Confidence Poems

Confidence-inspiring poems are dynamic, empowering, and uplifting. They speak of self-assurance, personal strength, and the courage to embrace one’s true self.

Using positive affirmations, striking imagery, and persuasive rhetoric, the poet explores the transformative power of self-belief. Such poetry serves as a rallying cry for inner strength and self-reliance, urging the reader to trust in their abilities and inspiring them to conquer their doubts.

Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem

by Helene Johnson

‘Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem’ by Helene Johnson is a deeply affecting poem that lucidly attempts to uncover a man’s shortcomings alongside all that makes his superbly admirable.

Without a doubt, one of the poem's most powerful emotions is confidence. The speaker's descriptions of the man overflow with the perceived dignity and boldness with which he appears to carry himself. Although this can be perceived as arrogant, that doesn't exactly discourage the speaker, who finds them still exceptionally compelling in spite of it.

You are disdainful and magnificent—

Your perfect body and your pompous gait,

Your dark eyes flashing solemnly with hate,

Small wonder that you are incompetent

The Present Crisis

by James Russell Lowell

‘The Present Crisis’ by James Russell Lowell is an anthem against slavery and, by extension, other racially-induced crimes. Penned in 1845 as a protest against the permission of slavery in Texas, this long poem now serves as a voice for all people of color who continue to face discrimination today.

This ties into the speaker's bravery. Lowell is confident that his cause is right and that the government is wrong. He says that throughout the poem and even gives reasons with facts and opinions some may feel inclined to argue with. Nonetheless, he delivers his poem confidently, making this emotion evident.

Slavery, the earth-born Cyclops, fellest of the giant brood,

Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who have drenched the earth with blood,

Famished in his self-made desert, blinded by our purer day,

Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable prey;—

Fame is a bee

by Emily Dickinson

‘Fame is a bee’ by Emily Dickinson uses a bee to describe the fleeting nature of fame. She uses clever images and original poetic writing throughout.

Dickinson's narrator is resolute in their assertions about fame, implying they are either speaking from experience or simply have a very wise attitude to life. They are supremely confident that fame will not bring happiness or joy as it promises, but instead leave the person feeling worse than before.

Fame is a bee.

It has a song—

It has a sting—

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

by Emily Dickinson

‘I’m Nobody! Who are you?’ by Emily Dickinson reflects the poet’s emotions. It reveals her disdain for publicity and her preference for privacy.

The speaker is very confident in her opinion about wanting to avoid fame and everything that comes with it.

I'm Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too? T

hen there's a pair of us!

Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

Each and All

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Each and All’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson depicts nature as interconnected and dependent on all other living and non-living things. The poet uses a few clever examples to demonstrate why he sees the world this way. 

The speaker is confident in the epiphany he has at the end of the poem and his experiences throughout.

Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown,

Of thee from the hill-top looking down;

The heifer that lows in the upland farm,

Far-heard, lows not thine ear to charm;

In Celebration of My Uterus

by Anne Sexton

‘In Celebration of My Uterus’ by Anne Sexton is an uplifting poem about the meaning of womanhood. The poem explores Sexton’s perspective on feminine identity.

When Sexton uses strong descriptions like "soil of the fields" and "roots" in stanza two, one can tell how confident she is in who she is. This should be translated to the reader and perhaps imbue them with some of the same confidence.

Sweet weight,

in celebration of the woman I am

and of the soul of the woman I am

and of the central creature and its delight


Life Sculpture

by George Washington Doane

‘Life Sculpture’ by George Washington Doane is a poem heavily symbolic poem about realizing one’s true potential and purpose in life.

The poem is meant to inspire a certain confidence in an individual, one that's fueled by their own skill as well as a faith that once their purpose in life is revealed, they'll be able to make it a reality.

Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy

With his marble block before him,

And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,

As an angel-dream passed o’er him. 

Tell all the truth but tell it slant

by Emily Dickinson

‘Tell the truth but tell it slant’ by Emily Dickinson is one of Dickinson’s best-loved poems. It explores an unknown “truth” that readers must interpret in their own way.

The speaker is confident in her opinion about the truth and how to tell it, or not.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth's superb surprise

The Red Hat

by Rachel Hadas

‘The Red Hat’ by Rachel Hadas provides a poignant scene that captures the bittersweet experience of raising a child.

One of the emotions imparted in the poem is a sense of the child's burgeoning confidence as they get more comfortable with walking to school alone. Since the poem is from the point of view of one of the parents, that feeling is somewhat muted by others. Yet, the poem's portrayal of the child's confidence is still vibrant and shines through in a way that somewhat implies the speaker is proud as a parent.

It started before Christmas. Now our son

officially walks to school alone.

Semi-alone, it's accurate to say:

I or his father track him on his way.


by Rudyard Kipling

Many people consider ‘If—’ to be one of the most inspirational poems ever written. It is certainly a poem that has garnered a great deal of attention in popular culture.

The poem advises the reader to maintain self-assurance and belief in oneself. It underscores the significance of self-confidence in facing life's challenges and persevering through adversity. The poem highlights the importance of self-assuredness without arrogance, promoting a healthy sense of confidence that empowers individuals to pursue their dreams.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;


Explore more poems about Confidence

A little Dog that wags his tail

by Emily Dickinson

In ‘A little Dog that wags his tail’ Emily Dickinson explores themes of human nature, the purpose of life, and freedom. She compares animals, cats and dogs, to adults and children.

The speaker regards the events with a degree of confidence and certainty, easily separating the different groups in their mind. They confidently categorise the dogs and children as joyful, the cat as pragmatically morose and the adults as dull.

A little Dog that wags his tail

And knows no other joy

Of such a little Dog am I

Reminded by a Boy

Do not go gentle into that good night

by Dylan Thomas

‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ is a powerful poem about how important it is, despite death’s inevitability, to fight against it until the bitter end.

Confidence is key to resisting death. Thomas encourages us to be confident in our ability to fight against the darkness, believe in ourselves, and never give up.

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.

I’ll Open the Window

by Anna Swir

‘I’ll Open the Window’ is a passionate piece written by Anna Swir that offers a raw and natural post romantic breakup statement.

As the poem progresses, the speaker begins to gain confidence in herself and her abilities, something that the poet conveys in a very clear way. She recognizes that she is strong enough to face the challenges of the future and is able to find hope in the midst of the pain.

Our embrace lasted too long.

We loved right down to the bone.

I hear the bones grind, I see

our two skeletons.

Teddy Bear

by Alan Alexander Milne

In ‘Teddy Bear,’ the titular stuffed bear frets about his chubby body. A chance encounter with a plump passerby helps Teddy realize that fat men can still be held in high esteem, giving him newfound confidence about his appearance.

At the end of 'Teddy Bear,' the bear finds confidence in his appearance after a chance encounter with a plump man who Teddy believes is the King of France. In depicting the bear's anxieties and newfound pride, Milne shows younger readers that they, too, can be confident about their appearance.

A bear, however hard he tries,

Grows tubby without exercise.

Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,

Which is not to be wondered at;

Still I Rise

by Maya Angelou

‘Still I Rise’ is an inspiring and emotional poem that’s based around Maya Angelou’s experiences as a Black woman in America. It encourages readers to love themselves fully and persevere in the face of every hardship.

Maya Angelou's powerful words exude self-assuredness, defying the attempts to undermine her confidence. The poem celebrates the importance of self-confidence as a means of reclaiming power and asserting one's worth. By embodying confidence, the speaker challenges societal expectations and demands respect.

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

When I Was Prettiest in My Life

by Ibaragi Noriko

‘When I Was Prettiest in My Life’ by Ibaragi Noriko is a powerful poem written after World War II that explores the juxtaposition between beauty and war. 

The poem grapples with the speaker's dwindling confidence in the midst of personal and societal turmoil. The contrast between the speaker's prettiness and their unhappiness reveals a loss of confidence in the power of beauty to bring joy or fulfillment. Yet, the resolve to live a long time implies a rekindling of confidence.

When I was prettiest in my life,

the cities crumbled down,

and the blue sky appeared

in the most unexpected places.

Double Dutch

by Gregory Pardlo

‘Double Dutch’ by Gregory Pardlo captures the vibrant energy and skillful artistry of girls playing the game with vivid imagery and rhythmic language.

The poem gives forth the emotion of confidence through its depiction of the girls' skillful and precise movements. The rhythmic language and vivid imagery convey a sense of mastery and control. The jumper's anticipation, nodding, and comparison to a bandleader counting off the tune exude a self-assuredness and belief in her abilities, evoking a feeling of confidence and empowerment.

The girls turning double-dutch

bob & weave like boxers pulling

punches, shadowing each other,

sparring across the slack cord

A Nation’s Strength

by William Ralph Emerson

‘A Nation’s Strength’ by William Ralph Emerson asks readers to consider what it is that makes a country great and why countries fail.

The speaker is entirely confident in their opinion about what makes a nation great (once they arrive at it, that is).

What makes a nation's pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

Character of the Happy Warrior

by William Wordsworth

‘Character of the Happy Warrior’ by William Wordsworth is a poem about what it means to be a “happy warrior” and what the elements of this kind of person’s life would be. 

The poem's speaker is incredibly confident in the assertions they make. There is no doubt in their tone regarding what it takes to be a happy warrior and stay true to one's own morals.

  Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he

That every man in arms should wish to be?

—It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought

Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought

Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:

Phenomenal Woman

by Maya Angelou

‘Phenomenal Woman’ by Maya Angelou defies the stereotypes women are often faced with today. It is a poem filled with strength and determination.

Central to the poem is the theme of confidence. Angelou’s protagonist does not fit society's typical beauty molds, yet she radiates an unyielding assurance, illustrating that genuine confidence stems from within.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries

by Walt Whitman

‘Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries’ by Walt Whitman is a poem about the imperative of a poet to share their art with the world for its benefit.

One of the emotions expressed by the speaker in Walt Whitman's poem is an air of confidence. The speaker is confident in the importance of their book to the libraries of the nation, though it is not based on the merit of their artistic talents. Instead, the focus is on the subject matter of the book itself, which is devoted to the soldiers in the war effort and uplifting "soul of man."

Shut not your doors to me, proud libraries,

For that which was lacking among you all, yet needed most, I bring;

A book I have made for your dear sake, O soldiers,

And for you, O soul of man, and you, love of comrades;


by Marilyn Nelson

‘Star-Fix’ by Marilyn Nelson is a poem that lionizes the noble role of the navigator onboard an aircraft.

One of the emotions the poem inspires in the reader is a sense of confidence, which permeates mainly from the speaker's idolization of the navigator. They are treated indirectly as a figure to aspire to but also as self-assured in their abilities—a necessity for someone crucial to keeping the aircraft both airborne and on course.

At his cramped desk under the astrodome, the navigator looks

thousands of light-years everywhere but down. He gets a celestial fix,

measuring head-winds; checking the log; plotting wind-speed,

altitude, drift in a circle of protractors, slide-rules, and pencils.

Grass Will Grow

by Jonathan Kariara

‘Grass will grow’ by Jonathan Kariara is a beautiful poem addressed to God and concerned with loss and a speaker’s reaction to it.

Despite the pain and suffering expressed, there's an underlying confidence in the natural order and the process of healing. This confidence allows the speaker to endure and to find hope, even in the face of overwhelming loss.

If you should take my child Lord

Give my hands strength to dig his grave

cover him with earth

Lord send a little rain


Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

by John Ashbery

‘Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror’ by John Ashbery manifests art’s struggle to capture the multifaceted self.

There are a few subtle meanderings of confidence in the poem, like when the poet talks about the artist's willingness to expose their self-portrait to scrutiny, which implies a level of confidence in their artistic expression, even when revealing vulnerabilities. This confidence extends to the courage to share one's self-representation with others.

As Parmigianino did it, the right hand

Bigger than the head, thrust at the viewer

And swerving easily away, as though to protect

What it advertises. A few leaded panes, old beams,


All You Have is a Country

by Ha Jin

“All You Have is A Country” by Ha Jin explores patriotism and how it can be negatively ingrained into someone’s personality.

While a great deal can be interpreted from the lines, the poet's tone is overwhelmingly confident. He knows what he wants to convey and does it so that readers can't help but walk away, feeling that he's right in his assertions about China and the Chinese identity.

You are so poor that all you have is a country.

Whenever you open your mouth

you talk about the country

to which you can no longer return.


by John Burroughs

‘Waiting’ by John Burroughs is an interesting, powerful poem written by a poet born in the mid-19th century. It asserts his, or a persona’s opinion about his fate. 

The speaker is entirely confident in his opinion about the future. He knows that he has good things ahead of him and isn't worried about making anything happen in his life.

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,

Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;

I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,

For, lo! my own shall come to me.

Anne Rutledge

by Edgar Lee Masters

‘Anne Rutledge’ by Edgar Lee Masters is an epitaph based on the life of someone who knew and loved Abraham Lincoln in her youth.

The speaker is confident in her beliefs and her feelings for Abraham Lincoln.

Out of me unworthy and unknown

The vibrations of deathless music;

“With malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Out of me the forgiveness of millions toward millions,

Because I could not stop for Death

by Emily Dickinson

‘Because I could not stop for death,’ Dickinson’s best-known poem, is a depiction of one speaker’s journey into the afterlife with personified “Death” leading the way.

This poem demonstrates a sense of confidence and acceptance towards the inevitable journey towards death. Her calm and composed demeanor reflect a belief in the natural order of life and death, offering a compelling perspective on the human experience.

Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me –

The Carriage held but just Ourselves –

And Immortality.

O snail

by Kobayashi Issa

‘O snail’ by Kobayashi Issa is a well-known poem that celebrates nature while also inspiring readers to take their time to overcome great obstacles. 

The snail's steady progress and determination reflect a quiet confidence in its abilities. Issa's poem serves as a reminder that self-belief and confidence, no matter how subtle, are vital in navigating life's challenges.

O snail,

climb Mt. Fuji,

but slowly, slowly

The Heart asks Pleasure – first

by Emily Dickinson

‘The heart asks pleasure first’ by Emily Dickinson depicts the needs of the heart. They are highly changeable and include pleasure and excuse from pain.

Dickinson is confident in her understanding of love and pain in this poem.

The Heart asks Pleasure—first—

And then—Excuse from Pain—

And then—those little Anodynes

That deaden suffering—

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