48 Famous Poems About Life

Much has been written about life. Be inspired by these famous poems about life that are full of experience and wisdom on living life. Classic poems that have stood the test of time and their words still have meaning today.

We only get to live life once, therefore, draw on the experiences of others to help you live life to the fullest. Let these classic poems be ones that  provide insight and thoughts on life.

Poems About Life    /    Famous Poems About Life

  1. The Road Not Taken
    Poet: 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.

  2. I'd Rather See A Sermon
    Poet: Edgar A. Guest

    I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
    I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
    The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
    Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear....

    read the entire poem
    I'd Rather See A Sermon
    I'd Rather See A Sermon

  3. The Song The Kettle Sings
    Poet: Nixon Waterman

    Sweet are the songs by lovers sung
    As they the old, old story tell,
    And sweet the croon of bees among
    The clover-blooms and asphodel...

    read the entire poem The Song The Kettle Sings

  4. The Vacation Problem
    Poet: Arthur Franklin Fuller

    The summer days again are here,
    And make one glad vacation's near;
    Where best to spend it who can know?
    The list of places seems to grow...

    continue reading The Vacation Problem

  5. Not Worth Fooling With
    Poet: Strickland Gillilan

    What - "life is not worth fooling with?"
    You're right, my lad, you're right!
    Just spread that doctrine far and wide,
    and spread it with your might.
    Life never is worth "fooling with" -
    this is the truth you're giving.
    It isn't worth the "fooling with,
    "but it's wholly worth the living!

    You say it's "not worth fooling with" -
    the task assigned to you.
    You're right again, impatient lad;
    the thing you say is true.
    Perhaps not in the sense you mean -
    if so, there's trouble brewing.
    Your job is not worth "fooling with"
    but it's surely worth the doing!

    "No, tasks are not worth "fooling with"
    - 'tis not what tasks were made for.
    You must not fool with them at all' -
    that's not what you are paid for.
    The best that's in you, body, soul and mind,
    you should be giving
    To what your hands have found to do -
    not "fooling" - toiling, living!

  6. The Actor
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Oh, man, with your wonderful dower,
    Oh, woman, with genius and grace,
    You can teach the whole world with your power,
    If you are but worthy the place...

    continue reading The Actor

  7. Learning To Write
    Poet: Berton Braley

    My ink eraser's worn quite through
    From rubbing out mistakes
    Which, spite of all that I can do,
    My fool typewriter makes....

    continue reading Learning To Write

  8. The Happiest Age
    Poet: 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....

    read the rest of the poem,
    the happiest age
    The Happiest Age

  9. Life Troubles
    Poet: Nixon Waterman

    Though life is made up of mere bubbles
    'Tis better than many aver,
    For while we've a whole lot of troubles
    The most of them never occur.

  10. 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.

  11. Pessimist or Optimist
    Poet: William Arthur Ward

    The pessimist finds fault;
    The optimist discovers a remedy.
    The pessimist seeks sympathy;
    The optimist spreads cheer....

    continue reading
    pessmist or optimist
    Pessimist or Optimist

  12. Unregenerate
    Poet: Arthur Franklin Fuller

    The doctor sez my stummick,
    Has got plumb out o'fix,
    My liver has done wasted -
    Seeds jam my ap-pen-dix.

    read the entire poem, Unregenerate

  13. What Are We Living For?
    Poet: Arthur Franklin Fuller

    "Is life worth living?" the workers ask,
    As they go about their irksome task;
    Each generation comes and goes,
    And sees increase in Problem's woes...

    continue reading What Are We Living For?

  14.   Worth While
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    It is easy enough to be pleasant.
    When life flows by like a song,
    But the man worth while is one who will smile,
    When everything goes dead wrong.
    For the test of the heart is trouble,
    And it always comes with the years;
    And the smile that is worth the praises of earth,
    Is the smile that shines through tears.

    It is easy enough to be prudent
    When nothing tempts you to stray.
    When without or within no voice of sin
    Is luring your soul away;
    But it's only a negative virtue
    Until it is tried by fire.
    And the life that is worth the honor on earth,
    Is the one that resists desire.

    By the cynic, the sad, the fallen.
    Who had no strength for the strife.
    The world's highway is cumbered today,
    They make up the sum of life.
    But the virtue that conquers passion,
    And the sorrow that hides in a smile,
    It is these that are worth the homage on earth,
    For we find them but once in a while.

  15. Bitter or Sweet
    Poet: John Imrie

    The bitter or the sweet of life
    Is often ours to choose,
    Sweet love is antidote to strife -
    The bitter, then, refuse.

    continue reading Bitter or Sweet

  16. Keep Out Of The Past
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Keep out of the Past! for its highways
    Are damp with malarial gloom;
    Its gardens are sere and its forests are drear,
    And everywhere moulders a tomb.

    continue reading Keep Out Of The Past

  17. Misanthrope
    Poet: Berton Braley

    Mostly I love my fellow men,
    But I get weary now and then
    Of all they do and all they say,
    Their way of work, of life, of play,

    continue reading Misanthrope

  18. Rainy Days
    Poet: Patience Strong

    When raindrops fall and skies look grey-
    You hear so many people say-
    What awful weather!- with a groan,
    they watch the rain come pouring down.

    They grumble if they venture out,
    and if indoors they prowl about,
    with doleful faces all day long-
    and then, of course, things all go wrong.

    But if we're happy right deep down -
    inside our hearts, we never frown
    because the rain clouds gather low.
    We take our brightness where we go.

    Outside conditions can't annoy-
    when we possess that secret joy-
    that inward radiance nothing dims.
    So rise above the weather's whims!

    Why wait for the capricious sun?
    You'll find that there is lots of fun
    in being kissed by soft cool showers,
    and laughing with the grateful flowers.

  19. Year To Year
    Poet: Henry VanDyke

    Let me but live my life from year to year,
    With forward face and unreluctant soul;
    Not hurrying to, nor turning from, the goal;
    Not mourning for the things that disappear...

    continue reading Year To Year

  20. Grown-Up
    Poet: Edgar A. Guest

    Last year he wanted building blocks,
    And picture books and toys,
    A saddle horse that gayly rocks,
    And games for little boys....

    continue reading
    Grown Up

  21. If All The Skies
    Poet: Henry VanDyke

    If all the skies were sunshine,
    Our faces would be fain
    To feel once more upon them
    The cooling splash of rain...

    continue reading If All The Skies

  22. Creed
    Poet: Edgar A. Guest

    I would live this life so well
    Strangers of me praise might tell
    Somehow I would like to be
    Cherished here in memory.
    Not as one whose skill was great;
    Not as one who conquered fate;
    Not as one who rose to fame,
    Leaving a remembered name,
    But as one who served some need
    With a timely, kindly deed.

    I would have my life be told
    Not in glory or in gold,
    Or in books which students read,
    Giving name and date and deed
    Of a dead man labeled great
    Let mine be the lesser fate
    Let me be to print unknown;
    O'er my grave no towering stone.
    'Tis sufficient at the end
    To be mourned for as a friend.

  23. Try, Try Again
    Poet: J.J. Thorne

    The task may seem hard and difficult,
    Doubts and fears may encumber the brain;
    But resolution is half of the battle.
    Try, try again....

    continue reading
    Try, Try Again
    Try, Try Again

  24. For This One Hour
    by William Arthur Ward

    For This One Hour I can be grateful.
    I can thank God for life itself, for opportunities,
    For friends, and for a hundred other blessings and
    Privileges to be counted, cherished, and enjoyed...

    continue reading
    for this one hour
    For This One Hour

  25. One Life
    Poet: Catherine Pulsifer

    You only get one life to live
    So make it your very best.
    Live each day to the fullest
    And always get your rest.

    Fill your days with purpose
    don't waste away your days.
    For you can never recall a day,
    and live it another way.

    Don't just dream,
    set goals and action plans
    You have today so go ahead
    and live it as only you can.

  26. To-Morrow
    Poet: Lillian E. Curtis

    To-day we will banish all care,
    And from our hearts all sorrow,
    To-day we will rest and be gay,
    And pay for it all to-morrow...

    continue reading

  27. The Four Ages Of Man
    Poet: Anne Bradstreet

    Lo now four other act upon the stage,
    Childhood and Youth the Manly & Old age;
    The first son unto flegm, Grand-child to water,
    Unstable, supple, cold and moist's his nature...

    continue reading
    The Four Ages Of Man Poem
    The Four Ages Of Man Poem

  28. A Lesson From The Clock
    by John Imrie

    Tick, tick, tick, tick,
    Time flies so quick,
    With never ceaseless motion;
    Our moments pass
    Like sands in glass,
    Or wavelets of the ocean.

    Thus moments go,
    For weal or woe,
    And none returneth ever;
    How mindful we
    Should ever be
    To spend with wise endeavour.

    The life of man
    Is but a span.
    Short, transient, and fleeting;
    With here and there
    A joy or care,
    A parting or a meeting.

    Then let each hour,
    Like beauteous flower.
    Some fragrance send to Heaven;
    To God above,
    In grateful love,
    Lot ransomed powers be given.

  29. Life's Progress
    Poet: John Imrie

    Down the mountains, down the hills,
    Trickling on for ever;
    Gentle springs make little rills,
    Little rills the river...
    continue reading Life's Progress

  30. They Say
    Poet: Lillian E. Curtis

    "They say" is a bitter friend to all -
    Old and young,
    Rich and poor,
    Alike to all...

    continue reading They Say

  31. Two Kinds of Discontent
    Poet: Wilhelmina Stitch

    Discontented! Want to climb?
    Must be moving all the time?
    Splendid! Keep it up, my boy;
    To aspire is keenest joy....

    continue reading
    Two Kinds of Discontent
    Two Kinds of Discontent

  32. A Psalm of Life
    Poet: 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.

  33. Do Not Grumble
    Poet: David V. Bush

    Misfortune's bruised your brow again;
    The clouds have poured their floods of rain;
    The lightning from an angry sky
    Has hit you hard as you passed by...

    continue reading Do Not Grumble

  34. A Middle-Age Reflection
    Poet: Strickland Gillilan

    I saw a chap the other day that once I'd used to know.
    His cheeks were rosy, hair jet black, in days of long ago.
    But now the roses are not there, the raven hair is streaked
    With snowy white where ruthless Time his grim revenge has wreaked.

    continue reading A Middle-Age Reflection

  35. Something Sweet To Remember
    Poet: Strickland Gillilan

    No matter if things of the present are less than we wish them to be;
    No matter if joys we'd expected pass by on the other side;
    No matter if hope's finest fruitage still clings to the wishing tree,
    No matter if some of our dreamings have lingered awhile and died....

    continue reading Something Sweet To Remember

  36. Compensation
    Poet: Edgar A. Guest

    I'd like to think when life is done
    That I had filled a needed post.
    That here and there I'd paid my fare
    With more than idle talk and boast...

    continue reading Compensation

  37. oh! what is life?

  38. Life
    by Mary C. Ryan

    Oh! what is life, but a short breath,
    The heavings of a breast,
    A soul's strange dream while on the earth,
    A vague and brief unrest?

    Each year is a tidal wave,
    Hastening us o'er life's sea;
    A warning voice from the cold grave,
    Where all is mystery.

    E'en like a harp carelessly strung,
    Life sounds no perfect chord.
    The sweetest strains that can be sung,
    Are marred with harsh discords.

    If days, the notes of life's great song,
    Could all be played aright.
    Oh! then the world as one vast throng
    Would listen at its might.

  39. As I Go On My Way
    Poet: Strickland Gillilan

    My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done
    Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets this evening sun.
    Shall fair or foul its imprint prove, on those my life shall hail?
    Shall blessing my impress be, or shall a blight prevail...

    continue reading
    As I Go On My Way
    As I Go On My Way

  40. Life Is Too Short For
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Life is too short for any vain regretting;
    Let dead delight bury its dead, I say,
    And let us go upon our way forgetting
    The joys, and sorrows, of each yesterday...

    continue reading
    Life Is Too Short For
    Life Is Too Short For

  41. The Old, Old Story
    Poet: Edgar A. Guest

    I have no wish to rail at fate,
    And vow that I'm unfairly treated;
    I do not give vent to my hate
    Because at times I am defeated...

    continue reading
    The Old, Old Story
    The Old, Old Story

  42. Myself
    Poet: Edgar A. Guest

    I have to live with myself, and so,
    I want to be fit for myself to know;
    I want to be able as days go by,
    Always to look myself straight in the eye...

    continue reading Myself

  43. Two-Sided
    by William Arthur Ward

    Life is strange, two-sided thing...
    A dirge to chant, or a song to sing;
    A sad, cold world, or a thrilling place,
    A tough, old grind, or an exciting race.

    A drudge-filled chore or a challenging dare,
    A thorny bush, or a flower fair.
    A task to do or a chance to give,
    A day to spend or a life to life.

  44. It's A Mighty Good World To Me
    Poet: Douglas Malloch

    I've heard folks sigh, I've heard folks cry
    That life's not worth the while,
    That men deceive and women grieve,
    And none has cause to smile.

    continue reading It's A Mighty Good World To Me

  45. Sleep
    Poet: Patience Strong

    Sleep is a soft and gentle hand that charms away all strife -
    And draws us with a magic touch from out the grasp of Life -
    It throws into our tired eyes the golden dust of dreams -
    And we forget our failures and our little futile schemes...

    continue reading

  46. The Home Builders
    Poet: Edgar Guest

    The world is filled with bustle and with selfishness and greed,
    It is filled with restless people that are dreaming of a deed.
    You can read it in their faces; they are dreaming of the day
    When they'll come to fame and fortune and put all their cares away...

    continue reading
    The Home Builders

  47. Legacy
    Poet: Douglas Malloch

    Each man must leave to earth a legacy;
    Embarking on the waves of mystery
    Must leave some footprint by the unknown sea.
    Some leave behind them shining piles of gold...

    continue reading

  48. Life Doesn't Frighten Me
    Poet: 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.

  49. The Farmer's Life
    Poet: Daniel C. Colesworthy

    I love the farmer's life - it is
    The seat of every pleasure;
    The home where peace and joy and bliss
    Are found in ample measure.

    Around the bright domestic hearth
    The children now are playing;
    Anon they skip about the floor.
    No envious thought betraying.

    Our cattle and our sheep are fine,
    Our swine are daily growing,
    And all the luxuries of life
    Into our lap are flowing.

    I'm not perplexed with half the cares
    That to the heart are pressing,
    Of him who in the city lives,
    And scarcely knows a blessing.

    So I will live a farmer's life,
    And be contented ever,
    Till He who made my lot so blest
    The thread of life shall sever.

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