9 Poems For Meditation That Can Help You Center Yourself

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Poetry has a unique and innate ability to slow down time and connect its readers to the fabric of life. So, it's only natural that poetry makes the perfect companion to any meditation practice. If you've been looking to add a new dimension to your meditation ritual, you might consider reading a poem at the start or end of your next session.

Poetry, like meditation, is an opportunity to center yourself and look inward. Poems can be refreshing, they can be enlightening, and they can lead you towards new ways of thinking. Perhaps most importantly in this case, poems can also be grounding and soothing and might just help you deal with anxiety.

Reading poetry is a wonderful way to invite your mind to relax and expand as you settle into your meditation practice. It can also be a lovely way to end any meditation practice as you come back into the world.

Here are nine calming and introspective poems to incorporate into your meditation practice. No matter where you choose to find a moment of peace, my hope that there is a poem on here that will speak to you. Sit in these poems. Let your brain turn them over. See where they take you.

1"Apology to the Body" by Lory Bedikian

Giphy

Sorry for mercury strewn in veins of fish,

for traces of carbon monoxide loose in the air,

for radiation that circles and enters the aura.

Sorry for deliberate puffs and sips

late in the night, for an empty stomach

burning with coffee grounds.

Read in full.

2"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

Giphy

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Read in full.

3'The Last Thing' by Ada Limón

Giphy

First there was the blue wing

of a scraggly loud jay tucked

into the shrubs. Then the bluish-

black moth drunkenly tripping

from blade to blade. Then

the quiet that came roaring

in like the R. J. Corman over

Broadway near the RV shop.

These are the last three things

that happened. Not in the universe,

but here, in the basin of my mind,

Read in full.

4"Planet" by Catherine Pierce

Giphy

This morning this planet is covered by winds and blue.

This morning this planet glows with dustless perfect light,

enough that I can see one million sharp leaves

from where I stand. I walk on this planet, its hard-packed

dirt and prickling grass, and I don’t fall off. I come down

soft if I choose, hard if I choose. I never float away.

Read in full.

5"Radial Scent" by Sharon Wang

Giphy

Love in the larval stage:

terror of surrender.

Unraveling, a path.

Read in full.

6"I Don’t Know What You’re Called, I’ll Call You by Your Sounds" by Susan Landers

Giphy

dew grass a fire shine

mountain a lung

pine cone the bone

tsunami rock hawk jaw

gravity a fall all consuming

a song chirp for sunlight

Read in full.

7'Harness' by Jane Hirshfield

Giphy

Little soul,

you and I will become

the memory

of a memory of a memory.

Read in full.

8'Strangers' by Christine Gosnay

Giphy

Somewhere things are happening. Marvelous orange

and purple things. Flooding rivers at dusk, wheels threading

roads in the desert. Strangers. Strangers. Sea.

Read in full.

9"Masada" by Daniela Danz, translated by Monika Cassel

Giphy

And then when you stand where it is quiet so that

you notice when thought ends and

listening begins when listening ends

and seeing begins when a bird

flies when you glide as a black bird

Read in full.