Poems That Heal

Poems that heal possess a unique ability to cure the wounds of the human heart and mind. Through carefully crafted words and poignant imagery, poetry offers solace, understanding, and a sense of connection in times of pain and despair.

Poems that heal possess a unique ability to cure the wounds of the human heart and mind. Through carefully crafted words and poignant imagery, poetry offers solace, understanding, and a sense of connection in times of pain and despair. Healing poetry has the power to validate our emotions, providing inspiring metaphors that reminds us we are not alone in our struggles. It offers a safe space where emotions can be expressed, explored, and ultimately, transformed. In the gentle cadence of verses, individuals often find the strength to confront their fears, navigate complex emotions, and emerge with a renewed sense of hope and resilience. Poems that heal are a therapeutic art form with the capacity to mend shattered spirits, making it a timeless and invaluable source of healing for the human spirit.

The Uses of Sorrow by Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

The Uses of Sorrow from Mary Oliver’s collection Thirst: Poems is one of the most iconic examples of poems that heal. The sentiment is a simple one: even burdens can be gifts. With her on brand wit, this concise poem does it all.

Love after Love by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread, Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

Read the full poem here.

Derek Walcott’s poem explores the concept of healing through the passage of time. Things change, nothing stays the same, not even yourself and especially not your situation. Time will change you, and you can learn to love your self.

Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Read the full poem here.

Nye makes expert observations about the nature of kindness and forgiveness. They do not exist in vacuums, someone has to hurt you to forgive them. Where there is kindness there is malice. They are linked, and we have to learn from both of them.

Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O’Hara

Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious as if I were French?

Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there’ll be nothing left with which to venture forth.

Why should I share you? Why don’t you get rid of someone else for a change?

I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.

Even trees understand me! Good heavens, I lie under them, too, don’t I? I’m just like a pile of leaves.

Read the full poem here.

Meditations in an Emergency is the title of a collection of O’Hara’s poetry as well as this individual poem. O’Hara brings us on a journey of his internal thoughts—bouncing from one idea to the next. It explores understanding yourself and learning to love yourself in the chaos of life.

Happiness by Raymond Carver

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

Read the full poem here.

Carver captures the beautiful moment of two people sharing a moment together. This poem is a great example of poems that heal because it highlights the importance of friendship and paying attention to the mundane, and finding beauty and hope among them.

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.

Read the full poem here.

In perhaps one of the most inspirational poems of all time Angelou crafts a beautiful poem about healing. Reading this poem instills the reader with a sense of hope and optimism. It flies in the face of adversity and says, Still I Rise.

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.

Read the full poem here.

This villanelle by Dylan Thomas is one of the most quoted poems of all time. It is often quoted in moments of despair or moments of profound suffering. It is a healing poem—it inspires the reader and anyone listening to it to rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

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Sam and Corey started Poetry is Pretentious to demystify poetry. More importantly, their 5th grade teacher told them they couldn’t go through life as a team. 18 years later they’re here to prove her wrong.


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