Optimism Poems


by Jean Bleakney

‘Spring’ is an unsettling poem that explores the dangers of devotion and deferring happiness instead of living in the present.

The figure remains optimistic for much of the poem, content that her hard work will eventually yield success and happiness.

It spills from sun-shocked evenings in March

and slit seed-packets, buckled into spouts.

She palms and strokes and shunts them, via heart-line;

index-fingers them to rows of labelled pots.

Climbing Cader Idris

by Gillian Clarke

‘Climbing Cader Idris’ by Gillian Clarke celebrates the resiliency and the symbiotic relationship between individuals– representing beauty that can be found amid life’s challenges – as long as one is open to appreciate it during trying times.

This poem presents the narrator's volatile emotions, ranging from pensiveness and optimism to excitement and dread about the hike with their companion. The emotion of optimism, however, is much prevalent throughout the poem. Despite the physical exhaustion, the poem instills a sense of hope and a positive attitude in the hikers' pleasure and appreciation of nature.

You know the mountain with your body,

I with my mind, I suppose.

Each, in our way, describes

the steepening angle of rock.


by Chinua Achebe

‘Answer’ by Chinua Achebe portrays a persona shedding off insecurities about his homeland. He stops comparing it to that of his colonizers, seeing it as the vibrant place it always was.

The poem conveys a sense of optimism, as the speaker breaks free from fear and embraces a newfound sense of freedom and self-empowerment. Achebe's poem suggests that despite the challenges and hardships faced, there is a hopeful outlook that change is possible.

I broke at last

the terror-fringed fascination

that bound my ancient gaze

to those crowding faces

The Powwow at the End of the World

by Sherman Alexie

‘The Powwow at the End of the World’ by Sherman Alexie is a stunning poem that reveals the apocalyptic price of an indigenous person’s forgiveness.

There is a sense of optimism in the poem that radiates from the speaker's vision of their tribe reunited at the powwow. But, of course, that future is one predicated on apocalyptic visions.

I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall   

after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam   

and topples it. I am told by many of you that I must forgive   

and so I shall after the floodwaters burst each successive dam   

Somebody’s Mother

by Mary Dow Brine

‘Somebody’s Mother’ by Mary Dow Brine is a heartbreaking and heartwarming poem about caring for strangers.

The poem ends on an optimistic note that should inspire readers to help those in need, just as the young man in the poem does. Although there are moments of hope among strangers, as depicted in the poem, there are many others that are far less optimistic.

The woman was old and ragged and gray

And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.


The street was wet with a recent snow

And the woman's feet were aged and slow.

From My Life: A name trimmed with colored ribbons

by Lyn Hejinian

‘A name trimmed with colored ribbons’ by Lyn Hejinian is a Language Poem that requires the listener to use their imagination and creativity to reconstruct and interpret the poet’s childhood fantasies.

'A name trimmed with colored ribbons' puts huge importance on imagination, which is meant to make the listener feel optimistic about their creative potential. As part of Language Poetry, this poem is made just for the listener, who must take the pieces of the poem to construct some sort of meaning. Ultimately, each meaning will be different depending on the listener, giving you absolute freedom of interpretation.

A name trimmed      They are seated in the shadows

with colored              husking corn, shelling peas. Houses

ribbons                          of wood set in the ground. I try to


by Hone Tuwhare

‘Monologue’ by Hone Tuwhare is a contemporary poem about the difficulties workers face when looking for a job and how temporary those jobs can be. 

The speaker expresses optimism when he tries to make the best of the poor working conditions he's forced to contend with in this poem. The vast majority of 'Monologue' is focused on the good parts of sitting near the door.

I like working near a door. I like to have my work-bench 

          close by, with a locker handy.

A drop fell on the apple tree

by Emily Dickinson

‘A drop fell on the apple tree’ by Emily Dickinson is filled with joy. It describes, with Dickinson’s classic skill, images of the summer season and how a storm can influence it.

A drop fell on the apple tree

Another on the roof;

A half a dozen kissed the eaves,

And made the gables laugh.

A Fairy Tale

by Amy Lowell

A Fairy Tale, as the title of Amy Lowell’s work invokes, is something that nearly everyone can relate to. A

A Lady

by Amy Lowell

‘A Lady’ by Amy Lowell is a two stanza poem which is separated into one set of thirteen lines and

Among the Rocks

by Robert Browning

‘Among the Rocks’ is a beautiful lyric poem written from the perspective of James Lee’s wife, a character of Robert Browning’s collection, Dramatis Personae (1864).

Blaen Cwrt

by Gillian Clarke

‘Blaen Cwrt,’ a poem by Welsh poet Gillian Clarke depicts the pleasant dwelling of the speaker in rural Ceredigion, West Wales.

Elegy V: His Picture

by John Donne

‘Elegy V’ by John Donne is addressed to the poet’s lover. He asks her to accept him when he returns, despite the fact that he’s going to look and act differently.

Here take my picture; though I bid farewell

Thine, in my heart, where my soul dwells, shall dwell.

'Tis like me now, but I dead, 'twill be more

When we are shadows both, than 'twas before.


by Robert Browning

‘Epilogue’ is a perfect bid-adieu poem to leave behind amidst a great body of poetic works if one is as great a poet as Victorian-era maestro Robert Browning.

For Nanabhai Bhatt

by Sujata Bhatt

‘For Nanabhai Bhatt’ is about the poet Sujata Bhatt’s grandfather, Nanabhai Bhatt, who was an educationist and activist active during the Indian independence movement.

I can wade Grief-

by Emily Dickinson

‘I can wade Grief-‘ by Emily Dickinson is a fairly simple poem about strength in the face of sorrow. The speaker describes the detrimental effect of happiness during a period of struggle.

I can wade Grief—

Whole Pools of it—

I'm used to that—

I did not reach Thee

by Emily Dickinson

‘I did not reach Thee’ by Emily Dickinson is a complex poem about a speaker’s journey through life. She expresses both optimism and hesitation in the face of her death and attempts to reach God. 

I did not reach Thee

But my feet slip nearer every day

Three Rivers and a Hill to cross

Jazz Fantasia

by Carl Sandburg

In ‘Jazz Fantasia’ Carl Sandburg conveys his feelings about the rise of jazz music and Black culture in America.

Morning Poem

by Mary Oliver

‘Morning Poem’ by Mary Oliver uses the dawn of a new day to speak of hope and new beginnings, offering an optimistic message.

Northern Pike

by James Wright

‘Northern Pike’ by James Wright is a beautiful poem written from the perspective of a man on a fishing trip.


by Robert Browning

In ‘Prospice’ by Robert Browning, the speaker talks of facing death bravely and being reunited with his soulmate. Read the poem, with a complete analysis.

Sonnet 16

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Sonnet 16’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, also known as ‘And yet, because thou overcomest so,’ speaks to the poet’s intention to live happily from now on.

The Peninsula

by Seamus Heaney

‘The Peninsula’ is a beautiful and affirming poem that uses the imagery of the coast to represent the difficulties of artistic creation.

Timothy Winters

by Charles Causley

‘Timothy Winters’ by Charles Causley is a ballad written in the 1950s about a boy who was afflicted with misfortune. Here’s a complete analysis.

When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted

by Rudyard Kipling

Published in 1922, Kipling’s ‘When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted’ describes the “last” painting of mother earth and how it will be painted by the “good” people. No matter how this world ends, there will always be a new beginning, a new painting to admire.

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