9 Poems For Meditation That Can Help You Center Yourself
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
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.
2"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver
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.
3'The Last Thing' by Ada Limón
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,
4"Planet" by Catherine Pierce
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.
5"Radial Scent" by Sharon Wang
Love in the larval stage:
terror of surrender.
Unraveling, a path.
6"I Don’t Know What You’re Called, I’ll Call You by Your Sounds" by Susan Landers
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
7'Harness' by Jane Hirshfield
you and I will become
of a memory of a memory.
8'Strangers' by Christine Gosnay
Somewhere things are happening. Marvelous orange
and purple things. Flooding rivers at dusk, wheels threading
roads in the desert. Strangers. Strangers. Sea.
9"Masada" by Daniela Danz, translated by Monika Cassel
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