It’s extremely difficult—if not impossible—to explain the genuine beauty of a well-written poem, but it seems as though great poets themselves can explain the artistry of poetry best. Robert Frost argues that, “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness,” and also that, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” Williams Wordsworth seems to echo Frost’s insights by saying, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility,” and T. S. Eliot’s line, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood,” is also a supporting insight. However, Edgar Allan Poe may have said it best, or at least most eloquently: “I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.”
Indeed, reading quality poetry can be a truly transcendental experience—but uncovering and gaining access to the very best poems can be both time consuming and frustrating. The world is all but full of books of poetry, yet not all the books are full of quality poems. However, feel free to breathe a sigh of relief (at least for the next few minutes), because a worthwhile poem now lies before your eyes—and directly beneath this introduction.
by Max Erhman
Go placidly amid the noise and 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 the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your 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 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 with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
*Inspired by here.