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11 Mindfulness Poems: Reflections on the Present Moment

The Beauty of Mindfulness Poems - 11 Great Poetic Works

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Poetry has long been a medium for exploring the human experience, and mindfulness is no exception.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and attentive in the moment, and it has been shown to have numerous benefits for both mental and physical health.

The following 11 poems serve as a reminder of the importance of mindfulness, and offer insights into how to cultivate this state of mind.

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.

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.

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.

(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

 

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!

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
 
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
 
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
I wandered 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 stretched 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
Out-did 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.
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   
 
My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   
 
He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   
 
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

What do they think has happened, the old fools,
To make them like this? Do they somehow suppose
It’s more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools,
And you keep on pissing yourself, and can’t remember
Who called this morning? Or that, if they only chose,
They could alter things back to when they danced all night,
Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September?
Or do they fancy there’s really been no change,
And they’ve always behaved as if they were crippled or tight,
Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming
Watching light move? If they don’t (and they can’t), it’s strange:
Why aren’t they screaming?

At death, you break up: the bits that were you
Start speeding away from each other for ever
With no one to see. It’s only oblivion, true:
We had it before, but then it was going to end,
And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour
To bring to bloom the million-petaled flower
Of being here. Next time you can’t pretend
There’ll be anything else. And these are the first signs:
Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power
Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they’re for it:
Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines –
How can they ignore it?

Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can’t quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,
Setting down a lamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun’s
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give

An air of baffled absence, trying to be there
Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving
Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear
Of taken breath, and them crouching below
Extinction’s alp, the old fools, never perceiving
How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet:
The peak that stays in view wherever we go
For them is rising ground. Can they never tell
What is dragging them back, and how it will end? Not at night?
Not when the strangers come? Never, throughout
The whole hideous, inverted childhood? Well,
We shall find out.

When you are old and grey 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.
11 Mindfulness Poems

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a meditation on the idea that life is full of choices, and that every choice we make leads us down a different path. This poem reminds us to be mindful of our choices, and to take care to choose wisely.

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas is a powerful call to action, urging us to embrace the present moment and make the most of our time on earth. This poem reminds us to be mindful of the preciousness of life, and to live each day with purpose and passion.

“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley is a poem about resilience and determination in the face of adversity. It reminds us to be mindful of our inner strength, and to use it to overcome any obstacles that come our way.

“If” by Rudyard Kipling is a poem about developing positive character traits, such as courage, wisdom, and kindness. This poem reminds us to be mindful of our behavior and attitudes, and to strive to be the best version of ourselves.

“Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann is a poem about finding inner peace and contentment. It reminds us to be mindful of our thoughts and emotions, and to cultivate a sense of calm and serenity in our lives.

“The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry is a poem about the healing power of nature. It reminds us to be mindful of our connection to the natural world, and to find solace and comfort in its beauty and simplicity.

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W.B. Yeats is a poem about escaping from the chaos of modern life and finding peace and tranquility. It reminds us to be mindful of our need for quiet and solitude, and to seek out these moments whenever possible.

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth is a poem about the joy of simple pleasures, such as appreciating the beauty of nature. This poem reminds us to be mindful of the small moments of joy in our lives, and to cherish them.

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost is a poem about finding moments of peace and contemplation in the midst of a busy world. It reminds us to be mindful of our need for stillness and reflection, and to seek these moments whenever possible.

“The Old Fools” by Philip Larkin is a poem about the inevitability of aging and death. It reminds us to be mindful of our mortality, and to make the most of the time we have left.

“When You Are Old” by W.B. Yeats is a poem about the importance of living life to the fullest, so that when we are old and looking back, we will have no regrets. This poem reminds us to be mindful of our choices and to live life with purpose and intention.

In conclusion, mindfulness poems offer us a way to reflect on the present moment and the many gifts that it brings. Whether they encourage us to find peace and solitude, to appreciate the simple pleasures of life, or to live with purpose and passion, these poems remind us of the importance of being mindful and present in each moment.

10 Great Questions & Answers on Mindfulness Poems

  1. How do mindfulness poems differ from other types of poetry?
  • Mindfulness poems often focus on the present moment and encourage the reader to cultivate a state of mindfulness. They may also explore themes such as self-reflection, personal growth, and connection with nature or the world around us.
  1. What themes are commonly explored in mindfulness poems?
  • Common themes in mindfulness poems include self-reflection, personal growth, the importance of being present in the moment, and the relationship between the individual and the world around them.
  1. How do mindfulness poems help to cultivate a state of mindfulness?
  • By encouraging the reader to focus on the present moment and reflect on their thoughts and emotions, mindfulness poems can help to cultivate a state of mindfulness. They can also serve as a form of self-reflection and personal growth.
  1. What is the connection between mindfulness and the creative process of writing poetry?
  • The creative process of writing poetry can be a form of mindfulness practice in itself, as it requires the writer to be present in the moment and attentive to their thoughts and emotions. The act of writing can also serve as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth.
  1. How does the structure and language of mindfulness poems contribute to their message?
  • The structure and language of mindfulness poems can help to reinforce their message by creating a sense of stillness and contemplation. The use of simple language and imagery can also help to bring the reader into the present moment and encourage mindfulness.
  1. Can mindfulness poems be used as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth?
  • Yes, mindfulness poems can be used as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth. By encouraging the reader to focus on the present moment and reflect on their thoughts and emotions, mindfulness poems can help to promote self-awareness and personal growth.
  1. How does reading mindfulness poems differ from other forms of mindfulness practice, such as meditation or yoga?
  • Reading mindfulness poems is different from other forms of mindfulness practice in that it engages the mind and imagination, while practices such as meditation and yoga are more focused on the body and breath. Both forms of mindfulness can be valuable and complementary to one another.
  1. What role does the reader’s own mindfulness play in their interpretation of mindfulness poems?
  • The reader’s own mindfulness plays a significant role in their interpretation of mindfulness poems. The more mindful and present the reader is in the moment, the more they will be able to appreciate and understand the message of the poem.
  1. Can mindfulness poems be used to help manage stress and anxiety?
  • Yes, mindfulness poems can be used to help manage stress and anxiety by bringing the reader into the present moment and promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. By encouraging self-reflection and mindfulness, mindfulness poems can also help to promote a more positive outlook and a reduction in stress and anxiety.
  1. How do mindfulness poems help to promote a sense of connection and community?
  • By exploring themes such as personal growth and self-reflection, mindfulness poems can help to promote a sense of connection and community. By encouraging the reader to focus on the present moment and reflect on their thoughts and emotions, mindfulness poems can help to create a sense of empathy and understanding between individuals and foster a sense of connection and community.

Diving Deep

Mindfulness poems are a way to explore the idea of living in the present moment, appreciating the beauty and preciousness of life, and reflecting on our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. These poems invite us to step outside of the chaos and distractions of everyday life, and to instead pause and focus on the only life we have, making the most of it. They encourage us to slow down, and to embrace the momentary awareness that comes with mindfulness practice.

The poem “The Guest House” by Rumi is a powerful example of this idea. It suggests that we should welcome all of our experiences, even the difficult ones, with open arms, and to treat them like unexpected visitors. By doing this, we can find only kindness, even in the darkest of moments, and awaken to each new morning as a new arrival, with the door laughing open to a mindful and compassionate life.

Another famous poem about mindfulness is “If” by Rudyard Kipling, which encourages us to live our lives with strength and courage, to accept the challenges that come our way, and to rise above them. It asks us to be true to ourselves, and to live our own sweet will, rather than giving in to the progressive and cunning crime of the world.

“The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry is a reminder that, amidst the turmoil of life, there is a sense of stillness and calm that can be found in the natural world. It describes the white poncho of winter lying dead, and the return of spring, reminding us of the cycle of life, and the beauty of nature.

In “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W.B. Yeats, the speaker yearns to escape the city and find peace in the simplicity of nature. It invites us to slow down and to consider the vastness of the world, and the smallness of our own experiences in it. By taking a moment to reflect, we can discover the connection between our own lives and the world around us, and experience such affection for life.

The mindfulness poems we encounter can be seen as a tool to help us create a more compassionate and mindful life. By exploring our own thoughts, feelings, and experiences, we can recognize the tiny hidden transgressions, the tender gravity of life, and the enormous and complicated eyes that make up our personalities. These poems can help us to uncover the very foundations of our beliefs, and to create a life filled with kindness, compassion, and mindfulness.

Mindfulness poetry invites us to reflect on the precious moments of life, to look at our own images in the mirror, and to appreciate the vastness of the world and the vastness of our own hearts. It allows us to see the beauty in the everyday, and to remember that every day is an opportunity to create a new and radiant life.

So, whether you’re reading poems about mindfulness in the morning, as you walk through the forest, or as you gaze out the window forever, be sure to take time to reflect on the words and the meaning behind them. By doing so, you will discover the power of mindfulness poetry, and the impact it can have on your life. Whether it’s the birds singing, the sound of men’s silence, or the gentle breeze blowing through the trees, these mindful poems can awaken within us a new delight in the present moment, and the future will dissolve into a series of wild and exotic moments.

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