray heed the prayer of him
Whose grief is unconsoled.

2. I’m Free

       by Anonymous

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free.

3. The Selfish Aim

       by Doris Kenyon

He sought it in life’s fresh and dewy morn;
In misty woodlands where the shadows lay;
In summer fields amid the ripening corn;
In meadows sweet with hay.
Nor khamsin winds nor winter’s vulpine tooth
Could daunt him, nor a thousand anxious fears,
For still he sought the fount of endless youth
Through long and bitter years.
Nor did he find it on the hoary hills,
Among whose splintered crags he toiled in vain,
Where the long thunder rolls and torn cloud spills
Its cold and barren rain.
He sought it by the ocean’s tawny sands;
Amid forgotten cities, gray and old;
Love could not woo him with her beckoning hands,
Nor friendship, fame nor gold.
Then to the desert turned his weary feet.
The unattained still luring all his soul,
Till his strained eyes athwart the dazzling heat
Beheld at length his goal.
And there he digged, with heart grown old and seared,
Until he found the spring, when lo! he stood
Ringed round with mountains he himself had reared,
And perished in the solitude.

4. The Passing of the Cabin

       by Horace Dumont Herr

The little log cabin
In the edge of the wood
Stands lone and forsaken
Thro’ sunshine and flood.
The oaks throw their shadows,
And the cottonwoods too,
Upon the old roof-boards,
And rains filter through.
The fox-squirrel climbs o’er it,
And he gnaws there his nut;
There oft the quail perches,
And whistles his note.
There saucy woodpeckers
With their hammers o£t beat
On logs old and wormy,
Then crow and retreat.
The window is boarded,
And the chinking drops out;
Nailed up is the fireplace,
And weeds grow about.
The door with its latch-string
From its wood-hinge is torn,
On hinges of metal
Another is borne.
Near by is a railway,
And behind is a road;
But fronts to the forest
This hut of the wood.
The cabin is haunted.
But be free of your fears,
‘Tis haunted with visions
Of brave pioneers.
Draw near this log temple,
Open softly its door;
Hang wasp-nests above you,
Old traps crowd the floor.
A shell that’s left stranded
By an outgoing tide,
Stands mutely the cabin
The clearing beside.
Without and within it
Are the marks of decay;
The hut, like its master,
Is passing away.
The rays of the morning
The woods veil away,
But sunset glows o’er it
At close of the day.

5. The Paradox of Time

       by Austin Dobson

Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go;
Or else, were this not so,
What need to chain the hours,
For Youth were always ours?
Time goes, you say?—ah no!
Ours is the eyes’ deceit
Of men whose flying feet
Lead through some landscape low;
We pass, and think we see
The earth’s fixed surface flee:—
Alas, Time stays,—we go!
Once in the days of old,
Your locks were curling gold,
And mine had shamed the crow.
Now, in the self-same stage,
We’ve reached the silver age;
Time goes, you say?—ah no!
Once, when my voice was strong,
I filled the woods with song
To praise your “rose” and “snow”;
My bird, that sang, is dead;
Where are your roses fled?
Alas, Time stays,—we go!
See, in what traversed ways,
What backward Fate delays
The hopes we used to know;
Where are our old desires?—
Ah, where those vanished fires?
Time goes, you say?—ah no!
How far, how far, O Sweet,
The past behind our feet
Lies in the even-glow!
Now, on the forward way,
Let us fold hands, and pray;
Alas, Time stays,—we go!

6. Don’t Quit

       by Edgar Albert Guest

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.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup;
and he learned too late when the night came down,
how close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and when you never can 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 seem worst, you must not quit.

7. Finding Hope

       by Pat A. Fleming

I’ve always viewed life from the side lines,
Just watching it pass me by.
In the past, too afraid to just let go and live,
And lately too tired to try.

I’ve envied the people around me
So invested in living each day,
While I spent my time hiding out from the world
And searching for ways to escape.

For most of my life I truly believed
I was here to help somebody else,
But now it’s so clear it was just an excuse.
To avoid living life for myself.

It’s sad that our lives and the pain we endure
Can weaken our strength to move on,
But if we get lost in the scars of our past,
Without knowing our lives will be gone.

It’s true, people are disappointing,
They can turn in the blink of an eye,
But we can’t avoid hurting each other,
When we all want a chance at this life.

But there’s something I’ve learned through the wisdom of age,
A truth about all of our lives,
And that is no matter what path we each take,
In the end, we just want to survive.

So the time has now come to conquer my fears
And to stand up and face a new day.
Let the hurts of my past wash away with my tears
And stop letting my life slip away.

8. Opportunity

       by Berton Braley

With doubt and dismay you are smitten
You think there’s no chance for you, son?
Why, the best books haven’t been written
The best race hasn’t been run,
The best score hasn’t been made yet,
The best song hasn’t been sung,
The best tune hasn’t been played yet,
Cheer up, for the world is young!

No chance? Why the world is just eager
For things that you ought to create
Its store of true wealth is still meager
Its needs are incessant and great,
It yearns for more power and beauty
More laughter and love and romance,
More loyalty, labor and duty,
No chance- why there’s nothing but chance!


For the best verse hasn’t been rhymed yet,
The best house hasn’t been planned,
The highest peak hasn’t been climbed yet,
The mightiest rivers aren’t spanned,
Don’t worry and fret, faint hearted,
The chances have just begun,
For the Best jobs haven’t been started,
The Best work hasn’t been done.

9. Faith and Courage in Life

       by Angie M Flores

In life there are people that will hurt us and cause us pain,
but we must learn to forgive and forget and not hold grudges.

In life there are mistakes we will make,
but we must learn from our wrongs and grow from them.

In life there are regrets we will have to live with,
but we must learn to leave the past behind and realize it is something we can’t change.

In life there are people we will lose forever and can’t have back,
but we must learn to let go and move on.

In life there are going to be obstacles that will cause interference,
but we must learn to overcome these challenges and grow stronger.

In life there are fears that will hold us back from what we want,
but we must learn to fight them with the courage from within.

God holds our lives in his hands. He holds the key to our future.
Only he knows our fate.


He sees everything and knows everything.
Everything in life really does happen for a reason: “God’s Reason”

10. The True Meaning of Life

       by Pat A. Fleming

The years have passed by,
In the blink of an eye,
Moments of sadness,
And joy has flown by.

People I loved,
Have come and have gone,
But the world never stopped,
And we all carried on.

Life wasn’t easy,
And the struggles were there,
Filled with times that it mattered,
Times I just didn’t care.

I stood on my own,
And I still found my way,
Through some nights filled with tears,
And the dawn of new days.

And now with old age,
It’s become very clear,
Things I once found important,
Were not why I was here.

And how many things,
That I managed to buy,
Were never what made me,
Feel better inside.

And the worries and fears,
That plagued me each day,
In the end of it all,
Would just fade away.

But how much I reached out,
To others when needed,
Would be the true measure,
Of how I succeeded.

And how much I shared,
Of my soul and my heart,
Would ultimately be,
What set me apart.

And what’s really important,
Is my opinion of me,
And whether or not,
I’m the best I can be.

And how much more kindness,
And love I can show,
Before the Lord tells me,
It’s my time to go.

11. If

       by Rudyard Kipling

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 those 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!

12. Shine

       by Anonymous

Life is something we all share,
Just like oxygen in the air.
The way we live it, is up to us,
With a negative or with a plus.

Life is something we should cherish,
We never know when we’ll perish.
Live each and every single day,
Smell the flowers, stop and play.

Life is something we’ve been blessed,
Choice is yours; choose your quest.
Follow your passions, and you’ll be fine,
With the right attitude, you will shine.

13. Perseverance

       by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We must not hope to be mowers,
And to gather the ripe, golden ears,
Unless we have first been sowers,
And watered the flowers with tears.

It is not just as we take it,
This wonderful world of ours
Life’s field will yield as we make it
A harvest of thorns or of flowers.

14. Unity

       by Susan Coolidge

If I were told that I must die to-morrow,
That the next sun
Which sinks should bear one past all fear and sorrow
For anyone,
All the fight fought, all the short journey through:
What should I do?
I do not think that I should shrink or falter,
But just go on,
Doing my work, nor change, nor seek to alter
Aught that is gone;
But rise and move and love and smile and pray
For one more day.

15. Struggles Come Your Way

       by Catherine Pulsifer

Just because struggles come your way
Doesn’t mean it can ruin your day
The good and the bad are a way of life
Don’t get down; move beyond the strife.

We must live life, taking things in stride
Helping each other, stopping any divide
Life is better when we support and love
And that is what’s expected from above.

You see, we were given choices to make
We are not robots; we are not fake
So if you’re faced with a trial or two
Don’t give up; let others help you through.

16. A Life Built

       by William Arthur Ward

A life built on the sands of celebrity
Can be wrecked by the rains of reverses.

A life built on the sands of materialism
Can be destroyed by the floods of adversity.

A life built on the sands of pleasure
Can be blown down by the winds of disillusionment.

Only the life that is built on the rock of character
Can withstand the tempests of time.

16. Paint Your Life

       by Anonymous

Life is like a piece of art,
It requires lots of heart.
Choose your paint and your brush,
Take your time, avoid the rush.

Before you paint, choose your theme,
Don’t be afraid to follow your dream.
It’s alright to make a mistake.
Your painting is real; it’s not fake.

Look at your painting, don’t be crying,
Begin again; keep on trying.
Your painting is never fully complete,
Enjoy the process; make sure it’s sweet.

17. When Does Life Begin

       by Catherine Pulsifer

Does life begin when you obtain more things?
Or does life begin when you make big earnings?
Does life begin when tomorrow dawns
Or does tomorrow just make you yawn?

The only life we have to live
Is today the day we have to give
Don’t wait for a certain thing
For happiness to bring.

Live each day and live it full
Don’t waste it and be a fool
Begin each day and be thankful for
All that the day has in store!

18. Time Is Swift

       by Anonymous

Pluck the rose while blooming;
Now ’tis fresh and bright;
Wait not till to-morrow;
Time is swift in flight.

Do thy deeds of kindness.
Ere to-morrow’s light;
What may come, we know not;
Time is swift in flight.

Wouldst thou make life useful.
Work before ’tis night;
Else thou’lt be regretting.
Time is swift in flight.

19. Bumpy Ride

       by by Anonymous

Life has many ups and downs,
Loving smiles and also frowns.
Good events and some are bad,
Happy emotions, others mad.
It can be a bumpy ride,
How you handle it, you decide!

20. Each Life Converges to Some Centre

       by Emily Dickinson

Each life converges to some center
Expressed or still;
Exists in every human nature
A goal,

Admitted scarcely to itself, it may be,
Too fair
For credibility’s temerity
To dare.

Adored with caution, as a brittle heaven,
To reach
Were hopeless as the rainbow’s raiment
To touch,

Yet persevered toward, surer for the distance;
How high
Unto the saints’ slow diligence
The sky!

Ungained, it may be, by a life’s low venture,
But then,
Eternity enables the endeavoring
Again.

21. 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,
O 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 despair!

22. Life Is a Privilege

       by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Life is a privilege. Its youthful days
Shine with the radiance of continuous Mays.
To live, to breathe, to wonder and desire,
To feed with dreams the heart’s perpetual fire;
To thrill with virtuous passions and to glow
With great ambitions–in one hour to know
The depths and heights of feeling–God! in truth
How beautiful, how beautiful is youth!

Life is a privilege. Like some rare rose
The mysteries of the human mind are unclosed.
What marvels lie in earth and air and sea,
What stores of knowledge wait our opening key,
What sunny roads of happiness lead out
Beyond the realms of indolence and doubt,
And what large pleasures smile upon and bless
The busy avenues of usefulness.

Life is a privilege. Though noontide fades
And shadows fall along the winding glades;
Though joy-blooms wither in the autumn air,
Yet the sweet scent of sympathy is there.
Pale sorrow leads us closer to our kind,
And in the serious hours of life we find
Depths in the soul of men which lend new worth
And majesty to this brief span of earth.

Life is a privilege. If some sad fate
Sends us alone to seek the exit gate;
If men forsake us as the shadows fall,
Still does the supreme privilege of all
Come in that reaching upward of the soul
To find the welcoming presence at the goal,
And in the knowledge that our feet have trod
Paths that lead from and must lead back to God.

23. Death and Life

       by Robert William Service

Twas in the grave-yard’s gruesome gloom
That May and I were mated;
We sneaked inside and on a tomb
Our love was consummated.
It’s quite alright, no doubt we’ll wed,
Our sin will go unchidden . . .
Ah! sweeter than the nuptial bed
Are ecstasies forbidden?

And as I held my sweetheart close,
And she was softly sighing,
I could not help but think of those
In peace below us lying.
Poor folks! No disrespect we meant,
And beg you’ll be forgiving;
We hopes the dead will not resent
The rapture of the living.

And when in death I, too, shall lie,
And lost to those who love me,
I wish two sweethearts roving by
Will plight their troth above me.
Oh do not think that I will grieve
To hear the vows they’re voicing,
And if their love new life conceive,
‘Tis I will be rejoicing.

24. My Inner Life

       by Robert William Service

‘Tis true my garments threadbare are,
And sorry poor I seem;
But only 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 rumors rife,
Go blessedly your way.
Your refuge hold inviolate;
Unto yourself be true,
And shield serene from sordid fate
The Real You.

25. The Happiest Age

       by Wilhelmina Stitch

What age is happiest? Had you asked me,
I would have made this plea: the Now is best.
What joy to live with zest each newborn day;
and from the Moment, wrest what Life will give away.
The Past is but a guest who came and went
and left this one behest: to be content.

Think how To-day is blest!
We’ve eyes to see Nature in Beauty drest for you, for me.
What matters that the crest of Youth is past.
Youth lives within the breast with joys that last.
The will to do our best, and hands for giving.
Oh! Now’s the happiest, best time for living!

What age is happiest?
Oh! hear my vow, for I have put the test—the happiest’s Now.
Sweet sighs and kindly jest for warmth and cheer; and
Love’s most high bequest to crown the year.

26. Life’s Progress

       by John Imrie

Down the mountains, down the hills,
Trickling on forever;
Gentle springs make little rills,
Little rills the river.

Rivers rolling to the sea.
Lose themselves in ocean,
Bearing on their bosoms free
Noble ships in motion.

Such is life, a constant change,
Still from small to greater;
Let us learn the lesson strange
Taught by our Creator:

Life is giv’n for noble ends,
Lofty thoughts and actions,
Winning to our bosom — friends
Gain’d in life’s transactions.

Ah! soon we’ll reach life’s ocean strand,
Just like the mighty river,
Safe in the hollow of that Hand
Which holds the seas forever.

27. Leisure

       by W.H. Davies

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

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Famous Life Is Short Poems

Life is short, and sometimes, we need a little reminder to make the most out of each day. That’s where these famous life is short poems come in. They’re perfect for reflecting on how precious our time truly is and how important it is to cherish every moment we have. Check them out!

1. Gold Can Stay

       by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

2. Passing Time

       by Maya Angelou

Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.

The other, the end of a
sure beginning.

3. “Faith” Is a Fine Invention

       by Emily Dickinson

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

4. A Conceit

       by Maya Angelou

Give me your hand
Make room for me
to lead and follow
you
beyond this rage of poetry.

Let others have
the privacy of
touching words
and love of loss
of love.
For me
Give me your hand.

5. Insomniac

       by Maya Angelou

There are some nights when
sleep plays coy,
aloof and disdainful.
And all the wiles
that I employ to win
its service to my side
are useless as wounded pride,
and much more painful.

6. Suicide’s Note

       by Langston Hughes

The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.

7. The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

       by Algernon Charles Swinburne

The leaden echo, silent since the dawn,
Answers the golden echo, born at morn.
The leaden echo, listless, dull, and slow,
Answers the golden echo, loud and clear,
That rings through all the spaces, bright and far,
And mocks the leaden echo, dumb and near.

8. The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

       by Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

9. To His Coy Mistress

       by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.

10. The Flea

       by John Donne

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.

11. Death Be not Proud

       by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

12. And So I Have Come to This Place

       by Dorothy Parker

And so I have come to this place,
Where I must lie down and sleep,
And never wake again, and never rise,
And let the earth above me creep.

13. The Waste Land

       by T.S. Eliot

Here we are, and there we go,
Into the dark, and nobody knows,
Nobody knows, and nobody cares,
And the wind shall say ‘Here were decent godless people’

14. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

       by T.S. Eliot

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,
I know that I am getting older,
I do not think that I am getting any younger.

15. The Road not Taken

       by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

16. The Lesson

       by Maya Angelou


I keep on dying again.

Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Children.

Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge.
The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.

They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live.

17. Life Through My Eyes

       by Tupac Shakur

Life through my bloodshot eyes
would scare a square 2 death
poverty, murder, violence
and never a moment 2 rest
Fun and games are few
but treasured like gold 2 me
cuz I realize that I must return
2 my spot in poverty
But mock my words when I say
my heart will not exist
unless my destiny comes through
and puts an end 2 all of this

18. Happiness

       by Carl Sandburg

I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.

And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.

They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children
and a keg of beer and an
accordion.

19. I Shall Imagine Life

       by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings

I shall imagine life

is not worth dying if
(and when)roses complain
their beauties are in vain

but though mankind persuades
itself that every weed’s
a rose roses(you feel
certain)will only smile

20. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers

       by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

21. Our Deepest Fear

       by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

22. The Man Who Thinks He Can

       by Walter D. Wintle

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 a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the word we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will,
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outcasted, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

23. Help Yourself to Happiness

       by Helen Steiner Rice

Everybody, everywhere seeks happiness, it’s true,
But finding it and keeping it seem difficult to do.
Difficult because we think that happiness is found
Only in the places where wealth and fame abound.And so we go on searching in palaces of pleasure
Seeking recognition and monetary treasure,
Unaware that happiness is just a state of mind
Within the reach of everyone who takes time to be kind.
For in making others happy we will be happy, too.
For the happiness you give away returns to shine on you.

24. I Am

       by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I Know not whence I came,
I know not whither I go;
But the fact stands clear that I am here
In this world of pleasure and woe.
And out of the mist and murk
Another truth shines plain –
It is my power each day and hour
To add to its joy or its pain.

25. The Small Claim of Bones

       by Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

what my body knows
a lie i tell you it is not
it’s nothing short of truth
and nothing larger
my past lodges
in my marrow and if
i wanted a transplant
there’d be no match
others’ sorrows dwarf
my petty traumas still
these bones are mine
when they creak
when they moan
when they whine
there’s only one thing
i can claim these bones
are mine i tell you
they are mine and kind
to abandon no thing
that makes this pulse
no one but me

26. The Street

       by Octavio Paz

It’s a long and silent street.
I walk in the dark and trip and fall
and get up and step blindly
on the mute stones and dry leaves
and someone behind me is also walking:
if I stop, he stops;
if I run, he runs. I turn around: no one.
Everything is black, there is no exit,
and I turn and turn corners
that always lead to the street
where no one waits for me, no one follows,
where I follow a man who trips
and gets up and says when he sees me: no one.

27. Life Is Fine

       by Langston Hughes

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.
I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn’t a-been so cold
I might’ve sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn’t a-been so high
I might’ve jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.
I could’ve died for love—
But for livin’ I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry—
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

28. I Took My Power in My Hand

       by Emily Dickinson

I took my Power in my Hand—
And went against the World—
‘Twas not so much as David—had—
But I—was twice as bold—

I aimed by Pebble—but Myself
Was all the one that fell—
Was it Goliath—was too large—
Or was myself—too small?

29. Late Fragment

       by Raymond Carver

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

30. The Parent’s Tao Te Ching

       by William Martin

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

Funny Life Is Short Poems

Have you ever stopped to think about how short life really is? It’s crazy to think that we only have a limited amount of time to do all the things we want to do. But instead of dwelling on the negative, why not try these funny life is short poems? So go ahead, give them a read and see if they don’t make you smile and think a little bit too.

1. Life Is Short, And Full of Woe

       by Ogden Nash

Life is short, and full of woe,
So let’s enjoy it while we go,
With laughter, love, and all the cheer,
That makes our journey oh so dear.

2. Life Is Short, But Full of Zest

       by Charles Henry Webb

Life is short, but full of zest,
A rollercoaster, at its best,
With ups and downs, and twists and turns,
A ride that never truly churns.

3. Life Is Short, So Grab It Fast

       by John Banister Tabb

Life is short, so grab it fast,
And make the most of every cast,
For time flies by, like fleeting dreams,
And life’s a stage, with shifting scenes.

4. Life Is Short, So Dance with Glee

       by Marianne Moore

Life is short, so dance with glee,
And let your spirit truly be,
With twirls and spins, and laughter’s chime,
Make every moment, yours to climb.

5. Life Is Short, So Sing Along

       by John Berryman

Life is short, so sing along,
With melodies that make you strong,
Let music fill your heart’s delight,
And dance away the darkest night.

6. Life Is Short, So Spread Your Wings

       by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

Life is short, so spread your wings,
And soar to heights where freedom sings,
Explore the world, with open eyes,
And let your spirit truly rise.

7. Life Is Short, So Love with Fire

       by William Ernest Henley

Life is short, so love with fire,
A passion that burns with pure desire,
Let love ignite your soul’s embrace,
And fill your life with warm embrace.

8. Life Is Short, So Dream with Grace

       by William Haines Lytle

Life is short, so dream with grace,
And let your dreams paint every space,
With colors bright, and visions grand,
A world of beauty, at your command.

9. Life Is Short, So Laugh with Glee

       by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Life is short, so laugh with glee,
And let your laughter set you free,
For humor’s light can chase away,
The shadows that might gloom your day.

10. Life Is Short, So Live It Well

       by Charles Henry Webb

Life is short, so live it well,
With every breath, let magic dwell,
Embrace each moment, big or small,
And make your life a grand ball.

11. Life is Short, Smile a Lot

       by Maya Angelou

Life is short, so grin and bear,
Embrace each moment, everywhere.
Smile through troubles, big and small,
Life’s too short to frown at all.

12. Carpe Diem for Dummies

       by Shel Silverstein

Life is short, the days are long,
Seize the day, even if you’re wrong.
Carpe Diem for dummies, that’s our style,
Laugh a lot, and stay awhile.

13. The Great Snooze

       by Ogden Nash

Life is short, and nights are brief,
So why not take a nap, oh what relief!
In the grand scheme of things, a little snore,
Life’s too short to be tired, that’s for sure.

14. Epic Failures of the Not-So-Important

       by Billy Collins

Life is short, and we often stress,
About things that don’t really impress.
Epic failures of the not-so-important kind,
Just laugh it off, leave troubles behind.

15. Serious Fun

       by Dr. Seuss

Life is short, so have some fun,
Laugh out loud, let loose, and run.
Be silly, be serious, both at once,
Life’s too short for just one response.

16. The Brief Ballad of a Brevity Buff

       by Langston Hughes

Life is short, a brief ballet,
Enjoy the show, then be on your way.
Brevity buffs, here’s your chance,
Make it short, make it dance.

17. The Pint-Sized Poem

       by Wendy Cope

Life is short, like a pint-sized poem,
A few lines, then it’s time to roam.
Take a sip, enjoy the rhyme,
In life’s short stint, make it sublime.

18. The Haiku of Hilarity

       by Anonymous

Life is short, like a haiku so brief,
Seventeen syllables, that’s the belief.
Smile, chuckle, and don’t be shy,
Life’s too short to ask yourself why.

19. A Limerick on Life

       by Edward Lear

Life is short, let’s write a limerick,
A funny verse that’s quick and slick.
With laughter and cheer, let’s compose,
Life’s too short for boring prose.

20. The Quippy Quatrain

       by Anonymous

Life is short, so here’s the deal,
Enjoy the journey, not just the meal.
Quick and witty, like a quip,
Life’s too short for a lengthy script.

Inspirational Life Is Short Poems

These poems are the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling down, and they’ll make you think about the bigger picture. They remind us of the importance of cherishing each day, and encourage us to pursue our dreams and passions. So why not check them out? You never know, they might just inspire you to live your best life.

1. O Me! O Life!

       by Walt Whitman

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

2. No Man Is an Island

       by John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

3. Ozymandias

       by Percy Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

4. Fire & Ice

       by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

5. I Heard a Fly Buzz – When I Died

       by Emily Dickinson

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

6. Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?

       by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

7. Jabberwocky

       by Lewis Carroll

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

8. Sonnet 29

       by William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

9. Awaking in New York

       by Maya Angelou

Curtains forcing their will
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,
unasked and unheeded.

10. This Room

       by John Ashbery

The room I entered was a dream of this room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.
The oval portrait
of a dog was me at an early age.
Something shimmers, something is hushed up.

We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here.

11. The Sick Rose

       by William Blake

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

12. I Saw a Man Pursuing the Horizon

       by Stephen Crane

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never —”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.

13. The Dash

       by Linda Ellis

So when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to be recalled
Will those who loved you say it was well spent?
Lived with purpose? A life that was full?

14. Life is But a Moment

       by Anonymous

Life is but a moment, soon it passes,
Like a fleeting shadow, it vanishes,
Don’t wait for tomorrow, act now,
For today is the only guarantee.

15. Time Flies

       by Rob Siltanen

Time flies, it’s true,
But don’t be fooled,
It’s not just a cliché,
It’s a reminder,
To seize each day.

Life Is Short Poems about Life

We all know life is short, but it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day grind and forget to really appreciate the time we have. That’s where these poems come in. So if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration, or just something to make you ponder the beauty and brevity of existence, these life is short poems are a great place to start.

1. My Life Was the Size of My Life

       by Jane Hirshfield

My life was the size of my life.
Its rooms were room-sized,
its soul was the size of a soul.
In its background, mitochondria hummed,
above it sun, clouds, snow,
the transit of stars and planets.
It rode elevators, bullet trains,
various airplanes, a donkey.
It wore socks, shirts, its own ears and nose.
It ate, it slept, it opened
and closed its hands, its windows.
Others, I know, had lives larger.
Others, I know, had lives shorter.
The depth of lives, too, is different.
There were times my life and I made jokes together.
There were times we made bread.
Once, I grew moody and distant.
I told my life I would like some time,
I would like to try seeing others.
In a week, my empty suitcase and I returned.
I was hungry, then, and my life,
my life, too, was hungry, we could not keep
our hands off our clothes on
our tongues from

2. A Psalm of Life

       by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

3. What Is This Life

       by Sir Walter Raleigh

What is our life? A play of passion;
Our mirth the music of division;
Our mothers’ 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 searching 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.

4. Life

       by Sarojini Naidu

CHILDREN, ye have not lived, to you it seems
Life is a lovely stalactite of dreams,
Or carnival of careless joys that leap
About your hearts like billows on the deep
In flames of amber and of amethyst.

Children, ye have not lived, ye but exist
Till some resistless hour shall rise and move
Your hearts to wake and hunger after love,
And thirst with passionate longing for the things
That burn your brows with blood-red sufferings.

Till ye have battled with great grief and fears,
And borne the conflict of dream-shattering years,
Wounded with fierce desire and worn with strife,
Children, ye have not lived: for this is life.

5. The Rose That Grew from Concrete

       by Tupac Shakur

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

6. Later Life

       by Christina Rossetti

Something this foggy day, a something which
Is neither of this fog nor of today,
Has set me dreaming of the winds that play
Past certain cliffs, along one certain beach,
And turn the topmost edge of waves to spray:

Ah pleasant pebbly strand so far away,
So out of reach while quite within my reach,
As out of reach as India or Cathay!
I am sick of where I am and where I am not,
I am sick of foresight and of memory,
I am sick of all I have and all I see,
I am sick of self, and there is nothing new;

Oh weary impatient patience of my lot!
Thus with myself: how fares it, Friends, with you?

7. Dockery and Son

       by Philip Larkin

‘Dockery was junior to you,
Wasn’t he?’ said the Dean. ‘His son’s here now.’
Death-suited, visitant, I nod. ‘And do
You keep in touch with—’ Or remember how
Black-gowned, unbreakfasted, and still half-tight
We used to stand before that desk, to give
‘Our version’ of ‘these incidents last night’?
I try the door of where I used to live:

Locked. The lawn spreads dazzlingly wide.
A known bell chimes. I catch my train, ignored.
Canal and clouds and colleges subside
Slowly from view. But Dockery, good Lord,
Anyone up today must have been born
In ’43, when I was twenty-one.
If he was younger, did he get this son
At nineteen, twenty? Was he that withdrawn

High-collared public-schoolboy, sharing rooms
With Cartwright who was killed? Well, it just shows
How much … How little … Yawning, I suppose
I fell asleep, waking at the fumes
And furnace-glares of Sheffield, where I changed,
And ate an awful pie, and walked along
The platform to its end to see the ranged
Joining and parting lines reflect a strong

Unhindered moon. To have no son, no wife,
No house or land still seemed quite natural.
Only a numbness registered the shock
Of finding out how much had gone of life,
How widely from the others. Dockery, now:
Only nineteen, he must have taken stock
Of what he wanted, and been capable
Of … No, that’s not the difference: rather, how

Convinced he was he should be added to!
Why did he think adding meant increase?
To me it was dilution. Where do these
Innate assumptions come from? Not from what
We think truest, or most want to do:
Those warp tight-shut, like doors. They’re more a style
Our lives bring with them: habit for a while,
Suddenly they harden into all we’ve got

And how we got it; looked back on, they rear
Like sand-clouds, thick and close, embodying
For Dockery a son, for me nothing,
Nothing with all a son’s harsh patronage.
Life is first boredom, then fear.
Whether or not we use it, it goes,
And leaves what something hidden from us chose,
And age, and then the only end of age.

8. Against Dying

       by Kaveh Akbar

if the body is just a parable
about the body if breath
is a leash to hold the mind
then staying alive should be
easier than it is most sick
things become dead things
at twenty-four my liver was
already covered in fatty
rot my mother filled a tiny
coffin with picture frames
I spent the year drinking
from test tubes weeping
wherever I went somehow
it happened wellness crept
into me like a roach nibbling
through an eardrum for
a time the half minutes
of fire in my brainstem
made me want to pull out
my spine but even those
have become bearable so
how shall I live now
in the unexpected present
I spent so long in a lover’s
quarrel with my flesh
the peace seems over-
cautious too-polite I say
stop being cold or make
that blue bluer and it does
we speak to each other
in this code where every word
means obey I sit under
a poplar tree with a thermos
of chamomile feeling
useless as an oath against
dying I put a sugar cube
on my tongue and
swallow it like a pill

9. Each Life Converges to Some Centre

       by Emily Dickinson

Each Life Converges to some Centre —
Expressed — or still —
Exists in every Human Nature
A Goal —

Embodied scarcely to itself — it may be —
Too fair
For Credibility’s presumption
To mar —

Adored with caution — as a Brittle Heaven —
To reach
Were hopeless, as the Rainbow’s Raiment
To touch —

Yet persevered toward — sure — for the Distance —
How high —
Unto the Saint’s slow diligence —
The Sky —

Ungained — it may be — by a Life’s low Venture —
But then —
Eternity enable the endeavoring
Again.

10. Daisy Cutter

       by Camille T. Dungy

Pause here at the flower stand—mums
and gladiolas, purple carnations

dark as my heart. We are engaged
in a war, and I want to drag home

any distraction I can carry. Tonight
children will wake to bouquets of fire

that will take their breath away. Still,
I think of my life. The way you hold me,

sometimes, you could choke me.
There is no way to protect myself,

except by some brilliant defense. I want
the black iris with their sabered blooms.

I want the flame throwers: the peonies,
the sunflowers. I will cut down the beautiful ones

and let their nectared sweetness bleed
into the careless air. This is not the world

I’d hoped it could be. It is horrible,
the way we carry on. Last night, you catalogued

our arsenal. You taught me devastation
is a goal we announce in a celebration

of shrapnel. Our bombs shower
in anticipation of their marks. You said this

is to assure damage will be widely distributed.
What gruesome genius invents our brutal hearts?

When you touch me I am a stalk of green panic
and desire. Wait here while I decide which

of these sprigs of blossoming heartbreak I can afford
to bring into my home. Tonight dreams will erupt

in chaotic buds of flame. This is the world we have
arranged. It is horrible, this way we carry on.

11. The Room of My Life

       by Anne Sexton

Here,
in the room of my life
the objects keep changing.
Ashtrays to cry into,
the suffering brother of the wood walls,
the forty-eight keys of the typewriter
each an eyeball that is never shut,
the books, each a contestant in a beauty contest,
the black chair, a dog coffin made of Naugahyde,
the sockets on the wall
waiting like a cave of bees,
the gold rug
a conversation of heels and toes,
the fireplace
a knife waiting for someone to pick it up,
the sofa, exhausted with the exertion of a whore.
the phone
two flowers taking root in its crotch,
the doors
opening and closing like sea clams,
the lights
poking at me,
lighting up both the soil and the laugh.
The windows,
the starving windows
that drive the trees like nails into my heart.
Each day I feed the world out there
although birds explode
right and left.
I feed the world in here too,
offering the desk puppy biscuits.
However, nothing is just what it seems to be.
My objects dream and wear new costumes,
compelled to, it seems, by all the words in my hands
and the sea that bangs in my throat.

12. Each Moment Is Precious

       by Pat A. Fleming

Live in the moment,
Just take it all in.
Pay attention to everything,
Right there and right then.

Don’t let your mind wander
To what’s coming next.
Cherish this moment
And give it your best.

Don’t let tomorrow
Make you rush through today,
Or too many great moments
Will just go to waste.

And the person you’re with,
In that moment you share,
Give them all of your focus;
Be totally there.

Laugh till it hurts,
Let the tears drop.
Fill up each moment
With all that you’ve got.

Don’t miss the details;
The lesson is there.
Don’t get complacent;
Stay sharp and aware.

It can take but a moment
To change your life’s path.
And once it ticks by,
There is no going back.

In just 60 seconds,
You may make a new friend.
Find your true love,
Or see a life start or end.

You become who you are
In those moments you live.
And the growth’s not in taking
But in how much you give.

Life is just moments,
So precious and few.
Whether valued or squandered,
It’s all up to you!

13. Do not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

       by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

14. Monologue for an Onion

       by Suji Kwock Kim

I don’t mean to make you cry.
I mean nothing, but this has not kept you
From peeling away my body, layer by layer,

The tears clouding your eyes as the table fills
With husks, cut flesh, all the debris of pursuit.
Poor deluded human: you seek my heart.

Hunt all you want. Beneath each skin of mine
Lies another skin: I am pure onion–pure union
Of outside and in, surface and secret core.

Look at you, chopping and weeping. Idiot.
Is this the way you go through life, your mind
A stopless knife, driven by your fantasy of truth,

Of lasting union–slashing away skin after skin
From things, ruin and tears your only signs
Of progress? Enough is enough.

You must not grieve that the world is glimpsed
Through veils. How else can it be seen?
How will you rip away the veil of the eye, the veil

That you are, you who want to grasp the heart
Of things, hungry to know where meaning
Lies. Taste what you hold in your hands: onion-juice,

Yellow peels, my stinging shreds. You are the one
In pieces. Whatever you meant to love, in meaning to
You changed yourself: you are not who you are,

Your soul cut moment to moment by a blade
Of fresh desire, the ground sown with abandoned skins.
And at your inmost circle, what? A core that is

Not one. Poor fool, you are divided at the heart,
Lost in its maze of chambers, blood, and love,
A heart that will one day beat you to death.

15. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

       by Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose

They don’t frighten me at all

Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn’t frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run

I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don’t frighten me at all.

Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.

I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

16. Ode to Broken Things

       by Pablo Neruda

Things get broken
at home
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It’s not my hands
or yours
It wasn’t the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn’t anything or anybody

It wasn’t the wind
It wasn’t the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn’t even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot

which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.

And that clock
whose sound
was
the voice of our lives,
the secret
thread of our weeks,
which released
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
fell
and its delicate blue guts
vibrated
among the broken glass
its wide heart
unsprung.

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
forms
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
perishable
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.

Let’s put all our treasures together
— the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold —
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway

17. Desiderata

       by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

18. Still I Rise

       by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

19. The Dust of Snow

       by Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

20. The Peace of Wild Things

       by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

21. The Guest House

       by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

22. The Road not Taken

       by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, 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 traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

23. Stream of Life Poem

       by Rabindranath Tagore

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

24. The Summer Day

       by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
this grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

25. Do not Stand at My Grave and Weep

       by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, life is short and it’s important to make sure you make the most out of it!

The poems about life we have discussed in this post will help you think deeply about how you choose to live.

One line can oftentimes be all it takes to realize what is truly most important and life-giving.

Poetry has been a powerful tool for centuries, showing us how much beauty can be conveyed in one simple set of words.

We hope that these life is short poems will be just as encouraging and meaningful for you as they have been for us.

Thanks so much for joining us on this journey – please feel free to comment in the comments section below with your own experiences related to these poems or any other thoughts that come up while reading them.

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