17 Of The Most Powerful Excerpts From Poetry

17 Of The Most Powerful Excerpts From Poetry

We have included 17 of the most powerful excerpts from poetry in this post.

What Is Poetry?

According to Oxford, poetry is ‘literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.’

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica it is ‘literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.’

I have chosen some of my favourite lines of poetry to celebrate World Poetry Day, which is celebrated on 21 March each year.

These are lines that I find powerful, moving, and poignant.

17 Powerful Excerpts From Poetry

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes…
~Lord Byron

He was my North, my South, my East and West.
My working week and my Sunday rest.
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song.
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
~W.H. Auden

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
~W.B. Yeats

Dying is an art.
Like everything else,
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I have a call.
~Sylvia Plath

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.
~Dylan Thomas

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all
~Emily Dickinson

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
~David Whyte

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

so I wait for you like a lonely house
till you will see me again and live in me.
Till then my windows ache.
~Pablo Neruda

I will remember the kisses
our lips raw with love
and how you gave me
everything you had
and how I
offered you what was left of
~Charles Bukowski

to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go
~Mary Oliver

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in
my heart) I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
~ee cummings

As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.
~Anne Sexton

We were so wholly one I had not thought
That we could die apart. I had not thought
That I could move,—and you be stiff and still!
That I could speak,—and you perforce be dumb!
I think our heart-strings were, like warp and woof
In some firm fabric, woven in and out;
Your golden filaments in fair design
Across my duller fibre.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

I carry you with me into the world,
into the smell of rain
& the words that dance between people
& for me, it will always be this way,
walking in the light,
remembering being alive together
~Brian Andreas

If you want to write poetry, you may enjoy this series on the craft:

  1. Poetry 101: What Is A Poem?
  2. Poetry 101: How To Analyse A Poem
  3. Poetry 101: Creating Figurative Language Using Literary Devices
  4. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Sonnet
  5. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Haiku
  6. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – Free Verse
  7. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Limerick
  8. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Villanelle
  9. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems: The Ballad

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. Poetry 101: What Is A Poem?
  2. The Day Jobs of 12 Famous Poets
  3. 33 Quotes By Poets On Poetry
  4. How To Write And Talk About Poetry When You Don’t Have A Clue
  5. 7 Bits Of Poetry Advice From Mary Oliver
  6. 15 Reasons To Write Poetry
  7. How To Get An ‘A’ Analysing Poetry
  8. How To Use Emily Dickinson’s 4 Super Simple Writing Techniques
  9. Billy Collins’s 6 Pleasures Of Poetry
  10. Billy Collins’s 6 Elements Of A Poem

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

Posted on: 21st March 2015