11 Poems For Twenty-Somethings That Will Inspire You, Motivate You, And Help You Get Through It All
You've probably heard it before: your twenties will be the hardest decade of your life. Of course, everyone has their own experiences, and for some the years between 20 and 29 might be filled with nothing but rainbows and butterflies. But for so many of us, this period is rife with confusion, lots of hard work, personal and professional confusion, and more slip-ups than one can count. But, if you know where to look, this time can also be one of inspiration, and learning the most about who you are and want you want from your life in the decades to come. One thing that has definitely helped me most whenever I felt like I just couldn't get a grip? Reading... wheter it be novels, essays, or poetry.
Below are 11 poems that will keep you grounded during your twenties, no matter what roadblock you come up against. If you need general life inspiration, self-confidence, motivation, advice, commiseration, whatever; one or more of the poems below are sure to become favorites for you. Bookmark these to return to on the days when being in your twenties seems like some sort of cosmic joke — I guarantee you'll feel better about being in the thick of it right now.
'The Summer Day' by Mary Oliver
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
'How to Triumph Like a Girl' by Ada Limón
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to lift my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.
'Imaginary Conversation' by Linda Pastan
But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first—
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?
'Little Prayer' by Danez Smith
let ruin end here
let him find honey
where there was once a slaughter
'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
'The Good Life' by Tracy K. Smith
When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread
'Dreams' by Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
'Winter Stars' by Sara Teasdale
Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
The faithful beauty of the stars.
'Her Kind' by Anne Sexton
I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
'Triple Sonnet for my Aggressive Forehead' by Dorothy Chan
Dad thinks my forehead is too Godzilla, too Tarzan, too Wonder Woman,
tells me not to tie my hair back,
exposing it, like it’s the Frankenstein Monster
from beneath my childhood bed,
or the mollusk that challenged the world,
and Dad, I love you, but you should know
that I’m a nightmare as a woman
who can make the earth stand still
'Hope Is The Thing With Feathers' by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -