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 for the reader.
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.
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 section is a few
additional rhymed poems, and the fourth is more unrhymed poems. Finally,
the last section, as stated below, is the
poet's dreaded long poem, in nine sections. 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
4: There is only one story
A poem about life and death that is a depiction of
the human condition and a description in poetic form
of why we tell stories.
A Meditation on
Life and Death
Another poem that explores the
as we often
it, about how our lives unfold.
This ironic philosophical poem asks if we can
the world, or even ourselves, or if everything
we think we know is just a
How can we reconcile ourselves to the world
revealed by modern science?
Notes for an Unwritten Poem
A poem about life, love and death.
Lookout at the Lake
In these two poems, the speakers' experience of
undergoes a radical transformation. The
second poem, in particular, says something I
want to say.
Things To Do While Waiting
A poem about life and death, written in a
that many readers
will find ironic,
fun and a little
Two short poems:
A Day, Just Now Ecstasy in nature
Gnosis Darkness and light
A story poem about life, death,
generations and selfless love.
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
How can we live
in a universe like this?
A poem that wonders how we should live in the
impossible universe revealed by astronomy and physics.
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
To His Reluctant Sweetheart
In this mind-boggler, based on ideas from
science, a suitor, of sorts, offers another
live in an impossible universe.
Fascism goes Gothic, in a poem about
marchers who become the living dead. The poem
an unusual technique to create its effect.
Poems with little or no
rhyme that will hopefully evoke awe,
compassion and other responses in readers.
This Is the Kind of Day
An expression of joy
at the arrival of
spring. This poem appeared in Decanto
Magazine in April.
An apple pie a la
mode with a convincing sales
tries to talk someone out of
listening to a
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.
I Am the
Venus of Laussel
An ancient work of art speaks about the past
Gothic horror through punctuation,
in a poetry
I call a punctuation pictogram. And, yes,
Call and Response
A story about summer camp and the unfolding of life.
an ars poetica,
why we create literature.
Portrait of a demagogue and empire-builder, with
a theme and story that are similar to the poem,
"The Marchers," but with a different form and focus.
Awe of Nature
A poem that asks: how can we be
nature's beauty when
death and suffering?
It is an important truth
statement in poetic form
about why we tell
stories, and why we enjoy them.
Poems About Life
A disturbing encounter with automated customer
voicemail leads to unexpected results.
Away from Our Door
Grocery Wish List
Three poems about some of the things many of us
would like to be protected from.
Poetry, time and death
Clues To a Crime
Another of various poems about life and the
Poetry as footsie.
More Unrhymed Poems About Life
The World After
A post-apocalyptic story about the long
A poem about a "librarian," who "sits beyond
the edge of time."
Library Book Sale
An unexplained occurrence in a library basement.
A poem about two ways of experiencing
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.
A poem about the
The Ruin and
A poem about life, death, memory, and love.
This is the poet's
obligatory, dreaded long poem.
Let Me Tell You a Story
This is a long poem about life and storytelling, seen
the panorama of
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.
You can send your thoughts to letters at kensanes dot com
contact via Facebook
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Poems About Life: Copyright © 2010-2013 Ken Sanes. All work is on file with the U.S.