Hope Poems

Hope is an essential emotion. It inspires us to keep going, even in times of despair. There is hope for a better future and there’s hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Discover poetry around the theme of hope.

Hope holds to Christ

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

‘Hope holds to Christ’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a poem about faith and hope. The speaker spends the lines personifying hope and relating “her” to Christ. 

This speaker begins 'Hope holds to Christ' by stating that Hope, as a personified force, holds a mirror up to Christ. As the lines progress, it becomes clear that Hope and Christ are connected and that both reflect the other in the human mind. In the dim mirror, one can see a reflection of Christ even when Hope cannot see it. It is this inability that resembles the need for faith. Even when there is no reflection, one must still believe.

Hope holds to Christ the mind’s own mirror out

To take His lovely likeness more and more.

It will not well, so she would bring about

An ever brighter burnish than before

To Hope

by John Keats

‘To Hope’ by John Keats depicts the power and influence that Hope, as a personified force sent by God, can have on a struggling world.

Throughout this poem, the speaker outlines the ways in which Hope can help him improve his life, and ultimately his country. There are times when he is walking in sorrow, and he calls on Hope to shine like a heavenly light from the sky and banish the fiend of despair. His hope for his country at the end of the poem is that it will retain its pride and liberty. He believes Hope can make this happen.

When by my solitary hearth I sit,

When no fair dreams before my “mind’s eye” flit,

And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;

Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,

And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head.


by Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë uses figurative language, like metaphors, similes, and most importantly, personification, to describe what the feeling of hope is like in this poem.

The main idea of this poem is “hope." Emily Brontë’s expressive discussion of the topic uses figurative language to describe the universal emotion in a way that is incredibly relatable and memorable. She suggests that even the faintest degree of hope is enough to make life worth living and for one to keep their spirits up.

Hope was but a timid friend;

She sat without the grated den,

Watching how my fate would tend,

Even as selfish-hearted men.

I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes’ poem ‘I, Too, Sing America’ is an incredibly personal poem Hughes wrote, highlighting American Society and a Black man’s experience in it.

‘I, Too, Sing America’ is a short poem in which the speaker acknowledges his different skin colour but asserts that he too “sings America”. Through the text, the speaker thinks about the ways he is treated differently, such as being sent to the kitchen to eat when there’s company. The speaker also presents a vision of the future when he’s not going to be sent away and treated as though he is a slave in a white home. He has an American identity that is equal to that of his white counterparts.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

by Emily Dickinson

‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’ by Emily Dickinson is a poem about hope. It is depicted through the famous metaphor of a bird.

Hope is the primary emotion the speaker deals with in this poem as she considers the ways it manifests in people's hearts.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

Work without Hope

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘Work without Hope’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge describes the ways in which Nature works and the importance of having goals, or hopes, to strive towards.

‘Work without Hope’ describes the way that nature works and the importance of having a goal to direct one’s life. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s main character begins the poem somewhere out in nature. There is all manner of life around him, including bees, birds, and plants. He takes note of how numerous the forms of life are, and how they are all working towards independent goals. The birds sing and the bees make honey. He is the sole “unbusy” element in this forest.

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—

The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—

And Winter slumbering in the open air,

Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!


by Maya Angelou

‘Equality’ by Maya Angelou is an uplifting poem with a positive message. It speaks movingly about the possibilities of the future.

In this piece the speaker address themes of equality and discrimination. Through the use of metaphors and the striking refrain, “equality and I will be free” Maya Angelou emphasizes a universal longing for equality. The speaker asks the listener to stop covering their ears and their eyes and see clearly that the speaker, and all those like her, have been crying, asking for change.
You declare you see me dimly through a glass which will not shine, though I stand before you boldly, trim in rank and marking time  

And There Was a Great Calm

by Thomas Hardy

‘And There Was a Great Calm’ by Thomas Hardy describes the horrors of WWI, the end of the war, and the ‘Great Calm’ which came on November 11th, 1918.

This poem is one of Hardy’s best-known. It describes the horrors of World War II and the “Great Calm” which came on November 11th, 1918. In the first lines, he speaks on the years of emotion and how they impacted the peoples of the world. Those fighting, and those at home were all changed by it. The men on the battlefields truly suffered, so much so that when the war is declared over, no one can quite believe it.

There had been years of Passion—scorching, cold,

And much Despair, and Anger heaving high,

Care whitely watching, Sorrows manifold,

Among the young, among the weak and old,

Flying Inside Your Own Body

by Margaret Atwood

‘Flying Inside Your Own Body’ by Margaret Atwood speaks on the freedom one can achieve in the dream world, verses the restrictions of reality. 

Throughout this piece, Margaret Atwood uses the images of the lungs and breath to speak on freedom and joy. Inside of one’s body, she depicts it as a beautiful and adventurous place. When you breathe in, you fill yourself with helium and are imbued, like a bird, with the ability to fly.

Your lungs fill & spread themselves,

wings of pink blood, and your bones

empty themselves and become hollow.

The Song of Wandering Aengus

by William Butler Yeats

‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ by William Butler Yeats describes Aengus’ life-consuming quest to find a girl he once saw in his youth

This piece stems from stories based on Celtic mythology and tells one part of the life of the main character, Aengus. It details Aengus’ quest to find a girl he once saw in his youth. He meditates on one moment in his past which has defined all the years he has lived since. It was a normal day, but then everything changed. While in parts sorrowful, the speaker in ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ has not given up hope.

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

Explore more poems about Hope

The Hill We Climb

by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ is a moving depiction of the United States as it was on the cusp of President Biden’s inauguration in 2021. 

The overwhelming feeling at the heart of this poem is hope. The poet is incredibly optimistic, as she is, within most of her verse, about America's future.

Gathering Leaves

by Robert Frost

‘Gathering Leaves’ is a profound poem that delves into the themes of man versus nature, productivity, and change.

In spite of their disappointment, the narrator knows that the leaves will grow again and fall again, for this is the cyclical way of the world. It is only us that change.


by Jean Bleakney

‘Nightscapes’ beautifully captures the feeling of being isolated from nature that is common in urban environments.

The poem ultimately offers a hopeful view of beauty and creativity by emphasising how these qualities can thrive anywhere.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

by Tupac Shakur

‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete’ is a moving celebration of personal resolve against the backdrop of oppressive forces.

The success of the rose is a hopeful sign for the future as it can be an example to others. The speaker in the poem appears keen to spread this message of hope.

The Sea and the Hills

by Rudyard Kipling

‘The Sea and the Hills’ by Rudyard Kipling depicts the ocean, its heaving waves, incredible winds, and ever-present danger. It has evoked longing in men throughout time and will continue to do so, just as one longs to return home. 

The sea represents hope that a better, more desirable future is out there somewhere even if that hope is misplaced.

Indian Weavers

by Sarojini Naidu

‘Indian Weavers’ explores the inevitability of death while celebrating the cycles of human existence and experience.

In spite of the emphasis on the fleeting nature of life, the poem actually offers a hopeful message by focusing on how precious our time really is.

The Fish

by Marianne Moore

‘The Fish’ by Marianne Moore uses imagery and form to objectively describe nature and humanity’s ability to survive and mature in the face of death, destruction, and loss.

Beyond all else, 'The Fish' offers a message of hope. It simultaneously validates and respects destruction, grief, and death while celebrating life. The speaker's detached, unromantic, and realistic point of view offers a bigger-picture snapshot of the way that death and life interact. While this death encloses all life, it serves as a foundation for other things to thrive.

The Machinist, Teaching His Daughter to Play the Piano

by B.H. Fairchild

‘The Machinist, Teaching His Daughter to Play the Piano’ by B.H. Fairchild is a free verse poem about how the creative process can connect a father and daughter.

Although the machinist is tired and worn from his job as a lathe operator, he continues to work hard for his daughter in the hopes that she will escape a life of labor and have the opportunity to pursue her dreams. Ultimately, the poem ends as the daughter attempts to speak with her father, and they connect through their creativity.

The Miracle of Morning

by Amanda Gorman

‘The Miracle of Morning’ by Amanda Gorman is a direct message of hope in the face of suffering. Specifically, Gorman uses this poem to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and its outcome. 

Hope and optimism are the primary emotions in this powerful Amanda Gorman poem. The poet explores themes of sickness/wellness and hope in the face of suffering.

New Day’s Lyric

by Amanda Gorman

‘New Day’s Lyric’ by Amanda Gorman is poem written at the end of 2021 in order to usher in a more hopeful new year in 2022. The piece explores themes of hope and change. 

The poet shares her hopes for the future in this poem. She asks readers to imagine a world where poverty and sickness, along with everyday life struggles, culminate in a better world that's more equal for everyone.

The Quilting

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘The Quilting’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a very short love poem that reveals the speaker’s growing affection for a woman named Dolly.

Despite the fact that Dolly seems to pay the speaker no mind, he is still hopeful that she will finally notice him and accept him as her partner. His passion seems relentless, and he is absolutely fixated on her movements, which makes it seems like the speaker will never give up on his pursuit of Dolly's love.


by Derek Walcott

‘Lampfall’ by Derek Walcott dives deep into an investigation of thought, dreaming, community and connection while also implying that nature and thought are more meaningful than development.

Despite the rapid switches between dark and light in this poem, which often leaves the listener feeling uneasy about what's going on in Walcott's mind, there is an underlying sentiment of hope. The memory of sitting on the beach with his family haunts Walcott's mind, where he can keep his bright, warm family forever. However, the dream itself sometimes verges on a nightmare, as the highway threatens Walcott's stunning natural world.

To My Brother

by Lorna Dee Cervantes

‘To My Brother’ by Lorna Dee Cervantes captures the intense bittersweetness of remembering a childhood checkered by both strife and happiness.

The poem is not without expressions of hope and it's an expression of that sentiment that Cervantes ends her poem with. Though it's hard to say which emotions have a dominating presence in the poem over the others, the speaker is clear that at the very least it's their hope that gets them through the night into another day.

Bloody Men

by Wendy Cope

‘Bloody Men’ by Wendy Cope is a short, contemporary poem by a British award-winning author. It uses a metaphor to compare men to buses.

The speaker still feels hope regarding the future of her relationships.

How Did You Die?

by Edmund Vance Cooke

‘How Did You Die?’ by Edmund Vance Cooke is a rhyming poem that tries to impart an idealized view of perseverance in life.

Despite dealing with such grim topics the poem also creates a feeling of hope as it tries to soothe people's fear of failure and even death.

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

by Robert Duncan

‘Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow’ by Robert Duncan is often regarded as the poet’s best work. It analyzes the poet’s dream of a meadow while also exploring the new technique of projective verse.

'Often I Am Permitted To Return to a Meadow' offers hope for rebirth after death as the poet investigates and observes his dream, where he is the eastern sun, but where he also receives an omen of his own death. So, while there are darker themes at play, there is always a greater emphasis on intellectual reasoning and rebirth.


by Hugo Williams

‘Toilet’ by Hugo Williams is a humorous poem that describes a man’s struggles to speak to a beautiful woman on a train.

The speaker is clearly hopeful that something is going to happen between him and the woman he is sitting across from on the train. But, given the information from the first stanza, it seems very unlikely.

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 expresses a sense of hope that the heart finds "pleasure" and if not that then an "excuse from pain" in this poem.

What Though the Dark Come Down

by Annette Wynne

‘What Though the Dark Come Down’ by Annette Wynne is a powerful, four-stanza poem that explores the power, or lack thereof, darkness holds. 

Hope is certainly the primary emotion felt in this poem. The speaker is very capable of seeing beyond the darkness to the life within.

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry, straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey