How to Live Your Poem

1. Cultivate a secret life.

"A Secret Life" by Stephen Dunn

2. Discover the fuel that feeds you.

"Hidden" by Naomi Shihab Nye

3.  Eat peaches. 

"From Blossoms" by Li-Young Lee

4. Take the road not taken.

"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

5. Change your life. 

"Archaic Torso of Apollo" by Rainer Maria Rilke

6. You do not have to be good.
"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver 

7. Go back. 

 "I Go Back to May 1937" by Sharon Olds

8. When the time comes to let it go, let it go.

"In Blackwater Woods" by Mary Oliver 

9. Re-invent.

"Valentine for Ernest Mann" by Naomi Shihab Nye

10. Identify what stays with you latest and deepest.

"The Wound Dresser" by Walt Whitman

11. Remember disobedience is the first right of being alive.

"Why Some Girls Love Horses" by Paisley Rekdal

12. Don't think you're better, stronger or more important than you are.

"Ozymandius" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

13. Pour yourself like a fountain.

"Sonnet to Orpheus, Part Two, XII" by Rainer Maria Rilke

14. Come into the peace of wild things.

"The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry

15. Wait.

"Patience" by  Marilyn Singer

16. Take the string you need.

"The Red Kite" by Lilian Moore

17. Forget-me-not. 

"Forget-me-not" by Ralph Fletcher

18. Believe morning is a new sheet of paper.

"Metaphor" by Eve Merriam

19. Don't be polite.

"How to Eat a Poem" by Eve Merriam

20. Go a-dabbling.

"Duck's Ditty" by Kenneth Grahame, from ch. 2 of THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS

21. Let the rain kiss you.

... more to come!"April Rain Song" by Langston Hughes

22. Allow yourself to be spelled differently.

"Waking Instructions" by Emma Mellon

23. Feel the stars and sun and bells singing.

"A Little Girl's Poem" by Gwendolyn Brooks

24. Live with a full moon in each eye.

"Admit Something" by Hafiz

25. Un-self yourself.

"Head Over Heels" by Christine DeLuca

26. Love still as once you loved, deeply and without patience.

"The Gift" by Mary Oliver

27. Know of nothing else but miracles.

"Miracles" by Walt Whitman

28. Be a beginner.

"Gratefulness" by Rainer Maria Rilke

29. Remember you are the universe and the universe is you.

"Remember" by Joy Harjo


  1. "Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
    we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
    in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
    And let me know." from "Valentine for Ernest Mann" by Naomi Shihab Nye

    1. Ruth, I love it! Adding "Valentine for Enest Mann" to the list. I'd never read it before. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing.

  2. Some great poems listed here, Irene...but I'd add one more piece of advice:

    Don't think you're better, stronger, or more important than you are. ("Ozymandius" by Percy Bysshe Shelley)

    1. Thank you, Matt! It's great addition. A little humble-ness never hurt. Thanks so much.

  3. Irene, I really like the concept, pour yourself like a fountain. Many people have more than they think to offer others. Being Poets and writers, we have the ability to pour the essence of emotions into the very lives of people. As a fountain we each have a certain flow about ourselves which help quench thirsts...

  4. Thank you, Irene, for creating a Live Your Poem poetry list that I bookmarked.

  5. walter dean myers is fun tow me


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