20+ of the most memorable lines of poetry

20+ memorable lines of poetry that will stay with you forever.

“A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom”

When Frost said this, he was referring to writing poetry, but it is fair to say that reading a poem can equally start with delight and end in wisdom.
A good poem is a condensing of thought, that when well written can have more power than pages of prose.

To prove this point we have selected 20+ of our favourite lines from poetry, lines we hope, that once read will stay with you and inspire you. Where possible we have added links so you can read or listen to the entire poem.


Hope is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops at all —
Hope Is The Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson


The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


I am not cruel, just truthful —
The eye of a little god, four cornered.
Mirror by Sylvia Plath


I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon’s new fury
with all your wide futures
promised
I am
woman
and not white.
A Woman Speaks by Audre Lorde


And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.
To My Wife by Oscar Wilde


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.
Stop All The Clocks by WH Auden


And who, when it comes to the crunch, can live
with a heart of gold?
Mrs Midas by Carol Ann Duffy


If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!
If by Rudyard Kipling


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night
Howl by Allen Ginsberg


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run
To Autumn by John Keats


I wish I could walk for a day and a night,
And find me at dawn in a desolate place,
With never the rut of a road in sight,
Or the roof of a house, or the eyes of a face.
Departure by Edna St. Vincent Millay


A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.
A Daughter of Eve by Christina Rossetti


But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated
If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda


I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes


Heart, we will forget him!
You and I, to-night!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.
Heart, we will forget him! by Emily Dickinson


When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep
When You are Old by WB Yeats


Scarcely a tear to shed;
Hardly a word to say;
The end of a summer day;
Sweet Love dead.

An Evening by Gwendolyn Brooks


There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them.
Or giving your money away, all of it.
Moments by Mary Oliver


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.
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas


Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child – so high – you are,
And all this is folly to the world.
A Girl by Ezra Pound


Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.
When We Two Parted by George (Lord) Byron

About the contributor

Related Articles

Anne McDonald, 4 poems

Anne McDonald is a creative writing teacher.

Poetry by Colin Bancroft

Colin Bancroft won the 2016 Poets and Players Prize. His pamphlet Impermanence is out in October 2020 with Maytree Press.

Bait – historical short fiction by Zuri McWhorter

It was my fault. Mama always said, “Don’t leave the baby alone. Night time is pretty to...

More Like This

In Between by Clelia Albano, translated by Peter O’Neill

In Between    Sebbene la forza gravitazionale  tenga i...

The Writing Life

There were three events in my early writing life, the point at which I’d begun sending out work for possible publication, that almost put...

William Coniston – Three poems

Coniston’s explanatory verse enriches the dialogue between the poetic and the scientific.

A Girls and Other Poems- Anne Bevan

A Girl There was a girl Who lived in a glass mind And carried her emotions From room to room In a brown suitcase. Blackbirds pecked at her Through see-through walls, Hissing...

3 Poems by Kathleen Strafford

In this collection of work, poet, Kathleen Strafford takes a deep dive into memory.