Poems About Life
by Ken Sanes
Jump down to Poems About
Life: A Selection
Or jump down to poems with
little or no rhyme
The poems that are linked to on this page (with
the exception of some poems at the bottom) are by me. Their subject is
the essentials of life and the human condition, which is to say, they
are about love and compassion, and joy in nature, as well as about the
more disturbing aspects of life, including suffering, war and death.
Some are about the passage of time, the meaning of art and about our
sense of fascination and bewilderment at the mystery of the world.
The purpose of these "poems about life" is to use the power of words to evoke
an experience in you that can deepen
and enrich your perceptions. And to evoke experiences in you that
are deep and rich in themselves.
The poems take a number of forms. Some rhyme,
and play with words and ideas in a way that I think many readers will
enjoy. Some are filled with poetic elements even though
they don't include rhyme. And some have a more prose-like
quality in which most of the lines are still coherent units of meaning
that unfold on the page.
A fair number tell stories. Some -- especially
some of the better poems that use little or no rhyme -- try to evoke a sense of empathy with the speakers.
But whatever form they take, most of these poems depict humanity trying
to find what is good and true -- but also driven by fear and
destructiveness -- as it struggles with a difficult world and with
motivations that are hard to understand. Some depict humanity's
struggle with the ultimate limitation -- mortality -- which makes them
poems about life as well as death.
Most are relatively easy to follow, so people who have come to think of
reading a poem as a chore (or a test!) may still find
a lot to like here. A few of the poems are more enigmatic and complex because they need to be that way to have their effect.
In their essence, all are performances. Or at least they are
more like performances than
they are like essays (which is true of poetry in general). They are
patterns of words that use meanings, stories, sounds, imagery and
ideas to offer unique
aesthetic experiences, which can deepen the reader's perceptions of
On another page, there are also a handful of
some of which have themes and perspectives similar to what is
found in the poems. And there is a page of commentaries on
category of poems about life -- nature poems
by well-known poets. These expand on the themes of the website by
revealing how nature poetry is an expression of the human condition.
Finally, there is a page of exceptional
short poems by famous
poets, many of which are also about the essentials of life.
On this page, below, I recommend starting with
the rhymed and unrhymed poetry in the first section, titled:
About Life: A Selection", which contains some of the best work. The
second section is "Poems
About Life: Unrhymed Poems." The third and fourth sections are additional rhymed
and unrhymed poems. Finally,
the last section, as stated below, are the
poet's dreaded long poems. There are also a handful of links to
poems about life by other writers at the bottom of the page.
Of course, it can be said that all poetry is about life or, at least,
about life and death. But many of these poems explore this theme in a
self-conscious way and try to get at the essence of things in a way
that I think many readers will appreciate.
I hope you like what I have to offer. If these poems about life and death work for you, they will put you more
in touch with your own humanity, and deepen your experience of yourself
and the world around you.
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I'm interested in your opinion: letters at kensanes dot com
Some of my best rhymed and unrhymed poems
A New Day
Two closely related poems about life and light,
and the motivation
for writing poetry. New
Poem about a living thing studied by science
that invades the bodies of ants and turns them
into zombies. With an image and links.
A poem about life in a postmodern age,
that asks how can we reconcile
to the world
revealed by modern science.
One of a number of poems about life and nature,
the lens of an extraordinary
An Idea From Mystical Philosophy
This poem conveys an idea from mysticism
in which the world is described
that is being
thought by a cosmic
We Seek Him
A spiritually and mystically-oriented poem
based on monotheism.
for a Good Life
A short poem about life's meaning and fulfillment.
This lighter offering is one of a number of
poems about life's annoyances
and other negative
features that many of us
like to be protected
Library Book Sale
An unexplained occurrence in a library basement.
Lookout at the Lake
One of a number of poems about life and nature,
seen through the lens of an extraordinary experience.
Notes for an Unwritten Poem
Two romantic poems about life, lost love and
An ironic poem about life as an illusion.
poem asks if we can
the world, or even
ourselves, or if everything
we think we know
The Curatorís Love Poem
A poem about life and love in a museum.
Call and Response
This poem about summer camp offers a deep
perspective on why we tell stories
poems about life.
One of a number of story poems about life,
generations and selfless love.
Things To Do While Waiting
One of a number of rhymed poems about life and
death, written in a popular style that many readers
will find ironic,
fun and a little
They fly in eight hours
A modernist poem about geese that fly over
the Himalayas. New
A gothic horror story in poetic form about one
of the most
disturbing aspects of contemporary
How can we live
in a universe like this?
The weight of the world
How should we respond when the universe
revealed by physics doesn't make any sense.
There is only one story
in poetic form
of why we tell
A Meditation on
Life and Death
Another of my poems about life and death
that looks at
how our lives unfold. This poem
tells the truth about mortality in a direct way.
Gothic horror through punctuation,
in a poetry
I call a punctuation pictogram. And, yes,
The Gift of Light
One of a number of short poems about life
A Day, Just Now
Joy in nature, briefly put.
Fascism goes Gothic, as
marchers become the
living dead. The poem
an unusual technique
to create its effect.
One of my briefer poems about life that is also
about time, poetry and death.
This Is the Kind of Day
An expression of joy
at the arrival of
spring. This poem appeared in Decanto
Magazine in April, 2012.
Poems with little or no
rhyme that will hopefully evoke awe,
compassion and other responses in readers.
A poem about life in the
When the sun sets in the
Inspired by The Great Hymn to the Aten
by the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Akhenaten
A collective lament by parents.
The Stuff of Life
One of my quirkier poems about life that asks
if the world is
jigsaw puzzle with pieces that
don't fit together.
A story about fascism that has similarities to
"The Marchers" but with a very different form.
An apple pie a la
mode with a convincing sales
tries to talk someone out of
listening to a
Looking at a Poet on a Bridge, Looking
If this poem works for you, it will be a
coaster ride through a vision of history.
Human narcissism and self-involvement.
It is an important truth
statement in poetic form
why we tell
A poem about two ways of experiencing
A poem about life as a dance.
The End of History
An expression of horror at the history of violence
and the way it could culminate in a nuclear war.
some people may
treatment of this poem
Awe of Nature
A poem that asks: how can we be
nature's beauty when
death and suffering?
The speaker in this poem talks to winter about the
and the cold -- and about spring --
it becomes clear the speaker is also
about something else.
Poems About Life
Grocery Wish List
Away from Our Door
Two poems about some of the things many of us
would like to be protected from.
Nuclear Voice Mail
A poem about the twin horrors of modern life:
nuclear holocaust and customer service voice mail.
Poetry as footsie.
Gnosis Darkness and light.
To His Reluctant Sweetheart
In this mind-boggler, based on ideas from
science, a suitor, of sorts, offers another
live in an impossible universe.
Clues To a Crime
Another of various poems about life and the
More Unrhymed Poems About Life
The World After
A gothic story about the long
One of a number of poems about life, death,
memory, and love.
I Am the
Venus of Laussel
An ancient work of art speaks about the past
The Ruin and
These are the poet's
obligatory, dreaded long poems.
Seeing With a Cosmic Eye
This is a hybrid of a story, essay and poem about life
in a vast universe.
Two notes: it is for the patient and
and your perception of the world
after delving into it.
Let Me Tell You a Story
This is a long poem about life and storytelling, seen
against the panorama of history. The poem is in nine
Among other things, it portrays
in the snare
of time -- and its own
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Note: A literary device that is used (or used in a
modified form) in a small number of these poems can variously be described as fragmentation, juxtaposition, the creation of collage-like forms or
This is where parts of the poem don't follow the conventional progression of
flow, description or the unfolding of an argument. Instead, there is a
between parts of the poem, so the poem seems to jump from one thing to
another in a way that, hopefully, intensifies the reader's experience.
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A note from the author
I have another website of prose essays at
information about what people have said about that website and how it
has been used in classrooms.
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Poems About Life: Copyright © 2010-2013 Ken Sanes. All work is on file with the U.S.
You can send your thoughts to letters at kensanes dot com
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