Scroll down through these fine poems and leave your own favorite in the reply box, Thanks!

My sixth grade English teacher, Mr. Bobino, made us memorize a different poem or important historical piece (preamble to the constitution, the Gettysburg address, etc) every month. Now with a son of my own, I have been reminded of how much I enjoyed learning a new poem each month and how much I believe a young boy can gain from doing so, and I would like to start a new monthly poem book of my own to learn from as, sadly, Mr. Bobino’s little yellow book has long since left me. Please feel free to add your suggestions to the comments section below. Thank you for helping me with my list.

The Road not Taken, By Robert Frost

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 feet 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

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31 Responses

  1. The Tiger
    by William Blake

    Tiger, tiger, burning bright
    In the forest of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could Frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder and what art
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And, when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand and what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain?
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

    When the stars threw down their spears,
    And watered heaven with their tears,
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?

    Tiger, tiger, burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

  2. To Celia
    by Ben Jonson

    Drink to me only with thine eyes,
    And I will pledge with mine;
    Or leave a kiss but in the cup
    And I’ll not look for wine.
    The thirst that from the soul doth rise
    Doth ask a drink divine;
    But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
    I would not change for thine.

    I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
    Not so much honouring thee
    As giving it a hope that there
    It could not wither’d be;
    But thou thereon didst only breathe,
    And sent’st it back to me;
    Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
    Not of itself but thee!

  3. The Star-Spangled Banner
    by Francis Scott Key

    Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
    O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
    Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
    In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
    ‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
    A home and a country should leave us no more!
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

  4. Shiloh, a Requiem
    by Herman Melville

    Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
    The swallows fly low
    Over the fields in clouded days,
    The forest-field of Shiloh–
    Over the field where April rain
    Solaced the parched one stretched in pain
    Through the pause of night
    That followed the Sunday fight
    Around the church of Shiloh–
    The church so lone, the log-built one,
    That echoed to many a parting groan
    And natural prayer
    Of dying foemen mingled there–
    Foemen at morn, but friends at eve–
    Fame or country least their care:
    (What like a bullet can undeceive!)
    But now they lie low,
    While over them the swallows skim,
    And all is hushed at Shiloh.

  5. A Red, Red Rose
    by Robert Burns

    O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
    That’s newly sprung in June:
    O my Luve’s like the melodie,
    That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

    As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
    So deep in luve am I;
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,
    Till a’ the seas gang dry.

    Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
    And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,
    While the sands o’ life shall run.

    And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
    And fare-thee-weel, a while!
    And I will come again, my Luve,
    Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

  6. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    (Sonnets from the Portuguese: XLIII)
    by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
    I love thee to the level of everyday’s
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    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.

  7. Kubla Khan
    by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree:
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.

    So twice five miles of fertile ground
    With walls and towers were girdled round:
    And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
    Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
    And here were forests ancient as the hills,
    Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

    But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
    Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
    A savage place! as holy and enchanted
    As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
    By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
    And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
    As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
    A mighty fountain momently was forced:
    Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
    Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
    Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
    And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
    It flung up momently the sacred river.
    Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
    Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
    Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
    And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
    And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
    Ancestral voices prophesying war!

    The shadow of the dome of pleasure
    Floated midway on the waves;
    Where was heard the mingled measure
    From the fountain and the caves.
    It was a miracle of rare device,
    A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

    A damsel with a dulcimer
    In a vision once I saw:
    It was an Abyssinian maid,
    And on her dulcimer she played,
    Singing of Mount Abora.
    Could I revive within me
    Her symphony and song,
    To such a deep delight ‘twould win me
    That with music loud and long
    I would build that dome in air,
    That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
    And all who heard should see them there,
    And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
    His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
    Weave a circle round him thrice,
    And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.

  8. Pre amble to the US Constitution:

    “ We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ”

  9. Pre amble to declaration of independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  10. The Gettysburg Address, by Abraham Lincoln
    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

  11. She Walks in Beauty
    by Lord George Gordon Byron

    She walks in beauty, like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that’s best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellowed to that tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
    Or softly lightens o’er her face;
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express
    How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

    And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
    So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
    But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent!

  12. Invictus
    by William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    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.

  13. Anthem for Doomed Youth
    by Wilfred Owen

    What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.
    No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –
    The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

    What candles may be held to speed them all?
    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
    Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
    The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
    And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

  14. Chicago
    by Carl Sandburg

    Hog Butcher for the World,
    Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
    Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
    Stormy, husky, brawling,
    City of the Big Shoulders:

    They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
    And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
    And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
    And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
    Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
    Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
    Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
    Bareheaded,
    Shoveling,
    Wrecking,
    Planning,
    Building, breaking, rebuilding,
    Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
    Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
    Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
    Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse. and under his ribs the heart of the people,
    Laughing!
    Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

  15. Requiem
    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Under the wide and starry sky,
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
    Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

    This be the verse you grave for me:
    Here he lies where he longed to be;
    Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.

  16. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (To Everything There Is A Season)
    by Solomon (?)

    To everything there is a season, and
    a time to every purpose under the heavens:

    A time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck
    up that which is planted;

    A time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a
    time to build up;

    A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

    A time to cast away stones, and a
    time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to
    refrain from embracing;

    A time to get, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

    A time to rend, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence,
    and a time to speak;

    A time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time of war, and a time of peace.

  17. Looking Forward
    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    When I am grown to man’s estate
    I shall be very proud and great,
    And tell the other girls and boys
    Not to meddle with my toys.

  18. Sonnet 18
    by William Shakespeare

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thou art more lively 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.

  19. Sonnet 94
    by William Shakespeare

    They that have power to hurt and will do none,
    That do not do the thing they most do show,
    Who moving others are themselves as stone,
    Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow –
    They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces,
    And husband nature’s riches from expense;
    They are the lords and owners of their faces,
    Others but stewards of their excellence.
    The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
    Though to itself it only live and die;
    But if that flower with base infection meet,
    The basest weed outbraves his dignity;
    For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds:
    Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

  20. Sonnet 116
    by William Shakespeare

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments; love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove.
    O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

  21. The Second Coming
    by William Butler Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  22. 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 there 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.

  23. Judged by the Company One Keeps
    by Unknown
    Frequently attributed to Benjamin Hapgood Burt.

    One night in late October,
    When I was far from sober,
    Returning with my load with manly pride,
    My poor feet began to stutter,
    So I lay down in the gutter,
    And a pig came near and lay down by my side;
    Then we sang “It’s all fair weather when good fellows get together”,

    Till a lady passing by was heard to say:
    “You can tell a man who boozes,
    By the company he chooses”,
    And the pig got up and slowly walked away.

  24. Daffodils
    by William Wordsworth

    I wander’d lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host of golden daffodils,
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the Milky Way,
    They stretch’d in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced, but they
    Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:—
    A poet could not but be gay
    In such a jocund company!
    I gazed, and gazed, but little thought
    What wealth the show to me had brought:

    For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

  25. 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 shrink from voicing care.

    Rejoice, and men will seek you;
    Grieve, and they turn and go.
    They want full measure of 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 nectared 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 long and lordly train,
    But one by one we must all file on
    Through the narrow aisles of pain.

  26. When You are Old
    by William Butler Yeats

    When you are old and gray and full of sleep
    And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
    And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
    Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

    How many loved your moments of glad grace,
    And loved your beauty with love false or true;
    But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
    And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

    And bending down beside the glowing bars,
    Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
    And paced upon the mountains overhead,
    And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

  27. The Red Wheelbarrow
    by William Carlos Williams

    so much depends
    upon

    a red wheel
    barrow

    glazed with rain
    water

    beside the white
    chickens

  28. 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 hills and valleys, dales and fields,
    And all the craggy mountain yields.

    There we will sit upon the rocks,
    And see the shepherds feed their flocks
    By shallow rivers, to whose falls
    Melodious birds sing madrigals.

    And I will make thee beds of roses,
    With a thousand fragrant posies,
    A cap of flowers and a kirtle
    Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

    A gown made of the finest wool,
    Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
    Fair lined slippers for the cold,
    With buckles of the purest gold;

    A belt of straw and ivy buds,
    With coral clasps and amber studs;
    And if these pleasures may thee move,
    Come live with me, and be my love.

    The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
    For thy delight each May morning:
    If these delights thy mind may move,
    Then live with me, and be my love.

  29. 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 hear 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 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.

    Toiling, -rejoicing, -sorrowing,
    Onward through life he goes;
    Each morning sees some task begun,
    Each evening sees its 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. 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!

  31. The Invitation
    By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

    It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
    I want to know what you ache for
    and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

    It doesn’t interest me how old you are
    I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
    for love
    for your dreams
    for the adventure of being alive.

    It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
    I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
    if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
    or have become shrivelled and closed
    from fear of further pain.

    I want to know if you can sit with pain
    mine or your own
    without moving to hide it
    or fade it
    or fix it.

    I want to know if you can be with joy
    mine or your own
    if you can dance with wildness
    and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
    fingers and toes
    without cautioning us to
    be careful
    be realistic
    to remember the limitations of being human.

    It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
    is true.
    I want to know if you can
    disappoint another
    to be true to yourself.
    If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
    and not betray your own soul.
    If you can be faithless
    and therefore trustworthy.

    I want to know if you can see Beauty
    even when it is not pretty
    every day.
    And if you can source your own life
    from its presence.

    I want to know if you can live with failure
    yours and mine
    and still stand on the edge of the lake
    and shout to the silver of the full moon,
    “Yes”

    It doesn’t interest me
    to know where you live or how much money you have.
    I want to know if you can get up
    after a night of grief and despair
    weary and bruised to the bone
    and do what needs to be done
    to feed the children.

    It doesn’t interest me who you know
    or how you came to be here.
    I want to know if you will stand
    in the center of the fire
    with me
    and not shrink back.

    It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
    you have studied.
    I want to know what sustains you
    from the inside
    when all else falls away.

    I want to know if you can be alone
    with yourself
    and if you truly like the company you keep
    in the empty moments.

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