wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Poetry - Empowerment and motivation


Maya Angelou (1928-2014), Still I RisePoetry - Empowerment and motivation 

The American poet (pictured right) describes the will to win and overcome difficulty and prejudice (particularly as she is an African American):


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.

(first verse)



Maya Angelou, Caged Bird (1994)


In this poem Angelou also praises freedom for the oppressed who are like a “caged bird”:


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.

(last verse).Poetry - Empowerment and motivation


This is reminiscent of Paul McCartney's (pictured right) Beatles 1967 song, Blackbird.


Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise.


Black bird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

all your life

you were only waiting for this moment to be free.

(first two verses)


James Russell Lowell (1819-91), Stanzas on Freedom (1843) Poetry - Empowerment and motivation

The American poet (pictured right) indicates the importance of freedom to empowerment:


True freedom is to share

All the chains our brothers wear,

And, with heart and hand, to be

Earnest to make others free!



Emma Lazarus (1849-87), The New Colossus Poetry - Empowerment and motivation

The American poet's (pictured right) words of freedom are written on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty in New York:


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”, cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

(complete poem)


Marianne Moore (1887-1972), I may, I might, I mustPoetry - Empowerment and motivation 

The American poet (pictured right) emphasizes the importance of a positive attitude.

In response to someone saying that a fen is “impassable”, she writes:

... I then

will tell you why I think that I

can get across it if I try.

(lines 2-4)



Gwyneth Lewis (1959- ), One person can make a difference (2006)Poetry - Empowerment and motivation 

The Welsh poet (pictured right) wrote this poem for Holocaust Memorial Day 2006.

The fight for justice starts and ends with me.

Truth is the sound of what I may say.

I can only be well when others are free

And right has a price I'm prepared to pay.

(first verse)



Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), Resolve (1883)Poetry - Empowerment and motivation

The American poet (pictured right) says have the will (or resolve) to seize life's opportunities without regret. 


Build on resolve, and not upon regret,

The structure of thy future. Do not grope

Among the shadows of old sins, but let

Thine own soul's light shine on the path of hope

And dissipate the darkness. Waste no tears

Upon the blotted record of lost years,

But turn the leaf, and smile, oh, smile, to see

The fair white pages that remain for thee.

(first verse)


T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), The Dry Salvages (1941)Poetry - Empowerment and motivation

The American-born British poet (pictured right) emphasizes the importance of trying to succeed: 

Right action is freedom

From past and future also.

For most of us, this is the aim

Never here to be realised;

Who are only undefeated

Because we have gone on trying



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